Background: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a significant but preventable threat to the quality and safety of health care. Infection prevention and control programs are central to the systematic prevention and control of HAIs and thus providing safe and quality services. Although essential components of quality healthcare, there is little published research that has examined what programs exist and how they are documented, particularly in Australia. The pilot study examined the documentation, composition and organisation of infection control programs in two Australian health jurisdictions. Methods: Using a crossesectional, observational, and mixed-methods design, the pilot study explored the extent to which infection control programs were systematically and formally documented, the components of the associated programs, and the governance arrangements under which they operate in health jurisdictions from two Australian states. The survey questions elucidate information on the documentation, composition and organisation of the infection control policy and procedural documentation in place to guide clinical practice. Survey participants responded via a 29eelement electronic survey that included the submission of accompanying documentation. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed on the survey data and document and policy analytic methods were applied to the associated documentation. Results: Infection control programs and plans are formally organised and documented in the participating jurisdiction, with strong alignment to prevailing jurisdictional requirements while also meeting relevant national standards. The programs and plans in settings with legislative obligations were most integrated in their formal organisation and documentation. The findings of this study and the methodology used therein provide information on a subset of national infection control programs, and provide a basis for exploration of the utility of infection control management plans across all Australian health jurisdictions. Conclusion: More research is need to examine programs and plans in other jurisdictions, and also to focus in-detail on the structure and associated processes of programs and plans in action, including evaluative outcomes of performance therein.
Infection, Disease & Health / Vol. 21, No. 2, pp.51-61