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Secrets of ICRA Containment: The Ultimate Guide to Mitigating Risks


In the complex arena of medical facility management, mitigating risk isn't just an ideal; it’s an absolute necessity. When patient safety and compliance are on the line, understanding and implementing the Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) protocols is your best line of defense against the spread of disease and other types of contamination. In this blog, we will shed light on the essential practices of ICRA healthcare construction and offer insights into how to protect your facility from a wide range of air quality risks most effectively. From identifying construction types to choosing the right equipment for your project, we'll guide you through the ICRA process step by step. Let’s dive into the details and explore new ways to enhance containment and safety using ICRA strategies together. 

Implementing ICRA 2.0: The Secret for Safer Facilities

From construction projects to renovation overhauls in your healthcare facility, any kind of project brings with it a certain level of risk to your patients, staff, and visitors. Beyond the risks, these disruptions also bring with them interruptions to daily schedules and potential disturbances to critical care activities like surgeries, procedures, and movement from one area of your facility to another. In order to maximize safety and minimize the impact on your facility’s normal activities, make sure that you understand your ICRA classification and follow the associated guidelines and procedures. To do this, you’ll need to identify the project’s type, risk level, and affected population. 

Identifying the Type of Construction (A, B, C, D)

First and foremost, pinpointing the type of construction involved in your project is critical. ICRA categorizes construction activities into four types: A, B, C, and D. Each type represents a different level of complexity and potential risk, ranging from minor repairs with minimal impact (Type A) to major construction projects that require extensive infection control measures (Type D). By understanding the appropriate risk level, you can be sure that your safety measures are in line with the level of risk that you’re dealing with. By doing this, you’re better equipped to keep everyone in your facility safe even through the most intense construction or renovations. 

Assessing Risk Levels in ICRA: From Low to Highest

Once the type of construction is established, assessing the risk level associated with the project is the next most important step. ICRA risk levels are broken down into 4 categories depending on the severity of the risks posed to your facility and everyone inside. These risk types are low, medium, high, and highest. Along with each risk type comes another customized set of standards and procedures to keep your facility as safe as possible during any kind of construction project. These safety measures for each project ensure that the intensity of your safety practices matches the level of risk to your facility and its populations. 

Aligning Patient Safety with Construction Types: ICRA’s Class I-V System

After identifying both your construction type and risk type, you’ll then use the ICRA matrix to find the point where both of these categories crossover on the grid. This will tell you exactly which Patient Risk Group you fall into, on a scale from I to V, based on the type of project you’re completing and the level of risk that your project poses to the populations around your facility. 

Class I might involve standard precautions for low-risk areas, while Class V involves stringent measures for highest-risk zones like operating rooms or intensive care units. This step ensures that the containment strategies are not just efficient but also specifically tailored to the patient groups that will be impacted.

ICRA’s Comprehensive Steps

ICRA containment doesn't just stop at these three initial steps. There are a total of 14 steps in the ICRA guidelines process, and each is critical in crafting a comprehensive containment strategy. These steps cover everything from establishing powerful containment barriers to handling waste and debris. Looking for a more in-depth look at these next steps? Explore our full guide to ICRA guidelines and procedures for more information. 

Infection control is about maintaining a healthcare environment that is safe, clean, and conducive to healing. Every aspect of hospital maintenance, from the handling of equipment to the renovation of an entire hospital wing, must be approached with a mindset of minimizing patient exposure to pathogens, microbes, air pollution, and any other potentially harmful materials. Each and every person in your facility deserves to be treated with the highest level of care — from patients, to admin staff, to visitors — and ICRA guidelines make the process of keeping everyone safe streamlined and simple. 

How to Build an ICRA Equipment Dream Team

Once you understand the value that ICRA guidelines bring to your construction or renovation project, the next step toward the highest level of safety and compliance is to create a lineup of machinery that is built to meet and exceed the high standards of ICRA. To get started, you’ll want to make sure that you’re choosing the right equipment and then continually keep track of how they’re performing. 

Choose the Right Equipment for Effective ICRA Implementation

A key element of getting ICRA into action is choosing the appropriate equipment for your facility and your needs. For example, it's important to keep the area where work is being done separate from where patients and staff are to help prevent the spread of airborne particles and germs. In this case, equipment like our own HEPACART® AnteRoom can powerfully protect your facility from the spread of infection and potential contamination. The AnteRoom is able to do this by acting like a barrier between one room and another, keeping potential disruptions to a minimum. Even better, pairing a HEPACART AnteRoom with a negative air machine can give your infection control a boost because contaminated areas can be equipped with negative airflow. This means that air will only flow into a contaminated space rather than out of it. When you set up your facility with this kind of equipment, you’re literally able to control the direction in which potentially dangerous air particles are moving.

Navigate ICRA Standards: Trusting the Guide to Ensure Safety

In today’s healthcare environment, adhering to the highest standards of safety and protocol is more important than ever, but there is a wide range of information out there about how to keep your facility and its patients and staff safe during construction projects. To maintain the highest levels of safety, you must continually assess your current processes and products to ensure they align with the latest ICRA guidelines. Our ICRA guide is a comprehensive resource that can simplify the complex ideas of ICRA and walk you through health and safety solutions tailored to your project type and risk level.

ICRA: Your Secret to a Healthier Facility

As a facility manager or healthcare professional, your role in mitigating risk is to not only understand the safety concepts and protocols of ICRA but also to communicate with your teams to make sure everyone is on the same page. By leveraging the insights and strategies outlined in our guide, you can take proactive steps to ensure a safer, more controlled environment. Remember, effective risk management is a continuous process of learning, adapting, and implementing best practices. Dive deeper into our ICRA resource to learn more about state-of-the-art risk mitigation strategies and how to easily implement them into your hospital or medical center. Ready to elevate your facility’s safety standards?


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