Infection Prevention and Control: Meeting NSQHS Standards

The National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards or NSQHS Standards were established by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in association with the Australian government, states and territories, the private sector, clinical experts, patients and carers in 2011. Hospitals, day procedure services, and public dental services across Australia are required to uphold the NSQHS Standards to gain customer confidence and satisfaction.

Additionally, short notice assessments must be undertaken by a hospital or clinic to achieve NSQHS accreditation. For the purpose of this article, we will take a closer look at the Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard of the NSQHS Standards.

Purpose of the Standard

The NSQHS Standards were drafted to reduce risks to patients, consumers, and members of the workforce and improve the quality of care provided to patients across the country.

One of the standards, Preventing and Controlling Infections, requires healthcare providers to prevent and efficiently manage infections when or if they occur.

It also includes preventing and controlling antimicrobial resistance and endorsing appropriate prescribing while using antimicrobials as part of the antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). The standard also requires healthcare organisations to promote the sustainable use of infection prevention and control resources.

How is this Standard Achieved?

There are multiple ways to achieve a reduced rate of infection. A NSQHS accredited healthcare organisation effectively employs these ways and considers the individual and the collective risk of the spread of infection. It also examines the risk of clinical intervention and the care provided in these settings.

Moreover, the NSQHS Standards also help take the necessary precautionary steps when warranted, especially when data is still evolving.

The first step towards achieving this standard is to have practices to recognise patients, healthcare workers, and other consumers with suspected or confirmed infections. It is of the utmost importance that immediate action is taken to prevent further damage.

Here are some steps healthcare organisations can take to achieve the Preventing and Controlling Infections standard of the NSQHS:


  1. Infection Prevention and Control Committee:

    Establish a multidisciplinary committee overseeing infection prevention and control activities. This committee should have representatives from different departments and specialities within the organisation.

  2. Infection Surveillance:

    Put systems in place to monitor and track infections within the facility. Regular surveillance can help organisations identify trends, outbreaks and areas of improvement.

  3. Hand Hygiene:

    Promote and enforce good hand hygiene in all staff, visitors and patients. Hang up posters and reminders in multiple locations, and provide ready access to hand hygiene products such as handwashing facilities and hand sanitisers.

  4. Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions:

    Implement protocols for standard precautions, such as PPE, and transmission-based precautions, such as contact, droplet or airborne precautions, looking at the trends of different infections.

  5. Aseptic Techniques:

    Ensure that sterile procedures are followed during invasive medical interventions such as surgery, blood tests or IV-drip insertions.

  6. Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection:

    Enlist trained professionals for regularly cleaning and disinfecting patient care areas and equipment using hospital-grade disinfectants.

  7. Patient Placement and Isolation:

    Properly triage and isolate patients with infectious diseases to prevent the spread of pathogens to other patients and staff.

  8. Antimicrobial Stewardship:

    Establish programs to promote the appropriate use of antimicrobial medications, reducing the risk of antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections.

  9. Staff Training and Education:

    Regularly educate and train all staff and healthcare personnel on proper infection prevention and control practices.

  10. Outbreak Management:

    If an infection spreads through the staff or patients, develop an outbreak response plan to manage an outbreak effectively.

  11. Immunisation:

    Ensure all staff and healthcare personnel are up-to-date on all required and recommended vaccinations.

  12. Feedback:

    Regularly review your infection prevention and control practices and seek feedback from staff, patients and healthcare personnel on its efficacy.

  13. Collaboration and Communication:

    Foster a culture of open communication and collaboration among all healthcare team members.

  14. Continuous Quality Improvement:

    Use the feedback from the community and team members to continuously review and update your infection prevention and control program to suit evidence-based guidelines best.


 Final Thoughts

The NSQHS Standards were introduced to uphold high-quality standards in healthcare and to reduce the spread of infection in healthcare organisations. Since their inception, many healthcare organisations have used the Standards to help curtail infections within their organisation.

If a company wants to adhere to the National Safety and Quality Health Services (NSQHS) Standards and get accredited, they should motivate their healthcare staff to take part in different activities. This won’t just make sure that the company has capable and self-assured professionals, but it will also lead to better results for the patients they serve.

Getting a healthcare centre or hospital accreditation for the NSQHS Standards is mandated by the Australian Government and can help bolster patient confidence and satisfaction and help your organisation provide a higher quality of care. Healthcare organisations must customise their infection prevention and control programs based on their specific patient population, facility size and service types.


Wajaz Ali

I am Wajazali, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

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