Education

The College provides professional development to equip individuals and organisations with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver infection prevention and control services.

IPC Leads in Aged Care

By 1 December 2020, each residential aged care facility must have appointed a nurse to be the lead person for infection prevention and control. The College will be holding additional Foundations of Infection Prevention and Control courses with places reserved for staff from aged facilities.

Conference Community

The ACIPC Conference Community is designed to deliver quality educational and social networking opportunities to members and stakeholders in the absence of the traditional annual conference, which has been postponed due to COVID-19.

Credentialling

Credentialling provides a career pathway for IPC professionals as well as recognition for individuals who deal with IPC in their workplace.

Aged Care IPC Leads

Staff at aged care facilities can reserve places in dedicated Foundations of Infection Prevention and Control courses which will commence shortly. Click here for more information.

Peak bodies support Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy

13 Jan 2021: The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID), the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC), and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) have come out in support of the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy, stressing that concerns about the ability of any vaccines to create herd immunity were not justified at this stage of the process.

Immediate Past President of ASID Professor Josh Davis, ACIPC President Associate Professor Philip Russo, and PHAA President, Professor Tarun Weeramanthri said we need to wait until the Therapeutic Goods Administration has completed its review process of the available vaccines.

“There are no COVID-19 vaccines that have been registered by the TGA in Australia currently - because the available data are being carefully evaluated right now. However, the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines are likely to be the first candidates approved for use in Australia.”

ASID Board Member and head of its Vaccination Special Interest Group Professor Katie Flanagan said that the pre-purchase agreements were made before any phase 3 efficacy data were released in order to ensure that Australia has access to a diverse portfolio of vaccines. This includes signing up to the COVAX facility which guarantees access to further candidates.

The Pfizer vaccine has since shown >90% efficacy in phase 3 trials while the Astra Zeneca vaccine is ~62% effective in the recommended 2-dose schedule. It must be remembered that these findings are preliminary and far exceed the bar for licensure of 50% set by the international regulators including both the FDA and the TGA. Furthermore, no vaccines to date have been shown to prevent transmission of virus and we don’t yet know how long immunity will last with the different vaccine candidates.

Supplies of COVID-19 vaccines are limited due to the worldwide demand and the logistics of vaccinating the entire adult population is huge, therefore priority populations will be vaccinated first. It is important to get as many people vaccinated as possible in the shortest possible time and it would not be appropriate to withhold the Astra Zeneca vaccine while waiting for supplies of a more efficacious one.

The Government has access to expert advice and the final strategy is likely to involve the use of multiple vaccines, which will be the approach most countries will take. Some people will have contraindications to one vaccine, e.g., anaphylaxis, and will need an alternative.

The organisations are also concerned that the current debate over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine could undermine public trust in the country's vaccination plan.

Whilst robust discussion of the national vaccine policy is important, “the public should have confidence in the approach the Government is taking to providing COVID-19 vaccines in Australia.”

Media contact: Media contact: Alison Sweeney, Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases Media and Communications Officer at communications@asid.net.au / 0425 221 155.

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Media Release: Infection control college supports Royal Commission's call for more expertise in aged care

The Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control’s President, Associate Professor Philip Russo has issued the following statement.

What the COVID pandemic has demonstrated is the great benefits for patient care of strong infection control, and the serious risks to patients when infection control falters.

The Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control welcomes and supports the recommendation by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that the Australian Government should arrange for the deployment of accredited infection, prevention and control experts into residential aged care homes.

The Royal Commission puts a focus on the need for stronger measures on infection prevention and control in its  Aged care and COVID-19: a special report, released on 1 October 2020.

It has recommended that the Australian Government report to Parliament by no later than 1 December 2020 on the implementation of its recommendations which include:

All residential aged care homes should have one or more trained infection control officers as a condition of accreditation. The training requirements for these officers should be set by the aged care advisory body, proposed by the Royal Commission.

The Australian Government should arrange with the States and Territories to deploy accredited infection prevention and control experts into residential aged care homes to provide training, assist with the preparation of outbreak management plans and assist with outbreaks.

The report’s recommendations are of direct importance to ACIPC members and to the College’s role in meeting the needs and challenges described by the Royal Commission.  ACIPC board director, Kathy Dempsey, who is with the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, was an expert witness at a Commission hearing.  She explained the process by which infection control and prevention specialists are accredited. There are currently 63 credentialed infection control and prevention specialists across Australia, mainly in major hospitals.

The Federal Government has announced that as part of increased funding to support the pandemic response in aged care, providers “must have one or more trained infection control officers to improve infection control management”, a measure we welcome.

The College strongly supports measures to ensure that residential aged care homes have rigorous infection control protocols and staff.  Our past experience with influenza and other infectious disease episodes in aged care have already revealed an endemic and ongoing need for more effective infection control, and the lack of onsite expertise.  COVID-19 has elevated the gravity and urgency of this need. 

ACIPC has since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic responded to the rising demand for education of IPC staff.  Since the start of the year, the College has conducted 6 training courses for 170 workers in aged care. There are currently another 5 short courses organised for the sector for 178 staff, with the potential to provide additional short courses if needed. A Masterclass addressing high level issues in Aged Care Infection Prevention and Control Management including but not restricted to COVID-19 management will be available soon. Since the start of the year, 13 members have been credentialled / recredentialled and a further 41 have completed, and 234 are currently undertaking the College course Foundations of Infection Prevention and Control, which is a pathway to becoming a Primary Credentialled Infection Control Professional.

As the Commission report says, there is nothing more important to help providers prepare for and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks than access to high level infection prevention and control expertise.

Providers of aged care are required under existing Standards to minimise infection-related risks by implementing ‘standard and transmission-based precautions to prevent and control infection’. But for COVID-19, there are particular challenges associated with infection control in aged care homes. These challenges are compounded by the lack of onsite infection prevention and control expertise or where external oversite of Infection control may not have been possible.

The Commission report stated that based on the findings of expert reports into the impact of COVID on aged care homes it is apparent that high-level infection control expertise is needed by aged care homes:

to assist with the preparation and implementation of outbreak management plans  to provide training

to staff on the use of PPE and infection prevention and control

to provide assistance on day one of an outbreak.

The Commission said that the Australian Government should make arrangements with the States for easy access by providers to the accredited specialists. This should be able to be achieved on a regional basis.

While it is true, as the Australian Government submitted, that ‘infection control specialists are organised and engaged by the public health units of each State and Territory’, the Commission considered that the Australian Government, as the government responsible for residential aged care facilities, should be working closely with the States to make infection control expertise available to the sector.

“We accept that there are clearly limits to what the relatively small number of accredited experts can contribute through their direct involvement in the aged care sector.”

“The best approach may be to use their expertise in training and mentoring roles to increase capacity in the aged care sector,” the Commission report states.

The Commission also inquired into the issue of training for personal protective equipment.  This was a matter that requires urgent attention by the Australian Government, aged care providers and those responsible for the content of the Certificate III. Providing this training should be a core responsibility of providers.

“Providers need to appreciate the risks associated with COVID-19. While the tragic events in NSW and Victoria may have assisted unaffected providers to learn about the need for infection prevention and control expertise, this need must be made absolutely plain in the national aged care COVID-19 plan,” the Commission stated.

Finally, providers and employers should strongly support their staff to undertake infection prevention training and credentialing where appropriate. In the short term, the College is in the process of setting up an Aged Care Special Interest Group to provide resources, information, networking and support to those working in aged care.

Media enquiries: Sara Kirby 0429 294 033 / officemanager@acipc.org.au

We invite you to attend the following webinar hosted by ACIPC Platinum Sponsor, GAMA Healthcare Australia.

Top Papers of 2020, presented by Martin Kiernan and Brett Mitchell
2020 was a busy year for infection control publications. In this session, experts Martin Kiernan and Brett Mitchell will present their top papers of the year.

Event Details
• Date: Thursday 28 January
• Time: 07:00pm – 08:00pm AEDST. To convert times to your time zone, CLICK HERE.
Registration for this webinar and the ACIPC Conference Community is FREE for members and non-members.

Note, this webinar will be hosted directly by GAMA Healthcare Australia using Zoom Webinars. Login details for the webinar will be emailed to registrants closer to the event. In registering for this webinar your name, organisation and email address will be provided to GAMA Healthcare Australia. To register, please click the link below.

GAMA Healthcare Australia – Top Papers of 2020 – RSVP

 

The Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control is the peak body for infection prevention and control professionals in the Australasian region. Our vision is to empower our members to be leaders in infection prevention and control. ACIPC members are key decision makers in the field of infection prevention and control and include nurses, aged care workers industry professionals, scientists, academics and educators, policy makers, dentists, veterinarians, beauticians and tattooists. Meet our Board of Directors and find out more about ACIPC here. 

Letter in support of a national centre for disease control in Australia 

ACIPC, ASID & ASA support the call to establish a national CDC and offer knowledge and expertise to advise. Australia needs one central place where resources are concentrated, and where experts are employed to coordinate both surveillance and action. A national co-ordinating centre would work with the Commonwealth and state/territory health departments to support surveillance and response for all infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and influenza. It would also train the public health and clinical workforce and identify gaps in our knowledge that require research. Click on the green text above to read the letter. 




The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has been established to undertake continuous evidence surveillance to identify and rapidly synthesise emerging research in order to provide national, evidence-based guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19. ACIPC is proud to be a member partner of the Taskforce. 

The taskforce works closely with the National Infection Control Expert Group, on which ACIPC is also represented, advising the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and its other standing committees on infection prevention and control issues.

Registration for the ACIPC Conference Community is FREE for members and non-members and includes access to the following activities as they are confirmed:

  • Live and Pre-Recorded Invited Keynote Presentations
  • Online Panel Sessions
  • Online Poster Presentations
  • Online Free Paper Presentation Sessions
  • Dedicated Educational Sessions delivered by ACIPC Partners
  • Online Exhibition Area
  • Online Discussion Forums
  • Online Meeting Hub to connect with other Community registrants
  • Physical Regional Events when appropriate 
From the President 

Dear Colleagues,

Amongst many things, 2020 feels like the year we never had. All those plans for the year we had agonised over weren’t just pushed to the side, they were completely obliterated, some never to be seen again. 
Extraordinary circumstances require an extraordinary response, and I am very proud that ACIPC members have been front and centre during 2020. I have only seen a fraction of the work our dedicated members have undertaken this year. In all types of settings, in various circumstances, responding, ramping up, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its been relentless, exhausting, traumatic, stressful, and I thank all members for their extraordinary work. 

Consequently, right now Australia is in a good place. Mistakes have been made, they always will, but we must learn from them. And if we have learnt anything this year, we must remain vigilant, responsive and agile. 

To that end, as a result of the Commonwealth’s requirements for infection prevention training in aged care, the College responded rapidly to accommodate a large intake of students to the Foundations course. As I write this, we have had over 3,080 students enrol to date. On behalf of ACIPC, I warmly welcome our new members. Sincere thanks to Jackie Miley, Education Manager and our group of over 30 new facilitators for guiding the students through this important study. We caught up with Perri Waddell and Janine Carrucan below and will aim to feature more of our facilitators in future newsletters.

The College is exploring how we can best support these new members. If you are working in aged care and have any specific resources you’d like to see from the College you are welcome to email agedcare@acipc.org.au

All members have access to Infexion Connexion, and we encourage our new members to post various questions, and I know our more “seasoned” ACIPC membership will support and assist where possible. 

Members may have seen an expression of interest for a voluntary Moderator for Infexion Connexion to assist Michael Wishart. Full details are listed below. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board for their support and guidance, and all members of our committee for their work and input. 

Thank you also to Ben Thiessen, Sara Kirby, Andrew Watts and their teams for their outstanding work during this year. As we head in to 2021, the College is well placed and resourced to continue to grow and support our members.

Please note, the ACIPC Office will close at 5pm Wednesday 23rd December 2020 and re-open 9am Monday 4th January 2021. During this time there will be limited monitoring of emails. 

I wish you all a safe, happy and relaxing break. 

Take care and stay safe, till next year!

Phil Russo
ACIPC President

Become an ACIPC Member

Join Australasia's Peak IPC Body

Membership to the College provides an opportunity to ‘influence’ practice by discussing ideas, and projects and supporting each other through the Special Interest Groups and Infexion Connexion.

The diversity of our members means the College is able to contribute to the vision of helping to improve, strengthen and support infection prevention and control, provide essential educational material and tools and, to share experience and expertise amongst those in developing countries and poorly resourced environments.

 

Infexion Connexion

Members can join ACIPCs discussion list and participate in the IPC conversation. This is a fully moderated discussion list. Info and guidelines are here. 

ACIPC Journal

The College’s journal, Infection, Disease and Health, publishes original research into infectious diseases, old and new, emerging and endemic, with a focus on the interface between human, animal and environmental factors.

Research

A key strategic focus of the College is to enable members to identify areas for research that will lead to improved knowledge; evidence based education and practice and improved outcomes. Find out more about our funding opportunities and research grants. 

Consumer Information

Helpful fact sheets and useful tips for infection prevention and control in the home and in healthcare facilities.