GAMA Healthcare Australia recently convened a roundtable of leading aged care infection prevention and control experts to discuss how to further improve the sector’s infection prevention policies and practices.
The experts included the heads of infection prevention across numerous aged care groups (representing over 33,000 Residential Aged Care Operational Places), leaders from the Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control, and other experts from across the sector.
The group met across four roundtables and worked to develop the Infection Prevention and Control in Aged Care Whitepaper. The Whitepaper makes eight recommendations of government.
- Provide specific guidance on IPC practices for residential and home care and how they relate to the Aged Care Quality Standards.
- Increase funding to support aged care providers to implement robust IPC measures inclusive of training and resources.
- Establish guidelines for infection prevention that are specific to residential and home-based care.
- Create and support streamlined national surveillance and reporting.
- Provide guidelines to providers on the level of ventilation required in residential aged care.
- The allocation of funding to assist providers in retrofitting heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems or procuring augmented ventilation systems to meet residential care ventilation guidelines.
- Include infection prevention as a quality indicator.
- Provide support and access to training to assist providers who are not achieving the standard set out by the quality indicators to improve practices.
This Whitepaper has received significant support from across the infection prevention sector as well as the aged care sector since its launch at ACIPC’s Annual Conference in November 2023.
While many of the Whitepaper’s recommendations do not require additional funding, recommendations two, six, and eight do require additional funding to be fully realised. Investment in infection prevention can be cost effective in clinical settings, and reducing the burden of infection in aged care can cause significant reductions in treatment and care costs.
Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) result in an increased length of stay of 18.1 days, on average costing $37,539 in additional cost1. A point prevalence study conducted in 2019 showed that 1 in 10 patients in hospital will develop a HAI2, creating a significant burden in the cost of treating patients due to increase length of stay, let alone complications.
To read the full Whitepaper, click this link: https://gama.getbynder.com/m/5025b02bd853ba0/original/GAMA-Aus-IPC-Policy-in-Aged-Care-Web.pdf