Poor healthcare facility management can be devastating to profit margins and cost lives, but proactive measures and systems can help.
The recent devastation caused by Hurricane Irma is beyond reproach, and the tragedy continued as the lives of eight senior citizens were taken well after the storm had passed. As explained by ABC News, the seniors were residents in a skilled nursing facility, which had lost power to its HVAC systems following the storm. Outside, temperatures quickly soared into the upper 90s.
Even worse, the facility was located across the street from one of the area’s major hospitals, so these deaths are inexcusable. More importantly, they reveal why healthcare facility management is not simply about keeping costs down; it is about saving lives. These people’s lives may have been saved if indoor temperature monitoring has been more efficient. While hindsight is 20/20, it is important to learn from this tragedy. It is important to learn how proactive healthcare facility management can save lives.
Automated Energy Controls Provide Uninterrupted Power for Life-Saving Devices
Life support systems require an uninterrupted power supply to help those suffering survive. Respirators, ventilators, IV pumps and other medical devices require around-the-clock power to function. While many devices have built-in batteries, they cannot function indefinitely. Automated energy controls can help ensure emergency circuits are activated and powered by generators or other electrical sources when an emergency occurs.
Temperature and Humidity Sensors Reduce Risk of Heat-Related Illness
The tragedy in Florida may have been prevented by one of the most basic tenants of proactive healthcare facility management, automated energy controls. Although the system was running on generators, power was not supplied to systems that were deemed second-class to life support, the buildings HVAC system.
Keeping an appropriate temperature in both patient care areas and other areas of healthcare facilities also plays a role in reducing the spread of infection. Bacteria and pathogens thrive in warm, moist environments, so the use of temperature and humidity sensors may help reduce the growth of pathogens. For patients who already have life-threatening illnesses, the risk of contracting a secondary infection, otherwise known as a nosocomial infection, can be mitigated through sensors and automated system controls, helping stop the growth and spread of infection.
Optimized, Predictive Maintenance Schedules Reduce Diversion
Proactive healthcare facility management is also key to ensuring every patient receives timely care. During periods of heightened activity, such as disasters or seasonal flu outbreaks, healthcare facilities often find themselves forced to send patients to other nearby hospitals or facilities when all beds are taken. Overflow patients are left waiting in emergency departments for beds to open, but many of these hospitals may have open rooms that cannot be used until maintenance is completed.
Proactive healthcare facility management helps administrators and team members create proactive, preventative maintenance schedules, reducing deferred maintenance and utilizing 100-percent of available space, explains David Lewek of Facility Executive. For example, maintenance can be completed when the census is low, preventing the facility from being placed on diversion. This benefit also plays a defining role in rural areas, where delayed access to treatment could cost lives.
Help Your Facility Team Save Lives With Proactive Healthcare Facility Management Today
The tragedy entered by the families of those lost in the Florida skilled nursing facility must not be allowed to happen again, and proactive healthcare facility management is what your facility team needs to help prevent tragedies like this in the future. Plus, it reduces costs and improves safety for all occupants. In fact, federal regulations are already changing in the wake of the Florida tragedy, reports Paul Muschick of The Morning Call, requiring facilities to be “equipped and maintained to protect the health” of its patients, including better monitoring and facility management processes.
To find out more about how proactive healthcare facility management can make a difference in your patients’ lives, contact ENTOUCH online or by calling 1(800) 820-3511 today.