Infection Prevention and Control

Infection Prevention and Control

Upper Murray Health and Community Services (UMHCS) employs an Infection Prevention and Control Coordinator who works one day per week at the facility to oversee this area of the Health Service.

Germs can be spread by hands even when they look clean so hand washing or using a hand sanitizer can help to prevent the spread of infection in hospital. Visitors who are unwell with illnesses such as colds, stomach bugs or rashes should not visit patients.


Hand Hygiene

Healthcare associated infections are a major and growing issue in both the hospital and community settings. This is also a priority area for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC) who set and monitor health service standards of care. Effective hand hygiene is the single most important way of preventing healthcare associated infections. Hand Hygiene is a general term referring to any action of hand cleansing. It includes washing hands with soap (or a soap solution) and water or the use of a waterless antimicrobial hand rub.

Hand hygiene practices have been universally poor among health care workers for a number of reasons. When staff is busy they are less likely to wash their hands as often as they need to. They may not think they need to if their hands do not appear dirty although bugs are there even if they can't be seen. Some staff have experienced problems with skin irritation from frequent washing with soap and water.

There are particular times when staff must wash their hands. These are called the 5 moments of Hand Hygiene. They are:

  • Before touching a patient
  • Before any procedure
  • After body/ fluid exposure risk
  • After touching a patient
  • After touching patient surroundings

Upper Murray Health & Community Services (UMHCS) expects all their staff to complete a training module on hand hygiene every year. The organisation also conducts checks to see if staff is actually washing their hands at the appropriate times. The results of these checks are monitored by the Department of Health who have set a target of 80% compliance which the facility is expected to achieve.

As hand hygiene is so important we encourage all our visitors to use the antimicrobial hand rub products to help prevent infections being brought into the health facility. The hand rub products can be found in a number of locations around our facility.

Staff Influenza Vaccinations

Influenza (flu) is an extremely contagious virus. It spreads easily from person to person through infected droplets in the air or from contaminated surfaces. It is more severe than the common cold and is particulary serious for people in high risk groups; all people over 65 years old, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 15 years old and people with a medical condition that puts them at risk of complications. Healthcare workers are at risk not only of getting flu but also passing it on to the patients in their care. It is very important for healthcare workers to have an annual vaccination as it has been shown that it is the most efficient way of preventing flu infection and reducing the exposure to vulnerable patients. The Victorian Department of Health set a target for all health services that at least 75% of staff will have a flu vaccination each year.

UMHCS offers the flu vaccination to all staff every year. In 2016, 77% of our staff had a flu vaccination.