Public Health eNews

August 2014

Infection Prevention Assurance in Care Homes

Hertfordshire County Council is the first county in the UK to launch an Infection Prevention Control (IPC) scheme in care homes.

The scheme will allow the council to monitor care homes and provide assurance with regards to infection control standards.

Care homes are not hospitals and cannot be expected to provide a clinical environment; however there are steps they can take to reduce the risks of infectious disease among their residents.  One of the new responsibilities of the Department of Health is to be assured of the IPC compliance with 10 required standards in care homes.

The IPC scheme, which is run jointly with Herts Care Providers Association, looks at the systems and procedures in care homes, rather than carrying out audits or inspections, aiming to encourage them to improve the quality of what they do to improve infection.

Hertfordshire County Council has worked closely with partners to pilot the assessment tool and feedback has been very positive, with nine of the ten pilot homes putting improvements in place.

It is free for care homes to participate in the voluntary scheme.  They complete a questionnaire and return it with supporting evidence, which will then be assessed.  Results will lead to one of three levels of local award and each participating home will get a certificate valid for one year which they can display or use in their marketing. 

The aim is to encourage local care homes to want to participate and improve their IPC systems.  Based on outcomes of the voluntary programme, the assessment tool may be included in the commissioning workbook in future.  HCC may, in future, only contract with care homes that have participated in the scheme

Care homes can register to receive a quick reference information pack which contains the self assessment tool plus lots of other useful information, including signposting to sources of support.

Registration to the programme will open when the scheme launches on Tuesday 23 September 2014.

For further information please contact Gill.goodlad@hertfordshire.gov.uk 

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