Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have innumerable responsibilities towards their patients, chief among them being the duty to not expose those patients to infections or complications stemming from their visit to the facility. Yet even as hospitals strive to meet this responsibility, patients can and do become exposed to certain pathogens in medical facilities frequently.
One of the most high-profile of these infections is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Healthcare-associated MRSA infections in the hospital are routinely associated with patients who undergo invasive procedures such as surgery, but all patients are endangered by the possibility. Thankfully, there are excellent methods for MRSA infection control in hospitals – and one of the primary strategies for doing so is adopting effective healthcare laundry procedures.
Using Proper Laundry Techniques to Fight MRSA Infection Rates
Just about every hospital and healthcare facility is sure to have a robust infection prevention plan in place. However, all too many facilities may inadvertently overlook their linens as a transmission vector, allowing MRSA and other infections to flourish and spread despite best efforts. This is primarily due to how both hospital staff and patients are continuously exposed to any number of linens, such as scrubs, lab coats, cubicle curtains, patient gowns, and bedding.
As objects that may become contaminated with infectious organisms and serve in aiding the transmission of those organisms, these healthcare linens are considered fomites. Without ensuring that these fomites are properly sanitized — for example, allowing staff to wash their own scrubs — hospitals are putting the health of both their patients and their staff in jeopardy with the possibility of MRSA and other infections. Because of how resistant MRSA is to most types of treatment, it’s highly preferred to prevent MRSA infection in hospitals over attempting to treat it. Ensuring your facility’s fomites are sanitized properly will go far to help limit the spread of this infection and countless others.
The Challenges of Healthcare Laundry Management
Why do so many hospitals and other healthcare facilities struggle to meet higher standards for linen sanitation? In some instances, it’s due to not realizing the impact fomites can have in a healthcare environment. According to a publication in the National Library of Medicine, “Any inanimate object at a health facility is a potential fomite, even healthcare personnel themselves could be a transmission source through their contaminated apparel .
For example, the aforementioned practice of staff cleaning their own scrubs can fail to sanitize the garments properly. Or cubicle curtains, many of which are made of polyester – a material that has been shown to have the longest survival time of MRSA  – may not be changed and cleaned as often as necessary.
Determining and committing to a process of sanitizing laundry on a frequently recurring basis is a difficult endeavor requiring the careful focus of staff, and a facility may not even have access to a way to truly sanitize its items. This is why many facilities opt to outsource their laundry processes to a third-party expert with the experience and resources necessary to best prevent MRSA and other infections
Managed Linen Services: The Best Solution for Controlling MRSA and Other Infections in Hospitals
Reducing the likelihood that patients or staff become infected with a healthcare-associated infection is too important a goal to ignore. This is especially important in modern healthcare settings, and not just for curbing MRSA infections. The spread of COVID-19 has shown a spotlight on how crucial it is to provide high levels of sanitation in healthcare environments at all times.
Relying on a third-party healthcare laundry specialist to manage a hospital’s linen services is an ideal solution to all of the challenges that healthcare facilities face. Medical laundry providers have the requisite knowledge, experience, and equipment to collect soiled linens and potential fomites safely, sanitize hospital linens effectively and efficiently, and then re-distribute these sanitized linens quickly to hospitals that need them. More importantly, the costs associated with these services are a fraction of what a hospital might incur by attempting to take on these responsibilities themselves.
ImageFIRST: Your Best Bet for Infection Prevention
Healthcare organizations on the hunt for an effective linen management partner to reduce the impact of healthcare-associated MRSA infection need look no further than ImageFIRST, whose infection prevention provides the necessary high levels of protection from MRSA, COVID-19, and other highly infectious illnesses that can be transmitted to patients and hospital staff alike.
ImageFIRST’s medical laundry sanitation methods ensure that 99.999% of common pathogens are neutralized. An additional bacteria-inhibitor softener used in ImageFIRST’s laundering process, as well as independent third-party laboratory testing to verify its effectiveness, further reinforces laundering and delivery processes for properly protecting patients and staff. Products are then encased in plastic for in-transit cleanliness until delivery and distribution. This ensures that our processes meet or exceed OSHA, CDC, and HLAC standards, and comply with The Joint Commission requirements.
How to Prevent MRSA Infection in Hospitals
Healthcare-associated MRSA infections pose a palpable danger to the health and well-being of both patients and staff alike. Hospitals and healthcare facilities need to take any and all steps to limit exposure to MRSA, as well as other types of infections such as COVID-19, by adopting stringent sanitation policies and procedures. Ensuring hospital linens are both cleaned and sanitized regularly is just one of these important policies, and one that should not be left in the hands of anyone but those who have the requisite skills and tools for the job.
Partnering with ImageFIRST will ensure your staff always have the exact right inventory of what they need when they need it, and that it has been properly sanitized for your hospital or medical practice to control MRSA and other infections.
 For supporting information on HAIs and fomites, visit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759291/