Hospital room with beds and comfortable medical equipped in a modern hospital

The greatest medical issue of the 21st century is taking place in hospitals everywhere, and its prevalence is directly correlated to poor engineering, and to some extent, improper cleaning. The problem is the rise of antibiotic resistant pathogens and the situation is growing more dire due in part to the lack of accountability hospitals are taking in the health of their visitors, says Chris Garner, chief engineer at SPW Disease Prevention Engineering in Arnold, Maryland.

While one might think hospitals would be on the frontline of disease prevention tactics, they’re actually making the situation worse, says Garner. Typically, employees at these facilities fail to take responsibility for whether someone leaves a hospital alive or unharmed. They do this because they’re too concerned about being found liable.

The issue could be heavily improved upon by implementing greater disease prevention engineering in hospitals, says Garner.

A few steps should be taken to carry out disease prevention engineering. The first step is to design a better layout for healthcare facilities. Right now, too many healthcare facilities are putting non-infectious patients in the same area as those who are a threat to spread infection. By simply separating the two groups, hospitals face less risk of permitting the infection to spread. The next step would be to improve airflow in these areas.

As it pertains to cleaning, one of the biggest issues hospitals face is that not enough cleaning is occurring. Too often is a new patient brought into a room that hasn’t been cleaned since the previous patient exited. Instead, a large cleaning overhaul should occur soon after the past patient leaves.

To decontaminate a room in preparation for a new patient, Garner suggests workers clean the room and the articles left behind by the last patient and clean out the trash. Tackle carpet using a HEPA vacuum, remove germs either with soap and water or by using an ozone-based device, and then disinfect making sure to adhere to proper protocols. Finally, the staff should swab surfaces to test for the presence of any harmful bacteria.