How to decide between Planned and Reactive Maintenance for your Aged Care Facility

As much as we may wish it weren’t true, every asset in any workplace requires maintenance. For an aged care facility, these problems can severely impact your day to day responsibilities and the wellbeing of residents. This is why a well thought out approach to maintenance is an essential part of running an aged care business. Maintenance services are required to meet legislative, regulatory, lease, contractual and operational requirements.  The purpose of a structured approach to maintenance and repairs is to enhance the experience of users by providing a reliable and consistent facility performance that exceeds expectations. We look at Planned and Reactive Maintenance to help you decide the best approach for your company.

Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance should be quick, convenient, efficient and reliable. Alerting a maintenance provider via telephone can be disruptive, slow and make it cumbersome to record valuable asset performance data. A log-in is a far more efficient way to notify a service provider of building or building service problems within office hours.  Generally a response within thirty minutes to that issue advising staff of an approximate time that the logged item will be serviced/rectified would be reasonable.

As for after-hours, an emergency phone number that can be used at any time including public holidays where repair and maintenance requires attention is the most appropriate means of communication. The data can then be entered into the asset data base at the next work day opportunity.

Following contact by means of either web or by phone the most suitable and available contractor will be dispatched to remedy the fault and feedback should be provided.  

A structured reactive maintenance system based upon an asset register like that described above has all bases covered.

Planned maintenance

All planned (as well as reactive) maintenance tasks should be performed and be compliant with AS 4801 which is the safety standard and compliant with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. All works should be preceded by an induction, a safe work method statement and a risk assessment where applicable.

Planned maintenance can be performed by in-house maintenance staff or external contractors.  The main point being that it is scheduled work in accordance with the asset supplier’s warranty and service manuals. This pre-arranged work often focuses on core aspects of the business and endeavours to service the asset before they fail and/or need to be replaced. For example, planned maintenance in an aged care facility could include the heating/cooling system, the upkeep of flooring, laundry equipment, grounds or elevator maintenance. All of these assets are crucial to the day to day functioning of the facility and therefore the manager may be relieved to have a planned approach to compliance and the requirement for the facility’s assets.

This approach has many advantages, including extending the life of assets and equipment due to appropriate and scheduled maintenance over time. However, it’s important to understand that although this method significantly reduces the chance of equipment failure, it does not rule it out completely.

Making the right decision for your facility

A structured approach is essential in a high compliance environment such as an aged care facility and probably in every industry. To assess for your facility, imagine what no system would look like. The Maintenance Officer would probably be ‘in-charge’ of everything; data wouldn’t be captured for superior future decisions regarding assets amongst other things.  And, while a structured approach has many more advantages than any lesser strategy, any process should be documented and be less reliant on people than it is reliant on the process itself.

Remember, every blessed asset, and the damned ones too, require maintenance. When it comes to the upkeep of your aged care facility, a structured process is indispensable. That maintenance process is, after all, to provide a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all residents, carers, staff and workers.



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