Ebola Fears Prompt HLAC to Urge Diligence in Following Safe Laundry Procedures

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As concerned healthcare officials in the United States continue to monitor the global Ebola emergency and its potential to spread, the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) is urging its accredited laundries to maintain their diligence in following the safe laundry procedures set forth in its standards for processing healthcare textiles.

"HLAC-accredited laundries meet the highest standards for processing healthcare textiles based on federal regulations and best industry practices," says Gregory Gicewicz, president of HLAC, which inspects and accredits healthcare laundries. "These standards -- when followed and maintained -- cover the complete textile processing cycle, from handling and transporting, laundering and finishing, to customer service. The healthcare customer of an HLAC-accredited laundry can confidently expect a consistent and smooth flow of clean textiles; and, ultimately, the knowledge of safety for their employees and the end user - the patient."

In the wake of the Ebola emergency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a link, Interim Guidance For Environmental Infection Control in Hospitals for Ebola virus that "cover topics related to waste, linens and recommended personal protective equipment for environmental services," Gicewicz says. In addition to the CDC guidelines, Gicewicz says there also are HLAC standards and procedures that are particularly relevant to the Ebola emergency and can be found in Accreditation Standards for Processing Reusable Textiles for use in Healthcare Facilities, 2011 Edition, which is available at HLAC's website. These include:


- Part I, Section 2, on Laundry Facilities
- Part I, Section 5, on Laundry Personnel
- Part I, Section 7, on Quality Assessment
- Part II, Section 1, on Handling, Collection and Transportation of Soiled Healthcare Textiles
- Part II, Section 2, on Sorting
- Part II, Section 3, on Washing and Extraction

Adherence to these standards and procedures would be essential if the Ebola outbreak were to spread to the United States with any consequence, Gicewicz adds. 
Source: Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC)