The UK population is ageing. With scientific breakthroughs and improvements in medical care, we live longer and, for the most part, healthier lives. While more of us will enjoy greater longevity it also means that increasing numbers of people will require some form of care in later lives.
Residential care in care homes and similar settings will be something that more people will experience. According to an estimate by Age Concern, there were 4,699 nursing homes and 6,023 residential Care homes in the UK as of 2017. If the country’s growing care needs are to be met these numbers will need to rise.
Care homes need to meet a range of standards when it comes to safety. Residents need to be able to move safely around the building, and with that in mind care homes will usually feature some kind of lift. It’s essential that the right lift is installed to meet the needs of a home’s residents, but how do you go about choosing the right lift for your premises?
The role of lifts in care homes
Accessible and easy to use lifts help to extend the mobility and independence of residents. For residents who require a high level of care, such as 1:1 or 2:1 carer assistance, using a lift helps to safely move residents around the building. Lifts not only assist residents, they also help carers to safely fulfill their duties, particularly when it comes to manual handling.
What types of lift are used in care homes?
The type of lift used in any care home will depend on the requirements of the residents and the layout of the building. There are two types of lifts that are most commonly used in care homes. While passenger lifts are the most desirable, a fact recognised in the building regulations, site constraints often mean they’re not practical.
Passenger lifts can accommodate a significant number of people and equipment. In care homes, the most common sizes are 13-person and 8-person models. These can travel efficiently over a number of floors allowing for safe, comfortable movement throughout the building. Both have enough space to accommodate equipment such as a wheelchair.
Platform lifts offer a potential solution where passenger lifts are not appropriate. They can travel up to 12 metres, but at a steadier speed than passenger lifts, and are more suitable for occasional rather than continuous use. These can be a cost-effective option, but don’t offer as much space to transport residents and equipment throughout the property. Because of this, if it’s possible to install a passenger lift in your premises then it’s definitely desirable that you do so.
What to consider
There are a number of different issues you will need to consider before choosing a lift for your premises.
Firstly, what kind of mobility issues do you residents have? If mobility is very limited for some of your residents it’s important that the lift can accommodate their requirements when it comes to equipment and carers.
Residential care homes and nursing homes with a higher number of residents with severe mobility issues may not only require larger lifts, they may need a larger number of lifts to ensure that everyone can be moved around the building as efficiently as possible. It’s worth bearing in mind that accessing the lift space can take some time for residents with the most severe mobility needs. In some instances, it may be urgent to move someone from one floor to another and if one lift is in use, this can lead to delays.
As well as considering mobility issues, it’s also important to bear in mind that residents can have sensory impairments or cognitive issues that present challenges when it comes to using lifts. Issues such as dementia in particular can make lift use problematic and worrying. In all of these circumstances the specification of the lift can have an impact. Controls should be easily understandable, and handrails clearly visible. Care should be taken with announcements so they’re not startling to residents with dementia.
Professional advice and guidance from Concept Elevators
If you’re considering installing lifts in your care home, Concept Elevators can provide professional advice and guidance. From installation to maintenance and modernisation, we provide our care home clients with a comprehensive service to support them in delivering care to their residents.
Contact us today to find out more.