Creating a safer, greener and cleaner hospital

By Andrew Aggerholm

Markham Stouffville Hospital’s (MSH) Infection Prevention and Control Department (IPAC) and Corporate Services Department are teaming up to create safer, greener and cleaner hospital.

It’s vital that these two departments support and learn from each other to ensure the safety of MSH’s staff, patients and their families while also providing an excellent patient experience.

A major component of this support is the education these two departments can offer each other. IPAC works closely with environmental services staff, patient transport and food services to educate them on infection control practices including such asenhanced cleaning procedures, donning /doffing personal protective equipment and hand hygiene.

“In the event of an outbreak I want to know why it happened and how we can prevent it from happening again,” says Maria Pavone, Director of Facilities and Support Services, Food Services. “We aren’t always able to implement IPAC’s solutions immediately  but we certainly work together to come to a mutual agreement on the best way forward. ”

IPAC has also taken a more active role in supporting construction projects throughout the hospital.

“Before we start any construction project, we work closely with IPAC to determine what type of protocols are required to protect our patients and staff,” says Pavone.

“We have a construction matrix we follow as outlined by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) which identifies the population at risk and the type of work that needs to be completed. Based on that information, we devise a plan for preventative measures,” says Nisha Punja, Manager, IPAC. “We also work to educate the vendors about the importance of IPAC while they’re working here.”

These preventative measures include how the space will be prepared for the construction, whether hoarding and/or an anteroom is required and, at a minimum, these measures must be initiated to ensure patient safety throughout the project.  

By working together, the two departments identified opportunities to reduce waste and the mess created by construction hoarding. When construction hoarding is required, current CSA standards indicate for it to be built with gypsum board, which generates dust when it’s cut onsite, needs to be stored properly in moisture free environments and discarded once it’s damaged. Additionally, because it’s a porous surface it can’t be cleaned readily and/or reused in future projects.

MSH decided to look for alternatives to this type of hoarding that would address these pitfalls. In December 2018, MSH tried using a prefabricated containment system for its hoarding.

“Because this product is prefabricated it doesn’t generate the same mess that gypsum board does especially during tear down. It meets the Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) requirements for hoarding and dust mitigation. Since it’s not porous we can clean it as per manufacturer’s instructions and reuse it for other construction projects in various patient care areas throughout the hospital,” says Punja.

This means that less waste is being put into the landfill after construction and the work site is cleaner, which is important as it’s often close to patient care areas.

The hospital first used this new hoarding during renovations in one of its operating rooms (ORs) and continues to trial the product at this time.

“As part of our green innovation energy project we were installing sensors in our ORs that monitortemperature, pressure, air changes per hour and relative humidity in the room. In sterile environment like that, keeping construction mess to a minimum was really important. The other advantage was that it reduced the cleaning time significantly, which allowed us to get the OR back into use faster,” says Pavone.

As the relationship between the two departments continues to grow, both Pavone and Punja will continue to look for ways to collaborate and improve upon the ways MSH provides safe, environmentally friendly, high quality care to its patients, their families and the communities it serves.

Andrew Aggerholm is a Communications associate at Markham Stouffville Hospital.