Infection Prevention and Control is about guiding, supporting and monitoring personnel who provide care for patients/clients/residents on how to prevent healthcare-associated infection.

It is also about ensuring that the health system’s infrastructure caters for safe care for patients.

Infection Prevention and Control is mainly about the prevention and/or control of healthcare-associated infection, for example urinary tract or surgical wound infection. Also, we advise staff and family members on how to manage patients with a condition that could be spread to others e.g. tuberculosis or multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

In general, Infection Prevention and Control personnel are mainly involved with: 

  • writing policies and procedures on infection control associated practices e.g. hand hygiene 
  • educating staff on how to prevent the spread of infection e.g. following an aseptic technique when doing an invasive procedure, cleaning and disinfection of equipment 
  • monitoring and/or measuring the presence of infection/colonisation in the inpatient population e.g. tracking the occurrence of multidrug-resistant organisms (MROs) 
  • ensuring that there are systems and processes in place that facilitate safe practices by staff all the time

  • provision of advice and support to staff and organisation e.g. when purchasing new equipment or planning new procedures, building a new facility or making changes to an existing facility.

Unlike our medical colleagues who work in Infectious Diseases, we do not diagnose, treat or manage the clinical care of patients with infectious conditions. However, we provide advice and education, when requested to do so, to individual patients and families while they are in hospital, when they have questions regarding infection control; this is usually arranged through the nursing staff.

Definitions

Infection: means there is evidence of an individual’s response to an organism (germ), i.e. the individual would have observable signs and/or symptoms associated with infection.

Colonisation: means the presence of an organism without any observable signs and/or symptoms of infection.

Healthcare associated infection/colonisation: sometimes also called nosocomial, iatrogenic or hospital acquired infection. All these terms indicate that the person did not have or was not developing the condition on admission to the healthcare environment.

Community associated infection/colonisation: this term indicates the person did have or was developing the condition on admission to the healthcare environment.

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