We will feel and see the effects of the COVID pandemic for a very long time. This means that the laundry business, including services, sales, and internal laundry operations, will need to adapt their business processes and models on an ongoing basis after the pandemic.
Pandemic Effects Most Service Industries
Lockdowns and mask orders against Coronavirus started in April 2020. A service business quickly adapted to keep laundries operating in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veterans’ homes, and hospitals. Almost all care facilities increased their laundry volume during the pandemic. Thus, healthcare employees were increasingly required to undergo rapid testing before entering healthcare facilities and to wear masks and keep a distance from patients. For the safety of the workers, most companies demanded that all work areas be disinfected and sanitized before workers arrived, and laundry attendants had to leave the area before laundry equipment could be serviced.
Some changes that evolved out of pandemic adaptations, like virtual meetings, will likely continue to be the preferred means of connecting with co-workers and customers.
These market condition changes forced internal linen services to adapt their processes, so their customers and staff feel safe and effective. For example, wearing masks and social distancing inside has become mandatory. In addition, many facilities limit the number of people allowed inside, determined by the building’s square footage.
Laundry equipment is regularly sanitized on a scheduled calendar, and some facilities are installing systems to sanitize operations on an automatic rotation.
Laundry loads should be washed using the warmest appropriate water setting for the fabrics and dried completely, and hampers, baskets, and carts for transporting laundry are thoroughly disinfected.
While some of these changes may fade over time, they likely won’t go away soon. Things won’t be back to pre-pandemic procedures. People will most likely stay hesitant to go into enclosed spaces. Permanently, some people will continue to wear masks, particularly in crowded areas, even after most people have received the vaccine.
Internal linen services will play an integral role in how facilities deliver quality services in a safe environment. As more knowledge comes to light about the vaccine’s effectiveness in real-world conditions, decisions will be made founded on available facts. As these adaptations are implemented, and society returns to a ‘new’ normal, healthcare facilities adapt and adjust their operational policies.
Some New ‘Post-Pandemic’ Standard Rules
Maintain rigid control over infection control procedures
There are many essential areas in healthcare linen management, but none is more critical than infection control. No matter your operations and processes, the infection control component is standard and non-negotiable. Ensure everyone has proper training and is obedient to every aspect of appropriate and secure infection control procedures.
Everyone is accountable
Quality healthcare linen is never a one-department endeavor. It’s a collaborative effort between everybody on your entire team. Therefore, it is essential to hold everyone accountable to guarantee the highest quality of all delivered linens.
Implement and maintain a secure exchange process
The faulty exchange between clean and dirty linens and failure to implement a collection process are among the top reasons for waste in linen use. Safeguard your linens with a secure but easy-to-follow logging system to keep track of your linens’ location and place in the process.
Make linen loss important
Healthcare linens are always at risk of being taken, whether accidentally or on purpose. Linen misplacement and improper disposal of dirty linens are common causes of linen loss. The best way to prevent losses is to use tracking systems like RFID to track linens.
Enforce the rules of the linen procedure
Keeping up with your linen management is never an easy undertaking. It requires cooperation between all involved and must be as efficient as strict. The stakes of poor linen management are too high and can lead to facility-wide issues, including:
Operational Inefficiency. The harmful effects of lousy linen management trickle down to every aspect of your operations. It can derail infection control, slow down services, and negatively affect the patient experience.
Excessive Expenses. A deficient linen process raises the cost of your supplied deliverables and obstructs linen maintenance. In addition, it can cause the facility to spend more on linen replacement costs or repeat laundering.
Cross Contamination Risks. Losing control of your linens’ care and usage is one of the biggest threats to your infection control efforts. Mismanaged linens, linen shortages, and poor maintenance put your employees, patients, and reputation at risk.
Powerlink has the experience and heritage to solve every issue
Solve your healthcare linen management headache by partnering with a real professional firm: Powerlink. We have over 30 years of expert linen service, linen management and are the most dependable healthcare linen service providers in the healthcare universe.