- Infection, Prevention and control (IPC) skills and measures are crucial in minimising the risk of transmission and managing it when it occurs.
- The Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) use a range of data sources that help to identify services that are at a high risk of outbreak, linked to increased rates of community transmission or other factors. This can be used to target preparedness and support activities. Aged care services should consider both their baseline level of transmission risk and the ways in which they may be able to lower their risk in the event of an outbreak.
- Ensure you are aware of the public health orders and directions for your jurisdiction.
- IPC tips:
- Your IPC Lead nurse is essential part of any preparedness activities. They make sure that IPC capability is maintained and should be supported to conduct regular audits and training.
- Screening is an important part of the IPC process. Make sure all staff are familiar with the screening process and that your visitor screening can cope with increased volume.
- IPC leads are a key resource during an outbreak and will need to focus on IPC tasks. Ensure your plan includes additional staff who can support the IPC lead including taking any other responsibilities.
- In an outbreak, often the IPC lead nurse is one of the first staff to be furloughed by public health units. Consider having more than one IPC lead or know where you can access IPC support
- Encourage all staff (including volunteers) to maintain their IPC training skills through completing our free online training modules
- Consider doing a scenario test to test your staff’s skills in using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including setting up PPE Stations.
- Report the outbreak to the Department of Health by emailing agedcareCOVIDcases@health.gov.au within an hour
- Helpful resources:
- An outbreak preparedness checklist
- signs to identify the need for standard and droplet precautions for infection control are available from Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for health and residential care facilities