Built Environment and Infection Control

Numerous research studies have highlighted the global rise in deaths caused by medical errors. Although hospitals aim to provide comprehensive care and improve patients’ health, the occurrence of unexpected illnesses and complications due to these errors, sometimes resulting in fatalities, has sparked anxiety and distress among patients and their families. Such errors not only impact patients emotionally but also raise doubts about the trustworthiness of healthcare systems.

A survey conducted among US households revealed that 93% of respondents consider hospital infection rates when selecting a healthcare facility, underscoring the critical importance of this issue. This paper explores one avenue for mitigating medical errors by examining the role of architecture in infection control. Thoughtful and strategic design can contribute significantly to creating a safer physical environment for patients and more efficient conditions for caregivers. Specific design strategies, such as providing single-bed rooms, carefully selecting materials and furniture, implementing air control measures, and optimizing water system design, can contribute to lowering infection rates and enhancing overall safety within healthcare facilities.

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