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Developing a Safety Risk Management Toolkit

May 23, 2014
by James M. Hunt, AIA
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The Center for Health Design (CHD) has reached the end of the second year of their three-year comprehensive research project to develop a Safety Risk Assessment Tool.   This project has been funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  This toolkit will assist healthcare facilities with compliance of the Safety Risk Assessments that are required by the newly released 2014 Edition of the FGI Guidelines  for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities.

According to the organizers, “A large and growing body of evidence indicates that the physical environment impacts patient and staff safety, as well as stress and satisfaction; staff effectiveness; and organizational resource outcomes in hospitals and other healthcare settings.  Facility replacement and renovation projects provide an opportunity to identify and mitigate or eliminate built environment latent conditions that lead to active failures impacting patient safety.”

A group of about 60 of the participants met in Oakland, California last week to test the pilot version of the tool in patient room mock-ups and other portions of Kaiser Permanente’s Garfield Innovation Center.

This was the first full scale test of the toolkit by those of us who had a hand in its creation.  It was very informative and left us asking some hard questions that will lead to further refinement of the toolkit and its instructions for application that will be developed during the third and final year.

The program has six workgroups, each made up of specialists in their respective fields, who are looking at Falls, Patient Handling, Behavioral Health, Security, Infection Control and Medication Safety.  Each of these areas will be addressed in the toolkit.

One pilot has been conducted for an active project and two more are planned before the end of the summer to further test the tool and the process of its implementation.

Watch for further news of this vital document as it is prepared for formal introduction about this time next year.   


Jim Hunt

Behavioral Healthcare Design Consultant

Jim Hunt

James M. Hunt, AIA, is a practicing architect and facility management professional with over 40...

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