Occupants contentment in elderly care centers

Publication, 2016


H. C. Leindecker, M. Ruschak - Occupants contentment in elderly care centers - Sustainable Technology, Pinkafeld, Austria, 2016, pp. 163-170


ABSTRACT: Occupants comfort can be assumed to be at the top of the quality pyramid for sustainably optimized buildings. In elderly care centers the right balance between occupants comfort, care satisfaction and thermal comfort, which are inseparably linked together is es-sential to guarantee a comfortable living environment for the residents as well as healthy and satisfying job conditions for the geriatric nurses. Furthermore, due to the demographic change in Austria more and more people will have to rely on elderly care centers and are in-fluenced by this topic. The aim of this project was to evaluate and if possible improve the occupants´ comfort in the elderly care center Haus Neustadt situated in Wels. Therefore, a detailed questionnaire covering the subjects of thermal comfort, room air quality, acoustic comfort, light and building automation was developed and distributed to 105 residents and employees of the care center. Overall, the results of this study give a good overview about the preferences of the care centers occupants and point out the differences of residents and geriatric nurses about thermal comfort. It is shown that with relatively simple measures the occupants´ comfort and subsequently the care satisfaction could be improved significantly. The main discrepancies have been pointed out about the topic of thermal comfort. Whereas the residents feel relatively comfortable at an indoor temperature level of 23°C which is au-tomatically adjusted by the heating system, this temperature is felt as too warm by the employees who have a higher metabolic rate due to their working activity. Additionally, the human thermal model established to regulate the indoor air climate in buildings by using Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) and Predicted Percentage of Dissatisfied (PPD) is not suitable for older people and especially for people suffering from dementia. 60 % of the study partici-pants felt that the room air in the building is too dry and 48 % of employees working in the building are suffering from health impairments caused by dry air. The existing spray humidi-fier installed in the ventilation system of the building is out of service. This project (Ruschak 2016) has been carried out in the course of the interdisciplinary rese-arch project MOFNUG (Modularer Fragenkatalog zur NutzerInnenzufriedenheit in Gebäuden). In a next step the results of this study should be compared with the results of a klimaaktiv - certified care center in Wels which is currently under construction and a benchmarking tool should be developed and established.