Running a Tight Ship With Laundry Services

images (2)Laundry services, whether in-house or off-site, can make the best use of money, time, manpower, and natural resources by implementing a few key efficiencies in their day-to-day operations. We will look at some recommendations from experts in the industry. Whether your business handles hospital linens, diapers, uniforms, or some of everything, these recommendations can lead to improved efficiency.

Proper Load Size

Under-loading a washer will cause the laundry to float on the water’s surface, while overloading can result in some of the items not getting properly clean, or even wet. Overloading can also cause jams, which are time and manpower consuming. Optimal load capacity varies depending on the type of material being washed, and its moisture content. If the items have large moisture content, you can increase the load to over 100 percent of normal capacity.

If you are not certain how a particular type of fabric will react in the wash, start by loading at 70 percent capacity and fine tune as you see the results. By determining the appropriate load size for each type of linen, you may be able to increase the amount of laundry you wash by as much as 25 percent with no additional time or equipment.

Turnaround/Hold Times

Turnaround time is the time between the completion of a wash cycle and the start of the next load. Having the next load prepared, labeled clearly, and ready to go reduces this turnaround time.

If you have tunnel washers rather than conventional washers, look at your hold time. Running a tunnel washer faster than the dryers can handle the linen causes the tunnel to go on “hold.” It is better to lengthen the tunnel wash time per pocket than to allow it to constantly go on hold. If you properly schedule the linen mix going through a tunnel, you can help keep the equipment running smoothly.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance of laundry equipment can help maximize performance, minimize down time, and extend the life of your equipment. Some new machines have built-in maintenance messages to remind laundry managers when daily, quarterly, and annual maintenance in needed. If your equipment does not have that, follow the manufacturer’s preventive maintenance guidelines.

Extraction Rates

It is crucial to extract as much water as possible from laundry before drying it. Regularly check for and remove drain valve obstructions. When items come off of clothing, tablecloths, or medical linens in the wash, they can get trapped in a washing-extractors drain, keeping it from completely closing.

A machine spinning at 500 to 600 RPM is less efficient at extracting water during the spin cycle. A washer-extractor operating at 800 RPM reduces the amount of moisture by nearly half, cuts drying time by more than forty percent and reduces gas usage by at least 35 percent. That is why it is important to know what your machines’ extraction rates are.


If you suspect a leak, listen for water entering the drain during a wash cycle. If you hear it, something is keeping the drain open. This maintence issue can cause thousands of gallons of water to be wasted. Some modern washers have automatic leak detectors that signal when there is a blockage and an advanced control that can be programmed to conduct leak tests and send a message remotely if one is detected.

Energy Efficiency

You can lower energy use and expense by implementing chemical reducing solutions. Softening water reduces energy usage, chemicals, and the amount of water necessary to wash linens.

Dryers can be a key culprit when it comes to energy waste. You can improve energy efficiency in your dryers by using heat exchangers, and ensuring that the machines have proper airflow and temperature.



Commercial Laundry Providers Are Focused on Infection Prevention

images (1)Infection prevention is the number one concern in hospitals today. At any given time, 5 percent of patients are forced to extend their stay or become gravely ill because of infections they contract while in the hospital. Naturally, healthcare providers are doing their best to reduce the rate of infection, but they cannot do it alone. Fortunately, many medical facilities have a powerful ally in their fight against infections: their commercial laundry providers.

Textiles Can Contaminate

Considering that a patient’s critical care environment can consist of up to 90% soft materials, the role of a commercial healthcare linen launderer is a crucial one in the battle of infection prevention. Textiles are some of the first things a patient comes in contact with while in a healthcare facility, and they are some of the most likely to spread infections and contaminants to the patient. Even if your disinfecting protocol leaves every stable soft surface in a room sterile, you must consider that doctors, nurses, other patients, and visitors can carry contaminates on their clothing and transfer them to your patients. Though you can’t sterilize everyone who enters your doors, a commercial laundry provider can start you off with clean linens and help to maintain them so that you can prevent healthcare-associated contamination.

Super-Powered Disinfectant

In addition to blasting your healthcare linens with high heat that tends to kill most microbial threats, most commercial launderers use high powered laundry disinfectants that can kill within 0.001 percent of the top pathogens that your hospital is concerned might spread. By using these impressive disinfectants, your commercial laundry service is able to kill more potential infections than even an in-house team could.

Infection Prevention from First to Last

Your healthcare laundry provider is obsessed with infection prevention, and has set up their entire operation around this concept. Their process starts with the initial sanitation of your medical linens, and then continues throughout the entire life cycle of your textiles. They sanitize at every step, sanitizing their laundry carts, conveyor belts, delivery trucks, and your storage facilities. This obsessive sanitation ensures that your textiles are completely sterile when your staff and patients finally encounter them. Your medical laundry service will also provide sanitary disposal areas for used linens throughout your hospital so that staff can easily remove used, dirty, ripped, or damaged textiles and send them on their way to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced.


Eliminating Odd Soils From Linens

download (16)Professionals in the medical laundry services business are constantly faced with challenging stains. By recognizing them, separating the items out, and treating them quickly so that they do not become permanently set in, laundry companies can help protect their valuable inventory of medical linens. We will look at a few stain-causing soils that anyone dealing with healthcare linens has probably faced, or will at some point.

Chlorhexidine Gluconate

This is an antiseptic found in many hand sanitizers used for surgical scrub, preoperative skin preparation, and cleansing wounds. It is also sometimes included in bed-bath kits for bedridden patients. A common brand name is Hibiclens®, but there are others. It is a challenging stain to get out of hospital linens because it has adhesive qualities that make it nearly impossible to remove during an initial flush. Then, when it comes into contact with chlorine while being laundered, it turns brown and becomes permanent.

If any of your clients use a product with this antiseptic, ask your chemical supplier for a peracetic acid/peroxide bleaching system. Hibiclens also has washing instructions on its website. Since this antiseptic is used in so many surgical procedures, it is a good idea to wash all surgical linens with a high-temperature hydrogen peroxide formula or switch to an oxygen-based bleach.

If chlorhexidine gluconate stains are still a problem on your hospital linens, it could be because the chlorine level in your area’s water supply is high enough to react with the chemical and set it into a yellow stain. If this is the case, there are chemicals you can add to neutralize the chlorine and prevent most discoloration caused by this pesky stain-maker.


Activated charcoal is used in emergency rooms because of its absorption qualities to treat patients who have suffered a drug overdose or ingested a poison. If it is spotted in the sorting, it can be treated with a metasilicate blend for the alkali to 1,500-2,000 parts per million (PPM) and then washed in an emulsifier detergent before going through with the regular wash. Ask your chemical company for detailed directions if you find you are getting enough of these stains that it is worth going through these extra steps.

Therapeutic Massage Oils

Massage oils and lotions used by physical therapists in hospitals and other medical facilities are especially difficult to wash out of towels, sheets, and hospital garments. Because therapeutic massage often involves pressing the patient’s body into the massage table, the stains can be partially set in before you ever get the linens. Medical laundry services with physical therapy clients are all too familiar with these oil-based stains.

As with chlorhexidine gluconate stains, it is important to recognize these oil and lotion stains before putting the linens in with regular wash. You need to do an initial washing with a degreaser before the main wash. Some experts recommend citrus-based products for removing oil-based products. Generally a silicate alkali works best as an emulsifier on oils.

Setting Reasonable Goals for Stain Removal

The secret to a highly efficient laundry operation is not to have zero stains, according to American Laundry News. The generally accepted percentage of rejects in the healthcare linens laundry industry is 3.5 to 5.5%. The only way to get it below that is to subject lightly-soiled items to extra mechanical, chemical and processing treatments that could damage them. However, the more you know about the soils you can expect to encounter in your operation, the better you can be prepared to remove them. Work with your chemical supplier to design the best combination of sorting classifications and wash processes.



Sustainable Best Practice Standards

download (15)There is a big development currently in the works in the laundry service industry. ASTM (International Technical Committee D13 on Textiles) is in the process of developing a new international standard concerning laundry cleaning best management practices. If successful, the standard will in effect identify and define clear practices with which businesses in the field should be aiming to meet regarding their environmental impact. The goal is to increase energy efficiency and reduce consumption in all respects. Thus, the new development can be seen as a comprehensive effort to target wasteful practices worldwide and eliminate them in due time.

The Environmental Impact of the Laundry Industry

The laundry service industry (i.e. medical linen and hospital laundry service organizations) has a major environmental footprint. These companies use billions of gallons of water each year as well as tons of detergent as they process a vast number of linens in their facilities each and every day.

That being said, ASTM is committed to an overhaul of the ways in which businesses are currently operating. They hope that their new eco-friendly standards will lead to a significant reduction in water usage and promote long-term sustainability of the industry at large. As it currently stands, the newly proposed international standards have a good chance of passing. Once this has happened, commercial laundry facilities will be assessed and subsequently evaluated on a performance scale to determine whether they meet the mark.

A List of ASTM’s Best Practice Standards

ASTM is serious about its efforts, and this is demonstrated by the extensive list of areas which are to be included in the proposed international best practice standards. They are all geared toward promoting eco-friendly operations. This includes the implementation of water reuse technology, boiler heat recovery, wastewater heat recovery, using eco-friendly low temperature detergents, as well as installing energy-efficient lighting in facilities and having an energy audit performed to provide a thorough assessment of a company’s current performance. ASTM is also pushing for the promotion of alternative energy forms, namely the use of solar energy systems to reduce consumption.

If successful, the international best practice standards will be a monumental step in the laundry industry. It will likely take some time for the certification process to go into effect, but we will probably start seeing many businesses making the move to using eco-friendly technologies as a means of preparing themselves for review. ASTM encourages owners of these facilities to support WK35985.



Gift Ideas For Your Terminally Ill Loved One

download (14)This is something that no one likes to talk about. Terminal illness can be one of the most stressful and devastating things to watch a person go through. Perhaps it goes without saying that it is much worse for the person who is sick, and that generally necessitates that you be there for them. Most people want to offer some sort of gesture to show their concern and support, but they’re typically so overwhelmed that the most effort they’re willing to put in to buying a gift is a trip to the hospital gift shop. Understandably so. Most would naturally feel like they have more important things to be thinking about.

Of course, in spite of the fact that it seems trivial, a gift can truly be important to a sick or declining individual. We often times can become so entrenched in the more objective and medical side of things that we forget how important a patient’s feelings are to their recovery. The fact is that a person who doesn’t want to die is less likely to die than a person who does want to die; similarly, a person who believes they can get well is more likely to become healthy than a person who believes they will die.

What I’ve tried to do here is compile a list of gifts that go the extra mile to inspire your terminal loved one. Particularly things of significance across a few cultures that promote health, good luck and, most important of all to your loved on, good vibes.


An ancient Japanese legend says that anybody who folds 1,000 origami cranes (referred to as senbazuru when all grouped together) will have a wish granted by a crane, typically in the form of good luck or a recovery from illness. In some versions of the legend the person making the wish must fold all 1,000 of the cranes themselves. I like to think though that the crane in question would not mind if you bought your loved one some origami paper and helped them for a little while.

Prayer Flags

You may have seen these around before in spite of their distant origins in Tibet nearly a thousand years ago. Typically a set of prayer flags consists of five square, differently colored flags. Each flag has over 400 sutras printed on it (typically via woodblock printing), each devoted to a different deity. The thought is that if the prayer flags are hung in a high up place then as they become faded and weathered their sutras permanently become a part of the universe, thereby spreading good will for everybody. It’s a great way to promote positive vibes and they are beautiful decoration as well.

Dream Catcher

This one isn’t all too unfamiliar to most in the US, especially if you live in the rockies. If you aren’t familiar with the legend, you should know that it’s a native american legend and you would do well not to further mis-appropriate this (many people hang them from their rear-view mirrors or on walls as decorative pieces). The legend goes that a woman once stopped her son from swatting a spider on the wall who was spinning her web above where the woman slept. When the boy left the spider revealed that it could talk and desired to repay the woman for her kindness. She left her web for the old woman to keep over her head when she slept, explaining that bad dreams will become entangled in it and that only her good dreams would be remembered. This gift is particularly great for anxious children and is a symbol of good luck.

By all means, if you like to keep things simple then do. We don’t all have to be Patch Adams and not all of us can be anyway. Not that folding an origami crane makes you Patch Adams, but it will likely be a welcome refrain from all the worry. Unless you’re a doctor this is the most that you can do sometimes. And that’s OK! You’re helping much more than you know by just being present. We need to de-stress and de-compress in order for our bodies to be healthy. If you can provide that opportunity to do so then you don’t need Patch Adams.



Kidney Failure – Treatment Options

download (13)Kidneys help filter waste and regulate other functions of your body. When kidneys fail, treatment is required to restore normal functioning of the body. There are a few choices you have for kidney treatment:

Hemodialysis – this includes a machine that filters blood outside the body.

Peritonial Dialysis – this includes the use of a lining from the belly that filters the blood inside the body.

Kidney Transplant – this includes replacing the failed kidney with a good one from a donor.

The basic function of kidneys is to remove excess fluid, minerals and waste from the blood and clean it. Kidneys are also responsible for making hormones that keep your bones strong as well as blood healthy. Kidney failure can greatly impact the normal functioning of your body. Harmful wastes may build up, blood pressure may rise considerably, the body retains excess fluid and will not be able to build enough red blood cells.

Let’s take a look at all the three treatment choices:


A machine is used to temporarily rid your body of the harmful wastes and extra salt in the body. This in turn greatly helps control blood pressure from rising. It also helps balance other important chemicals in your body like potassium, sodium, calcium and bicarbonate.

Side effects of this treatment are infection, blockage that could be caused by blood clotting and poor blood flow. Muscle cramps and hypotension that is caused by sudden drop in blood pressure are some of the other side effects. These side effects can be avoided by proper diet and medication as directed by your doctor.

Peritonial Dialysis:

Lining from your belly or abdomen is used to filter waste from the blood. This lining is also knows as peritoneal membrane. It very aptly acts as an artificial kidney and removes excess water and salts from the body.

The most common side effect of this kidney treatment is peritonitis which is a serious abdominal infection. The opening where the catheter enters your body is infected. This can however be treated if reported immediately to the doctor.

Kidney Transplant:

Surgically replacing the damaged kidney with a healthy one is known as kidney transplant. A kidney transplant requires a doctor to test for blood type, Human Leukocyte Antigens and Cross Matching Antigens.

Transplantation of kidneys is considered closest to a cure. The new kidney needs to be a perfect match for replacement. Well, even if technically a donor kidney is a perfect match, there are chances that the body may reject your new kidney. The most common cause for this is not taking the prescribed medication. These medicines are used to stop your body’s immune system to attack the new kidney considering it as a foreign body hence causing rejection.


5 Things Everyone Should Know About Advanced Care Planning

imagesToo often, people do not give adequate thought to advanced care planning until it is too late. While it may seem like a touchy subject, or something you do not want to think about, planning your care in advance of emergencies is paramount to making sure you get the level of care that you want and deserve. If you have never thought much about advanced planning of your healthcare, here are five things you should know.

1. What is An Advanced Care Plan?

An advanced care plan is exactly what it sounds like. It is a plan you make in advance of ever getting sick or suffering an emergency, and details the steps your doctors and health care team can take in providing health care, in the event that you are unable to explain or make decisions about your own health care. For instance, if you have a care plan in place, and then were to slip into a coma, your family and doctors would have a document explaining exactly how you would like to be treated.

2. Considerations for Advanced Care Planning

Although thinking about how you hope to face your own death or disability may be uncomfortable, talking about the issues that could arise will go a long way to making sure you get the care you need. Start by making a list of your healthcare concerns, life values, spiritual beliefs, and anything else you think may be important to your long-term health or funeral arrangements.

One thing that is particularly important to your plan is to decide on a friend or family member that can make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. It is important that you choose someone who thoroughly understands your values and desires.

3. Consulting an Attorney

Planning your financial and medical future can be difficult to do on your own. For this reason, many people opt to consult an elder care attorney who has experience working in these issues. Your attorney can help you create a legal framework that ensures your wishes are seen to. One such document you and your attorney may work together to produce is called a ‘living will’ this document clearly states the type of medical treatments that are acceptable to you, as well as those that are not.

4. Medical Well-Being

While your living will provides detailed instructions about the type of care you want or do not want, you may also want to work with your attorney to file a medical power of attorney or to officially appoint a health care surrogate. This is a legally binding document that names someone who will make your health care decisions on your behalf.

5. Financial Well-Being

Beyond just protecting your physical health, advanced care planning also involves protecting your financial health. Far too often, when a person is beset with an accident or illness that claims their health, they have failed to make a plan for their own healthcare or the dispersion of their personal effects in the event that they pass away. Filing a living trust is a good way to protect your assets in the event that you fall ill or pass away from your illness.


The Future Of Tele-Robotic Health Care Is Here

download (12)The other day I was talking to a futurist who specializes in tele-robotic medicine. Perhaps you know a little bit about this or have read some articles in this realm. They do become popular pieces in the science news, healthcare news, or in online media. We’ve all heard about the robots that do surgery by remote control with the doctor who is halfway around the world running the controls similar to a drone operator in the United States flying a UAV around Afghanistan. In one case you are saving people, and in the other, well, you aren’t.

It’s amazing how far these technologies have come, and how fast they are moving in the present. Personally, I’ve been impressed with the Da Vinci tele-robotic surgery technologies. If you’ve ever watched the videos of these machines working is quite stunning the amount of accuracy and precision they can attain. What are the success rates? Well because only the best doctors right now are allowed to use them the success rates are fairly high. And if there is a mistake, it is either due to the operator, the doctor, or those who had set up the patient on the table prior to the beginning of the procedure.

Complications can occur as they do with any type of surgery, after all the patients are there because there’s a physical problem with their bodies, nevertheless since the success rates are decent, and the machines and technology are getting better, along with the protocols used by healthcare professionals, it’s obvious we will continue to see more and more of this in the future.

Eventually after enough procedures and surgeries these machines will have artificial intelligence and learn from the mistakes and successes of each subsequent operation. This means they will get smarter, more proficient, and the success rates will climb dramatically. In other words, one day you may go into the hospital and a robot does the surgery with perfection. Perhaps after you’re done you will go up and kissed the robot. Of course the technician will go and clean off your slobber and sanitize the robotic arm afterwards.

Interestingly enough there is more to this story of tele-robotic medicine than you might have considered. Indeed, our Think Tank has put a lot of thought into the future or “In-Home Care” with tele-robotic helpers, with operators perhaps in India and how that solution might assist with the challenges of our huge demographic shift and age distribution, not just here but around the 1st World, Japan, EU, US, etc.


9 Different Ways You Can Break Your Bones and How to Treat Them

download (11)A fracture means that one or more of your bones have been broken due to an impact with more force or pressure than your bones can support.

Fractures can be open or closed. Open fractures occur when the ends of a broken bone break the skin and are exposed. Closed fractures are also known as simple fractures, and happen when the bone does not break the skin.

Fractures can also be classified by the way the bone breaks:

  • Greenstick fracture: an incomplete fracture in which the bone only breaks on one side, while the other side is merely bent.
  • Torus fracture: an incomplete fracture where the bone is broken on one side and this causes a bump on the other side.
  • Non-displaced fracture: when a bone breaks into even pieces that can be aligned in place afterwards.
  • Displaced fracture: when a bone breaks into pieces that cannot be aligned.
  • Hairline fracture: as the name suggests, this fracture occurs when the bone is broken in a thin crack.
  • Single fracture: when the bone only breaks in one place.
  • Compression fracture: when the bone is crushed.
  • Comminuted fracture: when the bone is crushed or broken in three or more pieces.
  • Segmental fracture: when the bone breaks in two places, leaving a piece of bone unattached.

Regardless of the type of bone fracture, the following symptoms are usually present:

  • Swelling, bruising, or bleeding.
  • Intense pain.
  • Inability or limited ability to move the affected area.
  • Numbness or tingling over the affected area.

What To Do When Someone Breaks a Bone

Immediate medical attention is required for any person who has just suffered from a bone fracture. Call 911 or transport the person to the nearest hospital for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Some of the immediate steps you can take when someone suffers from a broken bone are:

· If the person has suffered major trauma or injury and they are unresponsive or not breathing, begin CPR and call 911.

  • Do not move the person unless absolutely necessary.
  • If there is any bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding.
  • Immobilize the broken limb but do not try to realign and push the bone back into place.
  • If there is swelling, wrap an ice pack in a piece of cloth and apply to the affected area to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • If the person feels faint or is having trouble breathing, ask them to lie down and elevate the legs in order to treat for shock.

What to Do to Prevent Bone Fractures

Nobody wants to go through the pain and discomfort that come with a broken bone. In addition to taking precautions when practicing activities that put you at risk of bone fractures, such as driving, practicing sports, etc. these are some other measures you can take to prevent breaking one or more bones:

    • Meeting your required daily intake of calcium: Calcium is needed to maintain healthy and strong bones. It is recommended that men and women under 50 intake 1,000 mg of calcium every day, while people over 50 should increase their calcium intake to 1,200 mg every day.


    • Meeting your required daily intake of vitamin D: Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. The recommended amount of vitamin D for people under 70 years of age is 0.015 mg (or 15mcg). People over 70 should increase their intake of vitamin D to 0.020 mg (or 20mcg).


  • Reduce sodium consumption: The more sodium a person consumes, the more calcium they need in order to excrete urine. Maintain your sodium consumption low so that you can retain the calcium you need for your bones.

Breaking bones can be very painful, so make sure you take the steps necessary to prevent this from happening. However, no one is immune to accidents, so if you or someone you know ever suffers from a broken bone, be sure to look for the symptoms mentioned in this article, follow the instructions provided, and get medical attention as soon as possible.


Key Clinical Research Sites in South America

download (10)There are many countries in South America that are growing in popularity as ideal areas for medical companies to conduct clinical trials. The reason for the increasing demand is due to a variety of factors, ranging from higher patient retention rates to the interesting disease profile of populations in the region.

South America also benefits from having vast populations, making them an exceptional source of patients that can be recruited to participate in trials. With these attractive benefits in mind, here are a few of the key clinical research sites in South America that pharmaceutical companies around the world are choosing to carry out their studies in.

Some of the major countries that are popular for clinical research trials are Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, all ideal due to their large and dense urban populations. Pharmaceutical companies choosing to outsource their clinical trials to sites in South America may choose either one of these countries or several of them in a multi-centred approach.

Up-and-coming countries that are proving in demand for clinical research trials are other Latin American nations Ecuador, Peru and Chile. These areas are of increasing interest as they offer large populations of otherwise trial-naïve participants, which can mean both a higher recruitment and retention rate.

One of the other key factors that makes South America such a popular place to conduct clinical trials is the fact that the entire region only speaks two first languages: Spanish and Portuguese. This means that it is very simple to effectively run a recruitment and research campaign that is applicable to all nations with minimal cost and administrative difficulty caused by language barriers.

Often, pharmaceutical companies will often take this one step further and only recruit from countries that speak one language – for example, Spanish – choosing a multi-centred approach featuring sites in South America in countries like Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina and Peru, for example.

The most productive sites in South America are found in cities across the region. The continent is quite distinct in the fact it boasts the extremely large urban populations not found in regions such as Europe, for example, whose urban areas fail to offer the same sheer number of potential participants as in Latin America.

Cities and towns are generally extremely populated with little suburban life, with only a few hospitals available to treat patients. This is another reason why clinical trial sites in South America flourish, as they offer a genuine form of alternative treatment for burgeoning city populations.

The area is also becoming an increasingly viable option for trials as many countries are becoming even easier to establish sites in. South America in general offers a mixed bag of regulatory requirements for carrying out clinical trials. Governments in countries such as Argentina and Brazil can take several months to approve clinical trials, although steps are being taken to improve this.

Rapidly-developing nations such as Ecuador and Peru are generally a lot quicker to approve medical studies, with less lengthy wait times than Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Due to the fact that there are an increasing number of high quality sites and quick approval times, clinical research in these smaller countries is rapidly expanding.

These are some of the key areas for clinical research sites in South America. The more-established countries of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico still hold immense value for pharmaceutical companies looking to carry out trials of their drugs; that said, there are some new players on the scene of interest to pharmaceutical companies around the globe.

The less-established countries of Ecuador, Peru and Chile offer more trial-naïve populations, fast approval times and good quality sites, making them an increasingly attractive option for medical studies. In all cases, urban areas throughout the entire region offer a huge number of benefits to both the clinical research and the companies commissioning it.