Our infection prevention strategy

Our infection prevention systems are designed to minimise the risk of health care-associated infections.

Standard precautions are designed to protect patients, staff and visitors from health care-associated infections. All staff members are educated about standard precautions, and are required to complete regular educational updates to maintain our standards.

Standard precautions

Standard precautions include:

  • hand hygiene
  • use of appropriate personal protective equipment
  • safe use and disposal of sharps
  • environmental cleaning
  • respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • re-processing of re-usable medical devices and equipment
  • aseptic technique
  • waste management and appropriate handling of linen.

Hand hygiene

Our staff members are required to wash their hands before and after every contact with a patient.

We submit data on our hand hygiene compliance rates 3 times a year to the National Hand Hygiene Initiative conducted through Hand Hygiene Australia. Members of our infection prevention team and our executive are hand hygiene auditors, ensuring staff perform hand hygiene at the required moments.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE refers to a variety of barriers such as gloves, gowns or protective eyewear that are used alone, or in combination, to protect healthcare workers from infectious agents. Our staff members are required to wear PPE whenever there is a risk of transmission of infection – this may include a simple dressing procedure or more complex surgical procedures.

Safe use and disposal of sharps

All St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne staff members are trained to handle sharps safely to avoid injuries caused by needles, scalpels and other sharp instruments.

Environmental cleaning

Our environmental cleaning and disinfection practices help minimise the risk of health care-associated infections amongst patients and health care workers. We clean all shared equipment between patients and conduct routine environmental cleaning audits in all clinical and non-clinical areas to maintain our high standards.

Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette

Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette refers to covering the mouth/nose with the inside of the elbow, or using a tissue, and performing hand hygiene afterwards. This prevents infections being dispersed through the air.

Reprocessing of re-usable instruments and equipment

Any instrument or piece of equipment that is re-used requires reprocessing – this may be cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation. All equipment is reprocessed according to manufacturer’s guidelines and the Therapeutic Goods Administration approval.

Aseptic technique

Aseptic means free from infection or infectious material. This technique is used to prevent the contamination of items that may cause an infection to an individual if they are used during an invasive procedure, such as a dressing, injection of medication or a surgical procedure. We require all clinical staff to complete annual practical and theoretical training in aseptic technique.

Waste management and appropriate handling of linen

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne complies with Victorian legislation and regulations on the management of clinical and related wastes. All staff is trained in the correct procedures for handling of waste and linen.