Ontario Hospitals Turn to London Hospital Linen Service For Custom-Linen Solutions

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Not everything in a hospital or healthcare facility is as straightforward to launder as bed linen. Some items have wheels, handles, belts and buttons.

Take Pinel Restraints. As the name suggests, a Pinel Restraint is used to safely restrain a patient’s torso and limbs to prevent the patient from self-harm or from harming other patients and hospital staff.

Each Pinel Restraint has 11 belts and 15 buttons. Considering that a single ER department might use Pinel Restraints for dozens of  patients each day, it’s easy to see how cleaning and organizing them becomes an onerous task for busy healthcare staff.

Priced at approximately $800.00 each, Pinel Restraints are an expensive but essential patient-care product. Hospitals need a system of laundering and managing the restraints to help protect their investment, ensure infection control and allow staff members more time to focus on patients.

Listening and understanding leads to the solution

When presented with the challenge of finding a smarter solution to the laundering and handling of Pinel Restraints, LHLS started by looking at how the product was utilized. “Our goal was to understand how they were being used, how much volume was consumed daily, the required turnaround time, and what accountability mechanisms were in place,” says Brendan O’Neill, Corporate Development Manager.

LHLS created a plan for identifying, cleaning, storing and handling the restraints. Using their existing barcoding and piece-tracking technology, each of the 11 pieces for every restraint was barcoded and labeled with the name of the hospital ward that owns it. “We can follow that product through its life cycle, tracking all the pieces received, processed, laundered and returned. We can see how often a restraint is used, and when it’s time to replace it. And because each restraint is identified, the right hospital ward is charged for their own items.” A toolkit was sourced to keep all the pieces of each restraint together making handling and storing easier.

“Now that we have a system and the technology in place to handle Pinel Restraints, we can provide that service for other customers who use restraints or other specialty products.”

More than a laundry service

Innovation comes naturally to London Hospital Linen Services. Since 1969, LHLS has maintained a leadership role in the industry by creating unique, customized solutions for their partners in healthcare.

“We do laundry well, but our real strength lies in listening to our partners, identifying what their underlying needs are, and delving deeper to find ways to solve their challenges,” says O’Neill.

It was through such discussions that LHLS learned of a partner’s need to improve on the infection control of their wheelchairs. LHLS modified the facility’s existing cart wash to clean and sanitize the wheelchairs, which come in three sizes. As an indication of proper sanitization, an ATP Hygiene Monitor is used. A swab is taken of a spot on the wheelchair and tested before and after cleaning.

LHLS identified logistics and established a rigid cleaning schedule. All wheelchairs are picked up late in the afternoon and returned the same evening so they are ready for use first thing the next morning.

New infection control procedures regarding hospital curtains brought yet another partner issue to LHLS. “New policies dictate that hospital staff must change the privacy curtains for isolation patients more frequently. Older curtains with hooks make it hard to keep up and even unsafe for hospital staff who may be in a rush.”

The hospital had just invested in hook-less curtain technology, and wanted to retrofit their old curtains to work with the new system. LHLS took on the task saving the hospital the cost of purchasing new hook-less curtains. 

“Hospitals are getting out of the business of doing things that are not directly related to healthcare,” says O’Neill. “When they are faced with a challenge, we want them to think of us as the solution providers first. LHLS has the systems, the experience and the ingenuity to make their lives easier, save them money, and help everyone on the healthcare team provide the best patient care possible.”