With the number of care homes in the UK on the increase to cope with the demands of an ageing population, the whole topic of later residential life care will be at the top of the agenda for a very long time.
The subject as a whole is massive
But two themes – availability and cost, seem to headline most conversations. Is there enough capacity – probably not at this time, and is the cost of care sustainable in the longer term – probably the same answer.
These are subjects which the higher authorities are going to have to address as we go forward, the key drivers for needing later life residential care – a still growing population, and one which is living longer – are not going to go away.
On a different level, as a specialist maintenance company operating in this field, we see other perspectives. We see how residents in these establishment’s need special attention to ensure their comfort and warmth, safety and security is achieved and maintained. We also see where cost savings can be realised.
Achieving reduced risk to the general well-being of those living in care
And delivering value for money for owners and managers is both complex and challenging, but should not be less important than anything else they are tasked to deal with on a day to day basis.
In relation to this I would categorise the key issues for them to consider as follows – ensure full compliance with Building Regulations, Health & Safety and Fire Safety Regulations, and reduce capital expenditure and repair costs by pre-planning maintenance cycles rather than reacting when there is an immediate need.
These elements are entirely complementary – cyclical maintenance identifies areas of non-compliance with relevant regulations which, if less unaddressed, can directly impact the general well-being, safety and security of residents.
Our specialism is the maintenance of windows and doors. Correctly operating windows and doors deliver the essential requirements listed above, whilst windows and doors which do not operate properly can lead to discomfort, distress and potential danger to resident’s physical and mental well-being, and unnecessary costs for scheme managers.
The Health and Safety Executive provide a useful document called Health & Safety in Care Homes
They say “Social care is about people – a large, diverse workforce looking after a predominantly vulnerable population. Employees have the right to work in a healthy and safe workplace, while residents should receive care that is safe, and takes their needs, freedoms and dignity into account.”
It aims to help you determine if you are doing enough to manage health and safety and suggest you consider the following questions:
- How does the care home demonstrate its commitment to health and safety?
- Are your arrangements to control the real risks people are facing working?
- How well do you know what is happening in the home – are there effective checks in place?
- Have you learned from situations where things have gone wrong?
- Is health and safety an integral part of your day-to-day process for running your care home?
We ourselves have produced a supplementary white paper ‘Achieving resident care and value for money in the Residential Elderly Care sector’ which you can download here.
I think it offers owners and managers of care homes a great insight into challenges they might not yet be aware of, but which if left unaddressed could easily become a problem in the future.
The whitepaper is designed to stimulate thought, and to offer solutions for those operating in what is still a relatively new area of business, one which faces significant growing pains as the demand upon it increases.
Understanding and addressing key issues now, is something all care home owners and managers should consider.
Rick Awdas is Business Development Manager for Mila Window and Door Maintenance