Discovering Potential Pitfalls in Healthcare Facilities

People enter a hospital or continuing care facility to get well, and every facility does its best to make that happen. Despite the best efforts of medical staff, one in 25 patients contracts a hospital-related infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, medical personnel are exposed to infectious diseases and injuries from medical equipment, poor ergonomic design, and more.

An important step in improving patient and staff safety is identifying and eliminating or mitigating potential problems before they occur. In our experience as environmental engineering consultants to the health care industry, these are some of the more common pitfalls:

  • Inconsistent or poor air quality either in particular areas or throughout the facility.
  • Possible spread of contagion in rooms with shared patient occupancy.
  • Poorly maintained or inadequate anti-bacterial dispensers and hand-washing facilities.
  • Renovation and construction activities that release dust and contaminants.
  • Failure to properly use medical equipment and follow safety protocols.

Recommendations

Before these pitfalls become problems, take some preventive measures by:

  • Regularly monitoring your facility to ensure it complies with all the requirements of the Clean Air Act including the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. (See my blog post EES Hospital Air Permit Program for information about our program to help you meet and even exceed the requirements.)
  • Ensuring that air filtration and ventilation equipment is adequately performing in all parts of the facility.
  • Keeping your air filtration systems clean and dry to eliminate the growth and spread of bacteria and mold.
  • Replacing multi-patient rooms with single occupancy ones wherever possible.
  • Isolating and monitoring areas during and after renovation or construction to prevent the spread of airborne pollutants and infections. (Watch for a blog post later this month with Recommendations for Effective Oversight during Construction/Remodeling Projects.)
  • Providing required health and safety training to all personnel, performing regular compliance audits of all staff, and requiring compliance as a condition of employment.

We appreciate the challenges you face and offer a range of services to help you not only meet the requirements, but exceed them. We also are committed to sustainability and can work with you to improve the environment of your facility while contributing to a sustainable environment for everyone!

Please contact us at Environmental and Engineering Solutions or call us at 215-881-9401 to discuss your needs and how we can help meet them.

In the next blog, we’ll give you some tips for effective OSHA oversight.

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