How to Design Healthcare Facilities to Combat Infections

How to Design Healthcare Facilities to Combat Infections

Healthcare Facilities are Reassessing Building Design

Over the past few years, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have had to reassess how and where they treat patients. As a result, many are investing in new designs that not only enhance patient experience and ease staff burden, but also make these spaces safer by maximizing infection prevention features. While physical environments can have a significant impact on safety, historically, hospitals have not been built with the explicit goal of enhancing patient safety through facility design. 

Considering Patient Care Standards

Patient care standards should be a consideration throughout any healthcare design process, whether it be a new facility built or necessary renovations to combat today’s HAIs and keep patients safe. Room, floor, and facility layout can affect pathogen spread and ease-of-IP measures. Patient safety-centric decisions such as patient room groupings and centralized support areas to reduce staff walking distances allows facilities to maximize efficiency, reduce operational costs and offer better patient care. Research shows that designs can compensate for human cognitive failings and, in the case of the healthcare field, help reduce pathogen spread. Three recent studies on this topic were reported by Health Facilities Management.

According to HMC Architects, a leading healthcare environment design firm, a facility that is designed to support infection control makes the jobs of healthcare providers that much easier and, in many cases, may even save lives. Their recommendations include:

  • Antimicrobial finishes and materials that more easily maintain the high level of cleanliness 
  • Fewer horizontal surfaces and minimal crevices where debris can collect
  • Regularly and frequently spaced hand wash & sanitizer stations
  • UV disinfection systems that offer disinfection beyond manual cleaning and can quickly sterilize environments between patients

Designing for Ease-of-Use

Part of the design process should also take ease-of-use into consideration. IP and EV professionals must have access to every part of a room and be able to maneuver top-of-the-line IP equipment easily throughout the facility. Choosing tools that are highly usable, therefore, should be a priority. For example, being able to easily move a UV device both within a room and throughout a facility ensures that all targeted areas receive the necessary direct light in the fastest time to address the quick room turnaround time needed in today’s busy healthcare settings.

How UV Light Can Help

Procedure Room

For settings where fixed-UV systems are more appropriate, solution providers should provide clear placement recommendations based on the space. This diagram shows a typical dental office floor plan along with proper positioning of a UV system to maximize disinfection efficacy. Note the fixtures are on opposite walls and centered on the patient chair/table so all targeted surfaces are exposed to UVC light when the system is in operation to disinfect.

Keeping patients safe from HAIs is no simple task, but IP-driven design decisions are a key part of the equation. Contact us to get more information on how UVC disinfection can help reduce harmful pathogens in targeted areas  of your healthcare facility.