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Infection control in the community: recap on policy and procedure

02 December 2022
Volume 27 · Issue 12


Infection control has long been the focus of the attention of anyone working in healthcare, due to the risks posed to patients and staff if appropriate infection control procedures are not followed properly. This article explores a recap of important infection control measures and also outlines the Government's policy for tackling antimicrobial resistance, and its link to infection control procedures. The article covers the key points of the recent publication from NHS England on the topic of infection control.

Since the onset of COVID-19, we have become acutely aware of the dangers involving infection control. A viral or bacterial infection can spread through various means, such as through touch or airborne transmission. Healthcare professionals are faced with the task of preventing transmission of bacteria or viruses from one patient to another. The Department of Health (2008) defines good infection prevention (including cleanliness) as essential to ensure people using health and social care services receive safe and effective care. For this to be implemented, infection control measures must be regularly and consistenty practiced by healthcare professionals. This depends on how the organisation and management roll out the most effective training and ongoing procedures, fostering high collaborative standards and culture among staff for infection control.

NHS England (2022) recently set out guidance on the topic of infection control. As always, there is an emphasis on hand hygiene; however, patient placement and the assessment of the patient's infection risk are absolutely critical. Therefore, among community nurses, there should be a quick and analytical response to any new patient referrals—if they have an infection or came from an environment where infection was present (such as COVID-19), it is integral that staff assess the risk of accepting the patient and consider risk of infection into their practice. NHS England (2022) states that there must be prompt assessment for infection risk on arrival at the care centre. However, it is preferable that this assessment be undertaken before transferring the patient for admission at the hospital. The patient should be continuously reviewed thereafter. Such assessment should influence placement decisions in accordance with the patient's care requirements (NHS England, 2022).

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