Dental Infection Prevention and Safety in Australia
Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2010)
There are around 200,000 healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in Australian acute healthcare facilities each year. This makes HAIs the most common complication affecting patients in hospital. As well as causing unnecessary pain and suffering for patients and their families, these adverse events prolong hospital stays and are costly to the health system.
Understanding the modes of transmission of infectious organisms and knowing how and when to apply the basic principles of infection prevention and control is critical to the success of an infection control program. This responsibility applies to everybody working and visiting a healthcare facility, including administrators, staff, patients and carers.
Successful approaches for preventing and reducing harms arising from HAIs involve applying a risk-management framework to manage ‘human' and ‘system' factors associated with the transmission of infectious agents. This approach ensures that infectious agents, whether common (e.g. gastrointestinal viruses) or evolving (e.g. influenza or multi-resistant organisms [MROs]), can be managed effectively.
These guidelines provide recommendations that outline the critical aspects of infection prevention and control. The recommendations were developed using the best available evidence and consensus methods by the Infection Control Steering Committee. They have been prioritised as key areas to prevent and control infection in a healthcare facility. It is recognised that the level of risk may differ according to the different types of facility and therefore some recommendations should be justified by risk assessment. When implementing these recommendations all healthcare facilities need to consider the risk of transmission of infection and implement according to their specific setting and circumstances.
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