From the December 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Mobile trailers may generally be temporary, but a few months of use still provides plenty of time for problems to crop up, especially if no one is paying attention. Mobile medical trailer maintenance experts shared what they see when mobiles pull into storage parks, and it’s not always pretty. Keep your mobile running at its best for as long as you need it by following these tips.
Lifts and stairs are some of the most important trailer details to pay attention to, as a failed rail can send a patient toppling.
“Look out to see if the lift does not move up and down in a smooth motions, the lift moves more slowly than normal — a sign there’s a battery issue — or the lift deck is not level when the lift is going up or down,” advises Gary Rawlings of S&A Operations. Call in for maintenance if you notice any of those signs.
HVAC systems generally cause the most trouble in mobile systems.
“Be on the lookout for leaking from any part of the system (clear water is normal), excessive ice forming on the components, strange smells or smoke or a noticeable change in humidity, lights dimming when HVAC components start, strange noises like thumping or grinding, or abnormal vibrations, which can cause issues with the scanner,” advises Rawlings.
Check over their shoulders
You may not think of performing PMs on a mobile unit, but hopefully, your trailer provider did.
“You want most PMs every three months, to go through the filters on the AC and check out other environmentals,” says Rich Greb from Image Technology Consulting. “You want to be aware that the person you’re renting from did that. It’s not your financial responsibility, but it is if the system goes down.”
Ideally, call a maintenance person who’s familiar with mobiles, even if they’re just looking at the AC, though Greb notes that the person doesn’t necessarily need medical trailer-specific experience.
Ronnie Taylor of SVSR, Inc., recommends giving a trailer a visual once-over when it pulls in, and if someone comes by for a maintenance problem.
“Unfortunately, sometimes the people you hire to do maintenance on trailers just don’t do their jobs,” says Taylor. “You can look at the cleanliness of a unit after a tech’s been there and tell whether he’s done a good job. Check the filters — you can even check for fingerprints to see if they did a truly thorough cleaning.”