Outcome 8 of the ‘Essential Standards of Quality and Safety’, relating to cleanliness and infection control, is one of the most familiar standards to managers of regulated services. In particular, the requirements to have in place an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Lead and to ensure that all staff receive appropriate training in relation to infection control are key to ensuring compliance with this outcome.
For many providers, infection control training continues to consist of an annual staff update of as little as a couple of hours or perhaps an e-learning course to refresh existing knowledge. However, ensuring that this training is translated into good infection control practice is likely to take more than just a yearly refresher. Read on to find out how to use your IPC Lead to help your staff put theory into practice and be confident their practice will stand up to scrutiny at your next inspection.
Deliver Excellence in Infection Control Practice: Use Your IPC Lead Effectively
The role of your IPC Lead is central in ensuring that training translates into good practice. Having in place a knowledgeable and enthusiastic lead, with a clear understanding of their responsibilities, will instil in other staff the importance of infection prevention and control and demonstrate that this important role is an essential part of your service.
Steps to Use Your IPC Lead Effectively to Deliver Excellence in Infection Control Practice:
- Arrange for every new member of staff to shadow your IPC Lead during their induction to ensure they receive practical, ‘hands on’ training to supplement their theoretical knowledge and to ensure they can be assessed as competent in this area.
- Plan for your IPC Lead to deliver short one-to-one or small group updates on infection control to all staff throughout the year. These sessions should include practical topics such as handwashing technique, use of personal protective equipment, disposal of waste and any other areas specific to your service.
- Arrange for your IPC Lead to audit infection control standards by observing practice during shifts and giving direct feedback to the staff concerned. Timely, specific feedback will ensure that any shortfalls are addressed before they develop into more widespread problems.
- Include infection control as a standing item on the agenda at your staff meetings and ask your IPC Lead to provide feedback and updates to your teams. Knowing that infection control will be discussed at every meeting stresses its importance and ensures staff remain aware of the need to maintain the standards that you and your IPC Lead have set.