Better managed maintenance improves safety, compliance, resident satisfaction

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Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Ensuring that our senior living residents are able to live an independent, active and fulfilling lifestyle with a variety of services, from restaurant-style meals, a changing calendar of planned activities, outings and housekeeping, is a top priority for Kaplan Development Group. Yet managing facilities at our properties across several states, with complete transparency, to guarantee all residents' needs are met, can be a challenge. Over the past 18 months, however, automating tasks with software for senior living operations has helped us streamline all requests and improve the efficiency of our maintenance management programs.

Previously, we managed facilities and maintenance requests with a paper-based system that included tracking work orders in a binder. This process created several challenges, including limited flexibility and visibility to the status of maintenance and facility projects. If a family member asked about a particular request, it was difficult to quickly provide a status update. Also, if the executive director was out of the office, no one had access to the operations binder and no way existed to track requests and repairs.

Our administrators and team members needed a 360-degree view of our residents' maintenance needs on a 24/7 basis to remain effective. Ultimately, we needed a better system that would open the lines of communication and provide more transparency and access to other facility directors.

Since partnering with TheWorxHub by Dude Solutions in December 2014, we have been able to improve facility maintenance significantly. In addition, we can more effectively manage our capital expenses and offer our residents safer and more satisfying communities. With the software, we can quickly capture information about our facilities, gaining details at the property level on a daily basis. From housekeeping to maintenance, the operations software gives our team the visibility needed to offer residents excellent service while controlling costs, achieving compliance and better managing risk.

With our operations tasks now automated, we are able to streamline all of our initiatives to more effectively serve our residents. Given this ability, resident satisfaction scores across our communities have improved, as we can respond to requests in a more complete and timely fashion. Our concierge teams are some of the most frequent users of the system, and we can now track residents' most common service requests and needs, whether that be helping to hang a picture or fix a leaky faucet, and answer questions as soon as they arise. Additionally, we have better visibility into our facilities' needs, which has helped us save time and money when making the decision to repair versus replace various equipment, such as heating, ventilating and air conditioning units, as well as electrical upgrades, across communities.

From a safety and risk management standpoint, we have been able to more quickly identify and resolve potential hazards or safety-related issues in our buildings. With this improved insight and communication, we spend less time reacting to emergencies and are able to devote more energy on productive tasks that keep our communities operating. Valuable assets are properly cared for with regular preventive maintenance. A disciplined process for managing requests ensures that tasks are completed in priority order, meeting time and quality standards. Also, there is more accountability and a greater sense of urgency around efficiently completing work orders. We've managed to increase productivity and deliver better service.

Supporting compliance initiatives, our team is prompted to complete all safety-related and regulatory tasks at the appropriate time with our newly automated schedules. This includes full documentation and online access to maintenance histories on each piece of equipment, easing what was once a manual recording process. Reporting capabilities have helped support state inspections, as we can more easily report on life safety code regulations related to, for instance, fire drills, sprinkler system maintenance and elevator inspections.

As we aggressively grow over the next several years and maintenance plays a large role in the success of our communities, TheWorxHub will play a key role in ensuring that we deliver on our promise of quality service to our residents and in protecting our investment in the buildings and equipment. Our facilities are our second largest asset, after our employees, and they must be maintained efficiently for the care and comfort of our residents.

Mike Allen is regional vice president of Jericho, NY-based Kaplan Development Group, which owns and operates numerous senior living residences located in several states.

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