Most hospitals and health systems are accustomed to preparing for the Joint Commission Accreditation process every three years, but some may not be aware of how the Commission has changed its approach to testing for the spread of infection.
While most hospitals regularly evaluate air pressure in operating rooms, the scope should be much broader. Hospitals are responsible for maintaining all pressure relationships required by the Facility Guidelines Institute in all areas of buildings – including satellite locations.
This January, Karpinski Engineering assisted a healthcare client in correcting air pressure relationships for a few areas that did not meet standards. KE worked with local test & balance and temperature control companies to identify numerous causes and provide solutions – a process which took about two weeks. Maintaining a strict schedule is important, as hospitals have limited time to fix an issue that does not meet JCAHO standards.
The best scenario, of course, is to evaluate systems and identify any air pressure issues prior to inspection. KE recommends that hospitals check air pressure relationships annually or semi-annually. This allows for resolution of issues prior to the JCAHO inspection process.
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