Pathways, practices and architectures: Containing antimicrobial resistance in the cystic fibrosis clinic

Nik Brown, Christina Buse, Alan Lewis, Daryl Martin, Sarah Nettleton

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Antimicrobial resistance and the adaptation of microbial life to antibiotics are recognized as a major healthcare challenge. Whereas most social science engagement with antimicrobial resistance has focussed on aspects of ‘behaviour’ (prescribing, antibiotic usage, patient ‘compliance’, etc.), this article instead explores antimicrobial resistance in the context of building design and healthcare architecture, focussing on the layout, design and ritual practices of three cystic fibrosis outpatient clinics. Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening multi-system genetic condition, often characterised by frequent respiratory infections and antibiotic treatment. Preventing antimicrobial resistance and cross-infection in cystic fibrosis increasingly depends on the spatiotemporal isolation of both people and pathogens. Our research aims to bring to the fore the role of the built environment exploring how containment and segregation are varyingly performed in interaction with material design, focussing on three core themes. These include, first, aspects of flow, movement and the spatiotemporal choreography of cystic fibrosis care. Second, the management of waiting and the materiality of the waiting room is a recurrent concern in our fieldwork. Finally, we take up the question of air, the intangibility of airborne risks and their material mitigation in the cystic fibrosis clinic.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date7 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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