This pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen before and has forced architects and designers to take a more critical eye to our projects in every industry, especially healthcare. The sad realization is, history repeats itself, but this is our chance to evaluate and make changes today that will have a significant impact in the future.

So how can we help?

According to U.S. Army researchers, harsh cleaners must be used every two hours to keep hospital surfaces free of bacteria such as MRSA and VRE. For many facilities, this frequency of environmental services is just improbable. Therefore, the critical decisions that go into interior solutions for hospitals must offer opportunities to minimize the effects of contagions. When selecting materials and fixtures, healthcare interior designers have the responsibility to uphold the most stringent infection control standards.

Here are a few smart and healthy interior design solutions for clinical spaces:

  1. Paint Shield/Registered Anti-Microbial Paint kills 99.9 percent of Staph, MRSA, E. coli, VRE, and Enterobacter aerogenes within two hours of exposure on painted surfaces and continues fighting for up to four years post application.
  2. Copper fixtures and copper-infused mesh or upholstery on furniture mitigates bacterial and viral transmissions, while copper-filled composite hard surfaces and linens have proven to reduce the number of hospital acquired infections.
  3. Silver Ion Technology is integrated into many coatings, polymers, and textiles at the molecular level of the product and not susceptible to wash-offs. This antimicrobial technology can be specified for common hospital fixtures including light switches, door handles, water tanks, bed rails, storage containers, bedding, gowns, cubicle curtains and carpet.
  4. Lighting Fixtures with Disinfection Technology should be used in high-acuity spaces. Fixture current’s disinfection capabilities are safe for human use and kill up to 99.7 percent of common surface pathogens over an eight-hour period.
  5. The Three I’s: Integral, Impervious, Impermeable. Seal nooks and crannies to eliminate hard-to-reach contaminants in patient areas and specify integral sinks and wall bases. Mitigate the opportunities for surface-borne pathogens with impervious hard counter surfaces. And improve cleanability with impermeable upholstery on patient and family seating.

As we enter the post-COVID-19 world, it is clear that we must harmonize design with infection control standards. These are a few easy-to-implement strategies that can be used in a wide array of solutions without ever compromising patient safety or design.