For information relevant to Covid-19 please refer to the advice from the Department of Health and the 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 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.
When implementing the guideline’s recommendations all healthcare facilities need to consider the risk of transmission of infection and implement according to their specific setting and circumstances.
Accessing and using the guidelines
Publishing the guidelines on MAGICapp allows for ‘point of care’ use where the guidelines can be viewed on any tablet, phone or computer. \Additionally, an up-to-date PDF version can be downloaded from the MAGICapp website. To access the guidelines:
- Visit MAGICapp
- From the guidelines list, look for the NHMRC logo and click on ‘Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019)’ to view the guidelines.
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
The guidelines are available on the MAGICapp platform to facilitate a more frequent updating process.
The Infection Prevention and Control team welcome your comments about suggested edits, new evidence and any other information that may be relevant to future versions of the guidelines. NHMRC has a staged approach to dealing with these suggestions as outlined below.
- Minor updates may include correcting references or typographical errors. These minor updates will be undertaken by NHMRC and processed through MAGICapp.
- Minor updates will be communicated through the Version history table in MAGICapp.
- Major updates may be required if newly available evidence is deemed to be significant by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, or the Council of NHMRC.
- NHMRC will discuss new evidence with the Commission in the first instance.
- If the evidence review results in only a small edit/revision and the recommendations are not affected, a targeted consultation may suffice.
- If both agencies agree that a major update is warranted and/or if any of the recommendations require significant revision, a formal revision process will be activated and an expert committee established to advise on the revision, in accordance with the National Health & Medical Research Council Act (1992). A revised/edited guideline will be submitted for public consultation and NHMRC will lead this process, with the Commission’s input.
- Major edits will be advised through NHMRC’s regular communication activities including website updates, NHMRC Tracker notices and emails to key stakeholders.