Infection control in care homes

Infection control in care homes

Control of infection is one of the key elements of safe care in health and social care settings.

Care homes are monitored by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who hold them to account using section 8 of the essential standards and takes in to account the Health and Social Care Act 2008: Code of practice on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance, a document that is commonly referred to as the hygiene code.

The hygiene code requires the home to have somebody responsible for infection prevention and control to act as a source of authority to set and monitor practice standards. Care homes also have a responsibility to report outbreaks of infection to Public Health England (PHE). 

The CCG is not responsible for providing an infection control service to your organisation, however it can provide support on certain occasions.

If your home provides continuing healthcare or funded nursing care placements, you will have a standard NHS contract. This contract will require you to adhere to the terms of the CCG Serious Incident Requiring Investigation (SIRI) policy.

In the event of a SIRI occurring, the HCAI team may be able to provide some support when you are conducting your investigation.

Below you will find more information to assist you with this task.

What to do if there is an outbreak in your nursing or residential care home

If there is an outbreak or suspected outbreak of infection, it should be reported to Public Health England (PHE) for collation. PHE are responsible for advising on outbreak control and monitoring the outbreak.

Advice on outbreaks can be sought from health protection nurses at PHE, and if it is an expected food related outbreak from Environmental Health Departments.

NHS NEW Devon CCG's lead nurse is also happy to provide advice where required to support care homes to prevent further infections and limit the possibility of future outbreaks. 

A study assessed the effect of key care quality indicators on viral gastroenteritis outbreaks and control in care homes using mandatory inspection data collected by a non-departmental public body. It found outbreak occurrence was associated with care home size but not with overall quality or individual environmental standards.

Care home size, hygiene and infection control standard scores were inversely associated with attack rate in residents, whereas delayed reporting to the local public health agency was associated with higher attack rates (Vivancos 2012). 
Public Health England's website Guidelines for the management of norovirus outbreaks (acute and community settings) Outbreak gastrointestinal investigation record sheet

Catheter passport

All residents/patients with a urinary catheter should have a catheter passport.

There are two versions of the catheter passport- one for use in Northern & Eastern Devon and one for use in Western Devon. 

Download the appropriate version below. 
Catheter Passport- Northern & Eastern Catheter Passport- Western

The importance of hand hygiene

Hand hygiene guidance - World Health Organisation Hand hygiene posters SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands - WHO's global annual campaign Hand hygiene - why, how and when?

Education and training

Level 1 course on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) from E-learning for Healthcare Infection. Prevention. Control - NHS education and advice hub with case studies, guidelines and training Royal College of Nursing - Training Resources NHS Education for Scotland - Training Resources

Useful links and documents

Serious Incidents Requiring Investigation (SIRI) framework and policy WHO- Clean Care is Safer Care Prevention & control on infection in care homes Prevention & control on infection in care homes (Summary for staff) NHS standard contract guidance NHS NEW Devon CCG - SIRI policy Acute respiratory disease: managing outbreaks in care homes CQC essential standards
For further resources, guidance and information, please click the below link:
National guidance, information and publications

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