Action 3.7 states

The health service organisation has processes for communicating relevant details of a patient’s infectious status whenever responsibility for care is transferred between clinicians or health service organisations

Intent

A patient’s known or suspected colonisation or infection risks are communicated to an admitting, transferring or referring facility to minimise exposure of patients, the workforce and visitors to infectious agents.

Reflective question

How does the health service organisation communicate the patient’s infectious status when care is transferred?

Key tasks

  • Develop, review or implement a process to identify relevant pre-existing colonisation, infection or communicable diseases that will affect
    • patient placement while in the health service organisation
    • the risk to the workforce, other patients and consumers
    • transfer of care.
  • Review systems and processes used by managers and the workforce on admission, at entry points or when care is transitioning, including
    • pre-admission information
    • alerts, flags or risk identification processes
    • protocols for clinics, day surgery, emergency departments, community services and clinicians’ rooms on how to assess patients for colonisation, infections or communicable diseases
    • processes for transportating patients within or outside the health service organisation.

Strategies for improvement

Hospitals

Review or develop processes to communicate relevant information relating to a patient’s infection status whenever responsibility for care is transferred. This includes:

  • Between members of the workforce
    • on admission
    • at every clinical handover
    • at any transition or transfer of care, including to other departments in the health service organisation (for example, radiology, operating theatre, rehabilitation)
    • during clinical review or consultation
    • during transport both within and outside the health service organisation
  • To other relevant clinicians or care providers, including
    • general practitioners
    • community nurse services
    • allied health clinicians
    • carers and family on discharge
  • To other heath service organisations, including rehabilitation and aged care services.

Develop or use relevant information systems and materials to inform clinicians about infection risks and the requirements to minimise the risks. Infection prevention and control risks should be included on:

  • Requests for admission
  • Referral documentation
  • Transport requests
  • Clinical handover reports
  • Discharge or transfer summaries
  • Notification, alert or flag systems for infection status, and precautions required for current and future care and treatment.

Develop or use resources to inform the workforce, patients and visitors of relevant infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies to minimise risk to patients, visitors and the workforce.

Day Procedure Services

Review or develop processes to communicate relevant information relating to a patient’s infection status whenever responsibility for care is transferred. This includes:

  • Between members of the workforce
    • on admission
    • at every clinical handover
    • at any transition or transfer of care (for example, admission, radiology, operating theatre, recovery)
    • during clinical review or consultation
    • during transport both within and outside the day procedure service
  • To other relevant clinicians or care providers, including
    • general practitioners
    • community nurse services
    • allied health providers
    • family and carers on discharge
  • To other heath service organisations, including rehabilitation and aged care services.

Develop or use relevant information systems and materials to inform clinicians about infection risks and the requirements to minimise the risks. Infection prevention and control risks should be included on:

  • Requests for admission
  • Referral documentation
  • Clinical handover reports
  • Discharge or transfer summaries
  • Notification, alert or flag systems for infection status, and precautions required for current and future care and treatment.

Develop or use resources to inform the workforce, patients and visitors of relevant infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies to minimise risk to patients, visitors and the workforce.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents about communicating relevant information about any risks associated with a patient’s infectious status when care is transferred between clinicians or health service organisations
  • Clinical communication processes that include actions to communicate a patient’s infectious status to clinicians
  • Examples of clinical communication that highlights infectious status, such as handover sheets, discharge forms or electronic communication
  • Audit results of compliance with the processes for communicating infectious status, such as reviewing clinical communication documents or related incident reports
  • Resources for patients and visitors about infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies.

MPS & Small Hospitals

MPSs and small hospitals should:

  • Develop, review or implement a process to identify relevant pre-existing colonisation, infection or communicable diseases that will affect
    • patient placement while in the health service organisation
    • the risk to the workforce, other patients and consumers
    • transfer of care
  • Review systems and processes used by managers and the workforce on admission, at entry points or when care is transitioning, including
    • pre-admission information
    • alerts, flags and risk identification processes
    • protocols for clinics, day surgery, emergency departments, community services and clinicians’ rooms on how to assess patients for colonisation, infections or communicable diseases
    • processes for transporting patients within or outside the health service organisation
  • Develop or use relevant information systems and materials to inform clinicians about infection risks and the requirements to minimise the risks. Infection prevention and control risks should be included on
    • requests for admission
    • referral documentation
    • transport requests
    • clinical handover reports
    • discharge or transfer summaries
    • notification, alert or flag systems for infection status, and precautions required for current and future care
  • Develop or use resources to inform the workforce, patients and visitors of relevant infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies to minimise risk to patients, visitors and the workforce.

Hospitals

Review or develop processes to communicate relevant information relating to a patient’s infection status whenever responsibility for care is transferred. This includes:

  • Between members of the workforce
    • on admission
    • at every clinical handover
    • at any transition or transfer of care, including to other departments in the health service organisation (for example, radiology, operating theatre, rehabilitation)
    • during clinical review or consultation
    • during transport both within and outside the health service organisation
  • To other relevant clinicians or care providers, including
    • general practitioners
    • community nurse services
    • allied health clinicians
    • carers and family on discharge
  • To other heath service organisations, including rehabilitation and aged care services.

Develop or use relevant information systems and materials to inform clinicians about infection risks and the requirements to minimise the risks. Infection prevention and control risks should be included on:

  • Requests for admission
  • Referral documentation
  • Transport requests
  • Clinical handover reports
  • Discharge or transfer summaries
  • Notification, alert or flag systems for infection status, and precautions required for current and future care and treatment.

Develop or use resources to inform the workforce, patients and visitors of relevant infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies to minimise risk to patients, visitors and the workforce.

Day Procedure Services

Review or develop processes to communicate relevant information relating to a patient’s infection status whenever responsibility for care is transferred. This includes:

  • Between members of the workforce
    • on admission
    • at every clinical handover
    • at any transition or transfer of care (for example, admission, radiology, operating theatre, recovery)
    • during clinical review or consultation
    • during transport both within and outside the day procedure service
  • To other relevant clinicians or care providers, including
    • general practitioners
    • community nurse services
    • allied health providers
    • family and carers on discharge
  • To other heath service organisations, including rehabilitation and aged care services.

Develop or use relevant information systems and materials to inform clinicians about infection risks and the requirements to minimise the risks. Infection prevention and control risks should be included on:

  • Requests for admission
  • Referral documentation
  • Clinical handover reports
  • Discharge or transfer summaries
  • Notification, alert or flag systems for infection status, and precautions required for current and future care and treatment.

Develop or use resources to inform the workforce, patients and visitors of relevant infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies to minimise risk to patients, visitors and the workforce.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents about communicating relevant information about any risks associated with a patient’s infectious status when care is transferred between clinicians or health service organisations
  • Clinical communication processes that include actions to communicate a patient’s infectious status to clinicians
  • Examples of clinical communication that highlights infectious status, such as handover sheets, discharge forms or electronic communication
  • Audit results of compliance with the processes for communicating infectious status, such as reviewing clinical communication documents or related incident reports
  • Resources for patients and visitors about infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies.

MPS & Small Hospitals

MPSs and small hospitals should:

  • Develop, review or implement a process to identify relevant pre-existing colonisation, infection or communicable diseases that will affect
    • patient placement while in the health service organisation
    • the risk to the workforce, other patients and consumers
    • transfer of care
  • Review systems and processes used by managers and the workforce on admission, at entry points or when care is transitioning, including
    • pre-admission information
    • alerts, flags and risk identification processes
    • protocols for clinics, day surgery, emergency departments, community services and clinicians’ rooms on how to assess patients for colonisation, infections or communicable diseases
    • processes for transporting patients within or outside the health service organisation
  • Develop or use relevant information systems and materials to inform clinicians about infection risks and the requirements to minimise the risks. Infection prevention and control risks should be included on
    • requests for admission
    • referral documentation
    • transport requests
    • clinical handover reports
    • discharge or transfer summaries
    • notification, alert or flag systems for infection status, and precautions required for current and future care
  • Develop or use resources to inform the workforce, patients and visitors of relevant infection risks, and infection prevention and control strategies to minimise risk to patients, visitors and the workforce.