Maintaining Patient Satisfaction During Healthcare Renovation Projects

Ubiquitous distribution of airborne pathogens has the potential to produce severe disease in immunocompromised patients posing a serious health risk whenever there is disruptive activity, such as a renovation project. Ironically, erecting ICRA Containment Dust Barriers, which are essential in protecting patients prior to any disturbance of the area, can also have a negative effect on patient satisfaction scores. Continue Reading

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STARC Systems Barrier protects patients during renovation-Health Facilities Management Magazine Feature

Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC), Lewiston, recently undertook a major renovation in and around the facility’s emergency department (ED).

The medical center was challenged to perform the work without any interruption in emergency services, while also protecting patients and staff from potentially hazardous airborne particles.

Any construction, renovation and repair activities in hospitals and health care facilities can create or disturb particles, and cause them to become aerosolized. These particles include Aspergillus spp., a fungus commonly found in indoor environments that attaches to and feeds on dirt and dust particles and cellulose-based building materials. Patients with suppressed immune systems are especially susceptible to developing aspergillosis, a potentially life-threatening infection.

With health care renovation activity expected to increase 5 to 8 percent over the next two years, according to the Department of Commerce, protecting patients and staff during construction projects will remain an ongoing challenge for hospitals and health care systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion provides guidelines that require the health care facility or its general contractor to determine the necessary protective measures for patients and staff during construction.

The requirements are based on an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) that ranges in severity from Class I to Class IV, with Class IV requiring the most protection against infection. Class IV states that hospitals must “construct barriers to prevent dust from entering patient care areas and ensure that barriers are impermeable to fungal spores and in compliance with local fire codes.”

To comply with the ICRA requirement, the renovation required building a 100-foot airtight containment barrier around the construction zone.

“The traditional method of constructing this large of a containment barrier would have taken two to two-and-a-half days,” says Brian Campbell, CHFM, CHC, regional manager of maintenance and construction, CMMC.

To meet the renovation challenge, the medical center chose STARC (Simple Telescopic Airtight Reusable Containment) Systems, Brunswick, Maine, for the required construction barrier.

The STARC system comprises panels and other modules that are quickly installed, relocated or dismantled to provide flexibility. With its efficient, clean installation, the system can reduce labor costs and eliminate dirt typically created with construction of other containment options, according to STARC.

“The whole wall was constructed in less than an hour,” Campbell says. “There was no dust, debris or interruption of services during the setup.”

Patient and staff satisfaction remained high throughout the renovation due to the effective noise suppression and clean, polished look provided by the containment system.

Daniela Skalina, a CMMC health care and infection control professional for more than 20 years, also praised the system’s effectiveness and benefits. “Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it minimizes risk to patients because it is so easy to set up correctly, and minimizes the opportunity for error, while maintaining an airtight seal around the project.”

“This is the best solution I have seen for keeping the patient population protected from noise, dust and any other potentially hazardous materials during renovations or construction in a hospital environment,” she adds.

The system’s benefits extend beyond exceeding ICRA Class IV requirements, says Chris MacKenzie, executive vice president, STARC Systems. “Because STARC System panels are reusable, hospitals don’t create nonbiodegradable waste just to build a temporary containment wall,” he says. “These panels are functional for years and can be used on multiple projects.”

And, because the system exceeds ICRA Class IV requirements, health care facilities professionals can consider using it for customized critical isolation needs, MacKenzie says. // JEFF FERENC


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How to Reduce the Impact of the Current Labor Shortage by Increasing Productivity

The list of benefits associated with using STARC Systems Temporary Containment versus traditional containment methods (Sustainability, Speed, Aesthetics, Infection Control, Sound Attenuation, Dustless Installation) are well documented by our ever growing list of satisfied customers. The attached article recently published in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald focuses on the increasing labor shortage faced by the nation’s contractors.

Construction and Renovation in the Health Care Industry are projected to grow another 5%-8% per year over the next two years, according to the Dept of Commerce. In other words, the Construction Industry is not immune to the phenomenon of having to ‘do more with less’. STARC Systems’ innovative telescopic, modular approach to containment, with a tool-less ‘lift and drop’ connection protocol allows two carpenters to install 100′ of containment in less than an hour – resulting in much less manpower required for a task that used to take many hours or days! More time and resources are now spent focusing upon the actual renovation versus building a temporary barrier, which previously would have become non-biodegradeable waste after completion of the project. Improved Operational Efficiency is a critical priority of every Project Manager and contractor. See how STARC Systems is an obvious choice for mitigating some of the challenges associated with the current labor shortage.

Continue to Article…>


Check out our time lapse video below to see the system in use.

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STARC Project Showcase – CMMC

Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) of Lewiston, Maine is a member of the Central Maine Healthcare Group which is the largest Healthcare employer in Central Maine. CMMC is a Regional Resource Hospital serving over 400,000 people in Central and Mid Coast Maine and providing Primary, Emergency and Specialty Care throughout the Region.

CMMC’s Quality Vision includes “Delivering high quality healthcare services is fundamental to everything we do at Central Maine Medical Center”. That Vision is also embraced by the Regional Director of Engineering, Dan Bickford, CHFM, CHC and the Regional Manager of Maintenance and Construction, Brian Campbell, CHFM, CHC. Recently, Dan and Brian were faced with a major renovation project in, and around the CMMC Emergency Department. They  were challenged to perform this feat without any interruption in Emergency Services.  The first priority was to protect employees and patients from debris, noise and unsightly optics resulting from the renovation, while maintaining uninterrupted service 24/7.

CMMC Hospital temporary construction project focus-13

Dan and Brian had been introduced to STARC Systems Innovative Temporary Portable Containment by Hebert Construction of Lewiston Maine months before. In fact, CMMC was the first hospital in the United States to experience the benefits of STARC Systems on smaller projects. Once again, Hebert selected STARC Systems for the 100’ of Temporary Containment in and around the ED Lobby.

Once the process began, “The whole wall was erected in less than an hour.” according to Campbell. “There was no dust, debris nor interruption during the set-up. There was little interference with staff or patients.” Brian also noted, “Our traditional method of deploying this containment would have taken 2 to 2 ½ days. We would have installed poly sheets to protect the environment from the debris generated just to build the temp walls. That method would have been extremely disruptive and messy in the ED lobby.” Brian was also impressed with the noise suppression once the work behind the containment walls began, “The lack of noise spilling out to the lobby was very impressive and it looked like a finished wall, during the renovation project.”

Daniela Skalina, a Healthcare and Infection Control professional for over 20 years at CMMC noted, “Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it minimizes risk to patients because it is so easy to set up correctly, and minimizes the opportunity for error.” She also observed, “I can remember so many projects in the past where the appearance looked like a renovation project, and you can tell that the containment was not as effective as it is with STARC Systems.” Daniela’s summary? “This is the best solution I have seen for keeping the patient population protected from noise, dust, and  any other potential hazardous materials during renovations or construction in hospital environment.”

CMMC Hospital temporary construction project focus-39

CMMC’s Emergency Department Manager, Darlene St Hillaire commented, “I loved it! I was amazed at how little noise there was.”

A few more observations from Dan, “Other features such as the ability to key the doors with the Hospital Key System and the negative air panels were great additions. The airtight seal between the panels was impressive.” As a final touch of professionalism, Hebert added a graphic diagram of the proposed finished project on the front of the panels for all to see. “That was a nice touch”, noted Campbell.

And equally as important, the project was on time and under budget.


Check out the timelapse video below of the system setup for this CMMC project


Here are some additional photos from the Central Maine Medical Center Temporary Wall in use.

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Hospital Infection Prevention

Project / Worksite Isolation with Construction, Renovation & Maintenance Activities / Quality Control


Once again, the majority of the nation’s hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for having patients frequently return within a month of discharge — this time losing a combined $420 million, government records show. In the fourth year of federal readmission penalties, 2,592 hospitals will receive lower payments for every Medicare patient that stays in the hospital — readmitted or not — starting in October. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, created by the Affordable Care Act, was designed to make hospitals pay closer attention to what happens to their patients after they get discharged. Since the fines began, national readmission rates have dropped, but roughly one of every five Medicare patients sent to the hospital ends up returning within a month Continue Reading

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9 Ways STARC Systems Is Improving Healthcare Construction Containment

The STARC System was developed to meet the need to significantly improve the performance of
construction containment in the healthcare environment, while reducing material, installation,
decommissioning and labor costs associated with temporary containment. The system provides a high
performance barrier for infection control, dust contaminants, smoke and construction noise, while providing
a secure work zone that is attractive and appealing to the working staff and patients in the facility. Continue Reading

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