Infection outbreaks in care homes: prevention and management


People in care homes share the same food, air and living spaces, so
they also share infectious agents, and outbreaks happen easily. Care
home residents are more vulnerable to infectious agents and at increased
risk of developing serious infections, with potentially
life-threatening consequences, so it is imperative (and part of the duty
of care) that staff practice excellent outbreak prevention and
preparedness. Early detection and good management will help to limit the
number of people who get sick and how sick they get. The health and
wellbeing, and possibly the lives, of care home residents depend on the
quality of outbreak PPDM.

Principles of outbreak PPDM in care homes

  • Prevent outbreaks by applying and promoting SICPs every day, for every resident
  • Prepare for outbreaks with an autumn campaign, ensuring everyone
    knows what to look out for and what to do if an outbreak happens
  • Detect outbreaks as early as possible by being vigilant when people display signs and symptoms of infection
  • Manage outbreaks well by involving the HPT/U, following advice on infection control measures and closely monitoring residents
  • Reflect on the outbreak to improve outbreak PPDM in the future

Key: HPT/U = health protection team or unit; PPDM = prevention,
preparedness, detection and management; SICP = standard infection
control precaution.

Infection outbreaks in care homes: prevention and management

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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