6 Resident-Approved Nursing Home Laundry Procedures

Part of running a quality nursing home — one that both residents and their families appreciate — is keeping things fresh and clean. Adopting quality laundry procedures is an important part of keeping a nursing home safe, comfortable and enjoyable for residents.

Resident-Approved Nursing Home Laundry Procedures

The following are some laundry procedures to help your nursing home stay resident approved:

1. Keep Laundering (Reasonably) Frequent

All linens that are dirty from use need to be replaced and laundered on a set time table. The exact amount of time between replacement and cleaning will vary depending on the purpose of those linens and how much use they see. Consider a given type of linen, and create a schedule that fits those needs.

As a general rule, linens used for sleeping, during bathing or showering and during eating will usually see the heaviest use and require the most frequent cleaning. However, all linens should be cleaned on some type of schedule, even if in storage, because even linens just sitting and going unused can accumulate dust. Regular laundering will ensure they stay fresh.

2. Launder Additionally as Needed

Obviously, time is not the only factor that determines which linens need to be cleaned. In a nursing home, where physical and mental health can vary greatly from resident to resident, there will sometimes be accidents involving bodily fluids, food or other mess that dirties linens. In these cases, it’s important to switch the linens immediately and launder the dirty linens as soon as possible.

Although extremely simple, this needs to be an established part of a nursing home’s laundry procedures. Not addressing obviously dirty linens is a sign of negligence and can cause residents to feel disrespected. Residents and their families should feel like a nursing home is actively trying to provide them with the best living experience possible and a business should consider such laundry needs to be essential. 

3. Make the Schedule Predictable

A nursing home can deal with residents who may sometimes struggle with memory and/or who may get anxious if the routine they’re used to is interrupted. Although the time linens are gathered for laundering or put away once clean may seem like a small detail, keeping these types of things on a cyclical routine is generally just a good practice for helping residents avoid feeling blindsided.

Importantly, one should also keep in mind that many residents may worry about how the transition into nursing home life may affect their autonomy. For these residents, things that take away the sense of control and order in their lives, even if individually small, can be significant stressors. A simple, predictable laundering schedule can help them feel like their boundaries are being better respected with little to no downside for a nursing home. This won’t always be possible, such as if linens get actively soiled, but it should be possible when it comes to the standard laundry cleaning process.

4. Understand Resident Skin Needs

As we age, our skin can become more sensitive. Additionally, some people are just predisposed to sensitive skin, or they may have particular allergies regardless of age. In either case, it’s important to understand a person’s skin needs when laundering their linens. If you don’t, laundering practices may cause irritation, which can be an especially major pain for the linens used when sleeping.

The best approach to dealing with these issues will depend on the scope of the nursing home and the specificity of these needs. In many cases, a nursing home will have enough people with sensitive skin that it may just want all linens laundered with detergents designed with that in mind. If not, linens will need to be separated based on whether they can be cleaned with standard detergents or specialized options.

5. Pay Attention to Small Details

A business should try to keep a list of little details that might be easily missed if not tracked. If staff members do the laundry, this can be a checklist that is marked as each item is addressed. In addition to tracking linens that need to be maintained, this list can also note any resident preferences or needs, such as scents or cleaning chemicals to which they may be sensitive.

6. Update as Needed

An inherent part of running a nursing home is that some residents will cycle out and new residents will cycle in. The size and scope of a nursing home can also fundamentally change, especially if a business sees success and grows. Laundry procedures should be updated as needed to fit the needs of a home and its current residents. 

A home should pay attention to the state of its linens and try to track if any residents or their families are noting any issues. While small, occasional issues don’t necessarily signal a systematic problem, linens should, as a rule, be clean and fresh for resident use. If they’re not, some element of the laundry procedures needs to evolve. If the problem is the scale or complexity of the laundry needs, we recommend reading our content on managed laundry linen services.

How Alsco Can Simplify Your Laundry Procedures

It’s true that many residents won’t actively be thinking about a nursing home’s laundry procedures. That doesn’t mean they’re not important or that the residents won’t appreciate fresh, clean linens (even if they don’t realize the exact reason their experience has improved). Adopting quality laundry procedures helps keep residents happier and healthier. This should be seen as fundamental to running a good nursing home.

At Alsco, we can handle the complexities of keeping laundry fresh and clean for your nursing home and its residents. Read more about our linen cleaning services and see if we might be able to simplify your laundry procedures for you. You’re also welcome to contact us to chat directly about what we can do for your business. Reach out today.

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