Laundry management

accommodate another resident and generate profit. Therefore, since a laundry facility is a necessity, it is important to use the space as efficiently possible and consider investing in machines that maximise the space available with a high load capacity to space ratio. Location also needs to be taken into account when planning a laundry facility, as it is important to ensure it won’t disrupt residents, especially if washing and drying cycles take place throughout the night. This was a challenge that Sheffield based care provider Twelve Trees was looking to overcome when upgrading its ageing laundry equipment. Twelve Trees chose local Miele partner Goodman Sparks to install two Miele PW 6080 washing machines.

A site survey was carried out prior to installing the machines to establish what needed to be done. As the laundry room is in the cellar, Goodman Sparks had to consider the logistics of the installation, which meant ensuring that the machines could be taken down the stairs. It successfully planned the best route for the installation and on completion provided a full technical demonstration to the staff who use the laundry and supplied guidelines on how to use the equipment. Not only do the machines effectively clean and disinfect items, they are also much quieter so staff and management no longer worry about laundry activity waking residents at night. Some residents, particularly those with dementia, have a favourite piece of clothing that offers comfort and reduces feelings of confusion, which can now easily be washed at night and returned clean to the resident early in the morning, ready for when they wake up.

Catering for residents

While increasing the number of beds in a care home can increase revenue, expanding laundry capabilities at the same time often gets overlooked. The appropriate capacity depends on the number of residents and the type of health conditions they have as well as the number of hours for which the laundry is in operation each day.

Typically, a residential care home will need to allow for 0.5 kg of laundry per resident per hour based on an eight hour working day. For nursing homes, this increases to 0.75 g per resident, per hour. So, a 30-bed residential care home, for example, would need the capacity to wash and dry about 15 kg of laundry every hour of every day. Care home managers should look at the capacity of their washing machines and dryers to ensure

Segregating clean and dirty laundry helps to reduce the risk of contamination

that they’re able to accommodate this demand as additional residents move in. Your choice of laundry equipment can have a huge impact on the ease of the washing cycle, especially where soiled and potentially contaminated items are being processed. Ideally homes should opt for a washing machine that uses a sluice cycle to remove and flush harmful substances away before moving onto a thermal disinfection stage. If washing residents’ personal items, it is best practice to do this in a separate machine to bedding, uniforms or other care home laundry to avoid any risk of contamination. Similarly, it is important for cleaning materials to be dealt with individually and separately to bed linen and residents’ garments. If a care home does it’s cleaning inhouse, mops, cloths and other equipment should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Some machines have specific mop programmes that rinse out as much dirty and contaminated water as possible before the main washing cycle. There are also specialist programmes for cleaning microfibre cloths.


Segregating clean and dirty laundry helps to reduce the risk of contamination. Barrier washers offer optimum physical separation with designated ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ sides. Staff put dirty laundry in the machine in one room before washing their hands and leaving, while clean laundry is taken out of the other side of the machine in another room. This reduces the risk of the laundry being contaminated again and is particularly beneficial when washing bed linen, which can easily become contaminated, for example, where residents are incontinent. Miele partner First Choice Marshalls worked with Avante Care’s Pilgrim’s View care home to install a new laundry to meet hygiene standards. Avante Care decided to create a facility that would make infection control procedures easier for staff to follow and this was an opportune time to install new machines. Having used Miele machines at its other homes, the maintenance officer chose

November 2018 •

the same brand. Avante Care arranged with contractors to reconfigure part of the existing building and use other areas to form a new laundry room. As well as forming better maintenance access, builders created a new walkway into the laundry room. Hygiene and cleanliness standards are now easily achievable thanks to the newly refurbished facility, which makes compliance easy for staff. Commenting on the installation, Julian Oliver, maintenance officer at Avante Care and Support, says: “Changing the physical infrastructure of our laundry room was a big step for us, but we needed to make a bold move so that managing infection control became easier and second nature for laundry staff. Operating laundry daily, we can’t go without efficient laundry washing facilities, which is why installing reliable and durable machines that could be repaired with little fuss was a priority for us.”


The cleanliness of bed linen, towels and residents’ clothing can have a significant impact on hygiene standards. It is therefore important to consider the functionality a commercial machine can offer and how it can help meet strict guidelines and control infection in a care home environment. Reliability is key as breakdowns can be incredibly frustrating for both residents and staff, so care homes should ensure that they have a good service contract in place with their provider so any problems can be resolved quickly.


Clare Long

Clare Long is a business account manager for care in the professional division at Miele. She has an extensive background within the sector, having worked closely with hundreds of care homes during their laundry installations alongside Miele’s partners.


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