Standard 3: Healthcare Associated Infection

3. Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection

Leaders of a health service organisation describe, implement and monitor systems to prevent, manage or control healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance, to reduce harm and achieve good health outcomes for patients. The workforce uses these systems.

Intention of this standard

The Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard aims to improve infection prevention and control measures to help prevent infections, and the spread of antimicrobial resistance through the appropriate prescribing and use of antimicrobials.


Clinical governance and quality improvement to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections

Systems are in place to support and promote prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections, and improve antimicrobial stewardship.

Infection prevention and control systems

Evidence-based systems are used to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections.
Action 3.5 Action 3.6 Action 3.7
Action 3.8
Action 3.9
Action 3.11 Action 3.12

Reprocessing of reusable medical devices

Reprocessing of reusable equipment, instruments and devices is consistent with relevant current national standards, and meets current best practice.

Antimicrobial stewardship

The health service organisation implements systems for the safe and appropriate prescribing and use of antimicrobials as part of an antimicrobial stewardship program.
Action 3.15 Action 3.16

Background to this standard

Many healthcare-associated infections are thought to be preventable. Australian and overseas studies have demonstrated mechanisms to reduce the rate of infections associated with health care. Infection prevention and control practice aims to minimise the risk of transmission by identifying and isolating patients harbouring infectious agents and resistant organisms. However, just as there is no single cause of infection, there is no single solution to preventing infections. Successful infection prevention and control practice requires a variety of strategies across the healthcare system.

The Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard has been developed in line with the recommendations and evidence in the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare.1 This standard aims to prevent patients from acquiring preventable healthcare-associated infections, and to effectively manage these infections when they occur by using evidence-based strategies. It should be applied in conjunction with the Clinical Governance Standard, the Partnering with Consumers Standard and the Medication Safety Standard.

Although infection prevention and control programs have essential elements that must be considered, it is expected that programs will be tailored to reflect the local context and risk. Key tasks will be tailored to reflect the complexity of services offered and the risks associated with delivery of services in the organisation. Regardless of the size or type of the health service organisation, successful implementation of this standard depends on clinicians and executive leaders working together within a strong governance framework.

Last updated 19th February, 2019 at 09:40pm

National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare. Canberra: NHMRC; 2010 (accessed Sep 2017).