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Will it come out in the wash?

23 October 2017

Miele Professional looks at how hospital and healthcare settings can monitor infection control in laundry and dishwashing processes

In hospitals and healthcare settings where contract cleaning is a vital support service, infection control is of paramount importance. 

With the threat of antibiotic resistant infections a constant concern for establishments such as care homes, staff need to consider the best cleaning facilities to provide a safe and reliable service. 

Laundry standards

Hygienic processing of laundry is a key concern in healthcare settings. Laundry facilities need to comply with legislation to protect against the risk of infection, as well as keeping soiled and clean items separate. Other factors, such as the volume and nature of the laundry being processed, equipment reliability, ease-of-use and longevity, all play an important part in deciding on the most appropriate laundry equipment. 

Soiled laundry can potentially be the source of infection-spreading and pathogenic micro-organisms. It is essential washer extractors have thermal disinfection cycles which meet Department of Health HTM 01-04 guidelines and prevent the spread of infection. These washers also need to be tested and approved to WRAS (Water Regulatory Advisory Scheme) category 5, ensuring that the washing machine is able to prevent backfilling of soiled or contaminated water from the washer into the water mains supply. 

Freshwater system

Alongside laundry, dishwashing equipment needs to be considered, such as professional dishwashers which have a freshwater system that is designed specifically to achieve hygienically clean results. In Miele Professional machines, fresh water is pumped into the machine during each wash phase as well as during the rinsing process – ensuring that no plate or other utensil is washed with the same load of water twice. Furthermore, the temperature of the water in the main wash is a high 60°C, whilst the final rinse takes place at 85°C, held for five minutes, to ensure that all bugs and bacteria are eliminated to a medically-approved standard of thermal disinfection.

One healthcare business that recently invested in Miele Professional laundry and dishwashing equipment to ensure the highest cleanliness standards is Sentinel Healthcare, a privately-owned group of nursing homes situated in and around the New Forest. 

An essential part of the day-to-day running of Sentinel Healthcare is providing clean bedding and towels for residents. Therefore, the team at the care home need to ensure they have the right equipment to thoroughly wash items and help prevent the spread of infection.  

Across the Sentinel Healthcare homes there are now three Miele Professional washing machines four tumble dryers, five dishwashers and two rotary ironers installed on-site. All of these machines are tested to the highest standards to ensure safe, efficient and cost-effective cleaning for care homes.

Lynne Hargett at Sentinel Healthcare said: “The machines are so reliable and robust that they allow us to operate our laundry without interruption on a daily basis. They keep our homes running the way they should be and we would definitely recommend them to other nursing homes.”