Preventing and controlling infection is an essential role for all staff providing care to older people.
Good infection prevention and control can:
- reduce infections developing
- control the spread of resistant infections
- reduce the need for antimicrobials.
Infection prevention and control guidelines
Effective infection prevention and control is central to providing high quality healthcare for patients and a safe working environment for those who work in healthcare settings. The following guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations that outline the critical aspects of infection prevention and control, focusing on core principles and priority areas for action.
The Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019) are for people working in health care, 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 Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care established the National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) in 2008. It includes auditing of hand hygiene practice as well as educational and promotional activities. The Commission provides a Learning Management System which contains online learning modules and the Hand Hygiene Compliance Application (HHCApp) for hand hygiene auditing purposes.
Vaccination is an effective way to stop people from getting infections that can be prevented. It also decreases the need for antibiotics and reduces the development of resistance.
Seasonal influenza vaccination can help reduce antibiotic use, which tends to increase during cold and flu season.
Pneumococcal disease can cause serious illness in older Australians. Pneumococcal vaccination can reduce the risk of infection.
Pneumococcal and influenza vaccines are available for free for adults 65 years of age or over.
The Australian Immunisation Handbook provides clinical advice for health professionals on the safest and most effective use of vaccines.