The not-for-profit Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) just announced the release of Guidance for Designing Health and Residential Care Facilities that Respond and Adapt to Emergency Conditions. This white paper, which includes the draft Guidelines for Emergency Conditions in Health and Residential Care Facilities, is the result of a collaboration of 130 volunteers representing multiple disciplines in healthcare, residential care, and facility design. FGI CEO and Emergency Conditions Committee Chair Douglas S. Erickson acknowledges, “This effort reflects thousands of hours of work by the diverse volunteer members of FGI’s Emergency Conditions Committee, other subject matter experts, and the FGI staff.”
The Covid-19 pandemic brought an influx of requests to FGI to provide practical guidance on setting up temporary facilities and adapting existing facilities to meet the particular needs of the pandemic. In response to these queries, the FGI Board of Directors formed a committee to take a critical look at existing Guidelines requirements and recommendations on emergency preparedness, determine best practices, and establish a new minimum standard on emergency preparedness and response for health and residential care facilities. The overarching goal of the white paper is to help health and residential care organizations respond to emergency events and plan mitigation strategies in anticipation of future emergency events.
Subcommittees to the Emergency Conditions Committee were formed under the topics of risk assessment, surge capacity, alternate care sites, modular facilities, operational considerations, resiliency, renovation and future facility design, small and/or rural health care facilities, and residential care facilities. A wide range of temporary and long-term solutions for the design and operation of healthcare and residential care facilities was identified, informed both by lessons learned from previous local and national emergencies and practices currently being implemented in the field.
Highlights by chapter
Draft guidelines and public comment period
The draft of the proposed Guidelines for Emergency Conditions in Health and Residential Care Facilities is presented in the final section of the white paper. Recommended changes put forth by the Emergency Conditions Committee are based on the 2018 Hospital, Outpatient, and Residential Guidelines documents and suggest new minimum standards for emergency preparedness.
A three-month public comment period opens concurrent with the release of the white paper on April 1, 2021, and closes on June 30, 2021. FGI encourages all users of the Guidelines documents to carefully review the proposed new standard for emergency conditions and provide detailed feedback. Comments on the draft may be submitted on the FGI website. All comments will be reviewed by the steering committee of the Emergency Conditions Committee. FGI expects to publish the new standard when it releases the 2022 Guidelines for Design and Construction documents.
FGI said it would like to recognize all those in the health and residential care industry who have worked tirelessly to provide safe care for patients and residents under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Every case study referenced and recommendation made in this white paper is the result of lessons learned by those on the front lines of the pandemic. FGI thanks them for sharing their experiences.
FGI also extends a special thank you to each member of the Emergency Conditions Committee for volunteering to draft this much-needed guidance during an ongoing pandemic, so that all will be better prepared to handle future emergencies and assure improved outcomes for patients, residents and caregivers.
To view the Guidance for Designing Health and Residential Care Facilities that Respond and Adapt to Emergency Conditions white paper, visit the FGI website.