Safety has often been addressed differently between the design industry and healthcare owners. Designers often think of safety in the context of fire and life safety, while healthcare owners and caregivers may think of safety in the context of serious reportable events and hospital-acquired conditions. But poorly designed and operated healthcare environments can also contribute to harm associated with adverse events such as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), medication errors, injury from patient handling, self-harm (or violence against others), security breaches, and falls. Safety in healthcare is complex and requires a systems approach – understanding the organizational factors, the people, and the often overlooked environment. This toolbox details six risk components in healthcare settings (going beyond fire and life safety), with design considerations for the built environment that may contribute to improved safety for all who use a facility – staff, patients, visitors, and others.
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