Skip to main content

Professional Resources

Prevent the spread of infection

Information on how to reduce the spread of some specific infections within your care home.

It may be impossible to prevent some infections from occurring, but the purpose of infection prevention and control is to reduce the risk of infection spreading. The most effective way to do this is using ‘Standard Precautions’ which should be used by all staff, at all times and with all residents. In some circumstances it may be necessary to take additional precautions, known as ‘Source Isolation’ precautions. Details of Standard Precautions and Source Isolation precautions can be found below:

Hand hygiene

If performed correctly, then hand hygiene remains one of the easiest, most cost effective methods of reducing the spread of infection. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a responsibility to provide staff with the appropriate PPE required, to adequately protect them from exposure to harmful organisms that they may routinely encounter as part of their daily work. PPE can include items such as gloves, disposable plastic aprons, face masks and eye protection.

Safe handling and disposal of sharps

It is imperative that staff receive appropriate training and education in the safe management and handling of used sharps. The Health and Safety Executive have developed guidance on this topic. 

In the event of a sharps injury staff should immediately follow the steps detailed in the links below:

Management of staff exposure to potential and actual blood borne virus infections in care homes   Opens new windowOpens new window

Cleaning and decontamination of the environment

Good infection prevention and control practices are essential to ensure that people who use health and social care services receive clean, safe care. This must be a part of everyday practice and applied consistently by everyone.

Details on how to keep the care home environment clean can be found within the links below:

Cleaning and decontamination of reusable equipment 

The choice of decontamination method depends on the risk of infection to the person coming into contact with equipment or medical device. To determine the appropriate method of decontamination, it is necessary to carry out a risk assessment for every medical device that is used.

See: Decontamination of medical devices and other assistive technology (British healthcare trades association) for details on how to keep reusable medical devices clean.

Management of blood and other body fluid spillages 

Blood and other body fluids may contain a high concentration of harmful organisms, so any spillage should be made safe immediately after the spillage has occurred. For guidance on how to deal with spillages see section 3.3 of Prevention and control of infection in care homes.

Management of waste

It is important that all waste generated is segregated and managed safely and appropriately, and in line with current legislation. For information on responsibilities, segregation and safe management of waste see: 

Health Technical Memorandum 07-01: Safe Management of Healthcare Waste

Management of used/soiled/infected linen

The provision of clean linen is a fundamental requirement of care. Incorrect handling, linen processing and storage of linen can pose an infection hazard. For guidance on the safe handling of used/soiled/infected linen and laundry room requirements, see the four volumes of the Health Technical Memorandum 01-04: Decontamination of linen for health and social care.

Source isolation

Isolation of residents with an infection may be necessary to prevent further cases of infection. For the ‘Source Isolation Precautions’ checklist developed by the Local Authority Community Infection Prevention and Control Service, please see:

Action checklist for source isolation precautions   Opens new window

For information relating to source isolation of residents with specific infections, please see Infections.

Top of page