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by Nathan Schiff, Ph.D. CONSULTANT


As hospital laundries are being consolidated by regions in British Columbia, laundry managers are being asked to assume additional tasks including house keeping responsibilities and with less resources at their disposal.

To address these issues, the major focus at this yearís British Columbia Association of Institutional Laundry Managers (BCAILM) Conference, was centered around ideas on how to continue providing efficient and cost-effective services to their institutions. The understanding of the membership was that hospitals and institutions need to give priority towards providing more educational programs and exchanging of information in order to continuously upgrade their staff. Interacting and working in close conjunction with the allied trades - a major source of new ideas and technology - was deemed to be critical, in order to stay abreast of current developments within the industry.

The 35th Annual BCAILM Conference, held this year in Victoria, BC on September 17th - 19th, identified that the single most cost-efficient means of information exchange is through participation in regional and annual conferences. These events provide the membership with an opportunity for comparing similar problems and discussing their solutions. The relaxed atmosphere also encourages people to think of the problems that arise and to become more creative in finding solutions to similar problems which occur within the institutions. I was invited to attend the BCAILM annual conference as an observer and reporter, and along with the others, found the atmosphere very conducive towards contributing ideas during the 2-day seminar.

BCAILM also maintains an excellent web site with outside links and can be accessed at: The web site was designed to provide the latest news and developments for members within the institutional laundry industry and has many links to related sites.



Consistent with the objectives of the BCAILM, Judy Kehoe, President of Green Tree Consulting services was invited to present a common sense approach towards problem solving, as seen from a consultantís view point.

Addressing the 41 participants - representing a 2 ½-fold increase over last years conference - her presentation centered on how to problem solve the ineffective activities, which in turn involve people, products or services and data.

Judy Kehoe stressed the fact that all to frequently there is a tendency to focus on the symptoms of the problems such as data or numbers and products or services, rather than to address the issue(s) which need corrective action. She emphasized that the key to more efficient management is to first define the activity(s) that are high cost, outdated, ineffective or unnecessary. Once the desirable activity is agreed upon, peopleís actions, products or services and data collection need to be revised to correctly reflect the requirements of the activity (s) which require upgrading.

BCAILM is also working with and establishing stronger relationships with their US counterparts. This yearís meeting attracted many new attendees, including US laundry managers as well as suppliers from Oregon, Colorado and Washington. The purpose is to share and exchange information between the various institutions on both sides of the border, in order to develop better educational programs. These programs will provide consistent and continual training to staff, as a means of upgrading standards and delivering more efficient services within the industry, benefiting overall patient care.


Following the formal presentations, a tour of the Capital Health Regional Laundry in Victoria, BC, was hosted by Bruce Hendry, General Manager and Jim Monroe, operations manager. For many, this was their first opportunity to visit the facility and see the advanced technologies incorporated into this ultra-modern and high-tech facility. The laundry which began operations just under a year ago, now processes almost 13 million pounds per year of hospital laundry and linen, using 2 tunnel washers ( 12 and a 14 chamber tunnel washers), which are operated on a continuous basis.

Except for an initial sorting and a final folding-machine feed step, all operations within the facility are fully automated and computer-controlled. A detailed coverage of the facility was published as a cover story in the July/August, 1997 issue of FABRICARE.


The final business of the day was the election of officers for 1998-1999.

Dean Gemmel was elected president, replacing Leota Murchison; James Taylorís term as Secretary Treasurer is standing until next year. Mark Christie and Larry Herscovitch were reelected as Allied Trades Representatives I and II, respectively. The next annual BCAILM conference is scheduled to be held in Kelowna, BC in mid September.

The success of this yearís meeting was due to the efforts of the executive committee. In particular, the hard and dedicated work of James Taylor and Fred Worthington, made it all happen and come together.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of the late Bill Taylor, retired laundry manager of the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, BC, who passed away in mid-September of this year at the age of 64. Bill was one of the founding members of the BCAILM, and will be missed by all whom knew him well.


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