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Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2016 Nov 29;5:51. eCollection 2016.

Relationship between hospital ward design and healthcare-associated infection rates: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, National Reference Center for the Surveillance of Nosocomial Infections, Charité University Medical Center Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 27, D-12203 Berlin, Germany.



The influence of the hospital's infrastructure on healthcare-associated colonization and infection rates has thus far infrequently been examined. In this review we examine whether healthcare facility design is a contributing factor to multifaceted infection control strategies.


We searched PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) from 1990 to December 31st, 2015, with language restriction to English, Spanish, German and French.


We identified three studies investigating accessibility of the location of the antiseptic hand rub dispenser. Each of them showed a significant improvement of hand hygiene compliance or agent consumption with the implementation of accessible dispensers near the patient bed. Nine eligible studies evaluated the impact of single-patient rooms on the acquisition of healthcare-associated colonization and infections in comparison to multi-bedrooms or an open ward design. Six of these studies showed a significant benefit of single-patient bedrooms in reducing the healthcare-associated colonization and infection rate, whereas three studies found that single-patient rooms are neither a protective nor risk factor. In meta-analyses, the overall risk ratio for acquisition of healthcare-associated colonization and infection was 0.55 (95% CI: 0.41 to 0.74), for healthcare-associated colonization 0.52 (95% CI: 0.32 to 0.85) and for bacteremia 0.64 (95% CI: 0.53 to 0.76), all in favor of patient care in single-patient bedrooms.


Implementation of single-patient rooms and easily accessible hand rub dispensers located near the patient's bed are beneficial for infection control and are useful parts of a multifaceted strategy for reducing healthcare-associated colonization and infections.


Hand hygiene compliance; Healthcare-associated infection; Hospital architecture; Hospital room size; Single-patient room; Ward design

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