Infection prevention and control: a guide for community nurses
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of infection prevention and control (IPC), and accentuated the need for better health and safety measures to protect both healthcare professionals and their patients.
In this article, Francesca Ramadan provides an overview of IPC measures for community nurses, such as hand hygiene and personal protective equipment, along with the safe management of care equipment and the care environment.
Although infection prevention and control (IPC) has always been a priority in healthcare systems, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted its necessity and importance in safeguarding the health and safety of both healthcare professionals and patients alike. However, the risk posed to both professionals and patients by a lack of IPC measures is not limited to COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses and infectious diseases; robust IPC is associated with the effort to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and improve the overall quality and resilience of healthcare. The dangers associated with the transmission of the emergence and spread of drugresistant pathogens cannot be overstated: the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared AMR to be one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity (WHO, 2021). However, simple IPC measures can make a big difference. A study by Song et al (2013) showed that hand hygiene compliance at 80% or higher in a neonatal intensive care unit was associated with a 48% further reduction of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus acquisition. Alongside reducing infection, IPC also brings cost-saving benefits; in 2011, Chen et al (2011) estimated that every US$1 spent on hand hygiene promotion could result in a US$23.7 benefit.
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