WHEN it comes to healthcare today, safety is on everyone’s mind more than ever. This issue is front and center stage in the minds of employees and also their customers, the patient.
When designing and developing uniform programs for healthcare facilities and talking with laundries across the country, improving safety is always a core focus. This is one of the key reasons “Branding or Color by Discipline” has become such an important topic.
Think about this — if you have a newborn baby, you want to make sure that the person responsible for bringing your child to and from the NICU is easily identifiable by their uniform. Patients and their families want to know that those caring for their loved ones are actually who they say they are and not just somebody off the street. “Branding or Color by Discipline” introduces a new calm and sense of security with the patient and his or her family members, since they are able to identify individual caregivers and which department each person may work in whether it’s nursing, dietary, pediatrics, x-ray, etc. Laundries now have the opportunity to partner with their healthcare clients, educating them on the ease of improving safety within their facility by simply using the power of uniforms.
Additionally, uniform rental is becoming a key point of interest among health care employees. As the bacteria strains seem to be stronger in the health care environment today, studies show that more and more facilities are implementing rental programs to prevent their employees from taking their work clothes home, thus reducing the chances of any bacteria cross- contamination. These rental programs are being given another look as more and more health care facilities are concerned about the safety and well-being of their employees and their immediate families. This is opening the door for laundries to offer programs to facilities that previously would not even consider uniform rental.
Use the Uniform Solution to Enhance Safety
The Cleveland Clinic, based in Cleveland, Ohio, has experienced marked improvement in patient satisfaction in the 10 years since color-coded uniforms were issued to more than 2,600 of its inpatient health care providers.
The Clinic introduced color coded uniforms in May 2005, as part of a hospital-wide response to patient satisfaction surveys. This in-house research showed that many patients were in the dark about the origin of various persons providing care. This resulted in patient concerns about safety, as well as aggravation when “the ‘nurse’ who brought them their food tray didn’t want to help them,” according to chief nursing officer Claire Young, RN, MBA. “We realized that this was an identification problem.”
Patient care at the prestigious facility increased by approximately 10% following the change, and continued to increase in subsequent years as the facility included color-coding charts in each admission packet and in every patient room. Physicians also approved of the new system, saying it helped even them to easily identify members of the nursing staff.
The uniforms we wear and rent have a major impact in safety in the health care workplace. They affect not only the employees who wear the products but the patients (customers) as well. Now more than ever, laundries have the opportunity to show their healthcare clients the power that uniforms and rental programs can have in enhancing safety for both patients and employees.
As laundry operators, we need to recognize that the door once closed is opening for newfound business. Uniform rental is ours for the taking. Department heads, directors, infectious control specialists, and key administrative personnel are realizing the critical role of a uniform rental program and how it impacts safety all around in their facilities. The immediate impact it offers for the safety of their employees, their employees’ immediate families and of course, their patients and their family members as well has become clear, and this paves the way for selling in to these facilities.
Obviously this transformation is not going to happen overnight. We need to schedule meetings to proactively explain the benefits uniform rental brings in terms of branding and the impact it will have on safety within and outside their facilities. By scheduling these meetings and constantly delivering the message of the importance uniform rental plays within their facility, we as operators will immediately start seeing dollar revenues once lost are now starting to find their way back to the laundry, adding to our bottom line.
Scott Delin, Vice President of Sales
Fashion Seal Healthcare®, a signature brand of Superior Uniform Group®
Contact Scott at (610) 442-0880 or