According to the FGI board of directors, the Facility Guidelines Institute has received numerous requests for guidance on setting up temporary facilities and adapting existing facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While they don’t want to add to the “noise” of information currently circulating, they believe FGI has a responsibility to respond to this need by establishing baseline planning and design standards for health and long-term care facilities. Therefore, FGI is convening a special committee to assemble design guidance for facilities during emergency situations caused by weather, pandemics, wildfires and other emergency situations.
The committee will be responsible for creating a white paper with draft Guidelines requirements and lessons learned from past local and national emergencies such as COVID-19. This white paper will become the basis for a new Guidelines standard on design of facilities that can readily be adapted during emergency conditions. FGI’s goal is to have the peer-reviewed white paper available by the end of this summer and to release the supplemental Guidelines standard with the 2022 Guidelines edition in early 2022.
- Short-term goal. Continuing to operate within its mission is how FGI believes it can be most helpful during this pandemic. FGI will work with government agencies and its partner organizations to write a white paper that can help health and long-term care organizations plan for emergency conditions in the future. The committee will conduct a review of the fast-paced temporary solutions currently being implemented in an effort to provide guidance on which interventions are helpful and which are potentially harmful to staff, patients and long-term care residents.
- Long-term goal. FGI’s mission is to “establish and promote consensus-based guidelines and publications, advised by research, to advance quality healthcare.” To fulfill this mission, FYI follows a time-tested (40-year) standards development process in which the Guidelines for Design and Construction documents are revised by a committee of multidisciplinary experts (including clinicians, architects, engineers, infection preventionists, code enforcement officials and facility managers), vetted by the health and residential care communities at-large, and adopted by state and federal agencies and private accrediting organizations. It is FGI’s intent to publish a new standard that follows its rigorous, multidisciplinary process. As more data on the COVID-19 pandemic becomes available, FGI will rely on the strength of this process and a committee of subject matter experts to review, evaluate and adapt that information for use by the health and residential care communities.
In the midst of the pandemic, everyone is looking for answers on how to adapt the built environment to respond to the crisis. It will take time to evaluate the efficacy of the interventions being deployed in facilities across the nation, but FGI—working with its partner organizations—is committed to taking the lessons from this pandemic and applying them to a new Guidelines standard that will help healthcare organizations safely and efficiently navigate emergency or epidemic conditions that may arise in the future.
Posted April 23, 2020