Hygiene requirements have been tightened in healthcare and care. The requirements that have long existed in health care now also apply to, for example, home care and group housing as well as special housing for the elderly.
The reason is the risk of spreading infectious agents and that various multi-resistant bacteria have become more common in society. This has led the National Board of Health and Welfare to introduce the new regulations (SOSFS 2015: 10) on basic hygiene in care and care.
Work clothes only for the job
The regulations apply in work situations where there is physical contact between staff and patients / users / residents and there is a risk of transmitting infectious substances. The requirements include:
- work clothes must be changed at least once a day,
- work clothes may only be worn at work,
- work clothes should be short-sleeved to facilitate hand hygiene.
- We have noticed an increased interest from various municipalities. They demand solutions on how to handle and wash work clothes, says Lars Dahmm, board member of the Swedish Textile Service Association and former section manager at the Laundry in Alingsås, which, among other things, provides healthcare in the Västra Götaland region with laundry, textiles and sterile products.
This is what it takes
A prerequisite is that work clothes should be washed so that they are clean and free of contaminants. On the other hand, the National Board of Health and Welfare has no views on who is providing and washing the work clothes. How the regulations are to be fulfilled is something that the municipalities themselves must put into practice.
- As I see it requires thermally disinfected work clothes, which means washing at least 70 ° C for ten minutes. That this is done should be shown. Then it does not work for the staff to wash at home in their own laundry room. Industrial washing with process control is required, states Lars Dahmm.
The municipalities are preparing procurement
Reasonably, the municipalities will in the future provide working clothes. Then they can guarantee that they have done what is necessary to prevent the spread of infection. The Swedish Textile Service Association therefore conducted a survey among the municipalities in the country during the summer of 2016. The results showed that many are now investigating what needs they have and are in the starting pits to carry out procurement.
- Sweden's T-labeled laundry facilities meet the requirements that must be set. They work professionally and have controlled processes. Capacity exists or can be expanded to meet the volumes we can expect. The established laundry facilities also already have turbines circulating to collect and leave laundry, says Lars Dahmm.
In other words, in most places the infrastructure is already ready for the new needs of the municipalities.
Different ways to go
There are several ways to go. The municipalities can rent work clothes and thus get the entire textile service in the procurement, alternatively buy their own textiles and do the procurement of the laundry service. Some municipalities have been considering buying their own laundry. However, this requires both large investments and access to expertise.
- The performers have to deal with this right. The alternative can be devastating. The purpose of the regulations is clearly to avoid the risk of infections among the sick and the elderly.
Told for Ulf Silfverström