Alsco is an industry leader with history dating back to the 1800s. Back then, our primary focus was on linen and uniforms. In fact, we were the first linen and uniform rental company in America. But in the decades since, we have expanded our services to include hospital linens and clinical uniforms. Serving hospitals and other healthcare facilities requires a bit of extra effort on our part, but it’s worth it.
The No. 1 reason we are committed to offering hospital linens and uniforms can be summarized in a single word: infection. To help you better understand why we take infection so seriously, let us talk about a Medscape article published on Jan. 15, 2019. The article is a wake-up call to facility managers and linen service companies alike.
Hospitals Are Not Clean Environments
The underlying theme of the Medscape article is that hospitals are not as clean as people expect them to be. The opening line of the article states that “approximately 1 of every 25 patients developed at least one health care-associated infection per day,” according to a survey involving 183 acute care hospitals across the country. The article then goes on to blame those infections on contaminants within the hospital setting.
The article discusses pathogens found on hospital surfaces, floors, sinks and equipment. It also discusses pathogens in bed linens, worker uniforms, curtains etc. We are obviously concerned about pathogens no matter where they are found. However, our primary focus is on bed linens and uniforms.
Pathogens in Bed Linens
The Medscape article cites a recent study indicating that commercial washing machines often fail to adequately deal with C. diff in hospital linens. They say the study data could explain why C. diff outbreaks sometimes occur without any known explanation.
Another study cited in the article revealed that among 15 hospitals offering transplants and cancer treatments, 47 percent had bed linens contaminated with mold upon patient arrival. Some 20 percent of those hospitals did not meet hygienically clean standards for bed linens.
It is worth noting that Alsco recently received certification for our plants, processes and linens that demonstrates we consistently deliver hygienically clean products.
Pathogens in Uniforms
The Medscape article cited research showing that staff clothing frequently transfers pathogens. They specifically mentioned items like lab coats, neckties and scrubs. These articles of clothing act as vehicles that carry pathogens throughout the hospital environment.
In one specific trial, researchers followed 40 nurses throughout the workday. Culture samples taken from nurse scrubs revealed that their uniforms were contaminated after having come in contact with patients, bed rails, supply carts and more. Those pathogens were then carried wherever nurses went.
The Need for Hygienically Clean Linens
Reading the Medscape article in its entirety reveals troubling information about the cleanliness of our hospitals. It is a reminder that cleanliness in a medical setting does not necessarily mean an absence of dirt. A truly clean environment capable of preventing the spread of pathogens is one that is hygienically clean.
We believe patients can reasonably expect a hygienically clean environment whenever they are admitted to the hospital. We believe healthcare clinics should be taking every possible step to minimize the risk of infection. How they do that is not for us to say. Our job is to provide our customers with hygienically clean bed linens and hospital uniforms, we’re even HLAC and TRSA certified in hygienically clean linen. That is just what we do.
If you would like to know more about our healthcare products, call us at 800-408-0208 soon. Let’s talk about your healthcare linen and uniform needs.