What is the latest edition of NSQHS standards?

The 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard in Australia is the latest edition of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards. It was developed in response to gaps and uncertainties identified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The key changes and highlights of this standard include:

  1. Precautionary Approach: The standard emphasizes a precautionary approach to infection control, especially regarding transmission-based precautions. This approach involves adopting airborne precautions when there is uncertainty about how infections like COVID-19 may be transmitted. This includes the use of P2/N95 respirator masks along with other personal protective equipment in specific circumstances.
  2. Ventilation and Air Management: Healthcare facilities are required to consider ventilation and air management system issues and stay informed about emerging evidence related to these matters to mitigate the risk of airborne transmission of infections like COVID-19.
  3. Management of Infected Workforce: The standard emphasizes the need for proper management of healthcare workers who have transmissible infections to prevent further transmission within the healthcare setting.
  4. Incorporation of Guidelines: The Australian Guidelines for the Control and Prevention of Infection in Healthcare are appended to the standard. This inclusion ensures easy access to guidelines and resources to help healthcare organizations meet the requirements effectively.

In summary, the 2021 Preventing and Controlling Infections Standard focuses on enhancing infection control in healthcare settings, particularly in response to COVID-19. It promotes a precautionary approach, addresses ventilation concerns, emphasizes proper management of infected healthcare workers, and provides access to relevant guidelines for implementation.

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