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Linen loss is a huge problem in medical facilities. In fact, linen loss costs the medical industry hundreds of millions of dollars every single year. That’s money that your medical facility could be pouring into new facilities, new services, new research and more.
So don’t throw it away! Let’s figure out exactly how you’re losing linens and what you can do to keep more of them in circulation in your medical facility.
To prevent linen loss, first you have to determine where you’re losing linens. Here are a few key areas or practices that frequently contribute to medical linen loss:
1. Patients are taking linens with them when they leave your facility.
Often, patients don’t realize that your linens aren’t for their personal and exclusive use. Much like in the hospitality industry, where many hotels and resorts lose towels and washcloths because guests don’t think it’s a big deal if they take one or two, medical facilities often lose linens when patients leave. Some examples of this could be baby blankets that get carried out with the baby, or thermal blankets used to cover elderly patients while waiting for their car that inevitably end up in the car.
2. Your medical professionals are throwing them away.
The trash can eats up a huge portion of linens each year. Did you know that 90% of all linens used in the medical industry never reach the end of their useful life? In part, that’s because doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners throw them away, either because they don’t understand your medical facility’s linen management practices or because they think the linens are too heavily soiled to be laundered.
3. Your medical professionals are taking them home
It’s not just patients that take linens home. Your medical professionals also might be taking textiles from your medical facilities, especially your scrubs. Since scrubs are among the more expensive medical textiles, this can make a huge dent in your collective replacement costs.
After you’ve identified where exactly you’re losing linens, you need to put solutions in place that will affect those key areas. Here are just a few things you can do to minimize your linen replacement costs:
1. Provide better education for your employees
A lot of linen loss stems from ignorance. Your employees might not know that sheets stained with bodily fluids can be laundered safely, or that patients aren’t permitted to take blankets with them when they leave your medical facility. By providing regular and thorough training for your medical professionals, you can start to reduce the effects of linen loss.
2. Invest in proper signage
In-the-moment reminders can make all the difference. Make sure all of your disposal receptacles are properly labeled so that no one confuses your trash can with your linen basket. Also, consider placing sign reminders near exits or entrances to remind your staff and patients not to take linens home with them.
3. Work with a linen service company
By far, the best way to reduce linen loss is to work with an innovative and reputable medical linen service company. Not only will a healthcare linen service provide you with hygienically clean linens, but they’ll also be able to help you track your linen usage, and, in some cases, help you track individual items.
At Century, we work tirelessly to help medical facilities just like yours better manage their medical linens. We use RFID tracking technology in many of our items, which helps hold your employees accountable to return their linens, reducing loss charges. Our clients include hospitals, nursing homes, primary care centers, surgery centers and more! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your medical facility reduce linen loss while providing you with the best textiles and services in the healthcare industry.