For property owners, maintaining medical buildings and other facilities is critical to the health and wellbeing of patients, professionals, and visitors. Knowing when to update and modernize property is important, and it can be a cost factor that is hard to overcome in some situations. Whether you own and operate an acute care facility or a medical office building, it is critical to keep these areas in the best condition possible to mitigate risks to the patients and medical providers who rely on a sanitary and clean facility.
The Importance of Proper Medical Healthcare Facility Management
For people that frequent medical facilities, from patients who need immediate care to those who come in for frequent appointments, the facility itself contributes to their health and access to care. There is, of course, the need to maintain facilities for cleanliness, but a leaking roof or a parking lot that is in poor condition creates liability concerns and puts people at risk. Property owners must have a comprehensive plan in place to address these concerns on an ongoing basis.
“Proper facility maintenance is always necessary for building upkeep,” says a representative of BluSky Restoration Contractors, “but understanding the very unique needs of medical buildings can save lives. Have a plan and execute it with precision and continued attention to best practices for creating a well-maintained structure.”
Providing Access to the Building
One of the most important parts of welcoming patients into a medical building is the parking lot. Often, those who use these facilities have physical limitations and require adapted access to transition from the parking lot to the building. Whether they are walking into the location or using a wheelchair, surfaces need to be as smooth as possible. The following factors should be considered when maintaining a parking lot:
- How accessible are the parking lot and entranceways from the road?
- Does traffic get held up if a patient needs to be dropped off at the building?
- Is the traffic flow of the property confusing and could it put people who may be ill or have limited mobility at risk for harm?
- Is there a significant step between the parking lot and the sidewalk that could create a tripping hazard? Is there an easy way to ensure surfaces are clean and clear to make this transaction easy?
Landscaping can also be an obstacle in some situations. It’s critically important to ensure that landscaping does not create a trip hazard but instead facilitates easy movement.
Many times, people who are ill or injured have trouble seeing or are prone to falling. It’s vital for property owners to maintain clear entrances which minimize any type of overgrown shrubbery, curbs with big ramps, or hard-to-access drop-off locations.
We often think of the sanitation component of restroom maintenance, but property owners must consider more than clean toilets when developing a maintenance plan for on-site restrooms. In some situations, visitor traffic to restrooms in a medical center is at a significantly higher level than what could be found in any standard commercial building.
Investing in proper restroom upkeep is a must. These areas should be widely available with enough to meet the expectations of the building size and use. At the same time, they should be larger, with ample room for maneuverability of a wheelchair or other types of mobility devices. Maintenance tasks here often include ensuring that everything from stall doors to sinks operate without any limitation. They should also be cleaned more frequently than any other area of the building.
Plumbing, Electrical, and Specialized Needs
Depending on the type of facility and the tenants within it, many property owners have to have a simple way for tenants to reach out for facility maintenance when it’s needed. Because of the medical risks that come with any leak, damage, or other property concern, there is often a sense of urgency in addressing medical facility maintenance needs.
Having professionals available to address needs right away for specialized and complicated concerns is a must. For example, climate control concerns can lead to health issues. If there’s an electrical issue in an examination room, that could put the patient’s needs at risk. Plumbing issues can create health hazards for highly vulnerable populations.
Another area of concern that requires ongoing maintenance is the HVAC system. These areas tend to require routine maintenance and preventative cleaning to keep them operating properly. In some situations, there is also the benefit of adding humidity control and whole building air purification systems. This may help stop the spread of illness or other concern.
It’s also necessary to have a team available to handle biohazard risks. Whether that includes someone to maintain and clean medical exam rooms or handle accidents and emergency situations, having a team readily available to manage these biohazards is critical. That’s even more important in surgical facilities.
Specialized Facility Management Is Essential
From the roofing system to the foundation, medical centers have unique challenges that are not the same as a traditional office building – even if no acute care happens on the site at all. Having a specialized facility maintenance team to handle these tools and the proper methods for tracking the preventative maintenance completed is critical to ensuring that these locations operate safely. Ultimately, their ability to do so defines how well patients are cared for by the healthcare providers within these systems.
Facility management in medical centers is a very important service. It should be a high priority for all who manage and operate the property.