HLAC marks 15th anniversary

Jan. 29, 2021

The Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) announced the marking of its 15th year in 2021 for inspection and accreditation of laundries that process reusable textiles for hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities – based on the highest, professionally recognized standards for patient safety and infection prevention.

HLAC, incorporated in 2005, began actively inspecting and accrediting laundries in 2006 in response to years of requests from textile professionals for an independent accrediting body that would create a program of accreditation acknowledging that a laundry organization meets the highest standards for processing textiles.

“We’ve always enjoyed steady growth each year in the number of healthcare laundries wanting to achieve HLAC accreditation,” said Linda McCurdy, HLAC board president. “But this past year has been a busy one, especially with the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve seen progressively greater interest in our standards and this includes increasing attention from a broader professional audience beyond operators of healthcare laundries. From infection prevention (IP) managers in hospitals and senior-living communities, to those in charge of hygiene in schools, hospitality lodging and even correctional facilities, IP professionals are beginning to realize that HLAC standards can provide viable safeguards in their efforts to tackle pandemic challenges and beyond.”

Standards Based on Federal Regulation, Best Industry Practices HLAC inspected and accredited laundries process healthcare textiles (HCTs) based on the highest standards for patient safety and infection prevention. These HLAC Accreditation Standards have been developed based on federal regulations and guidelines as well as best industry practices.

The standards are established as the minimum acceptable practice for the preparation of hygienically clean, reusable healthcare textiles for patient care, implemented and executed by accredited laundry facilities processing reusable healthcare textiles. The HLAC Accreditation Standards document, “Accreditation Standards for Processing Reusable Textiles for Use in Healthcare Facilities,” covers the complete textile processing cycle and pays special attention to laundry processes directly related to patient safety and OSHA-required practices, including Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Standards.

Both the 73-page standards document and a 34-page standards checklist are available for free in downloadable PDF formats.

There are currently more than 160 accredited laundries in the USA and Canada. HLAC accreditation, which is good for three years, affirms that a laundry organization that processes HCTs has successfully passed inspection of the following: its facility, policies and procedures, training programs, and its relationship with its healthcare customers.

HLAC inspectors are independent contractors selected by HLAC’s board of directors. Each inspector is provided with in-depth training of HLAC standards and inspection guidelines before they begin their work.

“The inspection is an important part of the accreditation process,” McCurdy said. “Going through the inspection process should help a laundry to unite its efforts to become much stronger – smarter and more competent in processing healthcare textiles – and this should enable them to provide their healthcare customers with an improved level of service ultimately benefitting patient safety.”

HLAC inspections place significant weight on factors such as design, equipment, practices, training, protocols and adherence to regulatory body requirements.

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