Safety and Quality > Our Work > Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Program

The Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) Prevention Program aims to reduce HAIs by providing resources that support systems and strategies to prevent infection and manage infections effectively when they occur.

Find out how HAIs can impact on a person’s life and family in a short film produced by the Victorian Infection Control Professionals Association (VICPA).

National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHC) Standards: Healthcare-Associated Infection

The intention of the NSQHC Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard is to reduce the risk to patients acquiring preventable HAIs, effectively manage infections, and limit the development of antimicrobial resistance through prudent use of antimicrobials as part of antimicrobial stewardship. Information and resources to support implementation of the NSQHS Standards can be found at nationalstandards.safetyandquality.gov.au.

Infection Prevention and Control Online Modules

The Commission produced a series of education modules to assist healthcare workers who undertake infection prevention and control responsibilities as part of a clinical role.

Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission), have released the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019).

These Guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations that outline the critical aspects of infection prevention and control, focusing on core principles and priority areas for action. These Guidelines are for use by all working in healthcare – including healthcare workers, management and support staff. They provide a risk-management framework to ensure the basic principles of infection prevention and control can be applied to a wide range of healthcare settings. The level of risk may differ in different types of healthcare facilities; risk assessments are encouraged as part of the decision making and use of Guideline recommendations.

These revised guidelines uses new national and international evidence to strengthen the risk management approach to infection and prevention control established in the 2010 guidelines. The evidence which has informed the updated Guidelines includes: international infection prevention and control guidelines, national infection prevention and control guidelines on specific topics, literature reviews and systematic reviews. Key elements addressed in the 2019 guidelines include: the importance of a patient-centred approach, disinfection methods, antimicrobial resistance, replacement of peripheral intravenous catheters, use of chlorhexidine, immunisation for healthcare workers, Norovirus and use of hospital-grade disinfectants.

These Guidelines are an important resource to support the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard: Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection, and provide a basis for healthcare workers and healthcare facilities to develop protocols and processes for infection prevention and control specific to local settings.

National Infection Control Guidance for Non-tuberculous Mycobacterium associated with heater-cooler devices

This guidance document National Infection Control Guidance for Non-tuberculous Mycobacterium associated with heater-cooler devices outlines key actions that Australian health service organisations should take in relation to heater-cooler devices (HCDs) used during cardiac surgery. There is a specific risk that these devices may be contaminated with Mycobacterium chimaera (M. chimaera), and that exposure of patients to the aerosolised exhaust from these devices may cause infection. M. chimaera infections may not be clinically apparent for several years after exposure.

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