safe space

One of the many ways the Health Design Center works to make research and process tools accessible is through the creation of Topic Toolboxes. We’ve produced over a dozen of these toolboxes on both micro and macro issues, relating to everything from technology to emergency department productivity. Each toolbox contains a wide range of resources to suit every learning style, such as case summaries, executive summaries, webinars, industry expert interviews, and design strategies. Within each toolbox, some resources are open to everyone and then some are only available to Affiliate+ members.

Creating easy access to the research and resources that design and healthcare professionals need to make informed decisions has never been more important over the past year. Thanks to a partnership with industrial supplier Grainger, all the resources in Safety Toolbox are made available to everyone through the end of this year.

Poorly designed and operated healthcare environments can contribute to harm associated with adverse events such as healthcare-associated infections, medication errors, patient-related injury, self-harm, violence against others, security breaches, and falls. Designing for secure environments is complex and requires a systems approach. One needs to understand that a combination of organizational factors, people and the environment must be considered to create safe environments. The Center’s Safety Toolkit examines six components of risk affecting healthcare settings and provides design considerations for the built environment that may contribute to improving safety for users including staff, patients, families and visitors.

Within the Safety Toolbox, users will find executive summaries or key sections on issues such as understanding injury risk factors in behavioral and mental health settings, preventing injuries and increasing safety among the elderly, and integrating a systems approach to improving hand hygiene. Videos and interviews addressing patient safety from multiple control points are also included. Two webinars related to the research examine security implications, one relating to psychiatry units and one relating to emergency department design. A range of design strategies to reduce injury and harm in behavioral and mental health settings provide insight into improving site, building envelope, building layout, unit and room planning, interior finishes, furnishings, and even technology. All of our toolboxes can also be accessed from the center’s homepage, either through the main navigation bar under Topics or through the Moving Healthcare Forward feature.

Closely related to the work of the Center’s Toolbox is our participation in the Facility Guidance Institute’s Emergency Guidelines. Three center staff members participate in the guidance committee and work to address the full range of emergencies and disasters that can affect a healthcare facility. The document is now available for download on the FGI website ( Available for public comment until June 30.

I would also like to remind readers that the deadline for submissions to the Healthcare Environment Awards competition is July 9. program, which is a partnership with healthcare design A journal, open to projects that are built, underway, or conceptual. More information can be found on the center’s website ( under the “New” section. I’m excited to see and celebrate the 2021 Class Awards winners in October in Cleveland at Healthcare Design Exhibition & Conference.

Debra Levine is president and CEO of the Center for Health Design. It can be accessed at [email protected].

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Written by Joseph

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