The business of healthcare becomes ever more complex as legislation changes and staff requirements evolve. There are, however, certain critical aspects of running a care home, hospice or other residential private healthcare facility that should not be over-complicated.
These include securing your energy suppliers, having your water and plumbing sorted, and ensuring your linens are of a high standard and washed to the highest standards. You rely on the companies that provide your energy and water to deliver a consistent, quality service at a cost that isn’t extortionate. The same should be true of your healthcare laundry, and outsourcing is a competitive option that can actually save money compared to handling everything in-house.
In-house laundry isn’t something that staff and management think about much until suddenly there is a problem, they are found lacking in quality, or their cost becomes excessive. This is when they come under scrutiny, and in fact, they should never be a mere afterthought. Running a private healthcare facility is a business, and you should always be paying close attention to your costs to ensure you are maximising your revenue at all times.
The savings of outsourcing to commercial laundry services
Healthcare reimbursements are generally on the decline, while costs follow a consistent trend of increasing year upon year. This is why many healthcare organisations are discovering that they can actually save significant amounts of money by choosing a commercial laundry service to partner with and outsourcing this crucial element of daily operations at a healthcare facility. This article aims to outline some essential factors you need to consider if you are weighing up the pros and cons of using a commercial laundry service for your organisation.
Know the realities of the costs
There is no denying that many healthcare facilities do an outstanding job of processing their laundry in-house. The question is, does having an on-premise laundry come at an exorbitant cost? Every organisation is different in its own ways, so you’ll need to determine for yourself how cost-effective your in-house laundry operations actually are. Fortunately, you can do this by gathering accurate data relating to the full range of expenses your existing in-house laundry accumulates. You will need to gather some specific cost data for the following areas:
- Labour costs (including benefits) of staff: every member of staff you employ to work in the laundry needs to be paid wages, and this is an ongoing expense that needs to be justified.
- Costs for administration and overhead: running and operating the laundry will rack up extra admin that takes up valuable time and resources to keep up with.
- The cost of taxes, permits and licences: these additional expenses are all associated with owning and running your laundry equipment/processes in-house.
- Expenses relating to equipment and machinery: Grosvenor Contracts are the UK’s newest specialist healthcare laundry, with Barrier wall and brand new machines.
- The cost of engineering and maintenance: at Grosvenor Contracts, our contingencies de-risk machinery breakdowns by ensuring we have more than two of every machine, along with replacement support. We also have agreements with Three Healthcare Laundry as a further contingency, so we can guarantee maximum uptime.
- Chemical costs for laundering: this includes the costs associated with things like colour runs – we mitigate this with specialist pre-washing systems.
- The purchase of new linens/garments: Grosvenor Contracts will help you with this right from the outset, ensuring you get everything you need at a competitive price. We also know the quality of linens needed for care homes and other private facilities and supply linens that meet the high standards you need at a competitive price.
- The energy and water costs of the processes: when you use old, outdated machinery you will likely have inefficient systems that drive up your energy and water costs.
- Insurance premiums: having expensive machinery on-site pushes up your insurance costs, while a commercial service will have its own insurance and you won’t need to worry about that expense.
It may be challenging to compile all of this data, but gathering as much of it as possible will give you a good idea of the costs. You might want to initiate a process of collecting the relevant data for the next 3-6 months to get a comprehensive snapshot over a specific time period. In either case, the data you accumulate will provide a decent benchmark as you begin comparing costs with outsourcing options. You might be surprised to learn just how much the costs add up when you bring them all together in one place.
You might also be looking at this list and thinking: our laundry doesn’t measure up to these standards. It is very common for care homes to have legacy machines and facilities for laundry that amount to not much more than a room for domestic washing machines and dryers, rather than industrial equipment. With an outsourced contract you can be more confident that the standards of your laundry service and linens is being met by a company with the machinery and certification that you might not be able to provide yourself.
Think about a few ‘What if?’ questions
Knowing about your costs is one thing, but you should also consider the opportunities that would open up if the space currently being used for laundry became available. Is your organisation in need of more space at your current facility? Perhaps this additional space would enable you to generate more revenue? The machinery required to meet your healthcare laundry requirements can be cumbersome, and when every square foot of space in your facility is valuable to business, you really don’t want to be dedicating large amounts of space to unnecessary operations that could easily be outsourced.
Another key ‘What if?’ question relates to your current insurance costs. By eliminating the laundry, and thereby taking away the inherent risks of fire and employee injury, would you be able to lower costs relating to insurance payouts and worker compensation claims? You may feel that such expenses are few and far between – perhaps they have never happened – but a single incident could be incredibly costly. You might want to consider having a risk assessment carried out to calculate whether the safety hazards of laundry machinery present a threat of being landed with substantial expenses that will push your insurance premiums up significantly.
Quality, scaling and sustainability
The quality of your healthcare linen and garments is of paramount importance to provide a high level of care. Care homes and other private organisations require quality linen delivered to floors in a timely fashion and in the correct quantities. At Grosvenor Contracts, we commit to this from day one of a contract. Our experienced team will work alongside you in purchasing new dedicated stock that is in line with your specific wishes and requirements. This way, you will acquire all the linens you need with the help of experts who can ensure you get the best prices available, and our service will maximise the lifespan of every product you send our way.
As a care home, nursing home or another healthcare provider, you are entrusted with the care of vulnerable people from your community. It is down to you to ensure they are provided with linens that deliver on comfort and hygiene. Grosvenor Contracts deploy unique quality control management to achieve reject rates of less than 0.002%. This is 15x better than the national average for Healthcare laundry, so we have supreme confidence in our product and we pass that confidence on to you.
Consider the following:
Do you have a laundry that is fully accredited for meeting the top industrial standards in laundering healthcare textiles? The fight against all types of infections is an ongoing one, and you need to feel assured that every precaution is taken in the processing of laundry to ensure the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness. At Grosvenor Contracts, we are NSAI audited and certified to IS-EN14065-2002. This means that when you outsource your healthcare laundry to us, you will have evidence of your compliance with HTM0104, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) standards. Compliance is also becoming more important in care home settings, with Essential Quality Requirements outlined in CFPP 01-04.
Does the equipment you currently use deliver consistently high-quality results? And do you have an ironer in operation to provide a professional finish every time? As part of our EN14065 certification, we conduct quarterly independent microbiological tests, and we are currently logging a disinfection rate of Log 8. As a point of reference, the Healthcare industry standards dictate a minimum of Log 5. Furthermore, our facility is designed with a substantial barrier wall that totally segregates the soiled laundry from the clean. This ensures maximum protection against cross-contamination.
Is your equipment efficient in its use of electricity, water and chemicals? In the modern era, it’s essential that your operations are optimised to achieve maximum cost savings and support green, sustainable practices. A traditional washer can use as much as 2.4-4 gallons of water for every pound of linen. In contrast, tunnel washers use around 0.7 gallons, which is a significant saving. What’s more, they are specially designed to reuse water where possible, reclaim heat, and conserve chemicals. These types of washers are a must-have for any healthcare laundry with a high volume of linens and garments, but they come at a premium. Investing in them yourself is only worthwhile if you have a large volume, so the long-term cost and energy savings can only be accessed if you are prepared to make the upfront investment.
The decisions are down to the individual
The goal of this article has been to outline some of the critical factors to consider when you evaluate the cost-effectiveness of having a laundry in-house. As each organisation is different in terms of size and the type of laundry it processes, the decision about whether or not to outsource is an individual one. You need to weigh up all the factors in order to determine if a commercial laundry service for private healthcare would be the right choice for your organisation. Just bear in mind that when you outsource your healthcare laundry requirements, you get consistently quality, scalability and sustainability at competitive prices, so it is definitely worth considering very carefully.
Grosvenor Contracts are located in Central London, using local staff and carrying SME status, and we are ready to take on new clients from the private healthcare industry. If you think outsourcing your laundry to a commercial service might be a good option for you, call today on 020 7237 0099. Our friendly, helpful team will be happy to go over the specifics with you and ensure you have a good understanding of what our service can do for your organisation.