The American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published best practices on using the healthcare physical environment to prevent infections. Using the Health Care Physical Environment to Prevent and Control Infection: A Best Practice Guide to Help Health Care Organizations Create Safe, Healing Environments contains best practices, case studies, resources and information based on key research.

The book and associated Quick Guides can be used by health care facility managers, architects, designers, construction professionals, infection preventionists, and anyone else involved in designing, building, and operating healthcare facilities.

“This collaborative effort uses research to identify leading practices that other hospitals can adopt within their facilities to help keep patients safe,” says ASHE Executive Director PJ Andrus, MBA, CAE.

The new guidance was produced by two groups within the AHA—the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) and the American Society for Health Care Engineering—as part of a three-year CDC initiative to improve the implementation of infection prevention and control efforts in U.S. hospitals.

“This report brings much needed attention to the importance of a team approach to infection prevention that connects facility managers, environmental services departments, and clinicians. No one department is solely responsible for infection prevention and we’re grateful we could partner with our colleagues to break down any remaining siloes that prevent collaboration among all team members, including patients and families,” says Sue Collier, HRET interim vice president of clinical quality.

The document, available as a free PDF download, contains guidance on six key topics:

  • Infection control risk assessments
  • Hand hygiene infrastructure
  • Reprocessing
  • Cleaning of environmental surfaces
  • Water-related environmental infection control
  • Flow of patients, personnel, equipment and waste

For more information or to download a free copy of the publication, visit