Qualitative data collection methods drawn from the early stages of human-centred design frameworks combined with thematic analysis were used to develop an understanding of infection prevention practice within an existing neonatal intensive care unit. Findings were used to generate a framework of understanding which in turn helped inform a baseline approach for future research and design development. The study revealed that a lack of clarity between infection transmission zones and a lack of design attributes needed to uphold infection prevention measures may be undermining healthcare workers’ understanding and application of good practice. The issue may be further complicated by well-intentioned behavioural attitudes to meeting work objectives; undue influences from spatial constraints; the influence of inadvertent and excessive touch-based interactions; physical and/or cognitive exertion to maintain transmission barriers; and the impact of expanding job design and increased workload to supplement for lack of effective barriers. Practitioner Summary: Despite high hand hygiene compliance within a neonatal intensive care unit, healthcare workers expressed concerns about the unit design and infection prevention practice. Early inquiry methods from human-centred design and thematic analysis helped develop a framework to understand how design can be used to aid infection prevention.

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Keywords design, ergonomics, human factors, Infection prevention and control, neonatal intensive care unit
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2017.1330967
Journal Ergonomics
Trudel, C, Cobb, S. (Sue), Momtahan, K. (Kathryn), Brintnell, J. (Janet), & Mitchell, A. (Ann). (2017). Human factors considerations in designing for infection prevention and control in neonatal care – findings from a pre-design inquiry. Ergonomics, 1–16. doi:10.1080/00140139.2017.1330967