Standardized Alternative to Home Laundering to Reduce Surgical Site Infections

Home laundering of surgical attire, with no specific recommendations or guidelines, is an "insufficient" alternative to laundering provided by a healthcare-accredited commercial facility, says a new report published in Periop Briefing, a publication of AORN Journal.

The report, "Implementing best practices for surgical attire laundering," cites a recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control as joining "the growing body of research that home laundering practices among healthcare workers may fail to eliminate pathogens from garments."

The report also cites the advantages of commercial laundering and the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council's (HLAC) standards for processing reusable textiles, noting, "Healthcare accreditation of laundering facilities regulates the transport, handling, washing, drying, and storage of soiled and contaminated textiles."

Regarding resistance and barriers to using commercial laundry services because of financial implications, the report advises: "Cost-benefit analyses should account for the costs of surgical site infections that may result from surgical scrubs purchased and laundered by perioperative personnel. The costs to the institution and patients in the event of an outbreak that affects multiple patients and requires prolonged postoperative care should also be considered." 

Gregory Gicewicz, HLAC board president says, "This report in Periop Briefing reinforces our message: That meeting and maintaining HLAC Accreditation Standards means a laundry has committed to a new level of excellence in the way it processes healthcare textiles and that the laundry has joined in the challenge to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)."

Source: HLAC