- Created on Wednesday, 03 November 2004 04:12
- Written by Clare Adrian
The hospital management team was left with no other option but to outsource their laundry services until the new unit was completed. After taking bids from commercial facilities, the 102-bed hospital decided to send their goods to a nearby hospital for processing. “We thought that the quality of service would be better at a hospital than at a commercial facility,” said Paul Creighton, Union Hospital’s manager of environmental services and sterile processing. “In fact, they took on a couple of our employees to help with processing the goods.”
After nine months, the ambulatory care expansion project was complete and the hospital management faced yet another challenge – continue to outsource or build a new laundry with new equipment. “We decided to build ourselves a new laundry,” said Creighton. “We felt that if we brought the operation back in-house we'd have better control over the quality of our product. Plus, it was costing us about ten cents a pound more than we would have spent if we processed the goods in-house. Our machinery was still working but it was about 30-years-old. So we budgeted funds to purchase new machinery and phase it into a new laundry during the span of four years.”
New equipment that was purchased for the laundry included two 400 pound Braun Top-Side Loaders, one 200-pound Braun Washer, two 100-pound Huebsch Dryers, and a Braun Sigma Small Piece Folder. The laundry carried over a fairly new Braun Omega Folder Cross Folder, a Rapistan overhead conveyor system and their Maxi Mover and Metro carts. Additionally, a TEA Water Tank System was purchased to fill the new washers.
Halfway through the updating of the laundry the hospital began plans for a sixty-bed expansion which would add private rooms. At that time a Braun Alpha Spreader and a three-roll Braun Delta Ironer were added since management decided it was necessary to speed up production and accommodate the extra demand.
Once completed, the laundry upgrades began producing dividends immediately. Not only were they maintaining the level of quality they required, Union Hospital’s laundry now had the capacity to keep up with higher linen demand and an annual poundage output that jumped from 750,000 pounds to 1,092,000 pounds.
“With the new and additional equipment we didn’t even need to add hours. Presently we operate from 3 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Friday and we have one person working five hours on Saturday and Sunday just doing pickup and delivery,” said Creighton. “The number of full-time equivalent employees was 8.5 and with the increase in volume they’ve gone to ten.”
Now, with the ambulatory care and in-house patient bed expansion complete, Union Hospital’s laundry renovation is viewed as a necessary and successful project that enables the hospital to handle more patients more efficiently, with the flexibility of an in-house operation, prepared for future growth.
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