- •A cross-sectional study of 158 Australian residential and aged care facilities (RACFs).
- •Majority of RACFs have an infection control program and an employee with infection prevention and control responsibilities.
- •Support for RACF staff who are responsible for infection prevention and control could be enhanced.
Individuals in residential and aged care facilities (RACFs) are at risk of developing health care-associated infections (HAIs) due to factors such as age-related changes in physiology, immunity, comorbid illness and functional disability. The recent establishment of an Australian Royal Commission into the Quality of Residential and Aged Care Services highlights the challenges of providing care in this sector. This national study identified infection prevention and control (IPC) services, practice and priorities in Australian RACFs.
A cross-sectional study of 158 Australian RACFs comprising a 42-question survey incorporating five key domains relating to IPC namely governance, education, practice, surveillance, competency and capability was undertaken in 2018.
Of the 131 respondents, the majority 92.4% of respondents reported having a documented IPC program, 22.9% (n = 30) operated with a dedicated infection control committee The majority of RACFs reported lacking specialist and qualified experienced IPC professionals (n = 67). The majority of RACFs (90.1%, n = 118) reported the existence of a designated employee with IPC responsibilities. Of these 118 staff members with IPC responsibilities, 42.5% had a qualification in IPC. The reported average funded hours per month for IPC professional or an external provider of IPC activities was 14 (95% CI 9.6–18.9 h).
The overwhelming majority of RACFs deliver IPC services and report doing so in ways that meet the needs of their own specific contexts in the absence of the lack of formal guidelines when compared to the hospital sector. Quality residential and aged care free from HAIs requires formal structure and organization strategies.
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Published online: July 03, 2019
Accepted: June 11, 2019
Received in revised form: June 5, 2019
Received: March 31, 2019
© 2019 Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.