Technical Services relies on support from the Jewish General Hospital Foundation to complete big projects while maintaining vital daily services.

Georges Bendavid likes most of his work at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) to be ignored. Being noticed usually means there’s a problem.

As Director of Technical Services for the JGH’s health network, the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, Bendavid is responsible for a total staff of more than 800, including construction and renovation but also maintenance, housekeeping and laundry services. It’s a big and crucial role.

“We have to ensure that everything from doors to lighting to ventilation is working all the time,” Bendavid said. “Our maintenance is very specialized, as is our laundry, which handles 3.5 million kg per year. We have amazing systems to ensure it goes smoothly.”

And then there are the special projects – “our fun branch,” said Bendavid with a smile. This includes new construction, renovations and installation of new equipment, much of it super-specialized and very expensive.

JGH Foundation plays crucial role in making big projects viable

The JGH Foundation plays a crucial role in making these big and vital projects viable, and will continue to do so well into the future as it invests funds from the ambitious Tomorrows Are Made Here campaign currently underway.

One way the JGH Foundation does this is by agreeing to finance a project’s risk. Even when the Quebec government has agreed to pay for large parts of a major project, different possible contingencies need to be financed before it can start. When the JGH Foundation accepts to take on that risk and cover possible extra costs, big projects can move ahead confidently and quickly.

Bendavid points to the current major renovations throughout the JGH’s legacy buildings, known as Phase 4 of the hospital’s long-term redevelopment plan. This involves an almost $300 million investment from different stakeholders over seven years.

“The JGH Foundation allows us to get big projects done by taking on the risk of certain contingencies,” he said. “The Foundation made a huge commitment to allow us to proceed with Phase 4 renovations in the way they need to be done.”

“We can’t afford to be cheap,” he continued. “Donor support allows us to move to a higher level of design that is far better for our staff and, most of all, our patients. It also allows us to create exceptional non-clinical areas such as family rooms, nursing lounges and common areas.”

One specific example of the current work being done is the renovation of the Radiology Department. “JGH Foundation support was crucial for the replacement of our angiogram equipment and renovation of the Radiology Department, because it meant we could build the new facility with new equipment in a completely different area,” Bendavid said. “We could make the space much larger and better without disturbing existing operations. Without the support of donors, it couldn’t have been done without closing a major part of the department for a year. We would still be talking about it, not doing it.”

Donor support allows much-appreciated upgrades

Sometimes, the generosity of donors allows better equipment to be purchased.

“Donor funding allowed us to purchase a much stronger, better and more versatile PET scan for our Nuclear Medicine Department. It will allow doctors to do more and provide better treatments for patients,” said Bendavid.

JGH Foundation support also allows other important upgrades that will be appreciated by patients and families for years to come. “The support of donors allowed us to turn the renovation of the Palliative Care Unit into something truly excellent, with much better facilities for families to use at a very difficult time.”

Donor funding can also solve big problems. “We had no adequate space available for a much-needed new hospital pharmacy, but the JGH Foundation is helping us to build a whole new facility for this crucial patient service,” said Bendavid.

Yet another ongoing project is the gradual renovation of many patient rooms into single-patient spaces with private bathrooms and improved facilities and equipment.

With all these initiatives, helping the JGH become more environmentally efficient is an important goal. “On sustainability, we believe we should lead by example, and we have almost completed a $19-million project to improve energy efficiency throughout the CIUSSS,” Bendavid said. “We are installing state-of-the-art equipment that allows us to both save energy and make things more comfortable for our patients and staff with efficient variable heating and cooling systems. We also have many projects to reduce waste and ensure we can reuse or recycle as much as possible.”

There is so much happening at the JGH right now that Bendavid has 20 project managers on his team, each handling several meticulously planned projects throughout the CIUSSS. “When we start a renovation, we seal off the area and get to work behind the scenes,” said Bendavid. “Our goal is for visitors to not see or be disturbed by it.”

As with all the projects of Bendavid’s team, the best work is that which gets done well and goes unnoticed – until excellent new facilities can be appreciated by all.

To make a donation to the Jewish General Hospital Foundation’s Tomorrows Are Made Here campaign, visit