As we all track the Ebola story with acute interest and concern, healthcare design industry professionals (like everyone else in healthcare) are struggling to consider ways in which they might be able to stem the spread of disease within the care environment. When a virus like this takes hold, and even strict protocols prove not to be foolproof, the urgency of the matter demands real innovation, and fast.

Designing to control the spread of infection, fortunately, is not an unfamiliar concept here in the States, and with the ACA’s new reimbursement policies, even greater emphasis has been placed on the topic, specifically on drastically reducing the number of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in patients. Research has shown that special attention to HVAC design, materials, and space planning can mitigate the transfer of germs from one person to another.

Next month, Healthcare Design will be digging deeper into infection control measures for a special report appearing in our December issue. In the meantime, while the topic is so very top of mind, below you’ll find links to recent articles we’ve published that deal with infection control measures and how to keep patients and healthcare staff safe.

“Designing Healthcare Environments To Prevent HAIs”: Thoughtful approaches to building system design at the start of a project—including how those systems will be maintained over time—play a significant role in preventing healthcare-associated infections.

Using Design To Combat Infection Control Nightmares”: When creating spaces to reduce healthcare-associated infection rates, there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit. But when is it time to re-evaluate trends toward homelike design in favor of safe design, and can the two be balanced?

Continuing The Fight Against HAIs”: As the industry searches for methods to reduce healthcare-associated infections, a growing body of support and evidence-based research points to copper-infused products as an answer.

Infection Prevention To Protect Vulnerable Patient Populations”: There are a variety of ways healthcare-associated infections can spread during a routine construction project, making the pursuit of measures to protect patients, especially vulnerable cancer patients, critical.

Neocon 2013: Designing To Prevent HAIs”: From self-closing drawers to copper sinks, several design considerations can help designers and facilities cut down on the threat of healthcare-acquired infections.

To Avoid Hand-Washing, Healthcare Workers Get Creative”: “This is a war,” one prominent doctor declares, to make sure physicians and nurses wash their hands regularly to stem the spread of healthcare-associated infections. Big Brother cameras and gold stars are some weapons in the arsenal, and so is strategic room design.

The War On Infection Prevention: The Privacy Curtain”: Healthcare designers are challenged to create spaces that offer discretion and cleanliness, and one of the greatest of those challenges lies in the privacy curtain. Here are some tips on what to weigh when considering whether to use one.

Air Distribution Patterns Within Airborne Infectious Isolation Rooms”: Consider the following details when designing an airborne infection isolation room to ensure an airflow that protects patients and staff from HAIs.