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Case study: An urgent handrail upgrade for Maplewood Care Home, Ontario

Upgrading care homes is a real challenge for owners and managers who must provide the most up-to-date, safe and aesthetically pleasing interiors for residents and their families, while also being mindful of the disruption that any necessary remedial works will inevitably cause.

Elderly and vulnerable care home residents tend not to cope well with noise and mess, and can become distressed if their surroundings or routines are disturbed from the norm as a result of work being carried out.

At Belroc, we consider these types of jobs one of our biggest strengths.  Over the past two decades we’ve developed incomparable expertise and a unique methodology that enables us to work within live healthcare environments while minimizing disruption to clients and staff.

A great example of this was a project we recently completed at Maplewood Long-Term Care in Brighton, Ontario. 

Maplewood is a 49-bed, single level care home offering private, semi-private and standard accommodation for seniors and people with additional needs, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.  This residential home places huge emphasis on the comfort and independence of its residents, and provides spacious, attractively-decorated interiors as well as some wonderful outdoor space where residents can engage in activities such as a horticultural program.

Infection control concerns

Back in 2015, Maplewood approached Belroc to express an interest in replacing its internal handrails, which were beginning to show some wear and tear, and prepare for budgeting.  No work was completed at this time. When they were ready, Maplewood reached out again in 2020 seeking to move this project forward as a matter of some urgency due to the unfolding global healthcare crisis. Owing to this, the project needed to be split across the fiscal years 2020 and 2021, in order to alleviate budgetary constraints.

The scope of the project included the demolition and removal of the existing, mostly wooden handrail, and installation of a new moulded vinyl handrail that would be safer and more hygienic for residents, while blending effortlessly into the homey interiors at Maplewood.

Once the scope of work was accurately defined, we moved into the direct phase of our project process – completing detailed measurements and identifying the best product for the job and ensuring the client was fully satisfied with this, before delivering all materials to site to facilitate a smooth installation with no hold-ups or hitches.

Sensitive working in a live setting

The installation was completed by Belroc’s Brandon McCamley and carried out using our trusted method to minimize potential risk as well as disruption for residents.

Brandon explains: “Safety is a big priority on live installs so we work using an incremental method to minimize risk and upheaval.  I create a zoned-off area, as small as it can practically be, so that I can complete the work in small sections – cleaning up as I go and moving along the hallway in stages.”

As it turned out, this was a truly memorable project for Brandon, who ended up having a very special helper in the form of a very active resident who quickly built up a reputation as the best man for the job!

A knowledgeable handyman with previous experience in property maintenance, this resident made himself useful at Maplewood, by helping maintenance manager Calvin Tracey with odd jobs. On learning that a new handrail was about to be installed, he was keen to help out and took great pleasure in accompanying Brandon, keeping a watchful eye that the work was being carried out to an appropriate standard and offering some valuable pointers along the way.

The best feedback

Calvin commented: “We would like to extend our gratitude for a job well done by Belroc at our Long Term Care Home. Your installer Brandon worked well with myself and our staff to ensure that the installation went smoothly. Brandon was able to move to different locations in our home for installing at different times throughout the day so that staff would be able to perform their duties while maintaining safety for our staff and residents. 

“We also have a resident here who Iikes to work alongside me and Brandon took the time to have this resident interact with him.  For this I thank you, the resident enjoyed watching these new railings being installed. The railing looks amazing!  I have attached photos of our new railing and we have received a lot of feedback at how well they look in our home.  On behalf of Maplewood we extend our thanks for a job well done.”

We’re delighted with the feedback on this job and even more delighted that we completed the work without creating any difficulties for the staff and residents of Maplewood.  

We would be happy to discuss a future upgrade of your care home and alleviate any concerns you may have about carrying out refurbishment work with residents in situ.  Contact Dan Lawrenson today to get the ball rolling –