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Infection control advice for community care settings

Good infection prevention and control are essential to ensure that those accessing health and social care services receive safe and effective care. For example, infections acquired in care homes may be serious and in some cases, life threatening. They may worsen underlying medical conditions and affect recovery. Infections may be caused by organisms resistant to antibiotics which can be more difficult to treat.

Managing individuals with infections

Bacteria, viruses and fungi can be found anywhere and the majority of these micro-organisms will not cause an infection, but some infections can be passed to others. Many diseases can spread during the infectious period and the symptoms do not appear until later. To reduce the transmission of infection, we need to put infection prevention and control measures into action by promoting routine use of good standards of hygiene. This can usually be achieved through good hand washing, keeping the environment clean and immunisation of residents and staff. To eliminate or reduce the risk of spread where a case of infection is known, prompt isolation of the case is required. If you are notified of a case of infectious disease in a resident or staff member:

  • Report it to the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Health Protection Team by calling Dudley Council Plus.
  • And inform your local Health Protection Team at Public Health England as soon as possible as not all infections require isolation. Your local team can also give you additional advice and support as needed

Managing outbreaks

An outbreak may be defined as an incident in which two or more people experiencing a similar illness are linked in time or place or having more people than you would expect with the same infection. Please visit the Managing Outbreaks page for advice. 

Environmental standards for Community Care settings

As part of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration will require care home providers to comply with essential standards of quality and safety. This includes the need to protect those who may be at risk of exposure to infections. Please visit the Environmental standards for Community Care settings page for advice. 

Standard precautions

Standard precautions are essential components that reduce the risk of the transmission of micro-organisms. They offer protection to both client/patients, staff and their families from developing an infection, as well as preventing the spread of healthcare-associated infection (HCAI), which can occur if standard precautions are not applied. The spread of infection can have significant implications for health and social care settings.

All staff involved in patient care must implement the standard infection control precautions as routine. This will reduce the risk of transmission of infection and contamination of the environment. The use of standard precautions will protect themselves, client/patients and visitors from micro-organisms from recognised and unrecognised sources. It is the responsibility of an employer and individuals within an organisation involved in providing care to be educated about the standard precautions of infection prevention and control. Standard precautions include:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Safe handling and disposal of sharps
  • Safe handling and disposal of linen
  • Decontamination of equipment and the environment
  • Waste management
  • Management of spillages
  • Respiratory hygiene
  • General asepsis

Further information can also be found in the Standard Precautions for Infection Prevention guidelines, which can be found in the Dudley Formulary.

Infection prevention link practitioners

The Dudley Infection Prevention Link Practitioner Network has been devised by the Office of Public Health Health Protection team. Please visit the Infection prevention link practitioners page for more information and advice. 

Managing urinary catheters and urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Residents admitted to your care home with a urinary catheter should have a catheter passport. If they don't, please contact the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Health Protection Team by calling Dudley Council Plus and we will arrange for one to be delivered. Please see below for a link to download the urinary catheter passport. 

Resources for Community Care settings