Wednesday, June 26, 2019

In the event of construction and renovation projects, are you confident in your job site workers knowledge of infection prevention best practices? While hospitals around the U.S. are more effectively controlling health care- associated infections (HAIs), the risk remains within health care facilities.

In light of authorities with jurisdiction increasing their scrutiny of infection prevention, you might consider having your construction teams earn the newest badge on the block designed to prepare your team for working on a health care job site.

ASHE’s Certified Health Care Physical Environment Worker program (commonly referred to as ASHE worker certification), ensures that everyone working on a job site understands the complexities of a health care setting. 

The ASHE worker certification can support your infection prevention strategies in three key ways:

1. Ensure team knowledge of a health care environment at the start.
When workers are unfamiliar with the delicate framework of a health care environment, infection prevention risks increase. This is further complicated with construction and renovation projects at leased or other unconventional locations, such as shopping centers, where health care providers offer services. If your entire health care team is required to participate in ASHE worker certification, you can rest assured that your construction team will understand how to work in a health care environment as soon as a project starts. 

2.  Minimize risks on the job site. 
Protecting patients, staff and visitors is the number one priority of health care facility teams during a construction project. Job site workers can become aware of HAI risks and understand infection control risk mitigation recommendations and the usage of an infection control risk assessment (ICRA). For example, using ASHE’s ICRA precautions matrix as an example, team members can review the type of construction being performed (e.g., painting, sanding, duct work or new construction) and the risk of the patient groups that may be affected (e.g., office areas, emergency rooms, operating rooms or burn unit) along with the proper protocol for minimizing such risks. 

3.  Save time and resources for job site orientation training. 
Health care facility teams can spend a lot of time and resources getting construction teams up to speed with best practices for working in a healing environment. The ASHE worker certification is designed to help hospitals redirect time and resources back into patient care.

ASHE recommends that all job site workers participate in the Certified Health Care Physical Environment Worker program. Expect health care facilities to start adding it to their bid specs.

The 2019 ASHE Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, in will cover other strategies for health care facility teams on infection prevention, including: 


For further reading
Using the Health Care Physical Environment to Prevent and Control Infection: A Best Practice Guide to Help Health Care Organizations Create Safe, Healing Environments is a best practice guide developed as part of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlining ways that health care organizations can use the physical environment to reduce health care-associated infections. 


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