The Importance of Airflow and Ventilation Design Systems in Aged Care Facilities

Importance of Airflow and Ventilation Design Systems in Aged Care Facilities

Improving the quality of living for our senior citizens has spurred the need for practical design innovations in aged care facilities. These three compelling issues are the main drivers for this imperative:

  1. The challenges of providing, maintaining, and complying with optimum health and safety levels in the wake of COVID-19.
  2. Findings from The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that resulted in 148 reform recommendations.
  3. With the increasing elderly population, more attention and greater compassion must be given to provide better standards in our aged care system.

Aged care facilities have changed over the years – from their historic roots as poorhouses and asylums to traditionally designed institutions with long corridors and bland surroundings. Itis time to move forward with new design solutions to address these issues and uplift our senior citizens’ standard of living.

The Small House Model

Among the recommendations mentioned in The Royal Commission’s report was to apply the “small house model”. This was originally conceived in the US to de-institutionalise senior living conditions. Since residents have always lived in family homes, it would stand to reason that they would feel more comfortable living out the rest of their years in homely accommodations, rather than in an institutionalised aged care facility.

The small house model is more human-centred to provide a sense of normality and independence. A small number of senior citizens will reside in this house concept where they can have individual bedrooms and can access the kitchen, dining, and living areas.

In a 2015-2016 Flinders University study, researchers concluded that home-like models with fewer residents provide better living standards, improved health benefits, and lower rates for hospitalisation and emergencies. To quote from the findings, “Clustered, home-like models of residential aged care led to better quality of life for residents.”

The Pandemic Impact

Last January, Covid-19 outbreaks were reported in more than 700 aged care homes across Australia. According to public health researcher Dr Sarah Russell, director of Aged Care Matters, “Many of these large aged care homes are not designed to cope with an airborne virus. For example, in many homes, it is not possible to open windows in residents’ rooms. Without good ventilation, Covid has spread like wildfire in aged care homes.”

Incidents like these have heightened the urgency to explore design alternatives of aged care facilities. Sadie Burling, a registered nurse and Health & Ageing Business Development Manager at Australian construction company Paynter Dixon, has also remarked on this issue. “The pandemic has shown that even the newest of buildings doesn’t always accommodate some of the infection control processes that are required during a pandemic.”

Design Guidelines to Improve Ventilation in Aged Care Homes

Five key points were identified to guide architects and building designers in transforming aged care institutions into more humane and liveable spaces for the elderly. These are: maintaining air quality, regulating interactions, protocols to control infection, creating outdoor spaces, and managing admissions area. Ensuring that senior citizens receive optimum ventilation 24/7 in these facilities is a vital necessity that must be prioritised.

Elderly residents, particularly those in traditionally designed aged care institutions, spend up to 20 hours a day indoors. Access to natural air can be difficult, especially for those with limited mobility or residents with dementia who need to stay in their wards for security reasons. Whilst most aged care homes have windows that can be opened manually to allow natural ventilation, this is not always the case for the rest of the year. Windows are often kept closed during the colder months to keep occupants warm.

This presents a major concern as it severely limits the flow of natural air, especially in corridors and large common areas of the facility. As a result, the residents are exposed to low ventilation and risk inhaling harmful pollutants, dust, mould, bacteria, airborne viruses, toxic fumes, and cleaning chemicals.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided evidence to suggest that a high risk of infection can occur in areas with insufficient ventilation. The WHO highly recommends that health care facilities – including aged care institutions – should install appropriate ventilation systems. This will help to prevent the spread of airborne infectious diseases and to manage the quality of indoor air.

Whilst air purification devices may help to decontaminate indoor air, a more sustainable solution is needed to increase fresh, natural airflow and maintain indoor air quality. Technological innovations must be applied to provide real-time decontamination and a safer environment with cleaner air.

Safetyline Jalousie: supporting a safer, healthier, more comfortable senior living environment

There is no doubt that louvre windows have always provided the best solution for maximising air flow and ventilation in buildings.

In the past however, traditional louvre windows have been overlooked in aged care settings due to safety, security, fire and other regulatory obstacles.

Safetyline Jalousie, in conjunction with its strategic partners, has developed a solution to overcome these obstacles and deliver innovative ventilation options for all buildings.

There’s no longer any need to compromise on ventilation.

The SmartAir System couples Safetyline Jalousie’s high performance motorised louvre windows with sensor activated control equipment that can detect unhealthy c02 levels as well as climate and temperature changes. This will trigger the windows to open (and close) automatically – removing the need for constant human input — to allow the continuous circulation of fresh air, reduce odours and harmful elements in the indoor air, and support safer breathing spaces for the most vulnerable residents.

Additionally, the system is adapted to recognise morning or night purges, interlock air conditioning, automatically close due to rain or wind and also automatically lock for security.

With the SmartAir system, Safetyline Jalousie hope to play our part in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our aging population and help provide a better standard of living. We also believe that every project and space is entitled to the benefits of motorising and automating the monitoring and control of air quality.

For aged care projects across Australia, including retrofitting existing projects along with both present and future builds, Safetyline Jalousie offer the opportunity to add our SmartAir louvre motors to any windows quote completely free of charge.

By offering motorised louvre windows at the same cost of manually operated louvre windows we hope to alleviate any cost prohibiting factors that would influence the quality outcome of the project.

For more information about the positive effects of louvre windows in senior living facilities, view a digital copy of our brochure on “Louvre Windows: A Breath of Fresh Air for Aged Care Facilities” plus download our full SmartAir System proposal.

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Ali Asmar

Business Manager - VIC & SA

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As the most recent addition to the Safetyline Jalousie family, Ali is still coming to terms with the fact that a typical telephone conversation will often be answered with “You’re calling from Safety what”? followed by having to sound out and spell the name “ja-lou-sie” (it happens to us all). Born in Lebanon, Ali has moved around a lot over the years, living in Cyprus, Sydney for most of his Schooling, as well as China and Hong Kong. He currently resides in Melbourne where he spends a lot of time in his garden or doing some sort of work around the house. (Not too dissimilar to many other Melburnians following the onset of Covid). With a very obvious cultured background, Ali is warm and talkative and he’ll get you talking too.

Romile John

National Business Manager

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One of the Safetyine Jalousie originals, Rom (often mistaken for John) holds a great passion for the product. He says its “its innovative, a market leader and ever-evolving, very much like the company itself”. When you meet Rom, it is apparent that he is well-educated and well-travelled. Coming from a family of medical professionals, they moved around extensively and often. Last count was 125 countries. So nearly all of them! It’s really no surprise that Rom has mastered packing a weeks-worth of clothes and necessities into a carry-on bag. And when we say clothes we actually mean meticulously prepared outfits and accessories. When Rom enters a room, you’re sure to know it!

Adam Racomelara

National Manager – Partnerships & Strategy

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Adam is our strategist and big ideas generator whose somewhat reserved nature could have some mistake him as a bit of an introvert. But that’s only until this quiet thinker is given a whiteboard and a marker – and then there’s no stopping the dialogue! 7 Years in at Safetyline Jalousie, Adam is continually expanding on his knowledge of the construction industry and is incredibly driven in his pursuit to help create better buildings via the use of better products. When Adam’s not on his quest to improve Australia’s built environment he’s spending most weekends escorting one of his 4 young kids to birthday parties, sometimes multiple parties. He has some stealth survival tips for other parents currently in the same predicament.

Michael Cocks

Factory Manager

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Michael has become recognised at Safetyline Jalousie for his continually changing hairstyles (facial hair included). Buzz cut, undercut, dreadlocks, even a mullet. We’ve see it all. His current man bun could even be gone before we finish this sentence. Always up for a laugh, friends and colleagues love a chat with Michael, and his easy-going and approachable nature has earned him the respect of all staff. In fact, he even has a cohort of followers on the factory floor sporting his same hairstyles. Outside of work Michael has recently turned his attention to mountain bike riding. His very first ride ended with a pretty serious accident resulting in a deep puncture wound to his leg– it’s been a sore topic for his leg and his ego.

Jonathan Gueudinot

National Logistics & Production Manager

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Our South American Native, Jonathan is more simply and better known as “Chilli” (no need to try and guess his country of origin). After 16 years of military service, Chilli joined the Safetyline Jalousie team for what he describes as “a change of pace”. Although his average work day might look very different these days, there’s no doubt that Chilli’s previous experience has contributed in shaping a culture of commitment, community and comradery within the production team – the very important engine room of our company. Driven by a sense of accomplishment, in addition to running Safetyline Jalousie’s production line with military precision, Chilli has recently been studying hard to complete his Master’s Degree in Business and Logistics.

Mandy Saliba

Marketing Manager

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Mandy has been with Safetyline jalousie since day one so would technically be considered a geriatric in “Jalousie years”. Whilst her role has changed and evolved over her time with the business, one thing that hasn’t is the happy and fun, team culture that she says “continues to make each day at work a joy”. As a mum of two little ones, Mandy thrives on new challenges and a little bit of chaos. Although, as a self-proclaimed clean freak, she ensures that all forms of chaos are kept in a very neat and tidy manner. We’ve also observed that Mandy appears to have an inherent fear of colour and will almost only ever be seen in black or white (or sometimes grey if she is being really out there).

Lisa Spinks

Office Administration Manager

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As a busy mother of 4, Lisa is highly skilled in organising, delegating, and troubleshooting – the proficiencies which she also demonstrates in her daily management of the Safetyline Jalousie office. Lisa tells us that she lives by the saying “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger”. (No doubt she’s had to use this little piece or personal encouragement from time to time to deal with our infinite requests)! Always on the go, Lisa has a very active lifestyle and starts every day with a walk to the beach with her husband and two dogs. Of an evening she still has the energy to spare for star jumps and squats in her makeshift gym/ (our office) before heading home to her other full-time job as “mum”.

 

 

 

Nathan Rust

Founder & National Operations Director

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The younger brother of the co-founding sibling duo, “Nath” is the go-to for just about every technical, install, and manufacturing enquiry that comes via the business. Very early on, Nath’s product knowledge and problem-solving ability saw him organically take on the role of Operations, overseeing the design and management of Safetyline Jalousie’s behind-the-scenes work. When he’s off duty (and not answering a million questions), Nath enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 young kids. You’ll find him cheering on his son at weekend sports, enjoying the water somewhere along the Northern beaches and this lover of food is generally always planning his next big meal. Preferably a Lebanese banquet if anyone can suggest a restaurant he doesn’t frequent already.

Leigh Rust

Founder & Director

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Leigh aka “Wolfpack” is one-half of the driving force behind Safetyline Jalousie and comes with two decades of experience within the Australian manufacturing and construction industry. The multi-award-winning entrepreneur and father of three youngsters is a passionate advocate for supporting Australian-made goods and improving the built environment for future generations to come. Always up for a challenge, Leigh never sits still and is constantly pushing himself to test his physical and mental endurance. He’s given just about everything a go. From amateur MMA fights, triathlons, or personal development endeavours, Leigh stands by the motto, ‘I never lose, either I win or I learn’.

Sign up to receive access to our complete Design Manual & more

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Safetyline Jalousie Design Manual Version 3

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Safetyline Jalousie Design Manual Version 3