April 21, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Clean linen and the departed

Here’s an interesting scenario that came across my inbox: Someone asked colleagues on an online chat group about the need to keep clean linen covered in a morgue.

There is no Joint Commission requirement in this regard. However, in the hands of a particularly prickly surveyor, I could see a course for adventure involving the “definition” of the morgue as a dirty environment, so anything that would be considered clean must enjoy some level of separation.

I suppose you could also make the case that not storing clean linen in a morgue to the same standard as other locations in the hospital is not a particularly respectful thing to do (much like storing clothes, etc. that belong to discharged patients in the soiled utility room — no specific regulatory prohibition, but somewhat less than as a respectful process).

That said, I think the way to salvation in this regard is clear: You must do homage at the altar of the mighty risk assessment.

Without a self-determination based on a risk assessment, you can find yourself in a disagreement with the aforementioned prickly surveyor. Just look at the slew of environment of care FAQ’s The Joint Commission has been hemorrhaging — they’re almost all about, “We won’t specifically tell you what to do, but we will use every opportunity to disagree with what you’re doing if you haven’t completed your risk management due diligence.”


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Filed Under: CDC/infection controlEnvironment of care

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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