Construction and renovations in a medical facility can raise serious concerns about dust and debris. When the air quality is not protected, it can compromise a patient’s health. Understanding the proper procedures and necessary equipment is crucial before any construction begins. Finding the right equipment that meets ICRA standards while utilizing a HEPA filter should be at the top of your to-do list if construction occurs in your facility soon.
Meet ICRA Standards
Infection Control Risk Assessment (IRCA) is a process that helps you determine how likely it is that a patient can be infected and ways the facility can combat this risk. An IRCA specifically targets the air and water within a facility and how a construction zone can negatively affect those elements.
Once the initial test is complete, an IRCA helps you identify steps to decrease the health risks to those in the facility. Steps 1-3 are the most detailed, while steps 4-14 are important but on the shorter side. With each examination, there are multiple steps that an ICRA must follow.
Step 1: Determine the Construction Type
Before you tackle any of the other steps, you must determine what type of construction the project is. There are four ICRA levels of construction for hospitals. Each type assigns a level of intensity to the project.
Type A includes all non-invasive jobs. Plumbing, electrical, painting, and removing ceiling tiles are all types of construction that fall into this category. While they can potentially create debris, generally, it is a clean task.
Type B is short jobs that may create a small amount of dust. This could include installing cables or cutting into walls.
Type C jobs produce more dust and include simple demolitions. Sanding, wall building, and ductwork are all examples of Type C projects.
Type D includes large demolitions and construction projects that could take multiple days to complete. As the project progresses in levels, more dust and debris will accumulate.
Step 2: Determine the Risks
Once you understand the type of construction that will be held in your facility, you must determine the risk for patients. Information like where the construction will take place and who resides in that area is crucial to know their level of risk. Office areas are low-risk because the workers will likely have healthy immune systems. However, the health risks increase as you progress into different areas throughout the facility. Cardiology, radiology, physical therapy, and endoscopy are units classified as medium risk. High-risk areas of a medical facility include the CCU, emergency room, surgical units, and labor and delivery. Meanwhile, any area that cares for immunocompromised patients is considered at the highest risk.
Step 3: Determine the Best Solution
Once you have determined the patient risk group and construction type, you must find the combination that best fits your situation. Once you have found which best fits your project from Step 1 and Step 2, you will find your Class of Precautions. These classes are extremely detailed by simple definition, explaining what steps you must take to keep patients safe. Class I (Green) is simple. All you have to do is clean up after the work is complete. Class II (Yellow) requires you to seal off the designated workspace and follow proper cleaning guidelines after completing the project. Class III (Purple) is more extensive.
It requires you to block any airflow to and from the room completely. Class IV (Red) is a whole new extreme. HEPA filters, negative air pressure, and sealing every crack are necessary for this class. Every precaution you could take would be required and must be inspected by the Safety Department and Infection Prevention & Control Department. Once the job is finished, proper cleaning by the Environmental Services Department is also required.
Steps 4 - 14
These final steps ask questions to help you better understand your facility and how the construction can leave an impact. Check out our facility managers' blog for steps 4-14. It covers everything from the number of isolation/negative airflow rooms to the type of handwashing sinks. These steps ensure you cover your bases and do not miss any details when preparing for construction in your medical facility.
What is Sustainability in Healthcare?
Within the healthcare industry, it has become increasingly important to offer quality care without jeopardizing the environment. Sustainable healthcare may not always seem easy for hospitals, but more and more medical facilities are realizing the benefits. With enormous amounts of waste coming from hospitals alone each year, it is crucial for medical facilities to invest in long-term equipment. HEPACART® products are designed to support your facility for years.
We believe that durable and reliable products can improve the hospital’s environment while making strides for sustainability. Plus, once you retire your equipment, you can recycle any HEPACART product because they are made of recyclable aluminum.
HEPACART Designed to Meet ICRA Standards
With any construction site, you will need the proper tools and equipment to ensure people in your facility remain safe and healthy. At HEPACART, we design products that can help you meet ICRA standards. Products like our HEPACART® Classic and HEPACART Auto Lift mobile containment and filtration units comply with all ICRA precaution classes, from I through IV. They also use HEPA filters to purify any air within the construction zone.
Meanwhile, our AnteRoom Classic provides a space for workers to clean off any debris and dust before leaving the construction zone and entering the common area.
For higher-risk projects, having an airtight seal around the construction can help keep immunocompromised patients safe. Our STARC® Systems LiteBarriers™ and RealWalls™ can be the perfect solution. As you can see, the systems we offer can be valuable tools for any construction project, especially within a medical facility. These products represent a small few of the state-of-the-art equipment we offer. Each product is specifically designed to eliminate dust and debris and help your facility have proper air quality.
Center for Disease Control's Role in Hospital Construction
The CDC® requires hospitals and medical facilities to conduct an ICRA before any construction begins. Patient care is the most important goal of any hospital and is one of the motivations behind the CDC. When construction or renovations take place, it can be a health hazard for patients. The CDC steps in to help ensure that the patient’s health remains a top priority amid busy construction.
How HEPACART Can Help You Meet ICRA Standards
We know that the health of those within your facility can sometimes be an overwhelming responsibility. Especially during construction. We designed our HEPACART equipment with HEPA filters to make your job easier and eliminate some of the stress. With our dust contamination products, you can be one step closer to meeting ICRA standards. To learn more about our products and how they can keep your facility’s air clean, download our pricing guide.