As I write this, we’re in the early stages of trying to understand what the COVID-19 pandemic means to us as an industry, as well as personally. I hope the uncertainty, fear, and virus is behind us soon; however, there’s a chance we’ll be a community threaded together by emails, video conferencing, and the unknown for some time.
The Center for Health Design lives squarely at the intersection between healthcare and design, communicating often to our industry through educational seminars and many in-person meetings. Now we’re being faced with an unprecedented situation and challenged with how to continue to deliver on our mission and promise in this new world order.
To address this communication challenge, we’ve pulled together a wide array of resources from The Center’s work and made them available free of charge, in one easy-to-find location on our homepage (healthdesign.org) under the “What’s New” section.
Included in these resources is the Infection Control Toolbox, previously available only to our members, which contains more than 25 resources for healthcare facilities, with a focus on hand hygiene, contact transmission, surface cleaning, and other related topics. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and easily transmittable diseases are even more important in our conversations today, and the design community plays an important role in their prevention. Implementing some of the latest best practices in the physical environment can help to minimize the impact of HAIs and help control the spread of infections.
Some resources of specific note in the toolbox include evidence-based design strategies from the issue brief “Environmental Surfaces and HAIs,” created by The Center’s research team. It brings together primary research and recommendations from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Facility Guidelines Institute, and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, among others. The design strategies cover issues related to surface finishes and furniture/furnishings selection for ease of cleaning and cleaning practices. This set of design strategies is augmented with a two-part issue brief that covers the role of surfaces in HAIs in part one and the role of material, design, and cleaning in part two. You’ll even find a helpful tool that connects the material selection to the surface maintenance and cleaning needed for that material to help make informed choices.
This listing of COVID-19 resources for healthcare facilities also links to the always open-access Knowledge Repository with more than 600 resources, key point summaries, articles, and research citations that support efforts to integrate more infection control strategies into the built environment. It also includes links to a subset of nine articles that you might find helpful in addressing topics top of mind today, including “Post-occupancy Evaluation of Negative-pressure Isolation Rooms,” “The Efficacy of Visual Cues to Improve Hand Hygiene Compliance,” and “Natural Ventilation for the Prevention of Airborne Contagion.”
I encourage you to explore The Center’s website where you can find these resources and more, including how to bring nature into our workplace to reduce stress and how comfort and safety can coexist in design. As we all work to find our new normal, know that the mission of The Center hasn’t changed.
Debra Levin is president and CEO of The Center for Health Design. She can be reached at email@example.com.