Just like others in the industry, Medline continues to follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, and yet, with all the information out there, it may be difficult for our partners in the field to know how to manage the linen supply during this crisis. Questions have come up, specifically, about whether to reuse or discard scrubs and linens for healthcare workers and facilities dealing with exposure to COVID-19.
Here is what we know: the CDC has not recommended the disposal or incineration of linens exposed to COVID-19.1 If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please throw any and all linens, including isolation gowns and scrubs, into a standard soil bag—not a red bag—in accordance to facility protocol as determined by hospital administration and dedicated laundry partners.
And here is how: Laundries accredited to serve healthcare customers through industry bodies such as the Textile Rental Service Association (TRSA), Hygienically Clean Healthcare Certification, or the Healthcare Laundries Accreditation Council (HLAC) strictly adhere to proven, effective wash practices and infection-prevention measures and will continue to provide safe, quality textiles. To learn more about these processes please visit www.trsa.org/resources/covid-19-guidance.
And when it comes to the “why” of the matter? Well, beyond the fact that there is no reason for the waste, from what we’ve seen with PPE, the system can’t afford the shortages. It is especially critical now that healthcare providers ensure proper collection of linens and all other reusable textile items to laundry processing partners so they can then be returned back to your health system. Linens improperly discarded rather than returned for reprocessing affect the finite market availability of healthcare textiles. Failure to comply with facility protocol related to proper linen management increases the likelihood of shortages at your facility. All the more reason to save those scrubs and launder those linens. Our supply chain demands upon it.