Evidence-based features will help prevent spread of infection
Hospitals are the last place where bacteria, viruses and fungi should feel welcome. Preventing infections from spreading among patients, visitors and staff is a challenge in any healthcare setting. And it’s been a major focus in the design and construction of the new 870-bed Parkland hospital scheduled to open in 2015.
“Patient safety is our most important priority,” said Lou Saksen, Senior Vice President, New Parkland Construction. “We planned everything from door handles to laundry chutes with the patient’s well-being in mind. Twenty-first century hospital design incorporates amazing technology, but low-tech, evidence-based solutions also play a vital role in healing and in preventing transmission of infections.”
One of the key safety features of the new hospital is private patient rooms. Not only does this afford greater dignity and privacy to patients and families, it’s an important deterrent to the spread of infection. All rooms have a private bath, as well.
“Community showers can facilitate the spread of Clostridium difficile (C.diff), a type of gastrointestinal bacteria that is a common problem in hospitals,” said Sylvia Trevino, Interim Director of Infection Prevention at Parkland. “Private bath facilities for each patient will help prevent C.diff transmission.”
Standardized room layout is another safety design feature. Every patient room in the new hospital is identical, with sink on the right and patient bed on the left. Doctors and nurses will know exactly where equipment and fixtures are located, helping them convert best practices into every-day habits. Trevino noted that the first line of defense in preventing spread of germs is one of the simplest – hand hygiene. “Standardized sink location will help hard-wire hand-washing into everyone’s routine,” she said.
Parkland also developed a unique on-stage, off-stage floor plan that Saksen said has not been incorporated in hospital design before. Areas used by patients and families are separated as much as possible from areas used by staff. This provides a quieter experience for the patient and family, contributing to a more peaceful healing environment. It also enhances patient safety because items such as soiled linens and used equipment will be off-stage, segregated from patient areas.
With more than 14,000 doors in the new facility, door handles could be an inviting place for germs to linger. But the new hospital’s no-touch door handles open hands-free to improve sanitation and reduce the spread of infection.
Other infection-prevention features in the new hospital:
“The new Parkland incorporates the very latest research-based design features to ensure patient safety and the best possible outcomes for our patients. We think it will also provide the best possible experience for patients and their families,” Saksen said.
For more information about the new Parkland hospital, visit www.parklandhospital.com/newparkland.