Although it’s impossible to know for certain what the future brings, there are trends occurring in the healthcare laundry industry that offer us a glimpse at what the industry may look like 10, 20, or 30 years from now. We are already seeing improvements in linen technology and environmental friendliness, and those movements are expected to continue to grow. We also expect to see more involvement from the government in healthcare, which will naturally affect the medical laundry service industry.
The Government and Healthcare
Although there is quite a bit of disagreement on both sides of the political aisle about what the solution should be, most people agree that our healthcare system is dysfunctional and needs a major overhaul. No matter what that overhaul entails, it seems clear that the government will take a more active role in the management of healthcare and medical facilities. It is very likely that commercial laundry services will be highly controlled by the government if it takes on responsibility for the management of healthcare facilities.
As time continues, lessening environmental impact has become increasingly important, especially in the medical laundry industry. New regulations and green standards are announced every day. We predict that regulations will drastically increase the overall efficiency of a commercial laundry, including new methods to reduce or eliminate all harmful chemical products. Water-reusing technology is not far from being commercially available, and biodegradable detergents are gaining potency with each passing day. These improvements in eco-friendliness will ultimately be great for workers’ health and overall resource consumption.
The Linens Themselves
We are already seeing exciting new developments in the composition of hospital linen products that promise to decrease the chance of carrying disease, increase a patient’s ability to heal, and lessen the likelihood of the patient developing skin issues like bed sores. The best part of these particular futuristic linens is that they dry much more quickly than traditional linens and do not require ironing to be ready for patient use. It is almost guaranteed that when these products become available, laundry services will add them to their stock. Not only do these new linens save the laundry time and money over the long run, but hospitals will also quickly begin demanding them because they will improve patient care.
Although the future is uncertain, many laundry industry experts have been preparing for these exciting industry changes. Ultimately increasing patient care and environmental stewardship, new standards promise to improve the industry as a whole. Governmental regulation may or may not further these innovations, but everyone is hopeful that if the government should become involved in the industry, it will only be for everyone’s benefit.
Providing long-term care for the elderly is of increasing importance due to demographic shifts coupled with increased life expectancy within our population. The ethnic composition of our elderly population will also change. Because of these shifts, it is crucial for us to acknowledge the needs of these elderly individuals and to create ways to provide them with adequate care. The current distribution of services for African Americans is neither sufficient nor equal to that of their white counterparts.