The Importance of Indoor Air Quality in Care Facilities

The importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) has been at the forefront of many people’s minds in the last couple of years, given the severity of the pandemic and pollution in major cities. For those living in assisted living and memory care facilities, the need for proper ventilation and high-quality IAQ was a foundation of these properties far before the pandemic, but the need for well-supported infrastructure and comprehensive building systems has become all the more crucial now.

Just as COVID-19 affected everyone, so does air pollution and other airborne bacteria and hazards. Yet, the effects of these factors are much more severe in the elderly because they are more susceptible and at greater risk for health issues relating to poor IAQ. This is important to consider and mitigate in assisted living facilities as poor air quality can lead to, and worsen, chronic health conditions, such as lung disease, asthma, pulmonary disease, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious problems. Proper IAQ and ventilation are in turn smart and simple strategies to implement into properties to reduce the risk of health conditions and to support the safety and well-being of those in assisted living or memory care facilities.

In these facilities, residents are more at risk to serious illnesses and air-borne pathogens, such as MRSA and Norovirus. Indoor air purification systems can assist in preventing contaminants in a space, and have the potential to drive better health, wellness, and improved care with cleaner and healthier IAQ. Additionally, IAQ technologies also act to filter contaminants that prevent unwanted odors, which is of particular importance in a residential community facility. In this way, new technology can drive multiple solutions and new amenities for facilities, while improving the resident experience.

Moreover, as residents of these facilities and customers continue to adjust their expectations and requirements in light of recent years, property owners and operators will have to adjust accordingly as well.

IAQ Challenges in Assisted Living

However, there are obstacles implementing IAQ and ventilation solutions in the assisted living sector as it’s a fragmented market. Clean technology, and other process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts, hasn’t been able to break through in the assisted living market due to this segmentation.

It is important to consider that many owners of assisted living facilities tend to own a small number of properties, which can also make it difficult to implement systems across facilities and make a broad impact in the market. Yet, the need for IAQ and modern HVAC systems is vital, and as occupancy rates continue to slowly increase from pandemic lows, the need for owners to be able to meet resident expectations will be all the more important.

Operators Implementing IAQ Systems

Owners and operators can support the health and safety of their residents by ensuring that their building systems are as high-quality and up-to-date as possible. One way is to partner with companies that offer clean technology.

For example, Lumenant, which provides air quality and lighting technology solutions that improve the quality of life in senior living communities, is working with an owner of 140 assisted living properties to install IAQ systems throughout their portfolio. Already, 17 of these communities have implemented systems across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

Owners and operators who take advantage and capitalize on access to IAQ technology may enjoy lower vacancy rates, improve health and safety for residents, and drive public and stakeholder confidence across properties and portfolios. The reported measurements from IAQ also provide information used to monitor and improve overall energy management and efficiency. Altogether, improving air quality can go a long way to improving the health and well-being for those living in assisted and residential living facilities while simultaneously increasing efficiencies for owners and operators.