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Environmental standards for Community Care settings

Health and social care buildings should be designed with appropriate consultation, to enable good infection prevention and control (IPC) practices, as well as the quality and design of finishes and fittings that enable thorough access, cleaning and maintenance to take place.

The importance of a clean, safe environment for all aspects of healthcare should not be underestimated (Department of Health, 2013)

Good standards of basic hygiene, cleaning and regular planned maintenance will assist in preventing healthcare-associated infection (HCAI); only if the built environment reflects these needs are schedules more likely to be successful not only in being undertaken on a proactive and reactive basis but also in reducing contamination and risks to patients.

Research and investigation have consistently confirmed that the healthcare environment can be a reservoir for organisms with the potential for infecting patients. For HCAIs to be reduced, it is imperative that IPC measures are “designed-in” at the very outset of the planning and design stages of a healthcare facility and that input continues up to, into and beyond the final building stage.

The cleanliness of any environment is important to support infection prevention and control and ensure service user confidence. Cleaning staff play an important role in improving the quality of the care environment. The Health Protection Team has developed a cleaning schedule based on “The national specifications for cleanliness: Guidance on setting and measuring performance outcomes in care homes” (NPSA, 2010), which can be found below. These specifications aim to set out a process, through which the above requirements can be delivered, in such a way as to ensure that infection control and cleaning arrangements are coordinated but are not unnecessarily onerous or detailed. The cleaning schedule can be found in the "Resources" tab below. 

Contact and further information

More information can be found in the "Health Building Note 00-09: Infection control in the built environment" document. 

Further information can also be found in the Standard Precautions for Infection Prevention guidelines, which can be found in the Dudley Formulary.

The Health and social Care Act 2008, sets what requirements care home providers need to comply with to keep essential standards of quality and safety.