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Bagging for Success: Minimizing Linen Loss in Healthcare

In the fast-paced healthcare environment, the importance of proper linen management often needs to be more appreciated, resulting in significant losses and unnecessary expenses. According to a study by TRSA | Association for Linen, Uniform and Facility Services Industry, an alarming 90% of linens in U.S. hospitals fail to reach their whole lifespan, with improper disposal practices being a significant reason. Linens represent invaluable resources that, when managed effectively, can significantly extend their utility. It's imperative to shift the current paradigm where linens are treated as disposable items to one where they are recognized as valuable assets to be preserved.

Bagging Tips for Mitigating Linen Loss

  1. Reclaiming the Value of Linen The first step towards sustainable linen management is recognizing that linen is never trash, no matter the level of soil. Educating healthcare staff about the capabilities of industrial laundry systems in effectively removing stains is crucial. By understanding this potential, we can prevent the unnecessary waste of prematurely discarded linens.
  2. Proper Bagging Protocols All soiled linens, regardless of the soil level, must be placed in the blue (or your facility’s designated color) soiled linen bags. If your organization participates in Crown’s HD/Chemo program, soiled linen can also be placed in yellow HD/chemo bags. Disposing of linens in the trash or red/yellow hazardous waste bags contributes to approximately 12% of linen loss and significant unnecessary expenses. Embracing proper bagging practices is essential to curbing this trend and preserving valuable resources.
  3. Reject Linen Recognition and Handling Clean linens unfit for patient use are called "reject linen." This can include anything that does not meet your quality standards, like being torn, thin, old, discolored, containing adhesive residue, or having adhered electrodes. It's imperative to place these items into green reject linen bags (or your facility's designated color). By doing so, your facility will receive 100% credit for these items. Rejected linen also provides a great teaching tool for Crown staff and helps us to improve our processes.
  4. Change Through Education Comprehensive staff training ensures that your team members understand the importance of linen management through proper bagging. By educating your team at onboarding about sorting, bagging, and storage practices and highlighting the value of linens, you can cultivate a culture of responsibility and accountability. At Crown, we offer a wealth of educational resources at no cost, and our staff are available for on-site linen education. Whether through floor roaming presentations or participation in your onsite events, we are eager to support and engage with our partners in promoting optimal linen management practices.

Protecting Linens, Lowering Loss Charges

The journey towards good linen management requires a collective effort and a fundamental shift in mindset. Linens are not disposable commodities but valuable assets. Adhering to proper bagging protocols, recognizing and handling reject linen, and fostering education and collaboration can transform waste into sustainability, minimize unnecessary expenses, and uphold the highest infection prevention and patient care standards. For education assistance, please reach out to your customer servcie representative or click here