The principles of infection prevention are a systematic approach based on infectious agents, epidemiology, social science and health system strengthening. It ensures patient safety and also the safety of healthcare workers, whether in a hospital set up or in community. These are broadly divided into standard and transmission-based precautions.
It applies to all patients to minimise the transmission of infections in healthcare settings. It is essential that standard precautions are applied at all times when caring for any patient regardless of their infectious disease status.
The practices that form part of standard precautions include:
- hand hygiene
- appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- use of aseptic technique where required
- appropriate reprocessing of reusable instruments and equipment
- safe handling and disposal of sharps and potentially infectious material
- safe handling of waste and linen
- environmental controls including cleaning and spills management
These are applied in addition to standard precautions for patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with specific organisms of concern and the route of transmission (airborne, droplet or contact), like isolation cubicles/ use of N95 mask respirators etc.
Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention, and detection and control of infectious diseases. Most of the infection prevention champions do the following:
- Lead and participate in clinics that aim to prevent or decrease infectious disease transmission.
- Assess health trends and risk factors of groups to prioritise for targeted interventions.
- Provide input to programmes that monitor, anticipate, and respond to public health problems in population.
- Work with communities or specific population groups within the community.
- Participate in assessing and evaluating the healthcare needs of the public to ensure people are aware of programmes.
- Provide health education, care management, and primary care to individuals and families who are at high risk for certain infection.
All these above mentioned measures when put together as a bundle can lead to a healthier and infection free society