Cutting Costs in Long-Term Care Facilities

How to Save Lives and Cut Costs in Long-term Care Facilities

Long-term care facilities were severely impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Over 20% of all US COVID-19 deaths occurred in long-term care facilities. Long-term care facilities are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of respiratory diseases because you have high occupancy density and shared living areas, and your patients are medically vulnerable. Reducing airborne pathogens decreases the risk of illness and infection. Replacing air filtration with air purification can eradicate over 99% of airborne pathogens while decreasing your electricity costs by up to 20-30%.

Using HVAC Systems for Air Filtration

After the devastating impact of COVID-19, long-term care facilities increased focus on protecting patients against airborne pathogens. Many facilities attempt to remove pathogens by cycling fresh air from outside and using air filters to capture and remove contaminants from the air.

While cycling and filtering air will improve air quality, the number of air changes you need to complete per hour combined with the filtration required to reach acceptable air quality levels consumes a lot of energy and puts stress on HVAC systems.  

  • The more effective the air filter, the more difficult it is for air to flow through the HVAC system. Air filtration systems in healthcare facilities should have at least one filter that has a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 13 or higher within the system. This level of filtration requires more energy to compensate for the increased airflow resistance.
  • Unless the air outside is the exact temperature the facility desires, outside air must be heated or cooled to keep residents comfortable. This can be extremely expensive for seasonal locations such as winter in Chicago or summer in Florida, Arizona, or even New England.

These factors increase both your monthly electricity costs and HVAC maintenance costs, since the HVAC system is working harder to force air through the system and regulate the air temperature to ensure patient comfort.

At the same time, the constant cycling of outdoor air requires more frequent filter changes because air filters that are not changed frequently enough can actually worsen air quality. The relative humidity in the air combined with the captured particles over time creates an environment that’s conducive to mold and fungus growing on filters and in air ducts.

Cost is not the only concern with relying on air filtration to improve patient health. Air filters are not effective against some airborne pathogens. Filters are designed to capture particles of a certain minimum size, but smaller, very harmful pathogens can slip through the cracks. COVID-19 is 0.12 microns but standard HEPA filters only capture particles down to 0.30 microns. Additionally, HEPA and MERV rated filters do not filter out environmental contaminants, including smoke from forest fires, smog in large cities, and other external pollutants known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

Replacing Air Filtration with Air Purification

Replacing air filtration with air purification can improve your facility’s air quality while reducing costs. In a recent study published by Oxford Academic, a long-term care facility that installed an advanced air purification system realized a 98.83% reduction in pathogens, a 89.88% reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOC), and a 39.6% reduction in healthcare-associated infections (HAI). This advanced air purification system was designed to comprehensively remediate VOCs and all airborne pathogens including all airborne bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Removing pathogens decreases the risks of illnesses and infections, but the air purification system provided even more protections to patients. VOCs are chemicals that can vaporize into air. They are found in thousands of commonly used products, including paint, varnish, wax, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Exposure to VOC vapors can cause a variety of health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches and loss of coordination; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system. Some VOCs are suspected or proven carcinogens. Removing VOCs from long-term care facilities can improve both your patients’ health and comfort.

Healthcare-associated infections are infections people get when other patients and staff members inadvertently spread germs in long-term care facilities. Reducing HAIs reduces secondary infections in your patients, enabling better patient experiences. By effectively eliminating both airborne and surface pathogens, the advanced air purification system demonstrated a dramatic reduction in HAIs.

The comprehensive removal of airborne contaminants has proven to have a direct positive impact on the health and wellness of these long-term care facility residents.

Aire~LTCX – LifeAire’s Air Purification System for Long-Term Care Facilities

Replacing filtration with purification can improve air quality while reducing costs. LifeAire’s air purification for long term care (Aire~LTCX®) has an airborne pathogen kill system that eliminates the most infectious pathogens – including COVID-19, C. diff, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and influenza – in a single pass. This results in reduced transmission of harmful airborne pathogens, which helps mitigate risk of disease transmission.

LifeAire’s air purification system was designed to achieve this high level of air purification on a single pass, enabling significant energy savings by reducing the number of required air changes per hour. You can realize additional savings by using filters with lower MERV ratings. Since LifeAire does not require constantly cycling air from outside into the facility, your long-term care facility can save tens of thousands of dollars each year in utility costs and significantly extend the life of your HVAC equipment.

On average, facilities devote approximately 60% to 70% of their annual electricity budget to HVAC costs. Replacing air filtration with air purification can decrease that cost by up to 30% every year.

LifeAire’s air purification system has been clinically proven in peer-reviewed studies conducted at hospitals and long-term care facilities to eradicate 99.99% of airborne pathogens and 96% of harmful surface pathogens in a single pass. The Mayo Clinic, Yale University, Stanford University, and other leading healthcare organizations rely on the technology to protect staff and patients.

Contact LifeAire today to learn how you can improve patient care while decreasing HVAC and electricity costs, improving your bottom line.