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Healthcare associated infections

Healthcare associated infections (HAI) are a major cause of poor outcomes for patients. Research shows that a significant proportion of infections can be prevented by adherence to established infection control practices. The SA Health Infection Control Service monitors the occurrence of HAI and provides state guidelines, tools and resource materials to assist Infection Control Professionals in all clinical settings. The Service also provides information and fact sheets for the health professional and the consumer, and education on the principles of infection prevention to various health professionals.

Heater-cooler device contamination - Information for patients and clinicians about heater-cooler device contamination and the steps SA Health is taking to address this issue. For more information visit the Heater-cooler device contamination page

Health service standards

The prevention of HAI is considered to be a high priority patient safety issue and is covered under Standard 3 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. These standards contain the essential requirements for good clinical practice in all Australian hospitals, and compliance is considered mandatory for accreditation. In order to assist healthcare facilities to comply with Standard 3, SA Health has developed a a number of resources. A suite of audit tools (PDF 238KB) has also been developed.

The standard includes criteria for:

Governance and systems for infection prevention, control and surveillance

Effective governance and management systems for healthcare associated infections are implemented and maintained. This includes:

  • use of a risk management approach when implementing policies, procedures and/or protocols
  • undertaking surveillance of healthcare associated infections.

The SA Health HAI Prevention Policy Directive (PDF 440KB) outlines the requirements for an effective infection control program.

Infection prevention and control strategies

Strategies for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections are developed and implemented. These include:

Managing patients with infection or colonisation

Patients presenting with, or acquiring, an infection or colonisation with a multidrug-resistant organism, Clostridium difficile or other transmissible infection during their care are identified promptly and receive the necessary management and treatment. This includes:

Antimicrobial stewardship

Safe and appropriate antimicrobial prescribing is a strategic goal of the clinical governance system. This includes:

Cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation

Healthcare facilities and the associated environment are clean and hygienic. Reprocessing of equipment and instrumentation meets current best practice guidelines.

Communicating with patients and carers

Information on healthcare associated infections is provided to patients, carers, consumers and service providers.

Further information

For further information on the prevention of healthcare associated infection contact SA Health's Infection Control Service on (08) 7425 7161.

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