Tips for Infection Control Monitoring in Hospital Construction

If you were roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving, you would never put it in the oven and not look at it again until the time it went off. When you’re cooking, you have to keep an eye on things in case you need to make an adjustment along the way.

Infection control is the same way. You cannot simply put an infection control process in place and then never think about it again. Instead, you need to have a plan in place to monitor your infection control measures and verify that they are being carried out correctly over the course of your hospital construction or renovation project.
Following are a few tips on how to monitor your infection control practices to keep patients safe and your facility compliant.

Designate an Infection Control Owner

Without one person in charge of infection control procedures, it is nearly impossible to monitor those procedures. Designating an infection control ‘owner’ does not mean that this individual must complete every infection controltask themselves, rather it means that they will need to keep track of what has been done and what needs to be done, then delegate those tasks to the proper parties, and follow up on their completion. By giving someone ownership over infection control monitoring, you significantly increase your facility’s chances of staying compliant.

Dedicate the Necessary Resources

Like any other facility processes, infection control for faciliites managers means the need for resources not only to implement but also to monitor. The right infection control procedures can literally save lives, which means it should not fall to the bottom of the facility’s priority list. Dedicate the necessary resources to the process, including time and money, and you will find that it is a worthwhile investment.

Monitor Negative Air Pressure Areas for Compliance

Negative air pressure is required in many containment areas to keep dangerous pathogens from traveling from a construction zone to a patient area. Unfortunately, negative air pressure can also be difficult to maintain without the proper precautions in place. Monitoring the areas of your facility that require negative air pressure means regularly observing and testing the air pressure process and ensuring that all equipment functions correctly. The two best methods for monitoring a negative air pressure area are using a manometer or deploying a simple visual test with smoke or a flutter strip. 

When negative air pressure is not in place, HEPA filtration may be called for; wherein monitoring means regularly changing filters.

Never Stop Learning

Perhaps most important in ensuring that infection control protocols are in place and are doing the job required of them is to stay vigilant. New infection control products, including anteroom infection control, portable dust containment carts, and modular containment walls, are constantly being introduced to the market and making things easier. It is essential that infection control personnel, whether they are hospital employees or contractors, stay educated on what is available so that they can continually monitor and update their infection control practices.

Monitoring your infection control protocol is certainly not among the most glamorous concerns. However, if you are a facility manager or a construction professional, the better you can monitor infection control, the more value you are adding to your facility and the happier -- and healthier -- patients will be.

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