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Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections overview

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Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections

About

What is covered

This pathway covers the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in primary, community and secondary care.
Healthcare-associated infections can develop either as a direct result of healthcare interventions such as medical or surgical treatment, or from being in contact with a healthcare setting. Healthcare-associated infections can exacerbate existing or underlying conditions, delay recovery and adversely affect quality of life.
Healthcare-associated infections are caused by a wide range of microorganisms. The most well known include those caused by meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Patient safety has become a cornerstone of care in the NHS, and preventing healthcare-associated infections remains a priority. Healthcare-associated infections are estimated to cost the NHS approximately £1 billion a year, £56 million of which is estimated to be incurred after patients are discharged from hospital. In addition to increased costs, each one of these infections means additional use of NHS resources, greater patient discomfort and a decrease in patient safety. A 'no tolerance' attitude is now prevalent in relation to avoidable healthcare-associated infections.

Surgical site infections

Surgical site (wound) infection occurs when pathogenic organisms multiply in a surgical wound, giving rise to local signs and symptoms, such as heat, redness, pain and swelling, and (in more serious cases) with systemic signs of fever or a raised white blood cell count. Infection in the surgical wound may prevent healing taking place so that the wound edges separate, or it may cause an abscess to form in the deeper tissues.
Surgical site infections comprise up to 20% of all healthcare-associated infections. At least 5% of patients undergoing surgery develop a surgical site infection. Surgical site infections can have a significant effect on quality of life for the patient, and are associated with considerable morbidity and extended hospital stay. Surgical site infections also result in a considerable financial burden to healthcare providers. The majority of surgical site infections are preventable and measures can be taken in the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative phases of care to reduce risk of infection.

Use of 'must' in recommendations

There is a legal duty to implement some of the recommendations in this pathway in order to comply with legislation. The word 'must' is used in these recommendations and details of the relevant legislation are given in footnotes. In addition, 'must' is used in some other recommendations on patient safety where the consequences of not implementing them would be very serious – that is, there would be a greatly increased risk of adverse events, including death.

Updates

Updates to this pathway

31 March 2016 Pathway restructured and summarised recommendations replaced with full recommendations.
10 February 2016 Healthcare-associated infections (NICE quality standard 113) added to this pathway.
17 August 2015 Link to NICE pathway on antimicrobial stewardship added.
3 September 2014 Minor maintenance updates.
15 May 2014 Minor maintenance update.
16 April 2014 The infection prevention and control quality standard has been added to this pathway.
30 October 2013 The surgical site infection quality standard has been added to this pathway.
30 October 2013 Minor maintenance updates.
13 September 2013 Minor maintenance update.
01 August 2013 A clarification has been made to a recommendation on the disposal of used standard needles in safe use and disposal of sharps in this pathway.
12 February 2013 Minor maintenance updates.
September 2012 Links to healthcare-associated infections: prevention and control (NICE guideline PH36) updated. Implementation tools added.

Professional responsibilities

The recommendations in this pathway represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. Applying the recommendations in this pathway is at the discretion of health and care professionals and their individual patients or service users and does not override the responsibility of health and care professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and/or their carer or guardian.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the recommendations to be applied (and to provide funding required for technology appraisal guidance) when individual health and care professionals and their patients or service users wish to use them. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this pathway should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

Patient-centred care

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in your care.
Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

Short Text

This pathway covers the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in primary, community and secondary care.

What is covered

This pathway covers the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in primary, community and secondary care.
Healthcare-associated infections can develop either as a direct result of healthcare interventions such as medical or surgical treatment, or from being in contact with a healthcare setting. Healthcare-associated infections can exacerbate existing or underlying conditions, delay recovery and adversely affect quality of life.
Healthcare-associated infections are caused by a wide range of microorganisms. The most well known include those caused by meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Patient safety has become a cornerstone of care in the NHS, and preventing healthcare-associated infections remains a priority. Healthcare-associated infections are estimated to cost the NHS approximately £1 billion a year, £56 million of which is estimated to be incurred after patients are discharged from hospital. In addition to increased costs, each one of these infections means additional use of NHS resources, greater patient discomfort and a decrease in patient safety. A 'no tolerance' attitude is now prevalent in relation to avoidable healthcare-associated infections.

Surgical site infections

Surgical site (wound) infection occurs when pathogenic organisms multiply in a surgical wound, giving rise to local signs and symptoms, such as heat, redness, pain and swelling, and (in more serious cases) with systemic signs of fever or a raised white blood cell count. Infection in the surgical wound may prevent healing taking place so that the wound edges separate, or it may cause an abscess to form in the deeper tissues.
Surgical site infections comprise up to 20% of all healthcare-associated infections. At least 5% of patients undergoing surgery develop a surgical site infection. Surgical site infections can have a significant effect on quality of life for the patient, and are associated with considerable morbidity and extended hospital stay. Surgical site infections also result in a considerable financial burden to healthcare providers. The majority of surgical site infections are preventable and measures can be taken in the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative phases of care to reduce risk of infection.

Use of 'must' in recommendations

There is a legal duty to implement some of the recommendations in this pathway in order to comply with legislation. The word 'must' is used in these recommendations and details of the relevant legislation are given in footnotes. In addition, 'must' is used in some other recommendations on patient safety where the consequences of not implementing them would be very serious – that is, there would be a greatly increased risk of adverse events, including death.

Updates

Updates to this pathway

31 March 2016 Pathway restructured and summarised recommendations replaced with full recommendations.
10 February 2016 Healthcare-associated infections (NICE quality standard 113) added to this pathway.
17 August 2015 Link to NICE pathway on antimicrobial stewardship added.
3 September 2014 Minor maintenance updates.
15 May 2014 Minor maintenance update.
16 April 2014 The infection prevention and control quality standard has been added to this pathway.
30 October 2013 The surgical site infection quality standard has been added to this pathway.
30 October 2013 Minor maintenance updates.
13 September 2013 Minor maintenance update.
01 August 2013 A clarification has been made to a recommendation on the disposal of used standard needles in safe use and disposal of sharps in this pathway.
12 February 2013 Minor maintenance updates.
September 2012 Links to healthcare-associated infections: prevention and control (NICE guideline PH36) updated. Implementation tools added.

Sources

NICE guidance and other sources used to create this pathway.
Healthcare-associated infections (2016) NICE quality standard 113
Infection prevention and control (2014) NICE quality standard 61
Surgical site infection (2013) NICE quality standard 49

Quality standards

Healthcare-associated infections

These quality statements are taken from the healthcare-associated infections quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for healthcare-associated infections and should be read in full.

Infection prevention and control

These quality statements are taken from the infection prevention and control quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for infection prevention and control and should be read in full.

Surgical site infection

These quality statements are taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statements

Surveillance

This quality statement is taken from the healthcare-associated infections quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice in healthcare-associated infections and should be read in full.

Quality statement

Hospitals monitor healthcare-associated infections and other infections of local relevance to drive continuous quality improvement.

Rationale

Mandatory national and local surveillance of healthcare-associated infections (such as Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA] and Clostridium difficile [C difficile]) provides information that can be used to assess the infection risk of people in hospital and inform the response. However, mandatory monitoring only covers a small number of healthcare-associated infections. Identification and monitoring of other infections of local relevance, including resistant organisms, contributes to a fuller understanding of the risk of infection to people in hospital. The results of monitoring can be used by staff across the organisation to help inform practice, review the effectiveness of responses, and review how well strategies to reduce healthcare-associated infections are working.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements for hospitals to monitor healthcare-associated infections and other infections of local relevance.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence of local arrangements for the results of monitoring healthcare-associated infections and other infections of local relevance to be used across the organisation to inform and review objectives for quality improvement.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Incidence of healthcare-associated infections.
Data source: Local data collection and national data collection including 2015–16 NHS Outcomes Framework indicator 5.2 (MRSA and C difficile); 2015–16 Clinical Commissioning Group [CCG] Outcome Indicator Set indicators 5.3 (MRSA) and 5.4 (C difficile). National data derived from the Mandatory Surveillance of MRSA, MSSA, E coli and C difficile published by Public Health England.

What the quality statement means for service providers, health and social care practitioners, and commissioners

Service providers (hospitals) ensure that systems are in place to carry out mandatory monitoring of healthcare-associated infections and other infections of local relevance, including resistant organisms; and ensure that the results are shared across the organisation and used to drive continuous quality improvement.
Health and social care practitioners in secondary care (including hospital clinicians, nursing staff and allied healthcare professionals) report healthcare-associated infections, act on information provided to them about local infections to reduce infection risk, and adjust clinical practice for continuous improvement.
Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups) ensure that they commission services from hospitals that have systems to carry out mandatory monitoring of healthcare-associated infections and other infections of local relevance, including resistant organisms; and ensure that they share the results across the organisation to drive continuous quality improvement.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People receiving treatment in, or visiting, hospitals can expect the hospital to monitor infection levels across all service areas to help improve services and minimise future infection rates.

Source guidance

Definitions

Monitor healthcare-associated infections
Monitoring includes mandatory monitoring of healthcare-associated infections and also other infections that are of local relevance, including resistant organisms, within the hospital setting. Monitoring should be through a surveillance system that detects organisms and infections, and promptly registers any abnormal trends. Data from multiple sources (epidemiological, clinical, microbiological, surgical and pharmacy) need to be combined in real time, and should allow for timely recognition of incidents in different spaces (for example, wards, clinical teams, clinical areas and across the whole trust). Surveillance data in key areas should be regularly compared with other local and national data.
Continuous quality improvement
Improving the provision of services and practice by using a range of audit and statistical tools to assess the current situation, identify areas for improvement and measure the results.

Collaborative action

This quality statement is taken from the healthcare-associated infections quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice in healthcare-associated infections and should be read in full.

Quality statement

Hospitals work with local health and social care organisations to assess and manage the risk of infections in hospitals from community outbreaks and incidents.

Rationale

Healthcare-associated infections are a serious risk to hospital patients, staff and visitors. Infections contracted outside a hospital setting can be brought into the hospital by patients, visitors and staff, and transmitted to others. By identifying and assessing potential risks from community outbreaks and incidents, hospitals can take action in collaboration with other local health and social care organisations, including public health services, to reduce the risk of infection.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements for hospitals to monitor the risk of healthcare-associated infections from incidents and outbreaks in the community.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence of local arrangements for collaborative working between hospitals and other local health and social care organisations to investigate and manage the risks of healthcare-associated infection from incidents and outbreaks in the community.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Incidence of healthcare-associated infections.
Data source: Local data collection and national data collection including 2015–16 NHS Outcomes Framework indicator 5.2 (MRSA and C difficile); 2015–16 Clinical Commissioning Group [CCG] Outcome Indicator Set indicators 5.3 (MRSA) and 5.4 (C difficile). National data derived from the Mandatory Surveillance of MRSA, MSSA, E coli and C difficile published by Public Health England.

What the quality statement means for service providers, health and social care practitioners, and commissioners

Service providers (hospitals) participate in joint working initiatives with other health, public health and social care organisations beyond mandatory requirements to share information on outbreaks and incidents in the community, and assess and minimise the risks. Joint working initiatives can include agreeing a governance structure and lines of accountability between organisations; joint development of strategy, policy, pathway and shared targets; sharing information from risk assessments; and investigating and managing outbreaks and incidents of healthcare-associated infections.
Health and social care practitioners in secondary care (including hospital clinicians, nursing staff and allied healthcare professionals) participate in joint working initiatives and implement measures introduced in response to community incidents and outbreaks to minimise the risk of infections in hospital.
Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups) ensure that they commission services from hospitals that can demonstrate that they work collaboratively with local health and social care organisations to assess and manage the risk of infections in hospitals from community outbreaks and incidents.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People receiving treatment in, or visiting, hospitals can expect the hospital to work with other local health and social care organisations to help prevent infections in the community spreading into the hospital. As a result of this work, hospitals may occasionally have to change the way that people receive treatment or visit hospitals. For example, a ward may be closed to visitors, or a person may be admitted to a single room to help prevent infections spreading.

Source guidance

Definitions

Community outbreaks and incidents
An outbreak is usually defined as 2 or more people experiencing a similar illness linked in place and time, or a single instance of a rare or particularly harmful organism. An outbreak is only declared following the identification, notification and investigation of an incident. For example, laboratory results may confirm that 2 illnesses are caused by the same organism or strain of an organism.
An incident includes events or situations needing investigation to see if action or management to reduce a risk is needed. An incident can also include a single case of a disease. In the context of this statement, an incident is taken to include any incident with the potential to expose people to infection risk.
[Expert opinion]

Responsibilities of hospital staff

This quality statement is taken from the healthcare-associated infections quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice in healthcare-associated infections and should be read in full.

Quality statement

Hospital staff have individual objectives and appraisals on infection prevention and control linked to board-level objectives and strategies.

Rationale

Trust boards provide leadership in infection prevention and control, but all hospital staff have responsibility for, and are accountable for, infection prevention and control. Boards can help minimise the risk to patients and ensure continuous quality improvement by leading on and regularly reviewing all relevant infection prevention and control objectives, policies and procedures. A clear governance structure and accountability framework will allocate specific responsibilities to all staff. All staff having these responsibilities as clear objectives that are reviewed in appraisals and reflected in development plans will help ensure that board-level objectives are achieved and that the risk of healthcare-associated infection is minimised.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure all staff have clear objectives in relation to infection prevention and control that are linked to board-level objectives.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure all staff have an appraisal and development plan that cover infection prevention and control.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
a) Proportion of hospital staff who have individual infection prevention and control objectives that are linked to board-level objectives.
Numerator – the number in the denominator who have individual infection prevention and control objectives that are linked to board-level objectives.
Denominator – the number of hospital staff.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Proportion of hospital staff who have an appraisal of their infection prevention and control objectives.
Numerator – the number in the denominator who have an appraisal of their infection prevention and control objectives.
Denominator – the number of hospital staff.
Data source: Local data collection.
c) Proportion of hospital staff who have a development plan that includes infection prevention and control.
Numerator – the number in the denominator who have a development plan that addresses individual needs for knowledge, abilities and skills in infection prevention and control.
Denominator – the number of hospital staff.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, hospital staff, and commissioners

Service providers (hospitals) in secondary care settings ensure that all staff have objectives in relation to infection prevention and control that are linked to the board's objectives and strategies, that these objectives are appraised and included in development plans, and that staff are supported to carry out these objectives.
Hospital staff (including hospital clinicians, nursing staff, allied healthcare professionals, administrative staff and catering staff) in secondary care settings follow working practices and tasks on infection prevention and control described in their personal objectives; have feedback on their performance against these objectives through an appraisal; and are supported to ensure that learning, training and other development needs on infection prevention and control set out in a development plan are met.
Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups) ensure that they commission services from secondary care providers that appraise and support their staff to achieve their objectives on infection prevention and control.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People receiving treatment in, or visiting, hospitals can expect that all hospital staff have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out infection prevention and control procedures in their area of work.

Source guidance

Definitions

Hospital staff
All clinical and non-clinical staff, including support staff, volunteers, agency or locum staff and those employed by contractors.

Planning, design and management of hospital facilities

This quality statement is taken from the healthcare-associated infections quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice in healthcare-associated infections and should be read in full.

Quality statement

Hospitals involve infection prevention and control teams in the building, refurbishment and maintenance of hospital facilities.

Rationale

In a healthcare setting the built environment can play a significant role in the transmission of infection. The design of new buildings, as well as their refurbishment and ongoing maintenance, should allow good infection prevention and control practices. Involving infection prevention and control teams in the planning, design and maintenance of hospital facilities can ensure that needs are anticipated, planned for and met, and that the risk of healthcare-associated infections is minimised.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements for involving infection prevention and control teams in the building and refurbishment of facilities in the hospital. Examples of evidence may include protocols covering infection prevention and control in the built environment; estate department procedures to engage infection prevention and control teams in new build and refurbishment projects; building and refurbishment project plans and schedules of work that show the involvement of infection prevention and control teams; and records of completed building and refurbishment works that show whether infection prevention and control requirements have been met.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence of local arrangements for involving infection prevention and control teams in the maintenance of facilities in the hospital. Examples of evidence may include protocols covering infection prevention and control in the built environment; estate department procedures to engage infection prevention and control teams in maintenance works; maintenance plans and schedules that show the involvement of infection prevention and control teams; and records of completed maintenance works that show whether infection prevention and control requirements have been met.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers (hospitals) in secondary care settings ensure that infection prevention and control teams are involved in planning, design and maintenance of hospital facilities, as part of managing and maintaining the whole estate to minimise the risk from infection. Providers should follow best practice guidance where available, such as Health Building Note 00-09 (Department of Health 2013), which identifies infection prevention and control issues and risks that need to be addressed at each stage of a new build or refurbishment project.
Healthcare professionals (including hospital clinicians and nursing staff) who are part of hospitals’ infection and control teams are involved in the planning, design and maintenance of hospital facilities. This may include identifying design issues (such as provision of isolation facilities, decontamination facilities and hand hygiene facilities); agreeing the requirements for infection prevention and control; risk assessing the works to be undertaken and advising on the necessary measures to protect patients, visitors and staff; ensuring that control measures are implemented and adhered to; and attending estates and property project planning meetings.
Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups) ensure that they commission secondary care services from providers where infection prevention and control teams are involved in the planning, design and maintenance of hospital services and facilities.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People receiving treatment in, or visiting, hospitals can expect the hospitals, and their related buildings and grounds, to be designed and looked after in a way that minimises the risk of infection.

Source guidance

Admission, discharge and transfer

This quality statement is taken from the healthcare-associated infections quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice in healthcare-associated infections and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People admitted to, discharged from, or transferred between or within hospitals, have information about any infections and associated treatments shared with health and social care staff to inform their care.

Rationale

Potentially avoidable healthcare-associated infections can occur when people are admitted to, discharged from or transferred between or within hospitals. Sharing information on current infections, treatment and colonising organisms can result in better care and outcomes for people with, or at risk of, infections and can help to reduce the risk of infections being spread between care settings. A consistent approach to sharing information between health and social care practitioners involved in a patient’s care pathway should ensure appropriate ongoing support, and minimise the risk of inappropriate management and transmission of infection. Information should be shared when arrangements are made for a person to move from the care of one organisation to another, or when arrangements are made to move a person within a hospital, while maintaining patient confidentiality and privacy.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of local arrangements to ensure information about any infections and associated treatments for people admitted to, discharged from, or transferred between or within hospitals, is shared with the health and social care staff responsible for the ongoing care.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
a) Proportion of admissions to hospital, including transfers of patients from other hospitals, where information on infections and associated treatments is received.
Numerator – the number in the denominator where information on infections and associated treatments is received.
Denominator – the number of admissions to hospital of people with infections.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Proportion of discharges from hospital, including transfers of patients to other hospitals, where information on infections and associated treatments is provided to health and social care staff responsible for ongoing care.
Numerator – the number in the denominator where information on infections and associated treatments is provided.
Denominator – the number of discharges from hospital of people with infections.
Data source: Local data collection.
c) Proportion of transfers of patients within a hospital where information on infections and associated treatments is provided to health care staff responsible for ongoing care.
Numerator – the number in the denominator where information on infections and associated treatments is provided to health care staff responsible for ongoing care.
Denominator – the number of transfers of patients between wards within a hospital.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, health and social care practitioners, and commissioners

Service providers (such as hospitals and social care providers) provide information about any infections, colonising organisms and associated treatments when they arrange for a person to be moved into or out of hospital, or between wards, to inform the ongoing care of that person and minimise the risk of transmission. If appropriate, information should also be shared with the providers of transport for a person moving into or out of hospital.
Health and social care practitioners (including hospital clinicians, nursing staff and practitioners in care homes) involved in hospital admission, discharge and transfer ensure that they share information with other healthcare professionals and social care practitioners to manage and support patients with an infection on an ongoing basis during admission, transfer and discharge.
Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups) ensure that they commission services from health and social care providers that have mechanisms in place to ensure that information about any infections, colonising organisms and associated treatments is shared as part of the transfer process and used to inform the ongoing care of patients admitted to, discharged from or transferred between or within hospitals.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People who are admitted to, discharged from, or transferred between or within hospitals have information about any infections they have and their treatment, and any treatments they are having that include a risk of infection, shared with the health and social care staff responsible for their care.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Information about any infections and associated treatments
This includes information sharing to manage and support patients with existing infections – for example, transfer and isolation arrangements for them – during hospital admission, transfer and discharge. Information on infections and treatments being given for existing infections should also be shared with the health and social care practitioners who will be giving the continuing care, along with information relating to the ongoing use of medical devices (such as catheters) where there is a risk of healthcare-associated infections.
[Adapted from Healthcare-associated infections: prevention and control (NICE guideline PH36)].

Antimicrobial stewardship

This quality statement is taken from the infection prevention and control quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for infection prevention and control and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People are prescribed antibiotics in accordance with local antibiotic formularies as part of antimicrobial stewardship.

Rationale

Antibiotic resistance poses a significant threat to public health, particularly because antibiotics underpin routine medical practice in both primary and secondary care. To help prevent the development of current and future bacterial resistance, it is important to prescribe antibiotics according to the principles of antimicrobial stewardship, such as prescribing antibiotics only when they are needed (and not for self-limiting mild infections such as colds and most coughs, sinusitis, earache and sore throats) and reviewing the continued need for them. These principles should be set out within local antibiotic guidelines and pathways and be consistent with the local antibiotic formulary. Local antibiotic formularies should indicate a range of antibiotics for managing common infections, and permit use of other antibiotics only on the advice of the microbiologist or physician responsible for the control of infectious diseases.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local antibiotic formularies governing the use of antibiotics to ensure that people are prescribed antibiotics appropriately.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence that local antibiotic formularies are reviewed regularly.
Data source: Local data collection.
c) Evidence of local audits of the appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Antibiotic prescribing rates (primary and secondary care).
Data source for primary care: National prescribing comparator data available from the Information Services Portal hosted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, specifically the number of prescription items for antibacterial drugs per Specific Therapeutic Group Age-sex weightings Related Prescribing Unit (STAR-PU), and the number of prescription items for cephalosporins and quinolones as a percentage of the total number of prescription items for selected antibacterial drugs (British National Formulary [BNF], section 5.1).
Data source for secondary care: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that they have antimicrobial stewardship initiatives in place, including local antibiotic formularies for antibiotic prescribing.
Healthcare professionals ensure that when they prescribe antibiotics they do so in accordance with local antibiotic formularies as part of antimicrobial stewardship.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services that have antimicrobial stewardship initiatives and in which people are prescribed antibiotics in accordance with local antibiotic formularies.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People are offered antibiotics according to local guidance about which ones are most suitable. This includes not being offered antibiotics if they don't need them (for example, if they have a cold, a sore throat, most coughs or earache). This is to try to reduce the problem of antibiotic resistance, which is when an infection no longer responds to treatment with one or more types of antibiotic and so is more likely to spread and can become serious.

Source guidance

  • Respiratory tract infections – antibiotic prescribing (NICE clinical guideline 69), recommendations 1.3 and 1.4.
  • Expert consensus.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Local antibiotic formulary
A local antibiotic formulary is a local policy document produced by a multi professional team, usually in a hospital trust or commissioning group, combining best evidence and clinical judgement. [Surgical site infection - full guideline (NICE clinical guideline 74)].
A local antibiotic formulary is defined as 'the output of processes to support the managed introduction, utilisation or withdrawal of healthcare treatments within a health economy, service or organisation. [Developing and updating local formularies (NICE medicines practice guideline 1)]
Local policies often limit the antibiotics that may be used to achieve reasonable economy consistent with adequate cover, and to reduce the development of resistant organisms. A policy may indicate a range of antibiotics for general use, and permit other antibiotics only on the advice of the medical microbiologist or physician responsible for the control of infectious diseases. [BNF, section 5.1]
Antimicrobial stewardship
Antimicrobial stewardship is an organisational or healthcare-system-wide approach to promoting and monitoring judicious use of antimicrobial drugs to preserve their future effectiveness. [Adapted from the Department of Health Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI)'s antimicrobial prescribing and stewardship competencies]
The approach to prescribing in line with the principles of antimicrobial stewardship recommended for secondary care is as follows:
  • Do not start antibiotics without clinical evidence of bacterial infection.
  • If there is evidence or suspicion of bacterial infection, use local guidelines to start prompt, effective antibiotic treatment.
  • Document the following on the medicines chart and in the person's medical notes: clinical indication, duration or review date, route and dose.
  • Obtain cultures – knowing the susceptibility of an infecting organism can lead to narrowing of broad-spectrum therapy, changing therapy to effectively treat resistant pathogens, and stopping antibiotics when cultures suggest an infection is unlikely.
  • Prescribe single-dose antibiotics for surgical prophylaxis if antibiotics have been shown to be effective.
  • Review the clinical diagnosis and the continuing need for antibiotics by 48 hours from the first antibiotic dose and make a clear plan of action – the 'Antimicrobial Prescribing Decision'. The 5 Antimicrobial Prescribing Decision options are: Stop, Switch IV (intravenous) to Oral, Change, Continue, and Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT).
  • Clearly document the review and subsequent decision in the person's medical notes. [ARHAI's guidance on antimicrobial stewardship 'Start smart - then focus']
The approach to prescribing in line with the principles of antimicrobial stewardship recommended for primary care is as follows:
  • Prescribe an antibiotic only if there is likely to be a clear clinical benefit.
  • Consider a no, or delayed, antibiotic strategy for acute self-limiting upper respiratory tract infections.
  • Limit prescribing over the phone to exceptional cases.
  • Use simple generic antibiotics if possible. Avoid broad-spectrum antibiotics (for example, co-amoxiclav, quinolones and cephalosporins) if narrow-spectrum antibiotics remain effective, because the former increase the risk of Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and antibiotic resistant urinary tract infections.
  • Avoid widespread use of topical antibiotics (especially those that are also available as systemic preparations, such as fusidic acid). [Adapted from the Health Protection Agency's management of infection guidance for primary care]

Organisational responsibility

This quality statement is taken from the infection prevention and control quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for infection prevention and control and should be read in full.

Quality statement

Organisations that provide healthcare have a strategy for continuous improvement in infection prevention and control, including accountable leadership, multi-agency working and the use of surveillance systems.

Rationale

It is essential that organisations and agencies work together to coordinate strategies for infection prevention and control across a local area. It is equally important to share information across organisations in order to meet responsibilities for establishing the current position on infection control, monitoring the impact of quality improvement initiatives and ongoing surveillance. Leadership underpins all infection prevention and control, and is vital to ensure that this remains a priority for the organisation as a whole and each person working within it.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence that the organisation includes infection prevention and control within its overall strategy.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence that the organisation's board is up to date with, and has a working knowledge and understanding of, infection prevention and control.
Data source: Local data collection.
c) Evidence that a lead for infection prevention and control has been assigned and is taking an active role.
Data source: Local data collection.
d) Evidence of support for, and participation in, joint working initiatives beyond mandatory or contractual requirements, to reduce healthcare-associated infections locally.
Data source: Local data collection.
e) Evidence of an adequately resourced surveillance system with specific, locally defined objectives and priorities for preventing and managing healthcare-associated infections.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Incidence of healthcare-associated infection.
Data source: 2014/15 NHS Outcomes Framework indicator 5.2 and 2014/15 CCG Outcome Indicator Set indicators 5.3 and 5.4 measure incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile. Data are derived from the mandatory reporting of healthcare-associated infections to Public Health England, which are published by Public Health England and also reported by the Health and Social Care Information Centre through their Indicator Portal.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that a strategy is in place for continuous improvement in infection prevention and control that includes accountable leadership, multi-agency working and surveillance systems.
Healthcare professionals ensure that they implement strategies for continuous improvement in infection prevention and control through accountable leadership, multi-agency working and adhering to the requirements of surveillance systems.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services from organisations that have strategies for continuous improvement in infection prevention and control that include accountable leadership, multi-agency working and surveillance systems.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People receive healthcare from organisations that aim to continually improve their approach to preventing infection (for example, by sharing information with other organisations and monitoring rates of infection).

Source guidance

  • Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections: quality improvement guide (NICE public health guidance 36), quality improvement statements 1, 3 and 6.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Board
A board is defined as a group of members with overall responsibility and accountability for the governance, safety and quality of an organisation. [Expert opinion]

Hand decontamination

This quality statement is taken from the infection prevention and control quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for infection prevention and control and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People receive healthcare from healthcare workers who decontaminate their hands immediately before and after every episode of direct contact or care.

Rationale

Effective hand decontamination, even after wearing gloves, results in significant reductions in the carriage of potential pathogens on the hands and decreases the incidence of preventable healthcare-associated infections, leading in turn to a reduction in morbidity and mortality. Hand decontamination is considered to have a high impact on outcomes that are important to patients. Although hand hygiene has improved over recent years, remaining misconceptions about this standard principle of infection control are reported and good practice is still not universal.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure the availability of facilities for hand decontamination.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that all healthcare workers receive training in hand decontamination.
Data source: Local data collection.
c) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that regular local hand hygiene observation audits are undertaken.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Incidence of healthcare-associated infection.
Data source: 2014/15 NHS Outcomes Framework indicator 5.2.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare workers and commissioners

Service providers ensure that healthcare workers are trained in effective hand decontamination techniques, and that handrub and handwashing facilities are available so that healthcare workers can decontaminate their hands immediately before and after every episode of direct contact or care.
Healthcare workers ensure that they are trained in effective hand decontamination techniques, and that they decontaminate their hands immediately before and after every episode of direct contact or care, even when gloves have been worn.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services in which healthcare workers are trained in effective hand decontamination techniques and decontaminate their hands immediately before and after every episode of direct contact or care, and that hand hygiene observation audits are carried out regularly.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People receiving healthcare are looked after by healthcare workers who always clean their hands thoroughly (using handrub or soap and water), both immediately before and immediately after coming into contact with the person or carrying out care.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Hand decontamination
Hand decontamination is the use of handrub or handwashing to reduce the number of bacteria on the hands. The term is often interchangeable with 'hand hygiene'.
An alcohol-based handrub should be used for hand decontamination before and after direct contact or care, except in the following situations when soap and water must be used:
  • when hands are visibly soiled or potentially contaminated with body fluids or
  • when caring for patients with vomiting or diarrhoeal illness, regardless of whether or not gloves have been worn.
Direct contact or care
Direct contact or care refers to 'hands on' or face-to-face contact with patients. This encompasses any physical aspect of the healthcare of a patient, including treatments, self-care and administration of medication. [NICE clinical guideline 139]

Urinary catheters

This quality statement is taken from the infection prevention and control quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for infection prevention and control and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People who need a urinary catheter have their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.

Rationale

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections comprise a large proportion of healthcare-associated infections, and can occur whether a person has either a short-term or a long-term catheter. There is a strong association between duration of urinary catheterisation and risk of infection, and catheters are sometimes inserted inappropriately or there is a delay in removing them. This risk is greatly reduced by complying with all parts of the process for safe catheter insertion, maintenance and removal as soon as it is no longer needed. This is important in terms of both infection prevention and patient comfort and experience.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of a written protocol to ensure that people who need a urinary catheter have their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
a) Proportion of people with a short-term urinary catheter who had their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Numerator – the number of people in the denominator for whom all of the specified procedures were completed for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Denominator – the number of people who have had a short-term urinary catheter.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Proportion of people with a long-term urinary catheter who had their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Numerator – the number of people in the denominator for whom all of the specified procedures were completed for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed were completed.
Denominator – the number of people who have had a long-term urinary catheter.
Data source: Local data collection. Audit standards on catheter maintenance are contained in NICE clinical guideline 139 clinical audit tool - catheter maintenance.
Outcome
a) Incidence of healthcare-associated infection.
Data source: 2014/15 NHS Outcomes Framework indicator 5.2 and 2014/15 CCG Outcome Indicator Set indicators 5.3 and 5.4 measure incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile. Data are derived from the mandatory reporting of healthcare-associated infections to Public Health England, which are published by Public Health England and also reported by the Health and Social Care Information Centre through their Indicator Portal.
b) Incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infection.
Data source: Local data collection. Health and Social Care Information Centre NHS safety thermometer.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare workers and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems and facilities are in place to enable staff to complete specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed, in order to minimise the risk of infection.
Healthcare workers ensure that they complete specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed, in order to minimise the risk of infection.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services in which specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the catheter and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed are completed, in order to minimise the risk of infection.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People who need a urinary catheter have their risk of infection minimised by healthcare workers carrying out procedures to make sure that the catheter is inserted, looked after and removed correctly and safely. These procedures include things like cleaning hands, using a lubricant when inserting the catheter, emptying the drainage bag when necessary, and removing the catheter as soon as it is no longer needed. A urinary catheter is a thin flexible tube used to drain urine from the bladder.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Urinary catheter
A urinary catheter is a catheter that is inserted in the urethra and remains in place until it is no longer needed. Both short-term (used for 28 days or less) and long-term (used for more than 28 days) urinary catheters are used. [Adapted from NICE clinical guideline 139 - full version and epic3: National evidence-based guidelines for preventing healthcare-associated infections in NHS hospitals in England]
Specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion, maintenance and appropriate removal of urinary catheters
Assessing the need for catheterisation
  • Catheterisation should be used only after considering alternative methods of management. The person's clinical need for catheterisation should be reviewed regularly and the urinary catheter removed as soon as possible. The need for catheterisation, as well as details about insertion, changes and care should be documented.
Hand hygiene
  • Healthcare workers must decontaminate their hands and wear a new pair of clean, non-sterile gloves before manipulating a person's catheter, and must decontaminate their hands after removing gloves.
Catheter insertion
  • The meatus should be cleaned before the catheter is inserted, in accordance with local guidelines or policy (for example, with sterile normal saline).
  • An appropriate lubricant from a single-use container should be used during catheter insertion to minimise urethral trauma and infection.
Catheter maintenance
  • Indwelling catheters should be connected to a sterile closed urinary drainage system or catheter valve. Healthcare workers should ensure that the connection between the catheter and the urinary drainage system is not broken, except for good clinical reasons (for example, changing the bag in line with the manufacturer's recommendations).
  • Urinary drainage bags should be positioned below the level of the bladder, and should not be in contact with the floor. The urinary drainage bag should be emptied frequently enough to maintain urine flow and prevent reflux, and should be changed when clinically indicated. A separate and clean container should be used for each person. Contact between the urinary drainage tap and container should be avoided.
  • Urine samples must be obtained from a sampling port using an aseptic technique.
  • The meatus should be washed daily with soap and water as part of routine daily personal hygiene.

Vascular access devices

This quality statement is taken from the infection prevention and control quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for infection prevention and control and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People who need a vascular access device have their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.

Rationale

Vascular access devices are one of the main causes of healthcare-associated infections, and bloodstream infections associated with central venous device insertion are a major cause of morbidity. The risk of infection is greatly reduced by complying with all parts of the process for safe insertion and maintenance of the device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of a written protocol to ensure that people who need a vascular access device have their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
Proportion of people with a vascular access device who had their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Numerator – the number of people in the denominator for whom all of the specified procedures were completed for the safe insertion and maintenance of the device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Denominator – the number of people who have had a vascular access device.
Data source: Local data collection. Contained in NICE clinical guideline 139 clinical audit tool - vascular access devices.
Outcome
Incidence of vascular access device-related bloodstream infection.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare workers and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems and facilities are in place to enable staff to complete specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the vascular access device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed, in order to minimise risk of infection.
Healthcare workers ensure that they complete specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the vascular access device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed, in order to minimise the risk of infection.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services in which specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the vascular access device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed are completed, in order to minimise the risk of infection.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People who need a vascular access device have their risk of infection minimised by healthcare workers carrying out procedures to make sure that the device is inserted, looked after and removed correctly and safely. These procedures include things like using sterile procedures when inserting the device, using the correct antiseptics and dressings, and removing the device as soon as it is no longer needed. A vascular access device is a tube that is inserted into a main vein or artery and used to administer fluids and medication, monitor blood pressure and collect blood samples.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Vascular access device
A vascular access device is an indwelling catheter, cannula or other instrument used to obtain venous or arterial access. Both central and peripheral vascular access devices are available.
Specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion, maintenance and appropriate removal of vascular access devices
General asepsis
  • Healthcare workers must decontaminate their hands before accessing or dressing a vascular access device, using an alcohol handrub or by washing with liquid soap and water if hands are contaminated. An aseptic technique must be used for vascular access device catheter site care, when accessing the system and when administrating intravenous medication.
Skin decontamination
  • The skin should be decontaminated at the insertion site with 2% chlorhexidine gluconate in 70% alcohol and allowed to dry before inserting a vascular access device.
Vascular access device site care
  • A sterile transparent semipermeable membrane dressing should be used to cover the vascular access device insertion site. This should be changed every 7 days, or sooner if it is no longer intact or if moisture collects under the dressing.
  • A single-use application of 2% chlorhexidine gluconate in 70% alcohol (or aqueous povidone iodine) should be used and allowed to dry when cleaning the insertion site during dressing changes.
Vascular access device management
  • A single-use application of 2% chlorhexidine gluconate in 70% alcohol (or aqueous povidone iodine) should be used to decontaminate the access port or catheter hub. The hub should be cleaned for 15 seconds and allowed to dry before accessing the system.
  • Preferably, a sterile 0.9% sodium chloride injection should be used to flush and lock catheter lumens.
  • Administration sets for blood and blood components should be changed when the transfusion episode is complete or every 12 hours (whichever is sooner), or according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Administration sets used for total parenteral nutrition infusions should generally be changed every 24 hours. If the solution contains only glucose and amino acids, administration sets in continuous use do not need to be replaced more frequently than every 72 hours.
Review of vascular access devices
  • Peripheral vascular catheter insertion sites should be inspected during every shift at a minimum, and a visual phlebitis score should be recorded.
  • Central venous catheter insertion sites should be inspected daily.

Educating people about infection prevention and control

This quality statement is taken from the infection prevention and control quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for infection prevention and control and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate), are educated about the safe management of the device or equipment, including techniques to prevent infection.

Rationale

Because many people with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube manage their own device or equipment, it is important that they and their family members or carers are confident about, and proficient in, infection prevention and control practices and the safe management of the device or equipment.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of local arrangements for people with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate), to be educated about the safe management of their device or equipment, including techniques to prevent infection.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
Proportion of people with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate), who are educated about the safe management of their device or equipment, including techniques to prevent infection.
Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who are educated about the safe management of their device or equipment, including techniques to prevent infection.
Denominator – the number of people with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate).
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
a) Incidence of healthcare-associated infection.
Data source: 2014/15 NHS Outcomes Framework indicator 5.2 and 2014/15 CCG Outcome Indicator Set indicators 5.3 and 5.4 measure incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile. Data are derived from the mandatory reporting of healthcare-associated infections to Public Health England, which are published by Public Health England and also reported by the Health and Social Care Information Centre through their Indicator Portal.
b) People with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate), feel able to manage their device or equipment.
Data source: Local data collection using a patient survey to demonstrate that patients and carers have understood their education.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare workers and commissioners

Service providers ensure that there are systems in place for people with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate), to be educated about the safe management of the device or equipment, including techniques to prevent infection.
Healthcare workers ensure that they educate people with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate), about the safe management of the device or equipment, including techniques to prevent infection.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services in which people with a urinary catheter, vascular access device or enteral feeding tube, and their family members or carers (as appropriate), are educated about the safe management of the device or equipment, including techniques to prevent infection.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People who have a urinary catheter, a vascular access device or an enteral feeding tube, and any family members or carers who help them with this equipment, are given information and advice about how to look after the equipment safely and effectively. This includes advice about how to prevent infection. Enteral feeding is a type of feeding used for people who cannot eat normally in which liquid food is given through a tube directly into the gut.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Urinary catheter
A urinary catheter is a catheter that is inserted in the urethra and remains in place until it is no longer needed. Both short-term (used for 28 days or less) and long-term (used for more than 28 days) urinary catheters are used. [Adapted from NICE clinical guideline 139 - full version and epic3: National evidence-based guidelines for preventing healthcare-associated infections in NHS hospitals in England]
Vascular access device
A vascular access device is an indwelling catheter, cannula or other instrument used to obtain venous or arterial access. Both central and peripheral vascular access devices are available.
Enteral feeding
Enteral feeding is feeding via a tube that can include any method of providing nutrition via the gastrointestinal tract. [NICE clinical guideline 139 - full guideline]
Education about infection prevention and control
Education for people and their carers about infection prevention and control should always cover the techniques of hand decontamination. In addition education should be provided as follows:

Equality and diversity considerations

People with a cognitive impairment or a lack of mobility may need additional support to undertake hand decontamination and other techniques to prevent infection. Language barriers should not be a reason for not providing advice.
If religious beliefs are a source of concern in relation to the use of alcohol handrubs for hand decontamination, people could be made aware of the official views of religious bodies about the products. If information is available, people should be directed to these sources.

Personal preparation for surgery

This quality statement is taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People having surgery are advised not to remove hair from the surgical site and are advised to have (or are helped to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.

Rationale

It is not necessary to remove hair routinely to reduce the risk of surgical site infection, and the use of razors for hair removal may increase the risk of infection. If hair needs to be removed, this should be done by healthcare staff using electric clippers with a single-use head on the day of surgery. Pre-operative showering is likely to reduce the number of microorganisms on the skin surrounding the incision and may therefore reduce the risk of infection. Pre-operative advice (and assistance if needed) on personal preparation for surgery will help to ensure that people having surgery have clean skin without unnecessary micro-abrasions (from shaving), which will reduce the risk of surgical site infection.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people having surgery are advised not to remove hair from the surgical site.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people having surgery are advised to have (or are helped to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
a) Proportion of surgical procedures for which the person having surgery is advised not to remove hair from the surgical site.
Numerator – the number in the denominator for which the person having surgery is advised not to remove hair from the surgical site.
Denominator – the number of surgical procedures.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Proportion of surgical procedures for which the person having surgery is advised to have (or is helped to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.
Numerator – the number in the denominator for which the person having surgery is advised to have (or is helped to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.
Denominator – the number of surgical procedures.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Feedback from people having surgery on whether they received the help they needed to have a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals, social care practitioners and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems are in place for their staff to understand and act on the need to advise people having surgery not to remove hair from the surgical site and to advise them to have (or help them to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.
Healthcare professionals advise people having surgery not to remove hair from the surgical site and advise them to have (or help them to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.
Social care practitioners help people to have a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services from service providers that can demonstrate arrangements to ensure that people having surgery are advised not to remove hair from the surgical site and advised to have (or helped to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of surgery.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People having an operation are advised not to remove hair from the area of the body where they are having the operation and are advised to have a shower or bath either the day before or on the day of the operation. If they are not able to wash themselves, they should be helped by health or social care staff.

Source guidance

  • Surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74) recommendations 1.2.2, 1.2.3 (key priorities for implementation) and 1.2.1.

Equality and diversity considerations

This quality statement applies to all people preparing for surgery, regardless of their ability to carry out personal preparations themselves. If people need help with washing before surgery or if hair removal is necessary, they should be treated with dignity at all times.
Advice should be both age-appropriate and culturally appropriate. It should also be accessible to people with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English. People having surgery and their carers or parents should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed.

Antibiotic prophylaxis

This quality statement is taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People having surgery for which antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated receive this in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary.

Rationale

Antibiotic prophylaxis is effective for preventing surgical site infections in certain procedures. However, the use of antibiotics for prophylaxis carries a risk of adverse effects (including Clostridium difficile-associated disease) and increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The choice of antibiotic prophylaxis should cover the organisms most likely to cause infection and be influenced by the strength of the association between the antibiotic used and these adverse effects. Using a local antibiotic formulary should ensure that the most appropriate antibiotic, dose, timing of administration and duration are used for effective prophylaxis.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people having surgery for which antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated receive this in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary and that this is recorded.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
Proportion of surgical procedures for which antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated for which the person having surgery receives antibiotic prophylaxis in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary and that this is recorded.
Numerator – the number in the denominator for which the person having surgery receives antibiotic prophylaxis in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary and that this is recorded.
Denominator – the number of surgical procedures for which antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated.
Data source: Local data collection. Also contained within NICE clinical guideline 74 audit support, criteria 4a and 4b.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that they develop or have access to a local antibiotic formulary and that their staff understand and act on the need to prescribe and administer antibiotic prophylaxis in accordance with this to people having surgery for which antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated. This includes having systems in place to record when antibiotic prophylaxis has been given.
Healthcare professionals offer antibiotic prophylaxis to people having surgery for which antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated, in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary and record when this has been given.
Commissioners ensure development of, or access to, a local antibiotic formulary and commission services from service providers that can demonstrate arrangements to prescribe and administer antibiotic prophylaxis to people having surgery for which antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People having certain types of operation for which there is a higher risk of infection are given antibiotics before surgery to help prevent infection.

Source guidance

  • Surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74) recommendation 1.2.13 (key priority for implementation).

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Antibiotic formulary
An antibiotic formulary is a local policy document produced by a multi-professional team, usually in a hospital trust or commissioning group, combining best evidence and clinical judgement [adapted from NICE clinical guideline 74 – full guideline]. See also the Department of Health’s UK five year antimicrobial resistance strategy 2013 to 2018 and Antimicrobial stewardship ‘Start smart – then focus’: guidance for antimicrobial stewardship in hospitals (England) published by the Department of Health Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI).
Surgery that requires antibiotic prophylaxis
Surgery that requires antibiotic prophylaxis is:
  • clean surgery involving the placement of a prosthesis or implant
  • clean-contaminated surgery
  • contaminated surgery
  • surgery on a dirty or infected wound (requires antibiotic treatment in addition to prophylaxis). [NICE clinical guideline 74 recommendations 1.2.11 (key priority for implementation) and 1.2.16]
Surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74) also recommends that antibiotic prophylaxis should not be used routinely for clean non-prosthetic uncomplicated surgery because of the risk of adverse events, Clostridium difficile-associated disease, resistance and drug hypersensitivity [recommendation 1.2.12 (key priority for implementation)].
See the glossary of terms in NICE clinical guideline 74 for definitions of surgical wound classification.

Patient temperature

This quality statement is taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statement

Adults having surgery under general or regional anaesthesia have normothermia maintained before, during (unless active cooling is part of the procedure) and after surgery.

Rationale

During surgery patients are kept in a stable condition by the operating team. All tissues heal most effectively in optimal conditions of oxygenation, perfusion and body temperature. Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia is a common but preventable complication of perioperative procedures that is associated with an increased risk of surgical site infection and other postoperative complications. Surgical patients are at risk of developing hypothermia before, during or after surgery. Maintaining normothermia throughout this period (except if cooling is required for medical reasons) will therefore reduce the risk of infection at the surgical site and ensure that patients feel comfortably warm at all times.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that adults having surgery under general or regional anaesthesia have normothermia maintained before, during (unless active cooling is part of the procedure) and after surgery.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
Proportion of surgical procedures on adults under general or regional anaesthesia in which the person having surgery has their core temperature measured and documented in accordance with Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (NICE clinical guideline 65).
Numerator – the number in the denominator in which the person having surgery has their core temperature measured and documented in accordance with Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (NICE clinical guideline 65).
Denominator – the number of surgical procedures on adults under general or regional anaesthesia.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Proportion of surgical procedures on adults under general or regional anaesthesia in which the person having surgery is normothermic before, during (unless active cooling is part of the procedure) and after surgery.
Numerator – the number in the denominator in which the person having surgery is normothermic before, during (unless active cooling is part of the procedure) and after surgery.
Denominator – the number of surgical procedures on adults under general or regional anaesthesia.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems are in place to measure and document core temperature in accordance with Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (NICE clinical guideline 65) and maintain normothermia for adults having surgery under general or regional anaesthesia before, during (unless active cooling is part of the procedure) and after surgery.
Healthcare professionals measure and document core temperature in accordance with Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (NICE clinical guideline 65) and maintain normothermia for adults having surgery under general or regional anaesthesia before, during (unless active cooling is part of the procedure) and after surgery.
Commissioners commission services from service providers that can demonstrate arrangements to ensure that they maintain normothermia for adults having surgery under general or regional anaesthesia before, during (unless active cooling is part of the procedure) and after surgery.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

Adults having an operation under a general anaesthetic or a regional anaesthetic (which affects a large part of the body, such as a limb or the lower half of the body) are kept comfortably warm (at normal body temperature) before, during and after the operation to help reduce the risk of infection.

Source guidance

  • Surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74), recommendation 1.3.10.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

The following definitions have been adapted from NICE clinical guideline 65:
Adults
People aged 18 years and over.
Regional anaesthesia
Central neuraxial block.
Normothermia
A core temperature range of 36.5°C to 37.5°C.
Before surgery
The preoperative phase, defined as 1 hour before induction of anaesthesia (when the patient is prepared for surgery on the ward or in the emergency department).
During surgery
The intraoperative phase, defined as total anaesthesia time (including the time in the anaesthetic room before induction of anaesthesia).
After surgery
The postoperative period, defined as 24 hours after entry into the recovery area (which will include transfer to and time spent on the ward).
Perioperative pathway
The continuous period of the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative phases.
Measurement and documentation of core temperature
In accordance with NICE clinical guideline 65, measure and document core temperature:
  • in the hour before the patient leaves the ward or emergency department [recommendation 1.2.4]
  • again before induction of anaesthesia and then every 30 minutes until the end of surgery [recommendation 1.3.1 (key priority for implementation)]
  • on admission to the recovery room and then every 15 minutes [recommendation 1.4.1 (key priority for implementation)]
  • on arrival at the ward [recommendation 1.4.2]
  • every 4 hours on the ward [recommendation 1.4.2].
This quality statement does not cover people undergoing therapeutic hypothermia or people with severe head injuries resulting in impaired temperature control. Other exclusions may apply at certain points on the perioperative pathway, such as when surgery needs to be expedited for clinical urgency. Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (NICE clinical guideline 65) does not cover children and young people (aged less than 18 years), pregnant women or people undergoing local anaesthesia, but it is recognised that users of the quality standard may wish to consider how the quality statement on normothermia may apply to these groups.
Equality and diversity considerations
This quality statement may not apply to all pregnant women, because they are not covered by NICE clinical guideline 65. Because of the physiological changes in pregnancy, the needs of pregnant women may need to be considered separately from non-pregnant women for some types or aspects of surgery. Similarly, NICE clinical guideline 65 does not cover children (aged less than 18 years). Users of the quality standard will need to apply clinical judgement in considering how the quality statement on patient temperature applies to these groups.

Intraoperative staff practices

This quality statement is taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People having surgery are cared for by an operating team that minimises the transfer of microorganisms during the procedure by following best practice in hand hygiene and theatre wear, and by not moving in and out of the operating area unnecessarily.

Rationale

In order to reduce the risk of surgical site infection, the risk of microbial contamination of the surgical site from the theatre environment needs to be minimised. Staff practices aimed at achieving this are known collectively as theatre discipline. In order to maintain theatre discipline, a number of practices should be followed that include using appropriate theatre wear and minimising movement of people in and out of the operating area. Effective hand decontamination will also reduce the risk of transferring microorganisms during the procedure, and this is most likely to be achieved if hand jewellery, artificial nails and nail polish are removed before decontamination takes place.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that operating teams remove any hand jewellery, artificial nails and nail polish before starting surgical hand decontamination.
Data source: Local data collection.
b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that operating teams follow practices for surgical hand decontamination in accordance with Surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74) recommendations 1.3.1 and 1.3.2.
Data source: Local data collection.
c) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that staff wear specific non-sterile theatre wear in all areas where operations are undertaken.
Data source: Local data collection.
d) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that operating teams minimise any staff movements in and out of the operating area.
Data source: Local data collection.
e) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that spot checks are carried out in relation to structure measures a), b), c) and d).
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that policies and procedures are in place and implemented to ensure that operating teams minimise the transfer of microorganisms during surgery by following best practice in hand hygiene and theatre wear, and by not moving in and out of the operating area unnecessarily.
Operating teams follow practices that minimise the transfer of microorganisms during surgery by following best practice in hand hygiene and theatre wear, and by not moving in and out of the operating area unnecessarily.
Commissioners commission services from service providers that have policies and procedures to ensure that operating teams follow practices that minimise the transfer of microorganisms during surgery by following best practice in hand hygiene and theatre wear, and by not moving in and out of the operating area unnecessarily.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People having an operation are cared for by an operating team that minimises the chances that microorganisms will be transferred during the operation by following best practice when cleaning their hands and by wearing the correct type of clothing, and by not moving in and out of the operating area unnecessarily.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Best practice in hand hygiene
Best practice in hand hygiene includes the following:
  • The operating team should remove hand jewellery, artificial nails and nail polish before operations.
  • The operating team should wash their hands prior to the first operation on the list using an aqueous antiseptic surgical solution, with a single-use brush or pick for the nails, and ensure that hands and nails are visibly clean.
  • Before subsequent operations, hands should be washed using either an alcohol hand rub or an antiseptic surgical solution. If hands are soiled then they should be washed again with an antiseptic surgical solution. [NICE clinical guideline 74 recommendations 1.2.9, 1.2.10, 1.3.1 and 1.3.2.]
Best practice in theatre wear
Best practice in theatre wear includes the following:
  • Staff should wear specific non-sterile theatre wear (scrub suits, masks, hats and overshoes) in all areas where operations are undertaken.
  • Staff wearing non-sterile theatre wear should keep their movements in and out of the operating area to a minimum [NICE clinical guideline 74 recommendations 1.2.5 and 1.2.6].

Information and advice on wound care

This quality statement is taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People having surgery and their carers receive information and advice on wound and dressing care, including how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned.

Rationale

Appropriate wound and dressing care promotes healing and reduces the risk of infection. Providing information and advice on this to people having surgery and their carers will reduce the risk of them doing something to the wound or dressing that might contaminate the site with microorganisms unnecessarily. If a person develops a surgical site infection, early treatment is essential to prevent the infection getting worse. Providing information on how to recognise problems with a wound and who to contact if they are concerned should lead to prompt treatment for those who need it and reduce infection-related morbidity.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people having surgery and their carers receive information and advice on wound and dressing care, including how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
Proportion of surgical procedures for which the person having surgery and their carers receive information and advice on wound and dressing care, including how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned.
Numerator – the number in the denominator for which the person having surgery and their carers receive information and advice on wound and dressing care, including how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned.
Denominator – the number of surgical procedures.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that protocols are in place to provide people having surgery and their carers with information and advice on wound and dressing care, including how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned.
Healthcare professionals provide people having surgery and their carers with information and advice on wound and dressing care, including how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned.
Commissioners commission services from service providers that can demonstrate that they have protocols to provide people having surgery and their carers with information and advice on wound and dressing care, including how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People having an operation and their carers are given information and advice about how to look after the wound when they go home, how to recognise problems with the wound and who to contact if they are concerned about it.

Source guidance

  • Surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74), recommendations 1.1.2 and 1.1.3.

Equality and diversity considerations

Information should be both age-appropriate and culturally appropriate. It should also be accessible to people with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English. People having surgery and their carers or parents should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed.

Treatment of surgical site infection

This quality statement is taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People with a surgical site infection are offered treatment with an antibiotic that covers the likely causative organisms and is selected based on local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests.

Rationale

People who develop an infection need to receive the treatment that is most likely to be effective in order to minimise associated morbidity. It is also important that they are not given more treatment than they need, because antibiotic therapy carries risks of adverse reactions, the development of resistant bacteria and Clostridium difficile-associated disease. Taking into account local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests will help to ensure that people receive the most appropriate treatment.

Quality measures

Structure
Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people with a surgical site infection are offered treatment with an antibiotic that covers the likely causative organisms and is selected based on local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests.
Data source: Local data collection.
Process
Proportion of surgical site infections for which the person with the infection receives treatment with an antibiotic that covers the likely causative organisms and is selected based on local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests.
Numerator – the number in the denominator for which the person with the infection receives treatment with an antibiotic that covers the likely causative organisms and is selected based on local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests.
Denominator – the number of surgical site infections.
Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems are in place (including development of, or access to, a local antibiotic formulary) to offer people with a surgical site infection treatment with an antibiotic that covers the likely causative organisms and is selected based on local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests.
Healthcare professionals offer people with a surgical site infection treatment with an antibiotic that covers the likely causative organisms and is selected in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary and based on local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests.
Commissioners ensure development of, or access to, a local antibiotic formulary and that they commission services from service providers that can demonstrate that systems are in place to offer people with a surgical site infection treatment with an antibiotic that covers the likely causative organisms and is selected based on local resistance patterns and the results of microbiological tests.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People with a surgical site infection are given an antibiotic that has been chosen because it is effective for the microorganisms most likely to have caused the infection. The healthcare team should look at the results of tests carried out on samples from the wound and they should also consider which antibiotics are most likely to work in the area local to the hospital, because the effectiveness of antibiotics can vary from place to place.

Source guidance

  • Surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74), recommendation 1.4.9.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Surgical site infection
The presence of a surgical site infection can be determined using the Surgical Site Infection Surveillance Service (SSISS) definitions in Protocol for the surveillance of surgical site infection: surgical site infection surveillance service, which are modified from those used by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Other measures that are also based on clinical signs and symptoms are available. The term does not include colonisation.
Antibiotics
Antibiotics should be prescribed in accordance with the local antibiotic formulary. An antibiotic formulary is a local policy document produced by a multi-professional team, usually in a hospital trust or commissioning group, combining best evidence and clinical judgement [adapted from NICE clinical guideline 74 – full guideline]. See also the Department of Health’s UK five year antimicrobial resistance strategy 2013 to 2018 and Antimicrobial stewardship ‘Start smart – then focus’: guidance for antimicrobial stewardship in hospitals (England) published by the Department of Health Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI).

Surveillance

This quality statement is taken from the surgical site infection quality standard. The quality standard defines clinical best practice for surgical site infection and should be read in full.

Quality statement

People having surgery are cared for by healthcare providers that monitor surgical site infection rates (including post-discharge infections) and provide feedback to relevant staff and stakeholders for continuous improvement through adjustment of clinical practice.

Rationale

Surveillance data on surgical site infection rates can inform and influence steps taken to minimise the risk of infection, as well helping to clearly communicate the risks to patients. Some infections take time to develop and may not become apparent until after the patient has been discharged from hospital. Therefore surveillance for infections in hospitalised patients only is likely to underestimate the true infection rate – a problem exacerbated by the increasing trend towards shorter postoperative hospital stays and day surgery. Therefore, systems that identify surgical site infection after patients leave hospital enhance the value of surveillance and the provider's ability to deliver interventions to reduce the risk of infections based on their own results, leading to continuous quality improvement.

Quality measures

Structure
a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure the existence of surveillance systems that capture inpatient and post-discharge surgical site infections.
Data source: Local data collection. Also contained within Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections (NICE public health guidance 36): quality improvement statement 3, evidence of achievement 6.
b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure surveillance data on surgical site infection rates (including post-discharge infections) are fed back to relevant staff and stakeholders.
Data source: Local data collection. Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections (NICE public health guidance 36): quality improvement statement 3, evidence of achievement 13.
c) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that surveillance data on surgical site infection rates (including post-discharge infections) are used for continuous improvement through adjustment of clinical practice.
Data source: Local data collection.
Outcome
Readmissions for surgical site infection.
Data source: Local data collection. Data collected as part of the Surgical Site Infection Surveillance Service (SSISS) are published by Public Health England in annual reports available through their website. This includes readmissions data from individual hospitals, collected as part of the Department of Health’s mandatory surveillance scheme (orthopaedic surgery).

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals, public health practitioners and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems are in place to monitor surgical site infection rates (including post-discharge infections) and provide feedback to their clinical and non-clinical staff and stakeholders for continuous improvement through adjustment of clinical practice.
Healthcare professionals and public health practitioners act on information provided to them on surgical site infection rates (including post-discharge infections) to adjust clinical practice for continuous improvement.
Commissioners commission services from service providers that can demonstrate that they monitor surgical site infection rates (including post-discharge infections) and provide feedback to relevant staff and stakeholders for continuous improvement through adjustment of clinical practice.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People having an operation are cared for by healthcare services that monitor surgical site infection rates, share this information with patients and relevant staff, and use it to help improve services and minimise future infection rates.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Surgical site infection
The presence of a surgical site infection can be determined using the Surgical Site Infection Surveillance Service (SSISS) definitions: Protocol for the surveillance of surgical site infection: surgical site infection surveillance service, which are modified from those used by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Other measures that are also based on clinical signs and symptoms are available. The term does not include colonisation.
Surgical site infection rates (including post-discharge)
Many surgical site infections present after discharge from hospital. Comparison of post-discharge surveillance data is difficult because it depends on the methods used to detect infections. The method of surveillance should be clear so that comparisons can be made. A Protocol for the surveillance of surgical site infection: surgical site infection surveillance service is available from Public Health England. The Department of Health UK five year antimicrobial resistance strategy highlights access to and use of surveillance data in the context of bacterial resistance.
Staff and stakeholders
Staff may include the board and individual clinical units in a hospital setting. Stakeholders include patients, GPs, commissioners and other local health and social care organisations [adapted from NICE public health guidance 36: quality improvement statement 3].

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Implementation

These resources include support for commissioners to plan for costs and savings of guidance implementation and meeting quality standards where they apply.
These resources will help to inform discussions with providers about the development of services and may include measurement and action planning tools.
These resources provide help with planning ahead for NICE guidance, understanding where you are now, and conducting improvement initiatives.
NICE produces resources for individual practitioners, teams and those with a role in education to help improve and assess users' knowledge of relevant NICE guidance and its application in practice.

Information for the public

NICE produces information for the public that summarises, in plain English, the recommendations that NICE makes to healthcare and other professionals.
NICE has written information for the public explaining its guidance on each of the following topics.

Pathway information

Professional responsibilities

The recommendations in this pathway represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take these recommendations fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. Applying the recommendations in this pathway is at the discretion of health and care professionals and their individual patients or service users and does not override the responsibility of health and care professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and/or their carer or guardian.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the recommendations to be applied (and to provide funding required for technology appraisal guidance) when individual health and care professionals and their patients or service users wish to use them. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this pathway should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

Patient-centred care

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in your care.
Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

Supporting information

Glossary

an aseptic technique ensures that only uncontaminated equipment and fluids come into contact with susceptible body sites, which should be used during any clinical procedure that bypasses the body's natural defences; using the principles of asepsis minimises the spread of organisms from one person to another
not wearing false nails or nail polish; not wearing a wrist-watch or stoned rings; wearing short-sleeved garments or being able to roll or push up sleeves
surgery involving an incision in which no inflammation is encountered, without a break in sterile technique, and during which the respiratory tract, alimentary or genitourinary tracts are not entered
surgery involving an incision through which the respiratory, alimentary, or genitourinary tract is entered under controlled conditions but with no contamination encountered
surgery involving an incision in which there is a major break in sterile technique or gross spillage from the gastrointestinal tract, or an incision in which acute, non-purulent inflammation is encountered; open traumatic wounds that are more than 12–24 hours old also fall into this category
catheter-related bloodstream infection
the excision or wide removal of all dead (necrotic) and damaged tissue, that may develop in a surgical wound
'hands on' or face-to-face contact with patients, in other words any physical aspect of the healthcare of a patient, including treatments, self-care and administration of medication
an incision undertaken during an operation in which the viscera are perforated or when acute inflammation with pus is encountered (for example, emergency surgery for faecal peritonitis), and for traumatic wounds where treatment is delayed, there is faecal contamination, or devitalised tissue is present
the use of handrub or handwashing to reduce the number of bacteria on the hands; in this pathway, this term is interchangeable with 'hand hygiene'
a preparation applied to the hands to reduce the number of viable microorganisms; this guidance refers to handrubs compliant with British standards (BS EN1500; standard for efficacy of hygienic handrubs using a reference of 60% isopropyl alcohol)
healthcare-associated infections
occurs when a wound has been sutured after an operation and heals to leave a minimal, cosmetically acceptable scar
occurs when a wound is deliberately left open at the end of an operation because of excessive bacterial contamination, particularly by anaerobes or when there is a risk of devitalised tissue, which leads to infection and delayed healing; the wound may be sutured within a few days (delayed primary closure), or much later when the wound is clean and granulating (secondary closure), or left to complete healing naturally without the intervention of suturing.
people employed by the health service, social services, a local authority or an agency to provide care for a sick, disabled or elderly person
any waste produced by, and as a consequence of, healthcare activities
modern (post-1980) dressing materials, designed to promote the wound healing process through the creation and maintenance of a local, warm, moist environment underneath the chosen dressing, when left in place for a period indicated through a continuous assessment process
blood flow through tissues or organs; if not optimal, it can increase the risk of infectious complications (particularly surgical site infections)
equipment that is intended to be worn or held by a person to protect them from risks to their health and safety while at work; examples include gloves, aprons, and eye and face protection

Paths in this pathway

Pathway created: March 2012 Last updated: March 2016

© NICE 2016

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