For information relevant to COVID-19 please refer to:
- For health and other care settings - the advice from the Infection Control Expert Group.
- For all other settings – the Department of Health COVID-19 webpage.
- Your local state and territory health departments.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare has recently released COVID-19 specific resources regarding PPE and the application of transmission-based precautions to complement Commonwealth and state and territory resources.
The Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare have been developed for use in all healthcare settings, including office-based practices. They contain guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE), standard and transmission-based precautions and outbreak management in section 3. For advice on infection control in community and other settings please go to the Department of Health website.
About the guidelines
There are over 165,000 healthcare associated infections in Australian acute healthcare facilities every year. This makes healthcare associated infections the most common complication affecting patients in hospital. But this problem does not just affect patients and workers in hospitals — healthcare associated infections can occur in any healthcare setting, including office-based practices (e.g. general practice clinics, dental clinics, community health facilities), the settings in which paramedics work and in long-term care facilities.
Effective infection prevention and control is central to providing high quality healthcare for patients and a safe working environment for those who work in healthcare settings. The guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations that outline the critical aspects of infection prevention and control, focusing on core principles and priority areas for action.
The guidelines have been developed to specifically support improved infection prevention and control in acute health settings. While some of the principles and recommendations described in the guidelines may be applicable to other health settings, all healthcare facilities should consider the risk of transmission of infection in their setting and implement the guidelines and its recommendations according to their specific setting and circumstances.
The guidelines are for use by all working in healthcare – including healthcare workers, management and support staff. They provide a risk-management framework to ensure that the basic principles of infection prevention and control can be applied to a wide range of healthcare settings. The level of risk may differ in different types of healthcare facilities; risk assessments are encouraged as part of the decision making and use of guideline recommendations.
Accessing and using the guidelines
The Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare are published on MAGICapp allowing for ‘point of care’ use where the guidelines can be viewed on any tablet, phone or computer.
You can access the most recent version, at any time, on MAGICapp.
Additionally, an up-to-date PDF version can be generated directly from the guidelines by clicking on the PDF button on MAGICapp:
Information on the development of the guidelines is contained in The Process Report at Appendix 3 of the guideline in MAGICapp.
Evidence reviews underpinning the guideline are available to download below.
Companion documents to the guidelines
Companion documents to support the implementation of the guidelines include:
- Clinical Educator's Guide
- Frequently asked questions’ document
- Consumer factsheets
Process to maintain the guidelines
NHMRC, in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), updated the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (the guidelines) in May 2019. NHMRC established an advisory group from January 2016 to March 2019 to oversee the updating process. This advisory group was dissolved after the guidelines release in May 2019.
NHMRC agreed to maintain the guidelines following their release with technical content support provided by the ACSQHC. To facilitate the maintenance process the guidelines are published and maintained by NHMRC on the MAGICapp platform.
How queries and requests for change are processed
NHMRC’s Infection Prevention and Control team maintains a log of all guideline queries received and forwards it to the ACSQHC each month. Upon receiving a query NHMRC will either respond directly to the sender or refer the query to the ACSQHC for a response.
If the ACSQHC and NHMRC identify that clinical content in the guidelines may need to be changed then the following will be considered:
- If the change is a minor edit or clarification which does not require a review of the evidence, the ACSQHC will provide NHMRC with the correct wording, and the guidelines will be amended in an upcoming edit cycle (currently February, June and October). Edits will be listed in MAGICapp.
- If the change is more substantial, ACSQHC and NHMRC will discuss an approach and may seek further advice from experts such as ACSQHC’s Healthcare Associated Infection Advisory Committee on:
a. whether a change needs to be made immediately, or
b. should be deferred until a full review of the guidelines takes place.
- New or emerging evidence, a significant change to the body of evidence underpinning the guidelines, and/or implications for the guidelines’ recommendation(s), will be considered as part of a full revision of the guidelines.
When both agencies agree that a full review is warranted, a formal revision process will be activated. This process will include the establishment of an expert committee to advise on the revision and a public consultation process being conducted in accordance with the National Health & Medical Research Council Act (1992).
If there are topics that should be considered for the next full revision of the guidelines please send them to the Infection Prevention and Control team.
All edits and changes made to the guidelines will be recorded in the version history log on MAGICapp under the About Tab (image below).