NEW ORLEANS — Reducing losses of scrubs and patient linens is of major concern for many medical facilities, according to the educational session presented by The Association for Linen Management during the first day of Clean Show.
Moderator Janice Larson, with Encompass Group, and panelists Mary Ann Curtis, Innovative Products Achievement; Eva Granado, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas; and Liz Remillong, Crothall Laundry Services, focused on true losses – from theft, trashed, or taken out of circulation prematurely – rather than artificial losses, those where the items are simply not circulating for reasons such as stock piles, overstocking or hoarding.
The sources of major linen loss in most medical facilities, according to a Philips & Associates report as well as the panelists, are hoarding and theft by a variety of entities. The panelists also distinguished between inadvertent theft and the deliberate taking of garments and linens. Patient transfers are often the source of linen loss, according to the panel, an inadvertent theft because no one thinks of it. Another such case is when a newborn goes home with a number of garments and blankets from the hospital; those items then become “lost” to the hospital. While it may be great for a new mom, it’s not as good for a facility’s bottom line.
Education and awareness, automation, and data collection are among the best ways of stopping the loss of patient linens and scrubs, according to the panelists. Granado offered a somewhat humorous means of lowering the loss of scrubs – many of her hospital’s personnel would wear home the garments so the staff implemented a program in which security staff issued tickets or citations to those wearing the hospital’s scrubs as they left the building.
The panel offered a number of other solutions as well. Watch for expanded coverage of ALM’s session here.