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Safe Structures, Safe Care: Prioritizing Patient Safety in Healthcare

Safe Structures, Safe Care: Prioritizing Patient Safety in Healthcare


March 10-16th marks National Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW) and is more than just an annual event—it's a rallying cry for heightened awareness and commitment to patient well-being. In healthcare construction, the significance of patient safety cannot be overstated. Choosing the right general contractor for your healthcare facility is not merely about bricks and mortar; it's about entrusting a partner who understands the delicate balance between construction needs and the safety of patients and staff in the healthcare environment.

This yearly initiative serves as a reminder of the crucial role prioritizing patient safety plays in the healthcare industry. At CRC, we take this opportunity to celebrate PSAW and to shed light on the specific considerations and expertise necessary when hiring a general contractor for your healthcare projects.

Understanding the Challenges

Understanding the unique challenges of healthcare environments demands gold standard in patient safety and infectious control guidelines. The expectations for general contractors working in healthcare facilities extend beyond the construction itself; they must be attuned to the needs of the facility, the structure, patients, and staff before, during, and after the project.

Going beyond mere compliance, the general contractor should have an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and compliance standards posed by healthcare facilities.

Key Areas of Compliance Knowledge

When selecting a general contractor for your healthcare facility, it's essential to ensure they are well-versed in the following key compliance areas:

Mitigating Risks

Recognize the exposure risks associated with construction activities while working in the healthcare environment. The expertise should include an understanding of biology, microbiology, containment, and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the general contractor not only meets compliance standards but also actively contributes to mitigating risks and maintaining a safe environment.

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Building with Confidence

Healthcare facilities require specialty general contractors with extensive knowledge of the healthcare environment and the impact their presence and construction activities have on patients, staff, and visitors. Your general contractor must align with your healthcare facilities' safety requirements to ensure compliance, protect physical assets, and most importantly, keep patients safe. Ensuring your general contractor uses the right tools and equipment, including anterooms, air scrubbers, containment systems, and a host of other infection prevention equipment within and around the high-risk healthcare environment, allows you to build with confidence.

Healthcare Certifications

Verifying your contractor has the appropriate training and certifications and maintains high safety standards is crucial in selecting the right team to work on your healthcare facility project.

Some of the certifications and knowledge you should look for include:

  • ICRA – the Infection Control Risk Assessment certification provides training to healthcare professionals, construction-related professionals, and other building trades, to ensure that they are familiar with the property ICRA protocols/procedures to ensure patient safety and job site safety.
  • ASHE – the ASHE certification focuses on patient safety backed by the American Hospital Association and means that contractors truly understand the healthcare physical environment and its special needs.
  • PICRAA - Preconstruction Risk Assessment is an assessment standard set by hospitals that defines a process to be followed when unplanned construction or maintenance activities would pose a risk to patients, visitors, and staff.
  • ILSM - Interim Life Safety Measures are measures put in place by The Joint Commission in healthcare, and are put in place to protect patients, visitors and staff who work in the hospital environment.

Patient safety is non-negotiable when it comes to healthcare construction. It's a commitment, a responsibility, and a standard that general contractors should never compromise on. As you embark on construction or renovation projects within your healthcare facility, choose a general contractor that prioritizes your commitment to patient safety.

—choose CRC. Building with us means building Safe Structures, Safe Care: and Prioritizing Patient Safety in Your Healthcare Facilities.

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