Medical Construction & Design

JUL-AUG 2018

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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28 Medical Construction & Design | J U LY/AUGUST 2018 | MCDM AG.COM BY ALEXA COPELAND For healthcare providers, few realities are more painful than seeing the place people go to get well — the hospital — become the place people can get sick from expo- sure to infection. Healthcare-associated infections are also costly for healthcare systems' bottom line, extending the length and complexity of hospital stays and sometimes triggering costly litigation and denial of payments by insurers. While the roles physicians, nurses and healthcare facility staff play in reducing and eliminating HAIs are well understood, what may be less widely appreciated is the crucial role designers and architects can play by working with hospital stakehold- ers to alleviate environmental surface pathogen contamination, a signifi cant component to HAI prevention. Ten years ago, studies on patient-zone surface contamination highlighted the need to improve and advance cleaning practices, as many HAIs are passed through direct contact. Subsequently, acute care hospitals have years of experience implementing contact precautions to prevent HAIs. Since 2010, while many HAIs have decreased slightly, recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confi rms the rate of decrease is unfortunately slowing. Improved preven- tion strategies are proving more and more important. Stopping the spread of these infectious germs, bacteria, viruses and organisms requires a multidimensional ap- proach, including enhanced disinfection, improved hand hygiene and antimicrobial management. These combined preven- tive strategies are collectively known as "horizontal implementation," aiming to reduce the risk of infections caused by a broad range of pathogens by using stan- dard practices that are eff ective regardless of patient-specifi c conditions. (In contrast, the phrase "vertical interventions" is used to describe interventions targeting specifi c pathogens or conditions.) Most healthcare systems now wisely choose horizontal implementation strategies, which can not only provide better protection against most HAIs compared to vertical interven- tions, but do so in a more cost-eff ective manner. Three key areas where designers and architects can make important contribu- tions to horizontal implementation of HAI prevention are the design of air-handling systems, physical surfaces in healthcare facilities and the no-touch technology systems (including ultraviolet light and hy- drogen peroxide) used to disinfect them. It's in the air Thanks to architectural and engineer- ing regulations that standardize certain building systems like required air changes per hour in ventilation systems, many KEEPING HOSPITALS HEALTHY Battling healthcare-associated infections with smart design 17K+ United Brotherhood of Carpenters members that have trained on ICRA best practices since 2004 — Infection Control ISSUE FOCUS 1 in 25 hospital patients contracts at least 1 HAI on any given day — BY THE NUMBERS

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