Health care facility managers have a lot on their plate, to include the comfort and safety of patients and visitors to their facilities.

Indoor Air Quality: Health Care Facilities

Multiple Clients

Normally, doctors and health care professionals are responsible for diagnosing, treating and preventing the spread of infections and diseases in their hospitals. But what goes on behind the scenes to prevent the spread of airborne, contact, or waterborne infections can be attributed to the efforts of the health care facility manager and his or her staff. Health care facility managers must maintain a comfortable, efficient and healthy indoor environment that supports their facilities’ infection control program (ICP). The facility manager is responsible for developing and utilizing an environmental health and safety (EHS) program that protects the staff, patients, and visitors to their campuses. It’s a tough job considering the work that goes into the normal day-to-day operations and maintenance (O&M) of their buildings, especially when you manage an extensive multiple-location health network. Occupants’ health and comfort are top priority at health care facilities. When factors within the control of the facility and the facility manager have been ruled out as the cause in the event of employee illness or disability the health care facility manager brings in an indoor environmental quality (IEQ) specialist, such as Element Environmental Solutions. After a thorough evaluation of the conditions or circumstances that may be affecting the occupants, Element will develop conclusions as to the source or cause of the IEQ issues and assist in providing guidance to develop corrective responses to those issues.

Element’s founding partner, Dan Gensemer and Element’s IAQ staff have over twenty years’ experience working with health care facility managers including hazardous material investigations, IEQ evaluations and management plans and developing abatement strategies for any renovation projects that have the potential to impact indoor air quality. Bob Pfromm, Element’s Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is on call to address any IEQ issues as they arise. Whether it’s suspect mold, odors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), airborne particulate monitoring, or ventilation issues such as inadequate fresh air, Bob is there to conduct the investigative work, evaluate the findings, and develop a solution to control or eliminate the problem. As a CIH, he understands the importance of maintaining appropriate environmental conditions such as providing sterile environments in compliance with International Standards Organization (ISO) for critical operations such as in the pharmaceutical preparation areas, the operating rooms or the NICU. Element has evaluated multiple areas of health care facilities to determine where potential contaminants were affecting the sterility of critical areas or if they were meeting the standards. Element also assists in the implementation of programs to meet and exceed ISO standards.

Older health care facilities, such as many of those found in the Delaware Valley Region, were built in the early 1900s. They were commonly constructed with building materials that contained asbestos (primarily as various forms of insulation or in floor coverings) or lead (primarily in paint). These suspect materials must be managed correctly and very carefully as they may be disturbed by construction, maintenance, and renovation activities that are a continuous part of a constantly evolving and modernizing entity like most health care systems. To assist in this process, Element evaluates areas before the start of projects to determine any existing hazards and what precautions are necessary. Element then oversees their implementation. When construction, maintenance and renovation activities are completed, Element is there to ensure that the area was properly cleaned after hazardous materials, such as asbestos were damaged and removed during those processes.

A distinguished health care center will make every effort to protect the health of its patients, visitors, and staff. Element is honored to work closely with our health care clients to protect the health of our community by providing IEQ/IAQ solutions.