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Getting building systems Y2K-ready.

Whether large or small, nursing homes are as vulnerable to potential building infrastructure impacts from Year 2000 problems, as are large commercial buildings, institutions, public service suppliers and government facilities. In general, there are two basic types of Operating Infrastructure (OI) systems that can be affected by the Year 2000 date change: 1) manufacturing and process, and 2) commercial and institutional buildings. Nursing homes fall under the commercial/institutional category.

Within nursing homes, there are eight major control systems vulnerable to Year 2000 failures:

* HVAC, including automatic temperature controls, energy management and building management systems;

* electrical systems, including lighting controls and emergency generator standby power;

* fire and life/safety systems;

* nursing station communicators and patient-monitoring devices;

* security/access/egress control;

* telecommunications, including PBX, FM portables and wireless monitoring;

* alarm monitoring systems; and

* accounting systems, which include billing, patient scheduling, etc.

There are three major components in each of these systems that need to be evaluated:

1. "Front-ends," usually PC-based workstations. The workstations, as well as the operating system software and application software, will most likely be vulnerable to Year 2000 impacts.

2. Control panels or embedded microprocessors, which might process dates, need evaluation.

3. Interconnected systems, for example fire alarm systems, might be connected to air-handling systems to initiate a shutdown in the event of fire.

What, specifically, can fail in the nursing home setting? Halliwell Engineering, a firm that has conducted more than 1,000 audits for Y2K in commercial buildings, many of which were nursing homes, has found that the major concerns for nursing home operators are the systems with personal computers (PCs), fire alarms, heating controls, telecommunication systems, accounting systems and various interconnections of these systems.

Needless to say, if you want to test all of your systems now to determine if they are Y2K-compliant, you have a very small window of time; you are probably standing in line with all of the other latecomers. There is, however, an alternative to testing. Halliwell Engineering recommends:

1. conducting an inventory of all of your Year-2000-vulnerable systems, including system interconnects;

2. researching the Y2K impacts with the manufacturers to determine how they will perform; and

3. developing a report that addresses the adjustments, upgrades and replacements required to become Year-2000-ready. This can be done quickly and economically when compared to on-site testing.

Remember, failing to become Year-2000-ready for particular systems could expose your ownership and management to claims and possible litigation for the recovery of damages. Hopefully you will have no problems - but, if you haven't done so already, get started now on making sure.

NEW PRODUCTS

Smoking Receptacle

The Smoker's Outpost[R] from csl, inc., answers the need for an aesthetically pleasing receptacle and holds 1000s of cigarette butts before it has to be emptied. The Smoker's Outpost is oxygen-restricting by design, so that when a butt drops through the funnel and hits the chamber, it smothers quickly. The receptacle is easy to clean; made of fire-safe, high-density polyethylene; and can be secured to the premises. Also available is a 21-gallon waste receptacle.

Equipment Washer

Aqua Phase[TM] Medical Equipment Washers provide infection control and labor savings. Mid-State Stainless, Inc.'s automatic, stainless steel washers feature adaptations for effectively washing wheelchairs, as well as carts, containers, stands, tanks and more.

The innovative stainless steel, dynamic fluid-distribution system and high-grade components offer long-lasting, trouble-free operation. With varying features and price levels, Aqua Phase fits into any facility's cleaning protocol and budget.

Housekeeping Cart

Geerpres, Inc.'s new Escort Maid's Cart is a low-cost housekeeping cart for facilities on a tight budget. The all-metal construction has an attractive, low-maintenance, light gray textured epoxy powder coat. The cart offers 55% more storage space than plastic carts and a lockable metal cabinet that ensures security and minimizes theft and safety issues.

Energy-Recovery Ventilators

Mitsubishi's Lossnay[TM] energy-recovery ventilators (ERV) are an affordable way to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in long-term care facilities. The ERVs utilize the patented Lossnay[TM] energy-exchange core that provides highly efficient total enthalpy (heat and humidity) exchange. Fresh incoming air is automatically preheated or precooled, depending upon the season, dramatically reducing ventilation energy loss. Models can handle airflow from as little as 110 CFM (cubic feet per minute) to 12,000 CFM and higher.

Nonslip Acrylic Spray

Bondex International has introduced Skid-Tex, a nonslip acrylic spray specially formulated for use on interior and exterior surfaces to help prevent slips and falls. Skid-Tex is made with a unique crystal-clear ingredient that is tougher than spray epoxies in providing a uniform, long-lasting and durable safety coating.

Aerosol Skid-Tex adheres to most surfaces, including wood, concrete, metal, glossy painted surfaces and ceramic tile. It is ideal for use on porch and basement steps, laundry areas, handrails, ramps, walkways, patio blocks and other surfaces where slip resistance is required.

Vapor Sanitizer

Vapor Blitz II, from AmeriVap Systems, is a totally electronic, chemical-free sanitizing system. Super-heating water to 290 [degrees] F in a stainless-steel tank, it produces high-temperature steam vapor that quickly and easily dissolves calcium, grease, molds and other surface particles.

The mobile, user-friendly Vapor Blitz II cleans and sanitizes resident rooms, walkers, wheelchairs, nebulizers, IV poles, mattresses, bed rails and frames, and more. It also cleans tile and grout and removes tar and nicotine.

Alfred Colon is director of operations, Halliwell Engineering, Providence, Rhode Island. For more information, phone (401) 438-5020 or send e-mail to JLHalliwell@heainc.com.
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:making control systems of nursing homes Y2K- compliant
Author:Colon, Alfred
Publication:Nursing Homes
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:898
Previous Article:A community focus on CNA performance.
Next Article:Products.(ALUMINUM REACHER).
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