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Barriers to infection prevention and control in patients’ homes

02 December 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 12


While there is a lot of emphasis on the need for good infection prevention and control practices and acute care, the increasing complexity of patients being cared for in their own homes means that there is an increased risk for infection. Good practice is required by community nurses to minimise this risk. Patients’ own homes can present particular challenges in complying with good practice and this article looks at some of the barriers to optimum infection prevention and control precautions in this setting.

Patients receive healthcare in a variety of settings, including in their own homes. Hospitals are often considered when discussing cross-infection and healthcare-associated infection. However, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) (2017) has stressed that such infections are not confined to hospitals, and that healthcare staff who practice in community settings have the same professional and clinical responsibilities as staff who work in hospitals to prevent opportunities for infection to occur.

The district nursing service provides nursing care and support for patients and their families and carers in homes and communities all across the UK. This service provides a range of elements of care and treatment including wound management, palliative care, continence and catheter care, tracheostomy care and medicines management. In all aspects of physical care, there are infection prevention and control (IPC) issues that need to be addressed and adhered to for safe and effective practice. This is increasingly so given the complexity of patients now being cared for outside the acute hospital setting, and there is an associated increased risk of infection.

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