Report Linking Infections to Hospital Linens Makes Strong Case for Highest Laundry Standards

A new report that links a deadly mucormycosis outbreak to hospital linens makes a strong case for the need for healthcare laundries to provide the highest standards in the processing of their textiles, says the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC).

"This latest report again reinforces the need for laundry processing standards that are patient-safety focused and have been developed based on federal regulations and guidelines as well as best industry practices," says Gregory Gicewicz, president of HLAC, which inspects and accredits healthcare laundries. "Hospitals, nursing homes and all healthcare facilities should demand it."

The report, "Mucormycosis Outbreak Associated with Hospital Linens," is published in the May issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. The report, a catalyst for a related April 28 New York Times story, identified hospital linens traced to an offsite launderer as the agent of transmission during an outbreak of the deadly fungus that resulted in five deaths at a pediatric hospital in 2008-2009.

An abstract of the medical journal report concludes: "Hospital linens should be laundered, packaged, shipped and stored in a manner that minimizes exposure to environmental contaminants."

Gicewicz notes that the New York Times reported that the pediatric hospital's launderer was not "accredited."

"HLAC Accreditation Standards cover the complete textile processing cycle, from handling and transporting to laundering and finishing to customer service," he says. "Having the highest laundry standards is a matter of patient safety, yes, and it's also a matter of building the public trust."

Source: Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC)