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Spring into safety

April 1, 2015
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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Right now, I’m in the middle of spring cleaning. It’s a deep cleaning and not much fun. On the other hand, when the work is completed, there’s a satisfaction to knowing that filters and batteries in protection devices are changed, carpets are clean and the dirt and debris are out of the picture—at least for a while.

Owning and operating a long-term care (LTC) facility is expensive. Staffing and maintaining that facility is expensive, too. And for residents, living in a facility is expensive. With all this expense, is it any wonder that LTC providers balk at government regulations on federal, state, county or city levels. To slow down the rate of scrutiny and regulation on safety matters, an ounce of prevention is worth a mountain of insurance claims and government regulation. Keeping a facility in top shape is smart business.

When visitors and prospects enter, do they just see a surface clean building? Or can you assure them that it’s not only visibly clean and safe, but that every effort is made to protect their loved ones from harm? Fire, smoke and carbon monoxide poisoning are a few of the dangers that threaten residents and property.

Spring is the perfect time to inspect, repair, install or improve the systems that keep the building safe—and healthy, too.


Heating systems worked hard this past winter across most of the country. A seasonal inspection can prevent major repairs or replacement. Fire-suppression systems benefit from this seasonal checkup, too.

The simplest, and probably most inexpensive, item on a maintenance checklist is to make sure fire, smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are in good shape and have fresh batteries.

Does the facility run on fossil fuel? Called “the invisible killer,” carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Inhalation can cause illness or death because it mixes with blood and prevents oxygen absorption.

In the laundry or the kitchen, it’s a great time to inspect and replace worn hoses or address any leaks to prevent the costly damages caused by flooding or fire.

Check out the air ducts. If they need to be cleaned, this is a great time to do it. Many residents—and even staff—suffer from allergies, and removing dust and dirt from the air helps to alleviate respiratory stress.

Go outside and take a walk around the grounds. Some problems that might need to be addressed are uneven sidewalks that can lead to trips, falls or litigation. Are benches seated on the ground securely? I’ve visited some facilities situated on park-like settings with picnic tables and grills. Take time to inspect the grills for any damage.

Finally, on your outside inspection, inspect the vegetation. Are shrubs too close to the building? Are there any cracks in the foundation, or are loading docks directly exposed to the outdoors? All these areas can be an invitation to a pest infestation. If necessary, fix these problems now or consult a pest control professional.



Sandra Hoban

Managing Editor

Sandra Hoban


Sandra Hoban has been on Long-Term Living’s editorial staff for 17 years. She is one of...