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03 Nov

Controlling scrub loss – Are your scrubs growing legs?

Many of you have heard the term “scrubs growing legs”. Referring to the fact that scrubs, or any kind of linen for that matter, go missing because it “just walked away on its own”. There are several reasons for losing or missing scrubs and there are also several ways to control or combat this growing issue.

Scrubs have come a long way since their inception over 115 years ago. No longer are scrubs only available in a white, cheap fabric that no one would even consider wearing outside of an emergency room. Thanks to the continued demand for more stylish and comfortable scrubs, medical employees are now wearing these scrubs outside of the work environment. Think about it, how many of you have seen someone walking down the aisle at your local grocery store wearing the scrubs they wore all day at work?

How can hospitals control this growing cost of missing scrubs? Here are a few factors for scrub loss followed by some preventive measures to control that loss:

•    Theft - this includes employees of the hospital and also visitors of the hospital.
•    Lack of monitoring - employees wearing their scrubs to and from the work place.
•    Throwing the scrubs away - hospital employees tend to simply throw away a scrub if they feel it is marked with blood or stained in any way.
•    Abuse of scrub - hospital employees either writing on the scrub or using it as a rag to wipe up a spill.

Many hospitals have begun to create committees, with employees from a variety of different departments to create scrub and linen policies to help to educate the hospital staff in the proper ways to manage and use the scrubs and linens to prevent the unnecessary loss. These committees not only educate on the impact of scrub loss, but also open the lines of communication within the hospital. The open lines of communication help to foster better patient care and achieve the bottom line - which is to save money.

Some hospitals are using scrub vending machines to control their losses on the scrubs, but this can be quite costly. Barcoding and placing a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking chip to help track and manage scrubs is also becoming more and more popular with laundries. Policies are being set up in hospitals that state “No hospital employee is to leave the hospital or arrive at the hospital with Scrubs on”.

There are many ways to help to prevent loss, but awareness and education seem to be the most effective. Additionally, having every department on board will help to make life easier for everyone involved.

What other methods have you heard of that are effective approaches for controlling scrub loss?
 

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