Ayliffe G, Lowburry E, Geddes A, Williams J, 4th edn. London: Arnold; 2000

Bowler P, Duerden B, Armstrong D Wound microbiology and associated approaches to wound management. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2001; 14:(2)244-269

Brown L, Munro J, Rogers S Use of personal protective equipment in nursing practice. Nurs Stand. 2019; 34:(5)59-66

Chamanga ET, Hughes M, Hilston K Chronic wound bed preparation using a cleansing solution. Br J Nurs. 2015; 24:(12)S30-S36

Cook TM Personal protective equipment during the coronavirus disease (COVID) 2019 pandemic—a narrative review. Anaesthesia. 2020; 75:(7)920-927

Department of Health and Social Care. Infection control in the built environment (HBN 00-09). 2013a.

Department of Health and Social Care. Management and disposal of healthcare waste (HTM 07-01). 2013b.

Department of Health and Social Care. Health and Social Care Act 2008. 2015.

Health and Safety Executive. Maintenance of work equipment. 2021.

Master S, Gerrard M Challenges of SARS-CoV-2 and conflicting PPE guidelines. J Paramedic Pract. 2020; 12:(11)436-442

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority. Single-use medical devices: implications and consequences of reuse. 2021.

Nazarko L The fundamentals of infection control. J Operat Dept Practition. 2014; 2:(5)224-229

NHS England. Standard infection control precautions: national hand hygiene and personal protective equipment policy. 2019.

Nikolai LA, Meyer CG, Kremsner PG, Velavan TP Asymptomatic SARS Coronavirus 2 infection: invisible yet invincible. Int J Infect Dis. 2020; 100:112-116

Public Health England. Diagnosis of urinary tract infections. 2020.

Rowley S Aseptic non-touch technique. Nurs Times. 2001; 97:(7)

Wilkinson M, Kiernan M, Wilson J, Loveday H, Bradley C Assessment of the efficacy of a patient hand wipe: development of a test method. J Hosp Infect. 2018; 98:(4)339-344

World Health Organization. WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in health care. 2009.

The challenge of infection control in patients' homes

02 April 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 4


Infection control is the responsibility of all nurses, but, traditionally, it has been seen as a priority only in hospitals. Infection control does not stop when a patient is discharged home, but should be practiced wherever clinical care takes place. Community nurses face a unique challenge as they work in patients' homes, and they must manage infection control in that unique environment. This article looks at practical ways to maintain infection control in patients' homes. It covers hand hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE), including the five moments of hand hygiene, appropriate hand hygiene, the use of all PPE and when gloves are required and when they are not. It also discusses managing clinical equipment, both that taken into the home and that left with a patient, including decontamination, safe storage of sharps and waste management. It touches upon what can be done in a patient's home to reduce the risk of contamination, as well as infectious disease management, including specimens and wound infection management. Lastly, it talks about cross-infection and why staff health is also important.

Infection control must be an important part of all nursing care; it does not stop at the hospital/clinic door. Unfortunately, community nurses face unique challenges working in patients' homes, because they have little control over the environment they work in and need to be innovative. This article discusses the common issues faced by community nurses around infection control and offers practical advice, based on the authors' own practices. Good infection control practices in the community will aid patient safety and improve patient care and can, ultimately, help prevent hospital admissions.

Effective hand hygiene remains one of the cornerstones of good infection control. Since its conception in 1979, the, originally six-, now seven-stage, handwashing technique (World Health Organization (WHO), 2009) has proved very effective at decontaminating hands, whether used with soap and water or decontaminating hand rubs. It has been taught widely in healthcare and supported with many campaigns (Ayliffe et al, 2000). However, an equally important element is knowing when to decontaminate hands. The Five Moments of Hand Hygiene (WHO, 2009) is an effective tool to assess when to decontaminate hands. These are detailed as:

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Community Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for district and community nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month