In an effort to improve the Canadian healthcare environment, such as controlling the spread of infection, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has released the Health Care Facilities Standard. According to Journal of Commerce reporting, it is the first national standard in Canada that addresses planning, design and construction of new healthcare facilities.

Prior to the launch, there was no common national standard for the design and construction of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. However, the CSA has had standards in healthcare facilities for more than 40 years, in the form of plumbing or infection control standards. This is the first overall, all-encompassing standard for healthcare facilities.

The standard contains measures to help improve workflow, reduce the spread of infection, plan for pandemics and large-scale emergencies, address the complexities of moving and caring for obese patients, improve security surrounding newborns and provide better care for the elderly and those with dementia.

The new standard ensures that at least a minimum level of quality is standard in the construction of healthcare facilities. Government expertise was formerly available, but it’s no longer there due to downsizing.

The standard provides principles of what the building and design materials could be — new materials should be washable and are ones that do not encourage the growth of bacteria and micro-organisms — but will also allow designers some freedom.

According to reports, many of the new standard’s practices don’t have costs though some do. But, say experts, one hospital-acquired infection that results in a death could erase all the cost that was put into the healthcare facility on the construction side.

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