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; excel version of the tools are available on request by contacting SA Health's Infection Control Service.
The SA Health HAI Prevention Policy Directive (PDF 422KB) outlines requirements for an effective infection control program.
The second edition of Standard 3 contains actions grouped into 4 main criteria:
- Clinical governance and quality improvement
- Infection prevention and control systems
- Reprocessing of reusable medical devices
- Antimicrobial stewardship.
Governance and quality systems for infection prevention, control and surveillance
Systems must be place to support and promote prevention and control of healthcare-associated infection and improve antimicrobial stewardship. This includes
- integrating infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship into clinical governance and quality systems
- use of a risk management approach when implementing policies, procedures and/or protocols
- undertaking surveillance of healthcare associated infections
- partnering with consumers in their care.
The SA Health HAI Prevention Policy Directive (PDF 440KB) outlines the requirements for an effective infection control program.
Strategies for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections are developed and implemented. These include:
- implementation of standard and transmission-based precautions
- development of a hand hygiene program designed to increase healthcare worker compliance
- development of systems and protocols for aseptic technique
- development of systems and protocols for indwelling medical device management
- maintaining a clean and hygienic environment
- development and monitoring of a risk-based health workforce immunisation program.
Patients presenting with, or acquiring, an infection or colonisation with a multidrug-resistant organism, Clostridium difficile, Candida auris or other transmissible infection during their care are identified promptly and receive the necessary management and treatment.
- the appropriate use of standard and transmission-based precautions (previously known as additional precautions)
- using risk assessment for the placement of patients with infectious diseases and multi-resistant organisms; tools include:
- protocols for communicating a patient’s infectious status on transfer between service providers.
Safe and appropriate antimicrobial prescribing is a strategic goal of the clinical governance system. This includes:
- monitoring of antimicrobial usage
- monitoring of antimicrobial resistance
- National alert system for critical antimicrobial resistance (CARAlert).
Healthcare facilities and the associated environment are clean and hygienic. Reprocessing of equipment and instrumentation meets current best practice guidelines.
Information on healthcare associated infections is provided to patients, carers, consumers and service providers.
For further information on the prevention of healthcare associated infection contact SA Health's Infection Control Service on (08) 7425 7161.