Standard Precautions; Doing the right thing for everyone

Mrs Helen Newman1, Ms Suzanne Alexander1, Mrs  Joanna  Harris1

1Infection Management and Control Service, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Australia


In infection prevention and control, the term Standard Precautions (SPs) is used to describe the practices required in all care environments to minimise pathogen transmission. SPs have evolved since first introduced in the 1980s to protect staff from blood borne virus exposure to now protect patients and staff from direct or indirect transmission risk of all pathogens.

In addition to SP, Contact Precautions (CPs) are widely used in managing patients colonised with multi-resistant organisms (MROs). They require the patient to be separated from others and for staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the patient zone.

This presentation describes the impact of implementing a modified SPs model for the management of patients colonised with MROs in a rehabilitation facility.


A programme to introduce a modified SPs model was implemented. This model constituted achievement of >90% hand hygiene compliance, modified PPE use (aprons for close patient contact, minimal glove use), environmental and equipment cleaning. Then, the need for CPs for all patients with a history of MRO colonisation was replaced with a patient-focussed risk assessment. This included consideration of the clinical setting and patient-factors to inform decision-making regarding patient accommodation and precautions to be implemented.

The impact was evaluated through surveillance of MRO acquisitions.


MRO surveillance identified no increase in nosocomial acquisition since implementation.


MRO transmission in a rehabilitation facility can be controlled through implementation of modified SPs and a risk assessment approach.


Helen qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1981and moved into the field of Infection Prevention and Control in 1993. Helen is an Infection Prevention and Control CNC in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District in NSW. During this time, she has been involved in the development of a local branch of the previous Infection Control Association of NSW. She has contributed to the development of state and district documents including policies and guidelines related to Infection Prevention and Control.

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