Maintenance of premises and equipment

This digital article based on Swedish conditions is computer translated. Hopefully we can inspire people from other countries.

Dilapidated premises and worn furniture reduce confidence in the business. Likewise when the maintenance of aids is not provided. The worst thing is that when maintenance is neglected, the quality of the business generally also drops. In the end, no one cares what it looks like.

When we think about aged care and wellbeing, it's easy to focus on the human aspects of care and support. However, it is important to remember that the physical environment in nursing homes also plays a decisive role in the quality of life and well-being of the elderly. Furniture and equipment are an important part of this environment and therefore should not be overlooked,

Unkept premises can create discomfort and even cause injuries. Not fixing errors creates a let-go feeling throughout the business. We are each other's environment and it is important to make the environment pleasant and safe for everyone. If what is broken is not fixed, then other things will soon fall into disrepair.

Some nursing homes have worn furniture, blinds that hang on the slats, stained wallpaper and even downright dangerous things like broken electrical outlets. It can be monochromatic long corridors where each apartment door is anonymous like the other doors. It should go without saying that older people should not be forced to live in such an environment.

Lack of maintenance
• Washing machines and dish-disinfectors that are not serviced as required.
• The staff lacks training in how machines are used and care instructions are missing.
• Dishwashers that do not wash cleanly and where the crockery is noticeably unclean.
• Vacuum cleaners that suck poorly or have overflowing dust bags.
• Pinch protectors that have not been removed and washed for weeks or months.
• Wheelchairs and equipment that are dirty.

In a nursing home, a resident became frustrated with a blind that hung crookedly and where the sun woke the resident early who took a chair and climbed up to try to correct the blind hanging crookedly. A nasty fall was the result.

Maintenance of furniture and equipment is important from many aspects

One of the most obvious reasons why furniture and equipment maintenance is important is the safety of the elderly residents. Older people often have reduced balance and physical ability, which means they are more vulnerable to falls and injuries. If furniture such as chairs, beds or tables is broken or in poor condition, it can increase the risk of accidents. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to regularly inspect and maintain all furniture and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and safe to use.

Convenience and well-being
Furniture and equipment in nursing homes are not only functional, they also play a major role in the comfort and well-being of the residents. A comfortable bed, an ergonomic chair and a functional dining table can make a big difference to the elderly's quality of life. If furniture is worn or uncomfortable, it can lead to discomfort and pain, which in turn can negatively affect the health and well-being of the elderly. By ensuring that the furniture is in good condition, we can create a more comfortable and pleasant environment for the elderly to live in.

Furniture and equipment in the nursing home also affect the residents' dignity and self-esteem. Having access to well-maintained and attractive furniture and equipment gives the elderly a sense of respect and value. On the other hand, broken or worn furniture can signal a lack of care and attention from the staff, which can negatively affect the self-esteem of the elderly. By investing in the maintenance of furniture and equipment, we show that the residents' dignity and well-being are of the highest priority.

Long-term durability good for the environment
Regularly maintaining furniture and equipment in the nursing home is also a strategic long-term investment. By preventing major damage and the need to replace furniture and equipment, you save both time and money. It is more cost-effective to repair or replace a broken chair in time than to have to buy completely new furniture. In addition, the risk of emergency situations that can arise if important parts of the equipment suddenly break is reduced.

Positive impact on staff
Finally, we must not forget that a healthy working environment for the staff at the nursing home is also important. Working with broken or worn furniture and equipment can be frustrating and time-consuming for staff. By ensuring that all equipment is in good condition, you can create a more positive work environment and increase staff well-being and commitment. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on the quality of care and the elderly's experience of care.

Ultimately, maintaining nursing home furniture and equipment is not just about preserving physical objects. It is about promoting safety, comfort, well-being and dignity for the elderly residents. It is an important part of offering high-quality elderly care and showing respect and care for our elderly citizens. By prioritizing the maintenance of furniture and equipment, we can create a better living environment for our elderly and promote their well-being in the nursing home.

Needs of people with functional variations
For those with Parkinson's disease, joints in the floor can lead to so-called freezing, i.e. a difficulty in moving forward. A person with dementia may have difficulty finding their room. Different colored doors to the apartments, a name plate and a picture of the person who lives in the apartment at eye level can then make it easier to find home.

Employees sometimes express frustration that there is a lack of time and skills to maintain premises and equipment. These devices easily fall into a vicious circle. It becomes easy for the "someone-else-ism" to spread. It is important to act in time before the feeling that no one cares spreads throughout the business.

It happens that managers try to change by booking a major cleaning or taking a break for a period. It rarely helps as a sole remedy in these cases. Here, it is important to work with the culture and create a caring love for the entire business.

It is often easier to start a change in the small. By decorating with objects from previous decades, we can combine decoration with inspiration for conversations about times such as moving. Seating groups, flowers, paintings and lighting can be simple measures to make the premises more pleasant and improve the overall impression. Units where management and employees decide to bring about a change can quickly change the impression of the business. This often means that the staff express an increased pride in the business.

Reflection - care of premises and equipment
Care staff:
• What do you do to keep your device in good condition?
• Do you have routines for reporting deficiencies to management?
• Do the procedures for keeping wheelchairs and other aids clean and fresh work?

Manager, nurse, occupational therapist and physiotherapist:
• What do you do to ensure that the routines for looking after premises and equipment work?
• Is there broken furniture or equipment that has just been left standing?
• What about other things like blinds and electrical installations?

Resident and next of kin:
• Do you perceive premises and equipment as well maintained?

Erland Olsson
Head nurse
Better care every day

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