Patient safety is a top concern for everyone involved in the healthcare process, from the patient themselves to nurses and physicians to the hospital contractors who work to build and renovate the facilities. While a new healthcare construction project may not interact directly with patients, these safety issues should remain top of mind. Following are some of the most critical patient safety issues that facilities face today along with how you, as a contractor, can address these issues before they become a problem.
Atop nearly every list of patient safety concerns is infection control. The reality is that hospital acquired infections are a major concern in any healthcare facility. HAIs can not only cause extreme harm, or even death, but they also have a major impact on the facility’s reputation and ultimately on the hospital’s ability to provide quality care.
As a contractor, it is important to consider infection control during both new projects and renovations. When building a new structure, it is essential to ensure that all parts of the hospital to which patients have access are equipped with proper HEPA ventilation and that any containment areas are thoroughly separated from other patient areas. During hospital renovations, infection control is perhaps even more important for contractors and their teams. You should be sure that the construction area is separate from any patients and that any air that could pass between the two is first forced through a HEPA filtration system. Any member of the crew should be thoroughly trained on infection control, including how to safely enter and exit the construction area and how to ensure patients are never exposed dust, debris, and harmful spores from the renovation project.
According to the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, falls and their related injuries are the “most frequently reported adverse event among adults in the inpatient setting.” Like HAIs, falls can have serious consequences for both the patient and the hospital. In fact, the cost associated with a serious fall-related injury can be more than $13,000 according to The Joint Commission.
As a hospital contractor, is important to keep the possibility of patient falls in mind when working with hospital designer and with your crew to build or renovate a facility. While many of the intricacies of fall prevention design may fall to the project’s initial design, there are still things you and your crew can do surrounding this particular patient safety issue. For instance, be sure to interface with designers and/or administrators in regards to which areas of the facility may house patients at a high risk for falls and determine what design elements may help to improve the facility’s fall protocol.
Hospital Staff Safety
Patients in a hospital cannot be safe if the hospital staff that care for them are not safe. According to OSHA, hospitals and other health settings are some of the most dangerous workplaces for employees and have high rates of injury.
You are surely well versed in hazardous workplaces as a contractor. You and your crew can help to prevent hospital staff injury, too by ensuring your own workplace is as safe as possible. Renovations should be secure from any staff entering unsafe areas and new construction projects should keep staff ergonomics and health in mind as well.
It is up to the entire team of healthcare professionals to ensure that patients in the hospital setting are safe. Any new facility that you work on as a contractor should have patient safety top of mind from the ground up.