Care homes have a duty to keep their staff and residents safe. While there will doubtless be vigorous processes in place to safeguard people’s medical health and wellbeing, clearly, care must also be taken to keep residents and staff out of physical harm’s way as well. A major part of this aim is to ensure that the building and grounds are well maintained and prepared for whatever each season throws at them.
During the summer months, focus usually turns to the outdoors and ways to keep things ticking over on the outside of the building. Not to mention mitigating against higher temperatures and other seasonal challenges. Here are some outdoor maintenance jobs for care homes to focus on over the next few months.
Keep things cool
As temperatures rise, there are several things you can do to the outside of your building to try and keep the heat out and cool the air inside. Look at installing shades, shutters or awnings on the outside of windows that can be lowered or shut when the sun is at its hottest. You could also look at planting shrubs in the direct line of the sun so that they provide extra shade for the building, as well as a pleasant, green outlook for residents to enjoy. It might seem counterproductive, but ensuring that your care home has decent insulation that is in good repair will not only keep out the cold in winter, but it could also help prevent a building from letting in too much heat in summer.
If you are fortunate enough to manage a care home with beautiful gardens or grounds, you will already know that summer is a time when the work ramps up. Key areas to concentrate on include keeping the grass and plants watered – do this when the sun goes down to stop the water from evaporating too much or scorching leaves. Cut overgrown plants back and keep on top of the deadheading for bedding plants and perennials that flower more than once in the season. When cutting the lawn, raise the cutting height of your mower to keep the lawn green and healthy. Pay careful attention to containers to avoid them drying out and keep them out of direct sunlight unless the plants they contain particularly thrive in such conditions.
Dryer weather and warmer days allow for a far more productive building inspection schedule. Take time this summer to go over the whole building, checking for damage, cracks, leaks and pests. That way, you have time to book repairs and plan works well before the colder, wetter conditions of winter arrive. Check all systems inside and outside of the building too, such as air conditioning, plumbing, lighting and electrics. Clear out gutters, vents, or ducts and anywhere that might suffer from blockages built up since the winter. Mend any broken fences, gates, picnic benches etc. The more jobs of this nature you can get done over the summer, the easier you will find general maintenance later on in the year.
Safe summer cleaning
While you will certainly have a well-practised cleaning routine inside your care home, carrying out a deep clean outside is the perfect summer activity to ensure all-round cleanliness and safety. Some jobs can only be done in fine weather, such as power-washing driveways, paths and walkways. Always put up signs and take precautions to prevent residents and staff from slipping on wet surfaces. Clear away any overgrown greenery or branches that could be spilling out onto paths, causing a trip hazard. Wash all windows to clear any smudges and allow maximum light to enter the building. The same goes for external light casings – dirt on the surfaces can reduce the amount of light that gets through. Wash all outdoor furniture too and make sure everything is still fit for purpose.
Get ready for the autumn
We’re not trying to wish the summer away, but it is never too early to start planning for the colder months. If you have time, sorting out more wintery tasks now can help save valuable time and effort later in the year. Examples might include servicing the boiler, bleeding radiators, feeling around doors and windows for draughts, insulating pipes, checking the drains work properly and replacing broken light bulbs. You may also want to start planning autumn or winter works, using your Care Vision software to book in repairs or schedule annual servicing appointments.