NHMRC is working with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in HealthCare to update the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare. The guidelines aim to create ‘safe healthcare environments through the implementation of practices that minimise the risk of transmission of infectious agents’.
Update of the 2010 Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (the Guidelines)
Developing or revising guidelines aimed at the prevention and control of infection in healthcare is an example of NHMRC’s strategic priority of ‘effective translation of evidence to improve clinical outcomes and public and environmental health’. The Corporate Plan 2015-2016 identifies key activities that fall under this priority and include providing national leadership in promoting translation of knowledge created through research into clinical practice, health policy and health services and systems. Working with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in HealthCare (ACSQHC) to update the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare is a specified target.
The update of the Guidelines is envisaged to be completed in mid 2019. There have been a number of major processes involved in updating the Guidelines.
A) Establish an expert advisory committee
The Infection Control Guidelines Advisory Committee (ICGAC) was established to oversee and provide expertise on updating the Guidelines. More information on the membership and terms of reference of this group are available below.
B) Identify current international and national evidence and guidelines
A horizon scan was completed by expert consultants from KP Health which identified relevant national and international Guidelines as well as new standards and policies produced by Australian jurisdictions since 2009. The horizon scan allowed the ICGAC and NHMRC Project Team to determine gaps between recommendations in the 2010 Guidelines and more recently published health advice. This information was used to update text and recommendations in the Guidelines.
Based on the horizon scan and the expert opinions of the ICGAC, it was identified that a more extensive literature search was required for the following topics:
- Chlorhexidine and resistance
- Chlorhexidine and anaphylaxis
- Epidemiology and transmission of Norovirus
- Antimicrobial surfaces
- Novel disinfectants
Reviews and technical reports are available in the attachments section below.
C) Undertake evidence reviews
Monash University and the University of South Australia were engaged from NHMRC’s Health Evidence Panel, following a competitive tender process, to undertake the systematic and literature reviews described above. These reviews underwent a process of independent methodological review to ensure they followed the systematic and rigorous approach specified in the corresponding research protocols.
D) Update the Guidelines
Based on the findings of the reviews, as well as evidence identified in the horizon scan, the recommendations and text within the Guidelines were updated where new evidence had emerged. NHMRC uses the GRADE approach for developing recommendations.
E) Undertake consultation
Public consultation on the draft updated Guideline was conducted from 13 April to 15 May 2018.
F) Expert Review
NHMRC approached national and international experts to conduct an expert review of the draft updated Guidelines and provide comments.
G) Final noting and approvals
The updated Guidelines are being presented to the following groups for noting and approval:
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare Inter-Jurisdictional Committee
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare Board
- Council of NHMRC
- NHMRC Chief Executive Officer