3 actions to take to ensure HIQA compliance in Infection Prevention and Control
Healthcare-associated infections can have a devastating impact on people causing stress, serious illness, long-term disability or even death.
The growing threat of antimicrobial resistance has meant that infection prevention and control has become an urgent priority in preventing negative outcomes from healthcare interventions.
We are all familiar with the challenges of preventing and controlling the spread of infection within hospital and residential facilities.
However, because of demands on acute services, care is increasingly being delivered to patients in the community with a corresponding rise in non-hospital setting acquired infections.
In response to the changing patterns of healthcare delivery, HIQA have developed new National Standards for the delivery of high-quality and safe care in the community.
The settings to which these standards apply include:
These standards apply to both HSE and privately funded community health and social care services.
It is the responsibility of the service provider management to ensure the implementation of these standards and to demonstrate compliance.
Though improvement in the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections is a priority for all of us in healthcare, understanding and implementing the new standards presents extra challenges to often already overburdened healthcare practitioners in the community.
So, our team at Hygiene Audits set about a close examination of the new National Standards to help simplify what their implementation will entail for community service providers.
We identified three key measures that are required for compliance:
1. Staff training
The new standards promote the active participation of all staff in the improvement of infection prevention and control.
To ensure that all staff have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities with regard to the implementation of the standards, they must receive education and training in areas such as hand hygiene, and record keeping.
2. Have access to a qualified person in Infection Prevention and Control
The National standards recommend that within each organisation, an individual is appointed with responsibility and authority for infection prevention and control.
This includes accountability and responsibility for overseeing the implementation of these National Standards.
A vital part of any improvement strategy is the assessment of its effectiveness.
The National Standards recommends that the service undertakes and records measurements to assess its performance and identify trends, and areas for improvement.
The service provider must demonstrate evidence of hand hygiene compliance, environmental hygiene audits and standard precaution practices.
Even for the most committed healthcare professionals, the prospect of implementing these standards may appear daunting and complex.
At Hygiene Audits we are constantly developing and improving tools to support service providers in the discharging of their responsibilities in relation to infection prevention and control.