Care home staff and managers are being asked to take part in a new study into how infection control with regards to laundry is managed in care home environments. The survey, carried out by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), aims to help care homes, nursing homes and sheltered housing spaces across the UK identify knowledge gaps, recognise best practice and support them to set the standard for care home laundry practices in the UK. 

DMU is working with the Textiles Services Association (TSA) on the study, which is the biggest of its kind into current knowledge, processes, attitudes and behaviours for dealing with laundry from residents and living spaces, as well as their own work clothing. 

Care homes, nursing homes and sheltered housing providers and staff are being asked to fill in the surveys. One is aimed at managers and the other for care home workers. Links to the surveys can be found here:  

Healthcare managers   

Healthcare worker (Carer)  

Professor Katie Laird, Professor of Microbiology at DMU, pictured, is leading on the study. She previously investigated how the coronavirus pandemic affected the way in which healthcare staff and nurses laundered their uniforms. 

She said: “We are keen to discover the current infection control policies and practices that are used by care home staff. 

“At the moment there is no national picture of the different policies and procedures which are in place in care home settings. I believe the results of this survey will be of benefit to the industry and help us to build capacity and co-ordinate efforts to share best practice, supporting the industry to build back better after the pandemic.”   

The survey will be followed up with a series of focus groups, user interviews and sessions with managers and policy writers. 

The questionnaire, which takes five minutes to complete, covers the following topics:  

• Existing infection controls with regards to laundry 

• Current processing methods for bed, bathroom and personal clothing laundry 

• Processing methods, procedures and management for soiled linen 

• Attitudes towards existing infection controls policies associated with laundry   

• Understanding of the barriers to care home settings implementing infection control policies 

• Bed change policy 

• Healthcare workers’ knowledge of infection control policies in care home settings 

The TSA is the trade association for textile services professionals. Its membership ranges from large multi-site public companies to small family businesses.