Environmental pathogens are all around us. For a healthy body, this isn’t much of a threat. Our immune systems step in and protect us against them. However, for a person with a weakened immune system, pathogens can cause serious infection. This makes their presence in healthcare environments extremely concerning. Pathogens paired with a weakened immune system cause Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs). 2 million people develop HAIs each year. Of those, 110,000 patients die*. This is why infection control is taken so seriously in healthcare settings.
When construction, renovation, and maintenance activities enter the picture, the level of infection control usually observed in healthcare settings is compromised. Many new factors are introduced to the healthcare environment that can derail infection control plans and put patients at risk. These types of projects introduce new people, materials, and bacteria. For example, construction materials increase the levels of dust and chemicals in the area and demolition activities can spread harmful bacteria and mold spores. Nevertheless, construction is vital to maintaining building code, health code, and allow for advances in the industry.
What can we do?
Each project presents unique risks and problems and requires its own Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA). ICRAs help to determine how the work will impact infection control and what measures will need to be taken to reduce the risk of HAIs. Containment carts, site-specific training, and knowledge about patient risk groups are a few of the many tools to help protect a healthcare facility and it’s patients. Careful inspections, as well as collaboration between hospital officials and the construction team, is also vital to the process.
CC&N is an expert in Healthcare construction bringing over 34 years of experience, infection control processes, familiarity with JCAHO & DHS, and a long history of experience with major Healthcare networks. Click here to learn more.
*Source: AMI Environmental: https://amienvironmental.com/why-does-construction-lead-to-infection-control-problems/