Healthcare-associated infections result in unnecessary illness, death, and costs, impacting a significant number of patients, families, and healthcare professionals. While healthcare facility design can serve as an intervention to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections, its role is not fully evaluated and its implementation is limited in practice. This study illustrates the role of healthcare facility design in infection control and prevention and discusses the need for systematic design guidelines for various types of healthcare facilities and even beyond healthcare settings. Physical environments of the healthcare facility can be reservoirs of pathogens, transmitting the pathogens to visitors and healthcare professionals. This issue indicates that carefully considered design of healthcare facilities can support reducing healthcare-associated infections. There are cases that report significant improvement in terms of infection control and prevention by implementing effective design strategies. This study summarizes these strategies, whose implementations are limited due to the lack of systematic design guidelines that synthesize effective design strategies for infection control and prevention tailored to healthcare systems in South Korea. Thus, for future studies to translate evidence into design of applicable strategies, developing and validating systematic design guidelines for active implementation of design strategies for safer healthcare facilities is needed.
- Case study
- Design guideline
- Design strategy
- Healthcare facility
- Infection control and prevention