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How Do Other Facilities Handle Dirty Linens?

Question: Currently our dirty linen is transported in bags, separate from trash, to the Housekeeping Dirty Sort Room.  This linen is then loaded into linen transport cart for our linen reprocessing vendor to pickup.  We would like to have housekeeping pickup the dirty linen and trash at the same time either in the same bin (this would be preferred), or in a bin that has separate compartments that we would have to purchase.  How do other facilities handle this?  Other thoughts on how hospitals have reduced the time it takes to pick-up of dirty items while adhering to JACHO and OSHA standards?
- William Cook. Director of Material Management

Answer: Trash and soiled linens cannot be mixed.  It is clearly stated by JCAHO that all soiled linen must be handled in such a way that it is kept separate from other material.  There is no restriction in placing the soiled linen in separate bins from other materials (trash) if that is what you would like to do.  The process of transporting soiled linen should be in a container that is covered.  The container needs to be washed and sanitized after each use. 

Linen management is always a challenge.  Many hospitals that use an outside resource for washing their linens have required or requested assistance with procedures for better facilitating the process of linen handling in the hospital.

There is no specific suggestion, but to have the linen handling looked at by consultants who have the expertise to develop a standard for your facility. 

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Dirty Laundry Dumped In Northern California

MARYSVILLE, Calif. — Dirty laundry dumped on a highway in northern California stopped traffic and closed the roadway. The laundry, from an area medical center, was dumped when the driver of the big-rig transporting the laundry fell asleep at the wheel. The trailer jackknifed when the driver realized he’d drifted onto the shoulder and he tried to steer back onto the highway