Lactation Pods

Q: Our hospital recently purchased a few lactation pods like they have in airports. I can’t help wondering if they need to have fire alarm notification devices and sprinklers. Has this been issue with any accreditation surveyors yet?

A: I can’t say that I’ve given this subject much thought. I am not aware that any surveyors have cited this issue so far.

It would be my thinking that a Lactation Pod would be similar to the concept of a clothes closet as described in section 19.3.5.10 of the 2012 LSC whereas sprinklers would not be required. But there is a maximum area allowed under that section of 6 square feet, and I don’t know if the Lactation Pod is under 6 square feet.

I did contact CMS and asked them if they would require sprinklers in these pods and they replied in an informal communication and said they agreed that the lactation pods would be considered comparable to a portable wardrobe unit and would not require sprinklers to be installed in the pod.

Brad Keyes
Brad Keyes, CHSP

Brad is a former advisor to Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and former Joint Commission LS surveyor. He guides clients through  organizational assessment; management training; ongoing coaching of task groups; and extensive one-on-one coaching of facility leaders. He analyzes and develops leadership effectiveness and efficiency in work processes, focusing on assessing an organization’s preparedness for a survey, evaluating processes in achieving preparedness, and guiding organizations toward compliance. 

As a presenter at national seminars, regional conferences, and audio conferences, Brad teaches the Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp series to various groups and organizations. He is the author or co-author of many HCPro books, including the best-selling  Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, now in its 3rd edition. Brad has also authored a variety of articles in numerous publications addressing features of life safety and fire protection, as well as white papers and articles on the Building Maintenance Program. Currently serving as the contributing editor of the monthly HCPro newsletter Healthcare Life Safety Compliance  gives Brad further insight into the industry’s trends and best practices.