- Should be stored in a clean, designated area, preferably an enclosed cupboard.
- If clean linen is not stored in a cupboard then the trolley used for storage must be designated for this purpose and completely covered with an impervious covering that is able to withstand decontamination.
Linen used during patient transfer
- Any linen used during patient transfer e.g. blankets, should be categorised at the point of destination.
For all used linen (previously known as soiled linen):
- Ensure a laundry receptacle is available as close as possible to the point of use for immediate linen deposit.
- Do not:
- rinse, shake or sort linen on removal from beds/trolleys;
- place used linen on the floor or any other surfaces e.g. a locker/table top;
- re-handle used linen once bagged;
- overfill laundry receptacles; or
- place inappropriate items in the laundry receptacle e.g. used equipment/needles.
For all infectious linen (this mainly applies to healthcare linen) i.e. linen that has been used by a patient who is known or suspected to be infectious and/or linen that is contaminated with blood and/or other body fluids e.g. faeces:
- Place directly into a water-soluble/alginate bag and secure; then place into a plastic bag e.g. clear bag and secure before placing in a laundry receptacle. This applies also to any item(s) heavily soiled and unlikely to be fit for reuse.
- Used and infectious linen bags/receptacles must be tagged e.g. ward/care area and date.
- Store all used/infectious linen in a designated, safe, lockable area whilst awaiting uplift. Uplift schedules must be acceptable to the care area and there should be no build-up of linen receptacles.
Local guidance regarding management of linen may be available.
All linen that is deemed unfit for re-use e.g torn or heavily contaminated, should be categorised at the point of use and returned to the laundry for disposal.
Further information can be found in the safe management of linen literature review and National Guidance for Safe Management of Linen in NHSScotland Health and Care Environments - For laundry services/distribution.
Further information about linen bagging and tagging can be found in Appendix 8.