Draft standards for LTC building design and infection control released

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OTTAWA — Experts have released a new set of draft standards for long-term care, this time focusing on building design, materials, and infection prevention and control.

OTTAWA — Experts have released a new set of draft standards for long-term care, this time focusing on building design, materials, and infection prevention and control.

CSA Group, formerly the Canadian Standards Association, developed the draft alongside the Health Standards Organization’s care delivery standards, released two weeks ago.

Alex Mihailidis, chair of CSA Group’s technical subcommittee, says his organization’s standards are more prescriptive and look at everything from heating and ventilation systems to the types of technology that should be available to residents.

He compares HSO’s standards to long-term care software, while CSA Group looked to hardware.

“If we can take any kind of silver lining over the past two years when it comes to long-term care homes, it really taught us an important lesson about many aspects of operations,” Mihailidis said. .

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious systemic issues with infection prevention and control and other issues in long-term care residences across the country.

Data collected by the National Institute on Aging reveals that 16,345 long-term care residents had died of COVID-19, as of February 8, since the start of the pandemic.

Throughout the process of developing the new standards, Mihailidis said, the focus has been on improving residence operations and safety while balancing the notion that people live in the spaces and deserve comfort. of the House.

“They’re not acute care facilities, they’re not hospitals. How do we design long-term care homes, having that balance between quality of life and infection prevention, control and safety ?” he said.

The project draws inspiration from best practice around the world where long-term care is increasingly designed as a cluster of wards, with separate dining areas and multi-purpose rooms to help balance safety and quality of life. . In the event of an epidemic, the quarters can be confined without affecting the entire residence.

The standards also spell out specific requirements for things like plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and safety, he said.

While some of these requirements may seem more useful for new home development, Mihailidis said the goal is to make the new standards applicable to the more than 2,000 homes already operating in Canada.

“The way we’ve tried to do that is really to come up with options or different approaches that homes can take and try to get as close to the norm as possible,” he said.

The draft has been released for public review, with CSA Group accepting comments until April 11. The experts then plan to refine the standards and publish a final version at the end of the year.

It is not yet clear how they will be implemented and enforced.

HSO’s standards of care are expected to be adopted by Accreditation Canada, which certifies nearly 70% of such homes in Canada.

This will not necessarily be the case for CSA Group’s more prescriptive look at what needs to be done to improve the residences themselves.

The federal government has promised to develop long-term care safety legislation that could enshrine the standards in law. This would require the cooperation of the provinces, which have jurisdiction over the homes.

“However, the enforcement will come from the residents, the families of the residents, the staff who work in these homes and hopefully the operators themselves,” Mihailidis said.

“It’s really going to be an upward wave of support from all of these different stakeholders.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 11, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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