How to implement an infection control strategy

26 November 2013
11 mins read
Volume 4 · Issue 9


Infection control and prevention is a vital aspect of veterinary care for the whole team. Sadly, many aspects are often overlooked, or not considered, and these can be very simple areas such as hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, isolation of infectious patients and antimicrobial stewardship. This article will look at the importance of taking the individual patient's clinical condition into consideration, and the important aspects of infection control strategies, which should be considered when designing an infection control strategy.

Preventing infection in critically ill patients is a very important daily activity for which there is very little research to guide best practice for veterinary patients, and fairly limited information for human healthcare practictioners (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2012). In the author's experience, veterinary infection control practices tend to be more diligently followed in situations where zoonotic diseases are under consideration, e.g. leptospirosis patients. In addition, such highly contagious animal diseases also tend to heighten awareness and prompt effective implementation of infection control practices. Unfortunately, critically ill veterinary patients are at high risk for developing many nosocomial infections that might not otherwise be considered highly contagious (Kirby, 2009). Human behaviour in situations where there is not a perceived risk tends towards non adherence to many effective infection control practices. Human and veterinary infection control practices have gained heightened attention recently due to the emergence of meticillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA) and meticillin-resistant Staphyloccocus pseudintermedius (MRSP) in addition to several other multi-drug resistant organisms in human and small animal critical care practices around the world (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2012; Weese, 2012). Research on this topic has shown many times that effectively implemented guidelines rely on common sense and knowledge of basic principles, they must be suited to the local environmental conditions and problems, and healthcare workers must understand the principles and be effectively supported in order to achieve successful change. Simply making a policy and expecting it to be enforced is unlikely to accomplish significant change. Infection control practices can be broken down into several important areas: hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection of facilities and equipment, appropriate use of isolation facilities, and antibiotic use stewardship (CCAR-CCRA, 2008).

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