4 Benefits of Preventative Maintenance in LTC

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In this blog post, we walk through 4 benefits of preventative maintenance so that you can more easily manage your equipment fleet and its service needs.

We all know how it feels to have something break or stop functioning in the middle of busy day-to-day operations.

Larger items like beds and patient lifts are essential to daily care, so when something goes wrong, an immediate solution is needed – typically that same day.

In most long-term care facilities, there is often no back-up equipment available to use in the meantime, which can impede the resident’s health and well-being.

If you’re a facility operator, you regularly deal with issues like:

  • Bathtubs:
    • Insufficient or halted water flow
    • Anti-scalding not operating correctly
    • Automatic filling and stopping not working 
    • Internal disinfection systems not working 
    • Height adjustment not working, electrical issues, missing wands, etc.

  • Hospital beds & mattresses:
    • Motor problems (bed can’t recline or move to its different positions)
    • Parts and accessories broken or missing
    • Missing brake, foot pieces (can lead to flooring damage)
    • Air systems not functioning, bad cells, no rotation or inflation pressure
  • Lifts:
    • Motor or electrical problems (can’t operate)
    • Feel unstable, unsure of mechanical credential/history
    • Not able to lift or transfer patient safely
    • Wear and tear on parts, and slings may need auditing

Problems are guaranteed to happen, but instead of dealing with each issue on a one-off basis, instead consider preventative maintenance.

Like the name suggests, preventative maintenance is the best way to prevent equipment issues from happening.

Done annually or semi-annually, scheduling preventative maintenance for your equipment has many benefits for LTC operators looking to manage budget while prioritizing resident care.

Below are the top benefits of preventative maintenance for long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

 

1. More Cost-Effective – Longer Lasting Equipment

The longer your capital equipment lasts, the less often you need to invest in new equipment. This brings obvious cost savings to facilities and allows for less disruption each time new items are installed.

When properly maintained over time, hospital beds for example can last 10 to 15 years (though parts and other components may need to be replaced in that timeframe). The most common reasons replacement parts are needed include wear and tear from daily use (e.g., frayed cables or fading pendant remote) and mechanical or electrical failures (e.g., motor or control box stops working).

Preventative maintenance can help avoid these issues by regularly inspecting and diagnosing issues before they progress into a more serious problem affecting care.

Ask if your equipment specs meet current industry standards. Many technologies have plateaued for LTC equipment. Electric beds and floor lifts haven’t had groundbreaking features come out in recent years, so repairing is almost always the best option, even if it only lasts one more year to buy some planning time. 

2. Safer, Better Functioning Equipment

Like regular visits to the mechanic for a tune-up on your vehicle, equipment needs regular inspection and servicing. Each item is highly technical with numerous moving parts, electrical, and mechanical systems.

For items like patient lifts, equipment malfunctions or insufficiencies can pose serious safety hazards to both the resident and caregiver.

Our experienced technicians know what to look for and how to keep equipment functioning optimally. We also conduct lift testing to ensure lifts can support the weight it needs depending on the patient.

3. Asset Tracking Included to Manage Equipment

At SFI Medical, we provide customers with a digital asset tracking system which is included (at no cost to you) with every service call and preventative maintenance program.

This means that instead of tracking inventory and service history using spreadsheets or log books, facility staff just scan the equipment barcode. The app then pulls up all available information about that item, including:

  • Full equipment details
  • Serial number, make and model
  • Age and assessed value
  • Warranty and Preventative Maintenance expiration
  • Preventative Maintenance checklists
  • History, status and related documents
  • Entrapment test results
  • Photos

Learn more about asset tracking in our previous post, 5 Ways Asset Tracking Makes LTC Capital Planning Easier.

Asset Tracking - SFI Medical Equipment Solutions

4. Convenience to Facility Teams

Perhaps the most overlooked benefit of preventative maintenance is the convenience of knowing when your equipment will be serviced in advance.

This allows for advance planning to ensure residents are out of their rooms (e.g., timed with meals or events) at the required time and that maintenance teams know what to expect.

It also allows care teams to arrange for one or more PSWs to be assigned for the day to support the technicians with care/room needs (e.g., remaking beds after rail compliance audits) as they service equipment.

Overall, the benefits of preventative maintenance outweigh the cost as well as burden on staff when urgent issues arise.

If you’re ready to get started with preventative maintenance, contact our technical team to book a service call today.

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