Magazine article Health Facilities Management

How Hospital Designers Can Help ES

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

How Hospital Designers Can Help ES

Article excerpt

Our knowledge of how to prevent health care-associated infections (HAIs) has come a long way since Ignaz Semmelweis identified that hand antisepsis between autopsy and obstetrical procedures reduced mortality. One such advancement has been in the area of disinfection.

The health care environment always will harbor microorganisms. This is largely because our bodies house 10 times more microbes than cells. We constantly shed these microbes, which contaminate the environment and enable transmission to others. Microbes capable of causing infections have an excellent opportunity to do so, as they can more easily invade the bodies of sick, hospitalized patients. However, this risk can be reduced through appropriate environmental hygiene.

Ensuring that the environment is clean and disinfected for patients can be difficult. Novel interventions such as targeted educational efforts, rapid feedback and touchless machines have shown varied success.

One reason that many of our environmental interventions have failed at reducing HAIs is that we are developing new products and technologies to disinfect objects in the hospital environment that were not manufactured to undergo disinfection (i.e., wood floors, carpet and upholstered furniture). Present technologies will not overcome this issue, but we need to begin thinking about how we can construct health care facilities to ensure that disinfection is possible and efficient.

Completing this task may seem daunting. However, if we look to other disciplines, it becomes apparent that the rationale, plans and proven effectiveness and efficiencies are already available. …

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