We invite you to review excerpts from various chapters from the ICRA Best Practices in Healthcare Construction training curriculum ...
Healthcare facilities are unique work environments compared to other construction job sites. Many healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes, provide services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A healthcare facility is often a self-contained community with food services, laundry, and power generation on site. They contain a variety of services, such as pharmacies, laboratories, and testing areas. Each of these support services presents its own type of challenge during construction work.
Often, patients and staff cannot be removed from the facility during construction or renovation work. Patients may be vulnerable or immune-compromised, which requires an awareness of infection control, especially during the demolition stage. Infection control is the discipline concerned with preventing the spread of infections within a healthcare facility. Work may need to be rescheduled or performed during off-peak hours when conflicts such as noise or disruption of daily activities to the facility are encountered. We all know these projects are necessary to keep these facilities up to date with current building codes and technological advances.
It is not uncommon to find mold, which can grow and spread undetected in a healthcare facility. If mold or fungi spores are inhaled or enter the bloodstream, serious infections or death could result, especially to immune-compromised people. When any mold is detected, it must be contained as quickly as possible.
Mold containment and eventual removal involves a set of guidelines called the New York City Guidelines, a widely accepted document concerning mold growth and mold remediation.
Although it is not the responsibility of the UBC member to evaluate risk levels or determine safety and security issues within a healthcare facility, it is important to be aware of potential hazards, to recognize the factors involved, and to understand how to read the ICRA form. This knowledge is crucial and can help those working in a healthcare facility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the patients, facility staff, and other construction workers.
The Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) team decides what precautions are necessary to isolate the work area and protect patients. The Interim Life Safety Measures (ILSM) team identifies fire, safety, and security steps, as well as the routing of construction materials and personnel.
Determining what precautions are necessary to properly isolate the work area and protect patients from hazards is the responsibility of the ICRA team appointed by the healthcare facility. Before the start of a construction or renovation project, the ICRA team studies the scope of the work to be done and evaluates the risk factors and any potential hazards that may affect patients, laboratories, sterile supplies, or medical equipment.
The purpose of the team’s assessment is to minimize the risk of hospital-acquired infections, which are the result of exposure to infectious agents brought in by other patients or that exist within the facility’s structure. When making the assessment, the team considers the needs of the facility and the patients and reviews many aspects of the project, such as foot and material traffic, noise levels, entry and exit routes, and barrier types.
This information is put into an ICRA form, which becomes a guideline for the precautions required during the construction project.
Blood Borne Pathogens, Fifth Edition, is the center of an integrated teaching and learning system that offers instructor, student, and technology resources to better support instructors and prepare students. This program is designed to meet OSHA training requirements and was created for students and employees who have the potential for occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. This text includes:
A quick way to safely contain an entire work area is with a soft-wall system. This is a temporary enclosure with walls constructed of polyethylene sheeting that is fire-resistant. In a healthcare facility, a soft-wall system creates a barrier that protects patients from construction hazards and containments. It is used to create a negative air pressure environment on short-term projects.
Carpenters have the expertise to build these barriers in different configurations to minimize cross-contamination while keeping patients safe without disturbing the hospital’s daily activities.