The provision of a safe environment for those receiving healthcare is essential and has an important role in preventing HAIs. The built environment in healthcare covers the construction and adaptation of healthcare buildings, as well as the design and provision of healthcare services in all clinical areas. It is essential that infection prevention and control (IPC) is included throughout these processes.
We review current built environment technical guidance ensuring that IPC is taken into consideration and provide advice and support to NHS boards. Support with technical engineering expertise for the built environment is provided by Health Facilities Scotland.
We provide NHS boards with evidence based guidance on areas of the built environment, including recent literature reviews on surgical site infection risks and HAI risks associated with healthcare ventilation systems. Future work will include a built environment chapter in the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM).
Decontamination of equipment and environment
Reusable patient care equipment, such as commodes and drip stands, and the care environment, such as beds and chairs, can easily become contaminated. These items and surfaces may come into contact with blood and body fluids, secretions, excretions and infectious agents during care delivery.
Decontamination is the process for cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising equipment and the environment. It’s essential to lower the number of cross-infections between people and prevent
Routine environmental cleaning is undertaken on a scheduled basis and subject to regular local audit. The NHSScotland National Cleaning Services Specification provides guidance on the process for cleaning areas in healthcare facilities.
The National Infection Prevention and Control Manual provides mandatory guidance and literature reviews on management of the care environment and equipment.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare and fatal degenerative brain disease. It's one of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) that affect humans and animals.
ARHAI undertake annual surveillance for CJD at-risk patients in Scotland. We provide NHS boards with advice and support on infection prevention and control, and decontamination for CJD.