The Commission, in consultation with clinical experts from across Australia, has developed the hospital-acquired complications (HACs) information kit. The kit has been developed to improve the safety and quality of health services, and outcomes for Australian patients.

The information kit includes a suite of resources for clinicians, safety and quality professionals, managers and executives, governing bodies and others, to put in place strategies that reduce the occurrence of HACs. Monitoring HACs, and using strategies in the information kit to reduce the occurrence of HACs, can be used as evidence during accreditation against the National Safety and Quality Health Service standards.

Overview of the HACs information kit

The HACs information kit includes three elements:

  • Introductory content
    This material defines the 16 HACs, explains their development, why they are important, and how monitoring and responding to HACs can help provide the best care for patients.
  • Detailed fact sheets
    These fact sheets are designed for clinicians, safety and quality professionals, managers and executives and governing bodies. They include an overview of the governance structures and quality improvement processes needed to minimise the occurrence of a HAC. They also outline key steps to develop and deliver a comprehensive care plan for the patient. Download the full Hospital Acquired Complications Information Kit V.2 (PDF, 6MB)

Information kit resources for download

Download the full Hospital Acquired Complications Information Kit V.2 (PDF, 6MB)

Individual resources within the HACs information kit are provided below:

  • Fact sheets for:

1. Pressure injury

2. Falls resulting in fracture or intracranial injury

3. Healthcare-associated infection

4. Surgical complications requiring unplanned return to theatre

5. Unplanned intensive care unit admission1

6. Respiratory complications

7. Venous thromboembolism

8. Renal failure

9. Gastrointestinal bleeding

10. Medication complications

11. Delirium

12. Persistent incontinence

13. Malnutrition

14. Cardiac complications

15. Third and fourth degree perineal laceration during delivery

16. Neonatal birth trauma

Monitoring HACs

HACs should be monitored at multiple levels within health services, including by clinicians, managers and governing bodies. Monitoring HACs enables the identification and exploration of issues and the implementation of strategies to reduce them in line with those outlined in the information kit.

High or rising rates of HACs indicate that efforts are needed to understand and reduce these rates. Conversely low and falling rates of HACs can signify success stories, which should be shared to support quality improvement and maintenance.

Resources developed by the Commission and the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority to support monitoring of HACs at the local level include:

1 A fact sheet has not been prepared for HAC 5, which relates to ‘unplanned intensive care unit admission’. See the introduction of the HACs information kit for further information.


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Last updated: June 2018.