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New research looks to standardise microbiology efficiency in care homes

Dr Katie Laird, professor at De Montfort University, has a deep knowledge on microbiology evidence and attitudes in relation to healthcare laundry. As a microbiologist and the head of the Infectious Disease Research Group, Professor Laird has been leading a new study that asks care home workers how they manage laundry in the workplace.

Laundering processes in the UK, as it stands in these professional healthcare environments, are not regulated at a national level. Practices can differ internally between institutions, and they’re not liable for any sort of moderation. The study commenced after Professor Laird had previously investigated how the Coronavirus pandemic affected the way in which healthcare staff and nurses laundered their uniforms. The goal of the study, which is currently the largest of its kind, is to provide evidence that can support the notion that the laundering of textiles is a key part of infection control and must be monitored more closely across organisations. The research is being carried out alongside the Textiles Services Association and hopes to help staff members in the healthcare industry acknowledge any pitfalls they have in current practices and also educate as to the best possible way to prevent the spread of infection via textiles during the laundry process.

Professor Lairds says, “At the moment there is no national picture of the different policies and procedures which are in place in care home settings. I believe the results of this survey will be of benefit to the industry and help us to build capacity and coordinate efforts to share best practice, supporting the industry to build back better after the pandemic.” (NT)

The survey itself will uncover current regulations surrounding laundry in their organisations, and hopefully will expose any gaps in knowledge regarding how laundering uniforms, bedding and other textile correctly help to prevent and control infection.

The research hopes to introduce the standardisation of microbiological efficiency testing of the global laundry industry.