Effective facility design can dramatically reduce the number of healthcare-related infections (HAIs), according to a new report by financial and professional services firm JLL.
This covers physical materials and the placement of medical supplies and equipment within a care setting.
The company said that overlooking facility design, operations and management could prove costly to healthcare facilities and executives.
Healthcare executives also need to consider facility operations, which includes the proper maintenance and cleaning of environmental equipment and medical devices, according to JLL.
It also advises serious consideration of facility management, which includes the effective oversight of outside contractors and services.
"Physical space and how it's used, maintained and managed is the first line of defence against the spread of infection-causing bacteria at a healthcare facility," said Peter Bulgarelli, managing executive director, JLL Healthcare Solutions. "We find, however, that these solutions can be overlooked in many infection control and patient safety strategies."
The report also explains the changes in culture, attitude and managerial responsibilities necessary to enlist facility design, operations and management as powerful weapons in the fight against HAIs.
Topping that list is the cultivation of a good working relationship between a facility's lead infection preventionist and its facilities management director.
"Effective communication between those two positions is critical to identifying and then mitigating the infection risk from new and existing real estate-related issues," said Bulgarelli.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 700,000 hospitalized patients each year get an HAI with 75,000 of those patients dying from their infection.
JLL, HAIs, Healthcare, Facility design, US