When it comes to hospital and medical clinic construction it has always been important to design with infection control in mind but with the added complexity of the current COVID-19 pandemic it is imperative your design incorporates everything you may need in order to keep your staff and patients as safe as possible.
In line with the current government guidelines the standard precautions when it comes to infection control are:
- Hand hygiene and cough etiquette
- The use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- The safe use and disposal of sharps
- Routine environmental cleaning
- Incorporation of safe practices for handling blood, body fluids and secretions as well as excretions
So how can we design to incorporate these precautions in an easy to use and understand manner when it comes to your hospital or medical clinic construction?
In order to reduce the risk of disease transmission it is important to make the right design choices which include:
- Hand Sanitiser Stations – Good hygiene needs to start from the moment staff members or patients walk through your hospital or clinic’s front doors. In order to give everyone within your hospital or clinic some piece of mind, having a fully stocked sanitisation station available at the entrance is imperative. During times such as these the general mind set is that we will be somewhat protected with the use of hand sanitiser. By having sanitisation stations available, and most importantly, maintained (there is nothing worse than arriving somewhere to find an empty bottle of hand sanitiser or auto station that is dispensing air).
- Materials and Finishes – By using antimicrobial finishes and materials on surfaces that are considered high traffic areas you are reducing the risk of transmission between patients and staff members. Upholstery that includes a health grade treatment ensures your furniture has permanent protection against stains, fungus, bacteria and mildew and can be easily cleaned on a daily basis. When it comes to fittings and fixtures being installed into your new hospital or medical clinic construction copper is a fantastic inclusion as it has been found to exhibit extremely impressive antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties through the release of copper ions when microbes, transferred by touching, sneezing etc. land on the copper surface. Although stainless steel is seen as the more cost effective and cleaner option (due to the finish when cleaned), regular wear and tear can create indentations and scratches that leave valleys in which superbugs and viruses can reside and escape cleaning procedures.
- Reduce Exposure – Horizontal surfaces can be a breeding ground for germs, especially if they are not cleaned properly, so the best thing to do when going through the interior details of your hospital or medical clinic construction is minimise these areas. Not only does it give you less areas to worry about having cleaned properly but it cuts out the issue all together. Of course it is impossible to have absolutely no horizontal surfaces within your clinic but it is a good idea to reduce these surfaces where you can. Things like automatic doors and curtains, sensor taps and the specification of equipment with as few flat surfaces as possible can make a big difference
- Air Management – When it comes to smart air management in a medical environment natural ventilation and high level filtration systems should be in place in order to keep fresh air coming in while keeping airborne germs out, therefore reducing the risk of germs being recirculated throughout your clinic. Another factor that can be problematic is humidity, therefore humidity control is extremely important in order to reduce the transmission rate of certain microbes.
- Natural Light – It has been shown that sunlight has the ability to kill certain types of microbes and therefore letting as much natural light into your clinic as possible can be a huge benefit. Not only does it have benefits when it comes to hygiene but a room filled with natural light can also create a calming environment for patients and staff with a sense of bringing the outside in.
Of course there are many other factors that can be taken into consideration when designing your new hospital or medical clinic construction when it comes to infection control but these simple things can make a huge difference to patients and staff. Making it possible for people to feel comfortable within your clinic is a big asset to you and will help to promote word of mouth referrals, repeat patients and happy staff members.