National Health Care Facilities and Engineering Week
By Rachael A. Oelke, CHC, Healthcare Project Manager
Healthcare facilities are subject to frequent updates and renovation, and Kraus-Anderson’s healthcare project teams are routinely working in proximity to patients, medical staff and delicate equipment. It is a complex collaboration that requires close communication with, and sensitivity to, supporting the vital ongoing systems and procedures happening all around us. I have recently been making weekly job site visits to review progress at a hospital undergoing some remodeling. During these visits, I notice the Director of Facilities is always on his way to or from a meeting, yet makes time to pop his head into the construction area, just to see if we need anything. This got me thinking about the challenges facility managers in our healthcare environments face right now and what it meant to have his care and concern for even a few minutes.
You are responsible for providing an environment for the best patient care possible from the beginning of life to the end of life and all of life’s health needs that take place in between. Every day you face issues around staffing, management, scheduling and production. Not to mention keeping up with new regulations and reference standards that are always changing. As reimbursements continue declining, the engineering team is asked to do more with less budget.
This year has provided a few unique challenges to your day to day responsibilities. With the pandemic, it has surely been challenging to operate a healthcare environment at occupancy levels the spaces were never designed for initially. Either being over full in some spaces or completely empty in other spaces for weeks and months. Keeping not only your own staff safe and healthy but helping hospital staff navigate options for air flow and pressure differential to keep patients and staff health added to your plate too. Then along came increased security measures with vandalism and property destruction on the rise even in rural areas. Should we continue by talking about the murder hornet nests and the unseasonable changes in weather we have been experiencing this year?
With all of these challenges you are faced with, I am honored to be a part of the team that supports you and your facility. You are maintaining complicated environments that help provide exceptional care in your community. Take a moment this week, during National Healthcare Facilities and Engineering Week to reflect on all you do for your patients, visitors, care givers, staff and administrators. You are truly extraordinary!