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May 2020

Controlling the risk of infection in clinical care 

Blog posts

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Each year over 165,000 healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are recorded in Australian acute healthcare facilities. This makes HAIs the most common complication affecting patients in hospitals. As well as causing unnecessary pain and suffering for patients and their families, these adverse events prolonged hospital stays and are costly to the health system.
The problem not only affects patients and workers in hospitals—HAIs can occur in any healthcare setting, including office-based practices (such as general practice clinics, dental clinics) and long-term care facilities. 
Anyone working in or entering a healthcare facility is at risk of carrying the infection into the facility, or becoming infected once in the facility. 

“Approximately 7% of hospitalised patients will acquire a HAI, with an estimated increase to the cost of a patient’s admission of 8.6%.” NHMRC  

It is not so despairing however as a healthcare- associated infection is a potentially preventable adverse event rather than an unpredictable complication. 

Practical minimisation of HAIs

It is possible to significantly reduce the rate of HAIs through effective infection prevention and control. Successful infection prevention and control involves implementing work practices that reduce the risk of the transmission of infectious agents through a two-tiered approach, including:

Routinely applying basic infection prevention and control strategies to minimise risk to both patients and healthcare workers, such as hand hygiene, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, cleaning and safe handling and disposal of sharps (standard precautions).

Effectively managing infectious agents where standard precautions may not be sufficient
on their own—these specific interventions control infection by interrupting the mode of
transmission (transmission-based precautions; formerly referred to as additional precautions).“ 
Extract from (2) Basics of infection prevention and control - Standard and transmission based precautions Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare, 2019

Examples of standard precautions that are implemented in Healthcare settings:    

  • Personal hygiene practices, particularly hand hygiene, aim to reduce the risk of contact transmission of infectious agents.
  • Appropriate use of personal protective equipment, which may include gloves, gowns, plastic aprons, masks/face-shields and eye protection, aims to prevent exposure of the healthcare worker and patients to infectious agents.

Skills development and knowledge reinforcement 

Directors of Nursing or Quality and Risk Managers can bolster workforce skills based knowledge with Kineo’s course library.  Ensure that workers are safe as well as fully compliant, Infection Prevention and Control - Standard Precautions online training will help to reinforce what level of precaution is needed to ensure the minimisation of risk.  

Infection Prevention and Control - Standard Precautions

This course has been endorsed by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).  It has been developed to give the learner an understanding of how to apply standard precautions in the workplace.  Infection prevention and Control - Standard Precautions also covers the role they play in reducing the risk of infection. 

Suitable for all clinical staff, this comprehensive elearning module that covers the basics of infection prevention and control will provide an understanding of:

  • Standard precautions used in healthcare environments to prevent and control infection
  • How to maintain effective hand hygiene
  • The need for respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • The importance of maintaining a clean environment
  • How to use personal protective equipment (PPE) safely
  • The importance of reprocessing reusable instruments and equipment, and
  • Asepsis and aseptic technique.

Successful infection control requires a range of strategies across all levels of the healthcare system.  There also needs to be a collaborative approach for successful implementation.
The aim of Infection Prevention and Control - Standard Precautions is to provide best practice behaviours. This can help prevent patients contracting preventable healthcare associated infections.

Get in touch to discuss your organisational clinical care needs.  We’re here to help.


Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Since the year immemorial Sally has exercised an avid passion for creativity with words, images and Pilates.  She is most content in the workplace when crafting enticing messages that inspire and engage.