30 July 2008

Maybe we just build them better? (But who pays?)

OK, campers, I know I'm tossing crumbs here, but I drove 6 hours today and am now, umm, well, not in any major metropolitan area, that's for sure. But I'm visiting a very interesting hospital program tomorrow. And my chain motel is smack-dab between a Denny's and a Waffle House. Just think of the breakfast options. (And imagine my arteries clogging. OK, don't.)

Skittering back to the reason why we're here: Via the LA Times, an intriguing article about the possibilities of reducing hospital-acquired infections by designing hospitals better: single rooms, improved airflow, more sinks, etc.
"Private rooms are the most important design element that reduces the spread of infection between patients," says Richard Van Enk, director of infection control and epidemiology for Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich. Bronson is a pioneer of evidence-based design and was among the first hospitals in the United States to build a facility with all private patient rooms.
The hospital's new design also incorporates two sinks in each patient room, one of which is dedicated for the exclusive use of the healthcare worker. Many easily cleaned surface materials such as water-based low VOC (volatile organic chemical) paint, plastic counter coverings and linoleum floorings with antimicrobial properties were also used throughout the hospital. (Byline: Lisa Zamosky)
It sounds plausible to me. Superbug Spouse is an expert in human-factors design, and we both do photography and web design (he's better), so issues like this - which way do your eyes go? what button do you naturally want to push? - get tossed about a lot in our house. And just yesterday I listened to an infection-control nurse describe the difficulty of getting healthcare workers to use sinks in older rooms in which the sinks are within the bathrooms; the HCWs perceived the bathrooms as the patients' private space, not as accessible to all. So there may be something to this.

But retrofitting is expensive. And the bill will be paid by... ??

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My husband had two major Operations in the past two years. Triple By-Pass and Knee replacement.

In each hospital stay I took in Lysol, Clorox wipes, my own disposable gloves and cleaned everything, including the floors, shower, toilet, chairs, bed, call buttons, phone...everything. I also asked every nurse that walked in to wash their hands. I did a lot of the running for the nurses so they were nice to me because I stayed 24/7 and did some of their work.

The hospital that the By-Pass was in we shared a bathroom with the room next door. I was forever cleaning...every room should be isolated.

The computers they typed on I sprayed and cleaned also. So many places for germs to hide.

Nurses have a tendency to walk in and not wash hands. It is just they are so busy.

By the way my husband left with no infections.

When our friend had a By-Pass a year later they asked me what to do and they did the dame thing. His wife was an old army nurse and I was surprised she did not know what to do. No infection there either.

I do not know if this was the best thing to do but I can tell you as I cleaned many items were dirty. I know dirt does not equate with germs or MRSA but I felt better. I felt more secure I had done my best to sanitize to keep my family healthy.

I hope this helps someone else who is facing a hospital stay.