When it comes to constructing or renovating a healthcare facility, infection control is of the utmost importance. That’s why every construction project in a hospital must be approved by an ICRA before it can begin. ICRA stands for Infection Control Risk Assessment and is a step-by-step process for assessing the level of risk construction projects pose to patients, residents, or staff and what precautions must be taken to mitigate that risk.
The ICRA begins with a thorough pre-risk assessment. This should be done by an infection control team and involves reviewing blueprints and identifying areas that will need to remain protected during construction. During this assessment, the ICRA team should consider a number of factors such as:
Once the pre-risk assessment is complete, an ICRA matrix is created to outline what level of precautions should be taken depending on the type of renovation or construction. The ICRA matrix includes steps for assessing the impact of the work on the impacted area and determining what types of barriers are needed to contain dust, noise, vibration, and other contaminants.
There are many different barriers available for ICRA, from basic plastic sheeting like Visqueen to more versatile systems like ZipWall. All barriers must be thoroughly inspected and maintained during the project to ensure they are effective. ICRA barrier materials must also be chosen carefully. Some, such as Visqueen, offer little privacy or sound absorption and tear easily, compromising containment. Others, such as polycarbonate wall panels, are designed to be reusable and are more durable than plastic sheets.