Why Facility Management is so Vital in the Healthcare Sector
Facilities Management (FM) is an essential part of any business. However, it’s particularly vital for the healthcare sector. In addition to everyday maintenance and operating tasks, healthcare facilities need to think carefully about patient experience, as well as delivering a secure and sterile environment for vulnerable individuals. Many businesses struggle to handle Facility Management services internally, choosing to utilise the support of third-party providers. Here at Brosnans Property Solutions, we’ve been leading the way in the field of commercial, residential, and healthcare facilities management for more than two decades.
As with any sector, FM in the healthcare industry allows for smooth day-to-day operations and can produce significant time and cost-saving benefits. However, healthcare facilities require far more investment in FM to ensure staff have a safe and secure environment in which to work and patients receive a high level of care.
In the case of a healthcare facility, maintaining high levels of cleanliness simply isn’t enough. Infection control and decontamination need to be the base standard. Furthermore, monitoring electrical and safety systems for faults doesn’t just prevent disruption to a working day, it can make the difference between life and death.
What Does Facilities Management (FM) Mean?
In short, FM refers to the overall maintenance of a company’s buildings and equipment. This maintenance can involve things like roof repairs and boiler service, as well as general handyman services and property maintenance. Facilities and workplace management can also involve monitoring security systems and electrical systems, as well as ensuring all health and safety standards are being met. This is particularly important in the healthcare industry when it comes to managing risk and mitigating liability concerns.
Many businesses choose to outsource FM to third-party providers to ensure facility management best practices are being adhered to. By investing in a third-party provider, you can ensure everyday objectives are being achieved and service level standards are consistently delivered.
Furthermore, you benefit from improved efficiency across all FM processes and industry-leading expertise and insights from multiple industry sectors. Finally, you can be confident that you’re using a cost-effective solution, with no need to worry about in-house budgets spiralling out of control.
FM Benefits for the Healthcare Industry
In addition to the benefits outlined above, facility management holds unique importance for the healthcare sector. Below, we highlight some of the most crucial ways in which FM impacts medical facilities and other premises within the healthcare sector.
1. Make a Great First Impression with Patients and Visitors
For many patients, a visit to a healthcare facility isn’t without considerable stress and worry. You can help alleviate this by adapting your facilities to improve the patient experience. If a facility is operating in the private healthcare sector, this is even more important. After all, patients have a choice about the facilities they use. If your premise leaves a bad first impression, you’re unlikely to establish any sense of loyalty.
Start by considering obvious factors like front of house customer service. Having friendly staff awaiting patients at reception only goes some way in making a positive first impression. Overall cleanliness is vital, while comfortable furniture can alleviate stress and improve patient experience during waiting times.
Private healthcare patients expect a high level of service from the facilities they use. Therefore, FM needs to ensure that premises promote a sense of tranquillity and safety from the moment patients arrive, right up until the moment they are discharged after treatment. This can be achieved by simple things like neutral colour aesthetics in waiting areas and treatment rooms.
It’s also important that reception areas are comfortable and generously proportioned. Overcrowded common areas give the impression of a facility being overstretched. If a patient has a bad experience at this point, there’s a good chance they’ll look elsewhere when pursuing further treatment in the future.
High noise levels can also be detrimental when it comes to managing a good first impression. For inpatients, constant loud noises can impact sleep patterns and impair healing times. Many private healthcare facilities choose to invest in noise monitoring systems.
These are particularly useful for keeping sound levels in check during the nighttime, but they’re invaluable during emergencies.
The Importance of Ventilation
Some people accept unpleasant odours as an unavoidable presence in healthcare facilities. In the private sector, there’s no excuse for not keeping bad smells at bay. Depending on the ailment they’re suffering from, some patients may find their symptoms exacerbated by the presence of odours.
An easy way to combat odours and improve air quality is to invest in reliable ventilation systems. Ventilation ensures pleasant air quality is consistently maintained. It’s particularly important in reception areas and waiting rooms, but is also vital in shared wards and private rooms.
2. Improved Waste Management
Many general best practices can be applied to the healthcare sector. If you’re looking to improve environmental standards for staff and patients, FM can be used to encourage better waste management practices.
Signage and Smart Bins
When choosing signage, it makes sense to be direct, but avoid adopting an aggressive stance. You’re looking to build awareness of the benefits of cleanliness. Child-friendly imagery can be a great way of engaging young patients and visitors, while also giving adults a gentle push.
If you’re utilising bins equipped with smart sensor technology, make sure there’s sufficient guidance on how to use them placed nearby.
3. Infection Prevention Control
Every healthcare facility needs to prioritise infection control. Hospital-acquired infections are particularly common in the public sector and, if left unchecked, isolated cases can quickly spread to other patients and staff.
Any healthcare premises need to have adequate facilities in place to sterilise equipment and safeguard patients and staff against infection. If your facility is using UV light as a sterilising tool, make sure your teams are fully trained on how to use them. Constant monitoring of operating suites and treatment rooms is essential for keeping bacteria at bay.
Even a minor incidence of contamination can lead to a facility-wide outbreak without proper measures in place. This may not be an issue for healthy staff but can prove lethal for immune-suppressed patients and particularly young or old patients.
One of the best FM best practices for the healthcare sector is investing in a dedicated cleaning and decontamination service. These efforts can be bolstered by ensuring you have robust ventilation in place with advanced filters to protect against the spread of airborne diseases and purify the air.
4. Automated Technology Improves Efficiency
Another significant benefit of FM is improved efficiency. FM can coordinate things like patient records, maintenance and cleaning schedules, medicine and equipment levels, and more. By maintaining a clear oversight of all of these metrics, there’s no barrier to providing first-rate care to every patient on your books.
With automated technology at your disposal, you’ll be provided real-time updates on critical issues. It can also be used to monitor feedback from discharged patients, as well as gather insight into everyday energy consumption. For the private healthcare sector, ready access to this information is incredibly useful.
Automation is also valuable for maintaining electrical and lighting systems. Emergency lighting is particularly vital to the healthcare sector and should be regularly checked for faults. Even a spent bulb can present a significant issue in the case of an emergency, so being able to identify exactly when the services of an electrician are called for is a must.
5. Keeping Costs in Check
A well-maintained healthcare facility will generally be cheaper to run. By stamping out waste and improving energy efficiency, you’ll experience a significant reduction in day-to-day operating costs. However, dedicated FM yields more significant cost-saving benefits.
In the healthcare sector, risk and liability can prove particularly expensive. If patients are exposed to malpractice or experience injury while they are in your care, you’ll find yourself liable for hefty compensation costs. By ensuring your facilities and medical assets are properly serviced and maintained, you can protect yourself from the considerable costs of medical negligence claims.
Speak to the Team Today
Ready to outsource FM to an experienced third-party provider? Here at Brosnans, we’ve been leading the way in FM for more than two decades. We have extensive experience in the commercial, residential and healthcare sectors. Our full-cycle approach means you can be confident that all of your maintenance requirements will be met.
From everyday cleaning and handyman solutions to expert plumbers and landscape gardeners, our extensive service offering ensures your healthcare facility stands apart from the competition.
Without having to dedicate in-house teams to everyday maintenance tasks, you can refocus your attention on caring for patients and establishing your facility as a centre of healthcare excellence.
With industry-leading experience in the maintenance of security solutions, fire safety systems, plumbing services, electrical works, and much more, we’re the best choice for full-services healthcare facilities management in Ireland. Ready to discuss how we can help you? Get in touch online today or call 1850 911939 to speak to the team directly. While you are waiting for a reply from us, you can read our blog about facility management best practices.