The Changing Picture of Maintenance Work at Senior Care Facilities
In the 21st century, the nature of senior living — and thus, the facilities that must be developed to accompany new paradigms — is evolving. In the past, one of the greatest concerns expressed by seniors moving into such a facility was disconnect, or the sense of having to remove oneself from a vibrant, loving community to be placed in an insular, closed-off building that is more hospital-like than homey. These days, as explained by FacilitiesNet, the very shape and structure of new senior facilities is being crafted with the notion of integrating into existing communities, rather than separating from them. This requires innovative new architectural work, great planning, and a listening ear.
As senior facilities become increasingly complex, though, so does the role of the maintenance worker. While maintenance personnel always played a key role in any facility’s success, they are now one of the most important assets these facilities can have, which comes with many new responsibilities.
High Demand Means Big Changes (And Fast)
The reason that senior care facilities are becoming one of the hottest topics among land developers, companies, and newspapers alike is simple: the numbers. As charted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and above is projected to double by 2050, meaning 88.5 million seniors will be considering their long-term care options.
More seniors, of course, means more demand — and higher expectations. Traditional senior housing facilities were designed as enclosed environments, in a “one size fits all” model that primarily existed to serve dozens of unique medical needs, without as much thought toward personal needs. This old model is, slowly but surely, being replaced by a more human-centric approach, which — while far better in managing both physical and mental health — is far more complex. Efficiency is no longer a dream, but now, an absolute necessity. Because of demand, today’s senior care facilities are run more efficiently than ever, which means today’s maintenance workers must be equally efficient.
The Evolving Role of Maintenance
Traditionally, according to Senior Housing News, the role of a maintenance worker at a senior care facility was to be the “call ‘em when it breaks” guy: for example, when the toilet clogs or the lights won’t turn on in a resident’s room, upper management sends in the maintenance crew. However, while this band-aid approach fixes short-term concerns, it can often lead to problems down the line, because there’s no sense of the bigger picture.
In the 21st century, changing social and technological norms are making efficient — and predictive — maintenance service more important than ever. Today’s maintenance workers need to be leaders and innovators, as explained in a white paper by Dude Solutions, who use advanced smart technology and analytics not to answer problems when they happen, but rather, to predict and prevent these issues from ever occurring in the first place. Though maintenance personnel are often perceived as blue collar workers, new technologies are redefining them as some of the most advanced, knowledgeable, skilled staff that a senior care facility employs.
This means that maintenance workers are on the frontline of any facility’s success. Not only are they responsible for everything from plunging toilets to changing lights, but also, they must possess an in-depth understanding of the facility, the smart technology it relies on, the future plans for its structure, and the evolving needs of the residents themselves.
Mobile Shop Makes a Difference
As the role of a 21st century maintenance worker become increasingly complex, that worker also requires tools that are efficient, safe, and easily accessible at all times. They need to respond to resident needs immediately, instead of wasting valuable time searching for a tool that was left in a closet behind the building. The Mobile-Shop® System was developed to effortlessly eliminate that waste, and maximize efficiency, by actively applying 5S and Lean Six Sigma principles. That’s why Mobile-Shop® developed the H3O mobile cart, designed specifically for use in memory care facilities, by employing rounded corners, no sharp edges, and easily lockable drawers.
In studies, Mobile-Shop® has been proven to maximize efficiency, cut down on wasted time, and ensure greater accuracy. Research conducted on Mobile-Shop® by the Ohio State University Department of Integrated Systems Engineering showed that the use of the H3O cart drastically reduced the number of times a maintenance worker had to rush back and forth searching for parts or equipment, creating a productivity increase of 36% per employee. That means that when there’s a problem, the maintenance personnel can fix it right there, right then, without any needless delay.
Mobile-Shop® is the future of maintenance. Learn more about our H3O cart today.