What the doctor ordered

CSA Standards has launched the Health Care Facilities Standard, the first comprehensive national standard in Canada to address the complex nature of planning, design, and construction of hospitals and health care facilities from coast to coast.

“The adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is no truer than with the CSA Health Care Facilities Standard,” says Bonnie Rose, president, CSA Standards. “The Health Care Facilities Standard is the standard for health care facilities of the future – it’s a prescription for improving the health of Canadian patients through efficient design of new hospitals and health care facilities and new additions to existing institutions. Benefits of the standard include greater cost effectiveness, better management of both accessibility and risk to patients, staff, and the public, and the responsible integration of environmental concerns into the design and construction process.”

Before now there was no common national standard for the design and construction of hospitals and other health care facilities. Each health care facility building project undertaken in Canada has relied on the knowledge and resources available to the architects and consultants engaged. This standard sets out requirements and addresses concerns specific to health care facilities, beyond what is contained in building codes and guidelines. The new standard provides a cohesive, nationally-recognized baseline for health care facility design and construction/renovation.

“This standard contains measures that will help improve workflow in health care facilities, reduce the spread of infection, plan for pandemics and large-scale emergencies, address the complexities of moving and caring for obese patients, improve security surrounding  newborns and provide better care for the elderly and those with dementia,” says Rose.

Infection prevention and control is a major concern in health care facilities, and CSA’s Z8000 Health Care Facilities Standard aligns with best practice in the U.S. and Europe by requiring single patient rooms and other design principles that have been proven to curb the spread of infectious disease According to researchers, Canadian provinces spend just over $3-billion on the 220,000 patients who become infected annually while being treated in hospitals – patients who remain in hospital longer, increasing the financial strain on the system and dependence on increasingly sophisticated and costly antibiotics.

 CSA’s Health Care Facilities Standard covers essential principles and planning processes for all health care facilities.  It covers inpatient areas, diagnostic and treatment areas, related services within a facility, and even technical and support services. It also provides specifications on everything from occupancy issues, furniture and equipment, to site and facility requirements. Infection prevention and control, safety and security, and functional services such as food services, communications and maintenance are also addressed.

The standard covers operations, accessibility, safety and security, infection control, and sustainability. It also applies to all facilities providing health care services regardless of type, size, location, or range of services, including acute care hospitals, inpatient continuing care hospitals, long-term care facilities, community-based providers, leased/rental suites in office buildings, ambulatory care clinics, and outpatient care (e.g. clinics, dentists’ offices, and doctors’ offices).

End users will include architects, designers, consultants, contractors, manufacturers, facility managers and engineers, infection prevention and control professionals, and occupational health and safety teams.

CSA’s Z8000 Health Care Facilities Standard is a voluntary standard developed by a Technical Committee of volunteer members from across the country, representing hospitals, long-term care facilities, government health ministries, architectural firms, physicians, consulting engineering firms, consumers, construction firms, and other relevant professional associations.

The development of this standard was made possible, in part, by the financial support of the governments of all 10 provinces and three territories, and administered by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.