Healthcare Design - March 2016 - 20
Earlier this year as the World Health
Organization was declaring that the countries hit hardest by Ebola-Guinea, Liberia,
and Sierra Leone-had zero reported cases for at least 42 days, another infectious
disease was making daily headlines around
the globe: Zika virus. At times like these, it's
easy for infectious disease control to be a
hot topic among healthcare providers and
designers. The problem, says Jon Crane,
director of translational health sciences
at HDR (Atlanta), is that once the headlines dwindle, the conversations tend to go away, too-but the threats still persist and need to
be addressed. "Infectious diseases are here to stay," he says. "Being
prepared is better than not being prepared."
Crane says that someone who's traveled outside the U.S. and
picked up a virus could walk into any emergency department or hospital-thus, every healthcare provider is at risk. "Even if they don't want
to be the caregiver for that type of patient, they need to be able to have
the intake and be able to safely hold those patients until they can be
transferred to another facility," he says.
Crane, along with coworkers Cyndi McCullough, director of
evidence-based design, and Mark Fitzgerald, principle laboratory planner, recently released a white paper, "High-Consequence Infectious
Disease: 10 Principles for Patient Safety." The paper offers ideas on
developing operational and facility responses for both emergency
room intake and patient care biocontainment units.
Some of the principles came out of the lessons learned from the
first round of Ebola patients cared for in the U.S. at Emory University
and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (For more on design
lessons learned at the Nebraska biocontainment unit, see the upcoming May issue of Healthcare Design). For example, McCullough says
the rigorous daily bleach cleaning took its toll on the units' surfaces,
inspiring a re-evaluation of what materials are used. "It's one key thing
we need to be looking at overall in healthcare because we never know
when we're going to have to convert [a room]," she says. "To prevent
any kind of infection, it has to be easy to clean and a type of material
that isn't going to break down."
Crane adds that it's critical to provide a flexible environment where
staff can provide all the care a patient may need during isolation,
including simple surgeries or maternity care. "It's thinking about how
you can deliver proper care given the fact that you have an infectious
disease and you don't want to put other people at higher risk," he says.
For more information on the white paper, visit hdrinc.com/infectiousdisease.-AD
Correction: In the article "View from the Top" in the December 2015 issue of
Healthcare Design, Skanska was inaccurately credited in captions (due to an
editing error) as designing the green roofs at Nemours Children's Hospital Orlando
and Virginia Tech's Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. The
Nemours project was designed by Stanley Beaman & Sears and built by Skanska,
and the Virginia Tech project was designed by AECOM and built by Skanska.