Electrolux puts hygiene and safety where it belongs
With staff working in a care home environment constantly being tasked to deliver only the highest of standards when it comes to hygiene, Belong Warrington is showing how a successfully-managed laundry system can play a vital part in infection control.
The Belong Group is part of CLS Care Services Ltd; one of the largest providers of care homes in the North West, and a recognised market leader in dementia care. Built in the summer of 2014, Belong Warrington is a £9.5 million state-of-the-art care village, which is not only home to 72 residents, but also boasts 18 independent living apartments. With a bistro, spa, hair salon, events venue and even a gym, there is a whole manner of facilities available to residents and the local community. Organised days out, activities, and parties, give the residents opportunities to socialise and be entertained within the safety and comfort of their own home.
No barrier to infection control
In contrast to the unreliable equipment endured by many older care facilities, Belong Warrington is able to allow every one of its residents and their families the assurance that comes with a state-of-the-art barrier laundry system – a suite of technologies designed and laid out to completely avoid any risk of bacterial contamination.
The main laundry comprises of two Electrolux Professional WB5180H Barrier Washing Machines; each of which sits between the laundry’s pre- and post-wash areas. This ensures that items are loaded from one side of the machine when dirty and unloaded from a separate, clean side, when the cycle has finished – allowing operators to make sure that there is absolutely no chance of recontamination. Electrolux Professional’s Hygiene Watchdog ensures that any wash program performs to its end before it allows unloading on the clean side for the most robust of hygiene guarantees. Each washing machine also boasts the lightest and largest doors on the market; making it simple to operate.
Thanks to a wall which provides a barrier that avoids any potential for dirty laundry to come into contact with clean, the housekeeping staff at Belong Warrington are able to process all residents’ laundry according to a set of Laundry Cycle Management procedures which maximises hygiene.
Jo Watson, head housekeeper at Belong Warrington, explains: “From the outset, the laundry was specifically designed to avoid cross-contamination. The Barrier system we have in place is central to that, but it can only perform to its full capabilities if staff ensure they follow the specific management process we have in place.”
Practice makes perfect
Every housekeeper is required to put on their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) before emptying the collected laundry into the washing machine on the dirty side. Once they have selected the appropriate setting on the washing machine, they will then walk into an area between the dirty and clean rooms, where PPE is removed and hands are cleaned before entering the clean side of the laundry.
Once the cycle has finished, the clean linen is emptied into a basket and taken over to the two T5550 tumble dryers, where the appropriate program is selected and excellent finishing results are guaranteed. With a 550l capacity, each dryer is designed specifically to ensure safe and simple operation thanks to its large door opening, easy-to-use interface, and low noise levels. The final action is for each item to be finished and ironed where required using the Electrolux bed type ironer, before being stored appropriately. For those items of clothing requiring extra attention and precision, the use of an ironing table allows for a neat finish.
With the need to ensure each and every item is delivered clean, both from a hygiene and aesthetic perspective, sluice washes are the laundry department’s biggest challenge.
Jo continues: “When a resident has a soiled item of clothing to be washed, it is put in a red dissolvable bag, which indicates that it is foul and infected. The default wash setting for this is 71°C, but as some clothes are delicate and need to be washed at a lower temperature, it is important that we select the correct program for delicates so clothes are not returned damaged.
“The best thing about the barrier washing machines we have is the ease in which we are able to change the settings to suit our requirements. I can wash a soiled delicate item on a lower temperature, but change the dosing to that of a foul and infected item, and all at the press of a button.”
Delivering high standards
Each independent living apartment has one W555H Commercial Washing Machine and one T5130C Single Pocket Dryer to enable residents to do their own washing. However they also have the luxury of sending it for the housekeeping staff to wash, dry, and iron, within the same day. With high demand for its services, simple operation of the laundry equipment is vital – something the staff at Belong Warrington have come to expect having relied on their equipment since it was installed a year ago.
Jo concludes: “The best thing about the equipment is how easy it is to use. Although the technology driving each process is very advanced, the interface is simple as a cycle can be started with the push of just a couple of buttons. Not only that, but the cycles are fast and efficient and the machines are able to take a lot on without breaking down or causing us any issues.
“The washing machines are undoubtedly our most vital piece of kit. They are literally running all day, and the vast majority of washes are sluice, yet they still continue to do their job effectively every time. The layout of the laundry certainly helps productivity and cleanliness, but that wouldn’t be possible without the style of the machines, and their placement – which Electrolux helped us to design. The system we have in place here at our Warrington Village has worked so well that identical systems have already been specified for our next three villages.”