About infection prevention and control leads

Each residential aged care facility must appoint a nurse to be the lead person for infection prevention and control. This is an ongoing requirement.

An IPC lead:

  • must be a member of the nursing staff who has completed an identified IPC course
  • must be employed by and report to the provider
  • observes, assesses and reports on IPC of the service
  • helps develop procedures
  • provides advice within the service and will be a key infection control contact  
  • must work on site and be dedicated to a facility
  • may have a broader role in the facility, and could be an existing member of the nursing staff.

Who this applies to

All Australian Government-funded residential aged care facilities must have an IPC lead, this includes providers of:

A provider is required to have a different, dedicated IPC lead for each facility. For the purposes of the IPC lead requirement, each facility would generally be identified by a single Residential Aged Care Identification Number (RACid). As NATSIFAC providers do not generally have a RACid they should consider each residential facility to be defined by a different location.

Working arrangements

IPC lead working arrangements may vary between aged care facilities.

The provider can determine what level of engagement or workload is required of the IPC lead in each case. At larger facilities, or to address certain deficiencies, providers may determine that a full-time IPC lead, or a number of IPC leads, is appropriate.

In some cases, IPC leads may have other responsibilities within a facility, and IPC responsibilities may not be a full-time workload. A facility may have more than one individual with the required training in infection prevention and control who share the on-site clinical lead responsibilities.

Regardless of work arrangements, IPC leads must be based on site at their nominated facility. This is to enable the IPC lead to provide advice and oversight as part of ongoing, day-to-day operations and on a localised basis according to facility circumstances (including the resident mix, staff mix, services offered and physical aspects of a facility).

The IPC lead is an ongoing role and a function that residential providers should incorporate into their regular operations. Embedding an IPC lead in each service is an opportunity to build enduring capability in relation to infection prevention and control.

IPC lead training requirements

The IPC lead is required to be trained or undertake relevant training in infection prevention and control.

IPC leads must have suitable specialist IPC qualifications. These may be existing, or IPC leads may undertake additional training.

All IPC leads must complete our COVID-19 infection control online training modules, specifically:

  • Infection Control Training – COVID 19 
  • all aged care modules, except 2.2 or 9.2 which relate to home care.

IPC leads should keep a copy of their completion certificates for verification purposes.

Suitable IPC courses

For an IPC specialist course to be deemed suitable, it must:

  • focus on infection prevention and control
  • be specified at the level of AQF8
  • be delivered by a recognised education or training provider
  • have an assessment, or assessments, that facilitate successful completion of the course.

Any course that meets these requirements is suitable.

The following training courses have been identified as meeting the educational requirements of a suitable specialist IPC training course:

Where an IPC lead is required to undertake additional training, providers should support IPC leads to undertake this training as soon as possible, including by providing appropriate study leave.

Reporting

Providers will need to report on their appointed IPC lead.

Approved providers (including MPS providers)

Approved providers need to report the details of their IPC leads for each facility through the My Aged Care provider portal. Required details include:

  • the name of the IPC lead
  • the position they hold in the facility
  • their nursing registration status
  • completion status of the Department’s COVID-19 online training modules
  • details of their specialist qualification or of the specialist IPC training course they are undertaking

Providers should ensure that information reported through the My Aged Care provider portal is updated when changes occur and kept up to date.

IPC lead information should be routinely updated if any of the reported information changes. This includes:

  • the removal of previous IPC leads
  • the addition of newly appointed IPC leads
  • following the enrolment and completion of IPC training
  • where the name, contact or qualification details of the IPC lead change 

In addition to the online reporting, approved providers will be required to provide information about the expenditure associated with the COVID-19 supplement through reporting obligations linked to the Aged Care Financial Report (ACFR).

For the 2020–21 financial year, the ACFR will require reporting associated with IPC, including the cost associated with the engagement or training of an IPC lead. Providers should retain evidence associated with expenditure, including evidence of course expenditure and completion.

NATSIFAC providers

NATSIFAC providers are required to report the details of nominated IPC leads for each facility. This includes:

  • the name of the IPC lead
  • the position they hold in the facility
  • their nursing registration status
  • confirmation of their completion of our COVID-19 online training modules
  • details of the IPC lead’s specialist training course.

This reporting should be done using the IPC lead notification form provided with the Department of Health Secretary’s letter of November 2020 included in the resources list below.

NATSIFAC providers are requested to keep this information up to date. IPC lead information should be updated if any of the reported information changes. This includes:

  • the removal of previous IPC leads;
  • the addition of newly appointed IPC leads;
  • following the enrolment and completion of IPC training; and
  • where the name, contact or qualification details of the IPC lead change.

Ongoing Requirement

All residential aged care facilities are expected to have a trained IPC lead. For a new facility, a trained IPC lead should be engaged from the commencement of on-site services. Where a facility loses its IPC lead, including due to resignation, promotion or transfer, the provider is responsible for nominating a new IPC lead and ensuring completion of appropriate training (if needed) in line with the requirements, as soon as possible. All changes to IPC leads should be reported through the My Aged Care provider portal.

Compliance

Residential aged care providers have responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) regarding the quality of care they provide. The IPC lead role is intended to support providers to meet these responsibilities as they relate to infection prevention and control. The IPC Lead may be supported by other staff and/or external consultants as a part of their IPC work program.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) will consider how providers have met their IPC responsibilities in the context of monitoring and auditing providers against the Aged Care Quality Standards.

The ACQSC will have regard to (amongst a range of forms of evidence) how a provider is implementing the IPC lead requirements, including the qualifications and expertise of the IPC lead, and provision and recording of ongoing training regarding infection prevention and control.

A factsheet with further information on effective infection prevention and control capability is available from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.

Resources

For more information:

Contact

Infection prevention and control lead contact

Contact us for more information about the IPC Lead requirements.

agedcareIPC [at] health.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
12 May 2021