Why do we do infection control audits?
The process of using and undertaking regular meaningful infection control audits can ensure care recipient safety and improve the quality of care they receive. Audits are used by the ACQSC (in Australia) and the Ministry of Health (in New Zealand) for aged care facility re-accreditation purposes, but infection control audits are specialised audits that focus entirely on infection control processes.
Infection control audits may be used to:
- Monitor compliance of policy and procedures in the workplace.
- Identify gaps and potential areas for improvement.
- Inform risk management processes and quality improvement plans.
- Provide documented evidence of assessment and actions taken in accreditation reviews.
How often, and who should perform them?
The frequency of an audit may be determined through a risk management approach, and the frequency and duration of the time required to complete the audit should be considered when scheduling audits within a quality plan.
Audits may be conducted by internal staff members or external service providers. It is important that whoever is undertaking the audit has an understanding of what they are auditing and that their findings are acknowledged and considered.
Advantages of an external auditor
There are times when engaging an external service provider may be beneficial to the facility or organisation.
Some advantages of using an external auditor include:
- The auditor is focused solely on the audit being undertaken at the time.
- Provision of a comprehensive report.
- Provides surety of compliance.
- The audit is conducted from a different perspective.
- The auditor is a third party with no relationship or bias to the organisation.
- The auditor may identify other weaknesses that have not been observed or have been unintentionally overlooked.
Remember, the auditor is on your side, looking for potential opportunities to keep you compliant and assist you in improving your processes. Audits should be seen as an opportunity to assess areas for improvement and implement change, not just another chore to be rushed through then ignored.
Bug Control have been providing infection control advice across Australia and New Zealand, including independent infection control audits, for 25 years. If you’re interested in finding out more about how a third-party infection control advisory service can help improve processes in your facility and reduce infections, contact us today.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for resources to support your new IPC Lead, why not sign up to find out more about our IPC Lead coaching program?