Hospital curtain cleaning recommendations
In a healthcare environment, having well-maintain curtains is not only vital for the cleanliness of the environment, but more importantly, for the health of patients and the general public. Having a central laundry service within the facility does avoid the high costs of involving an outside service, however there should be best practices used when scheduling a laundering routine for cubicle curtains:
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If the curtain is visibly soiled, it should be changed/laundered immediately. Aside from being an eyesore, soiled curtains present a clear and obvious health hazard for all those who come in contact with it.
Per the CDC Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities “Most, if not all, housekeeping surfaces require regular cleaning with soap and water or a detergent/disinfectant and removal of soil and dust. High-touch housekeeping surfaces in patient-care areas, such as doorknobs, bedrails, light switches, wall areas around the toilet, and the edges of privacy curtains, should be cleaned and/or disinfected more frequently than surfaces with minimal hand contact. Horizontal surfaces with infrequent hand contact, such as window sills and hard-surface flooring in routine patient-care areas require cleaning on a regular basis, when soiling or spills occur and when a patient is discharged from the facility”.
Some of the most deadly viruses are not visible to the human eye. Below are three healthcare-associated infections (HAI) that are of significant concern when present on privacy curtains:
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Clostridium difficile (C-diff)
- Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)
It is best practice to immediately change/launder the cubicle curtain in the room following the discharge of a patient that has tested positive, or had been diagnosed to have one of these viruses or any other virus/bacteria of significant concern.
As a less expensive alternative to traditional fabric cubicle curtains, as well as the need to launder them, disposable cubicle curtains can be an excellent alternative for a facility. Especially in areas of the building that yield major risk of infection, disposable curtains provide the option to simply remove and recycle the existing curtain and replace it with a new disposable curtain from the hospital’s inventory.