Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard

The following content is being updated. Please follow this link for a copy of the 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard.

For information on transitioning from 2017 Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard to 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard, please follow this link to the fact sheet.

Intention of this standard

To reduce the risk to patients, consumers and members of the workforce of acquiring preventable infections; effectively manage infections, if they occur; prevent and contain antimicrobial resistance; promote appropriate prescribing and use of antimicrobials as part of antimicrobial stewardship; and promote appropriate and sustainable use of infection prevention and control resources.

Criteria

Systems are in place to support and promote prevention and control of infections, improve antimicrobial stewardship and support appropriate, safe and sustainable use of infection prevention and control resources.

Action groups

Integrating clinical governance

Applying quality improvement systems

Partnering with consumers

Surveillance

Evidence-based systems are used to mitigate the risk of infection. These systems account for individual risk factors for infection, as well as the risks associated with the clinical intervention and the clinical setting in which care is provided. A precautionary approach is warranted when evidence is emerging or rapidly evolving.

Patients, consumers and members of the workforce with suspected or confirmed infection are identified promptly, and appropriate action is taken. This includes persons with risk factors for transmitting or acquiring infection or colonisation with an organism of local, national or global significance.

The health service organisation is clean and hygienic and has well-maintained and configured engineering systems for the delivery of effective models of care.

Action groups

Standard and transmission-based precautions

Hand hygiene

Aseptic technique

Invasive medical devices

Clean and safe environment

Workforce screening and immunisation

Infections in the workforce

Reprocessing of reusable equipment and devices meets current best practice and is consistent with recurrent national standards.

Action groups

Reprocessing of reusable medical devices

The health service organisation implements systems for the safe and appropriate prescribing and use of antimicrobials as part of an antimicrobial stewardship program.

Action groups

Antimicrobial stewardship

Background to this standard

Each year, many infections are associated with the provision of health care and affect many patients, and, in some cases, consumers and members of the workforce. Many of these infections are preventable.

Infection prevention and control within healthcare settings aims to minimise the risk of transmission of infections and the development of multidrug-resistant organisms. Novel infections that cause outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics present new challenges, and require rapid responses to control and prevent further spread, while ensuring the safety of patients and members of the workforce, and sustainability of service provision.

Infection prevention and control practice aims to minimise the risk of transmission of infectious agents. However, just as there is no single cause of infection, there is no single solution to preventing infections. A variety of strategies is required across the healthcare system, informed by risk assessment and management using the hierarchy of controls in conjunction with infection prevention and control systems.

The Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard has been developed in line with the recommendations and evidence in the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare. This standard aims to prevent patients and members of the workforce from acquiring preventable infections, and to effectively manage these infections when they occur by using evidence-based strategies. It should be applied in conjunction with the Clinical Governance Standard, the Partnering with Consumers Standard and the Medication Safety Standard.