Always a key issue, infection control gained even greater urgency with news in August 2007 that Medicare will no longer pay for treatment of “conditions that could reasonably have been prevented,” including hospital acquired infections.
Here are four steps to help prevent the spread of harmful airborne particulates and maintain safe, comfortable air quality:
- Establish physical barriers to isolate potential sources of harmful airborne particulates: patients with indicators of infectious diseases, wall and ceiling-based repair, or renovation of cavity and plenum.
- Control air pressure to ensure air moves from clean to dirty environments.
- HEPA-filter the air to remove airborne particles.
- Monitor and verify performance using air pressure/flow testers and airborne particle counters.
Of course, just because these steps are straightforward doesn’t mean they’re easy. Constant diligence is required to make sure indoor air systems are operating correctly, proper airflow is being maintained and best practices are being followed. If a disaster or casualty event affected many people in a community, local hospital permanent isolation rooms could easily be overwhelmed.
Temporary isolation solutions are needed for patients that cannot be easily relocated to permanent Airborne Infection Isolation (AII) rooms or when these rooms are occupied. They are also a necessity for any jobs that generate airborne particulates in or near patient areas. Contractors play a central role. They must ensure that their work is isolated from the patient environment so air in patient areas is not compromised by airborne contaminants.
Under guidelines of the American Institute of Architects and the Joint Commission, even minor construction and maintenance projects require an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA). Contractors will work closely with the healthcare facility’s infection control practitioner to assess the risks, agree on countermeasures and report on performance during the project.
Assessing the Level of Risk
The level of infection risk depends on the disruption required for a project (painting poses little risk, while heavy demolition and new construction is much more risky) as well as the sensitivity of the area affected (office areas are low risk, while intensive care, burn units and AII facilities are highest risk). The combined level of risk determines the infection controls necessary for a project. The ICRA panel must inspect the installation of infection control measures and monitor their effectiveness throughout the project.
What We Can Do To Help
Visit our blog page often to read the latest information from our product lines.
source: “Temporary Barriers Prevent the Spread of Infection.” grainger.com Grainger, Web. Nov. 14th, 2017.
source: “How to reduce the spread of Infectious Disease s in Medical Facilities by using Banner Stakes Products.” bannerstakes.com Banner Stakes, Oct. 2017, Web. Nov. 14th, 2017.