Service users within Mental Health setting can be more susceptible to infection than their counterparts in the community. This is often related to pre-existing disease (e.g. Diabetes), invasive procedures or immunosuppressive treatment. Elderly service users are especially susceptible to infection. About 10% of patients in acute hospitals at any one time in England will have a healthcare associated infection (HCAI).
The risk of spread of infection in is increased by the fact that service users are admitted with existing conditions, they share facilities and have considerable contact with nursing and medical staff which provides ample opportunity for spread of infection.
The high incidence of antibiotic use favours the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria which may be difficult to treat. Infections are costly in terms of prolonged patient stay; extra drug and operative therapy, there are also implications for the patient in terms of pain and suffering. There is an ethical duty to minimise risk to patients, and preventing hospital-acquired infection should be an integral part of achieving quality care for patients.
The clinical aspects of prevention of infection are the professional responsibility of the medical, nursing and AHP staff caring for the patient, with the help of the Director of Infection Prevention and Control (DIPC) and Infection prevention and control (IPC) nurses. All staff, especially those involved in patient care, have responsibilities for ensuring that IPC principles are applied.
South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust aims to minimise the risk of Healthcare Associated Infection, throughout the diversity of settings within the Trust by ensuring that;
• All staff are knowledgeable and practice sound IPC for their area of work.
• Policies and standard operating procedures are available to all clinical areas.
• There is a managed environment, which minimises the risk of infection, to service users, staff, visitors and carers.
• There is a system in place that ensures as far as reasonably practicable that all reusable medical devices are properly decontaminated prior to use and that the risks associated with decontamination facilities and processes are adequately managed.
Link to the full Policy:
Link to the Equalities Impact Analysis:
Links to the Standard Operating Procedures:
Link to the SOP Equalities Impact Analysis: