Updated guidelines on prevention and control of infection in healthcare

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released the latest version of the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019). These evidence-based guidelines are used as a reference document in the development of infection control and prevention policy and procedures across all types of healthcare facilities and naturally inform the development of the ADA’s Guidelines for Infection Control.

There are a number of changes to the NHMRC Guidelines which will be reflected in version 4 of the ADA Guidelines for Infection Control due to be released in the coming months. In summary, the changes to impact on dental practices include updated guidance on the use of PPE and hand hygiene, the role of patients in risk management, updated information and evidence on the management of multiresistant organisms and the efficacy (or not) of emerging disinfection methods such as hydrogen peroxide vapour, ultra-violet light and antimicrobial surfaces.

The NHMRC Guidelines recommend the use of TGA-listed hospital-grade disinfectants with specific claims for the disinfection of hard surfaces in healthcare facilities. The need for all healthcare workers to be appropriately vaccinated is also reinforced.

The Dental Board of Australia expects all registered dental practitioners to comply with and have access to a copy of the NHMRC Guidelines as well as the ADA Guidelines and the relevant standards AS/NZ 4815 or AS/NZ 4187.

If you are unsure about these requirements, go to Infection Control or contact the ADA Infection Control Committee for advice through [email protected] or speak to your local branch who will also be able to provide advice and support.

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