As part of a process improvement project for a class I am taking, I am researching how sharps within the dirty linen can be reduced when it arrives at the laundry. What types of policies (if any), processes, education for staff do you do in your facilities? Thank you!
J Scherberger, BS, FAHE, CHESP
I'll get right to the point: training begins with Nursing. This is a topic that must be addressed with the Chief Nursing Officer and the direction from there is downward and flows to the unit nurses. Phlebotomists carry their equipment with them as well as sharps containers. Respiratory therapy very rarely uses sharps. Physicians don't use sharps. That about covers it. Nurses are essentially where the responsibility begins and ends.
From a healthcare laundry perspective, laundry contractors have been collecting sharps from healthcare textiles for years and properly disposing of them in sharps containers and paying an authorized contractor to pick them up for disposal. But this process is costly for the laundry contractors and they are beginning to pass the cost along to their hospital clients.
The issue of sharps in healthcare textiles is a very real safety hazard for patients, staff, family members, and laundry contractors. Big liability issue for all.