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A new approach to future care for FMs

Recent research suggests that the UK care sector needs some urgent attention, not just because of a rising population of older people, with the number of people living to 100 almost doubling since 2002, but also because there are louder calls for a whole new style of care in the future. In addition to needing more beds and care homes across the country, technological advancements and increasing customer expectations are shaking things up for the sector. These changes and challenges are demanding a new approach from those working in care. From our work in the sector, a particular challenge concerns reassessing the way buildings, and the assets contained within them, are managed and maintained.

There appears to be an industry-wide recognition and appreciation that the design and management of the environment within a care home has an impact on the health and wellbeing of occupants. To that end, the efforts to ensure that a space is clean, safe, secure and comfortable are evident. However, the approach to maintenance doesn’t always mirror the energy of these other efforts. This is somewhat surprising as potentially catastrophic results are likely to arise if critical equipment fails due to inadequate maintenance. Yet asset performance is more often than not logged rather haphazardly, often via a convoluted Excel document, a paper-based system or sometimes even via a group messaging app! These are all fairly outdated approaches, particularly given the range of IT-based solutions available, but there seems to be hesitation to adopt the systems that can help care homes to streamline their maintenance processes.

Every property needs to be maintained, but when you are responsible for the home of a vulnerable group of people, you have to go a step beyond the traditional parameters of maintenance. Compliance is essential; simply because you’re responsible for people’s lives. The health and wellbeing of these individuals hinges on the level of care that’s being offered, but also on the physical infrastructures in place. Care home managers must work with their facilities staff to make sure the environments match and exceed expectations, and cater to the needs of the residents.

Implementing an effective, preventative and tech-assisted maintenance strategy can help in this pursuit. Such systems can record compliance, meaning you have the necessary documentation and data to hand should an incident happen. They can also monitor your third party maintenance service providers to ensure the agreed service levels are being met. In addition, these systems can help you track asset performance to understand why particular equipment might fail more often than others, and to gauge whether there’s a more cost effective, reliable alternative.

In this modern age, swapping paper records for an online, cloud-based platform is the best way to ensure you collect and use the data available to make the right business decisions. This is called computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) software; a good CAFM system presents real-time data in easily digestible ways. From this you can see how many reactive and scheduled tasks are on the horizon, and you can monitor all aspects of your maintenance programme, from what you’re spending, to how assets and contractors are performing.

As the number of care homes in the UK increases in the coming years, there’s an opportunity to rethink the approach to maintenance. Ideally, care home maintenance should be seamless, non-intrusive and virtually invisible to residents; CAFM systems can help with this. This tech-based approach to maintenance won’t only make your life easier, but it’ll also help you save costs, minimise disruption and improve standards of care. 

A new approach to future care for FMs

By Paul Djuric, CEO, Urgent Technology
August LTD
Grahame Gardner
Mr Trax Curtain & Blind Solutions
Inspired Inspirations
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