Hygienically Clean Healthcare Standards Clarified

Staff Writer |

New terminology better distinguishes mandates from practices strongly recommended

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Improvements to the Standard for Producing Hygienically Clean Reusable Textiles for Use in the Healthcare Industry to clarify compliance requirements have been made by the laundry certification’s Advisory Board, reports TRSA, the association for the linen, uniform and facility services industry.

The association says new terminology better identifies mandates, distinguishing them from practices strongly recommended.

Meeting at the TRSA Healthcare Conference in Salt Lake City Nov. 15-16, the board eliminated “should” and “may” from references to laundry practices, says TRSA. Now all such stipulations use only “must” (identifying a laundry practice that is required for compliance with the standard) or “shall” (indicating a practice recommended for implementation, but not mandatory). The standard also uses “will,” but only in descriptions of actions that TRSA takes to certify plants, such as inspection procedures.

For example, the standard formerly stipulated that a laundry “should” have documentation of a current integrated pest management program consistent with healthcare-recommended practices with evidence of scheduled treatments. Now a plant “must” have such documentation. Other “should” to “must” changes relate to compiling a plant’s quality assurance (QA) manual and minimizing manual handling of soiled linen.

Most clarifications involved changing “shall” to “must” because the former “shall” clauses had been enforced as mandates, but “shall” isn’t strong enough to convey that compliance with these stipulations is required, says Angela Freeman, TRSA certification programs manager.

“The changes do not make the standard more prescriptive. Hygienically Clean remains true to its mission of enabling laundries in compliance with best management practices to use their own documented standard operating procedures to achieve BMPs (best management practices),” she says.

TRSA says the new terminology essentially makes requirements easier to understand so certified laundries consistently produce hygienically clean linen.

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