Discuss about the NSW Infection Control Policy.
Infection is one of the largest public health concerns and a vast majority of men, women and children die every year due to infection outbreaks. Infection control can be defined as the process of prevention of the nosocomial or health care associated infection, however it is often an under- recognized and under- supported sectors of health care. One of the most common and abundantly occurring infections in the health care sector is influenza, which is mainly a community based infection, and mostly 200 thousand people worldwide are reported to be admitted in hospitals every year due to influenza infection or other related complication (Chenoweth et al., 2015). This disease is primarily transmitted via large particle respiratory droplet transmission, that is, by the infected person coughing or sneezing near susceptible individual, contaminating him or her as well. Hence it can be considered as a highly significant risk and the infection control policy of NSW can be implemented in the scenario of Influenza. This assignment will attempt to explore infection control in the context of influenza, taking the aid of NSW infection control policy.
Influenza or flu occurs to a vast majority of Australian citizen and 3500 deaths occur in am annual basis in Australia due to influenza outbreaks. There is no restriction associated with the susceptibility of influenza, anyone can get infected by this disease, although the gae groups that have been standardized to be at more risk to influenza include, individuals aged more than 65 years, children of 6 months to 5 years of age, especially aboriginal children and pregnant woman. The infection control policy needs to be extremely cautiously implemented in order to prevent the infection outbreak. However, in the health care environments, infection control policy breaches can be very common. Policy breaches are a major public health concern and it costs the health and safety of the patients, and also the credibility of the health care staff of the facility (Weinshel et al., 2015).
Example of breach:
An infection control policy can be breached by a multitude of different reasons, for instance it can be breached if the health care staff does not comply to hand hygiene policy, the infection control policy will be breached and other patients can get hospital acquired infections easily. As discussed above in the assignment, the transmission medium for influenza virus is by the means of respiratory particles, hence every time a patient coughs or sneezes the contamination particles are released everywhere and can come into contact with the skin of the health care staff easily. And if the care provider had been caring for the patient without the personal protection equipments in place and fails to adhere to 5 minutes of hand hygiene diligently post handling the patient and caring for another patient, the infection control policy will be breached and the order patient will be at extremely high risk of acquiring influenza infection (Health.nsw.gov.au., 2017).
Strategies for preventing policy breach:
Infection control policies are designed in order to enhance the safety and wellbeing of the patient in the health care facility and also ensure that they are not in any kind of risk to hospital acquired infection. However, it also needs to be considered that, with so many detailed and intricate steps to an infection control policy, it is very common for a breach to happen, and in most cases it is not even intentional. However, a few strategies can be devised in order to prevent such breaches from occurring and preserving the compliance and integrity of the infection control policy.
- First and foremost, in order to prevent a breach it is crucial for that breach to be evaluated and analysed, hence the very first step to this strategy will be to evaluate the policy breach (Hall et al., 2015).
- The very next step to this strategy should be gathering all the subjective and objective data regarding the infection control policy breach so that the underlying reason behind the breach can be identified.
- After the contributing factors to the infection control policy breach is identified, the next step should be the qualitative assessment of those factors. for instance, if the lack of compliance to the policy is due to excessive workload for the nursing professionals, the strategy will be completely different than if the reason is due to shortage of hand sanitation equipments.
- Followed by the qualitative assessment of the reason for the breach, that particular issue needs to be addressed in acute detail (Gould et al., 2015).
- Apart from that, regular discussion session with the health care professional can help the authority uncover the issues and grievances in the health care staff.
- Periodic infection control policy training and sill improvement can be extremely beneficial for the staff to understand the value of infection control and how it can improve their own health and safety along with ensuring the safety of the patent they care for, inevitably increasing the compliance.
- Lastly, care should be taken to ensure to monitor the activities of the health care stff to ensure they are complying with the policies and are not participating in breach due to incompetence (Dowd et al., 2013).
Dissemination of information:
Any policy breach demands legal actions, whether it is occurring in a health care environment or not. In case of healthcare environments, breach of a policy is to be not9fed to the higher authority on highest priority, although there are strict regulations and protocols to the dissemination of policy breach information (Cox et al., 2014). In case of any policy breach the responsible key stakeholders, like the infection control practitioners and hospital epidemiologists, representatives of facility risk-management teams, affected State and local health departments, associated care providers needs to be informed verbally and in written from the supervisor at the earliest. However, any data from the infection control policy breach situation is not disclosed to anyone other than the key stakeholders mentioned and disclosing any information is considered privacy and confidentiality breach for the facility concerned (Chenoweth et al., 2015).
On a concluding note, it can be stated that infection control policies are not just aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of the patients residing in the facility but also at safeguarding the best interests of the staff working in the facility. And influenza virus being an extremely and potentially high infectious pathogen, absolute compliance to the policies is extremely important. Although policy breaches are rarely intentional and sound policy breach prevention strategy can be extremely helpful in preventing breaches exponentially.
Chenoweth, C.E., Hines, S.C., Hall, K.K., Saran, R., Kalbfleisch, J.D., Spencer, T., Frank, K.M., Carlson, D., Deane, J., Roys, E. and Scholz, N., 2015. Variation in infection prevention practices in dialysis facilities: Results from the national opportunity to improve infection control in ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease) project. infection control & hospital epidemiology, 36(7), pp.802-806.
Cox, J.L., Donna Simpson, M., Letts, W. and Cavanagh, H.M., 2014. Putting it into practice: Infection control professionals’ perspectives on early career nursing graduates’ microbiology and infection control knowledge and practice. Contemporary nurse, 49(1), pp.83-92.
Dowd, K., Taylor, M., Toribio, J.A.L., Hooker, C. and Dhand, N.K., 2013. Zoonotic disease risk perceptions and infection control practices of Australian veterinarians: call for change in work culture. Preventive veterinary medicine, 111(1), pp.17-24.
Gould, C.V., Umscheid, C.A., Agarwal, R.K., Kuntz, G. and Pegues, D.A., 2015. The Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC)(2009) Guideline for prevention of catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Center for Disease Control, pp.1-87.
Hall, L., Halton, K., Macbeth, D., Gardner, A. and Mitchell, B., 2015. Roles, responsibilities and scope of practice: describing the ‘state of play’for infection control professionals in Australia and New Zealand. Healthcare infection, 20(1), pp.29-35.
Health.nsw.gov.au. (2017). Influenza. [online] Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Pages/default.aspx [Accessed 19 Sep. 2017].
Umscheid, C.A., Agarwal, R.K. and Brennan, P.J., 2015. for the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC). Updating the Guideline Methodology of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC).
Weinshel, K., Dramowski, A., Hajdu, Á., Jacob, S., Khanal, B., Zoltán, M., Mougkou, K., Phukan, C., Staneloni, M.I. and Singh, N., 2015. Gap analysis of infection control practices in low-and middle-income countries. infection control & hospital epidemiology, 36(10), pp.1208-1214.