Infection prevention and control


Infection prevention and control measures are used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from person to person. The measures recommended to prevent the spread of the virus are a mix of standard, contact and droplet precautions recommended to be used by all health workers.   

With each of the recommendations below there are links to YouTube videos/posters that staff might find helpful to quickly check practice techniques.

Hand hygiene

Using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser e.g. after going to the toilet, coughing, blowing the nose and before eating. Additional hand hygiene is required when caring for a resident with a respiratory infection. 

Five moments of hand Hygiene  

The 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene listed below are designed to minimise the risk of transmission of microorganisms between healthcare worker, the client, and the environment.  

You must wash your hands or use hand sanitiser:

  • before touching a patient, 
  • before a procedures e.g. wound dressing 
  • after a procedure or body fluid exposure risk e.g. testing BGL 
  • after touching a patient. 
  • after touching patient surroundings. 

Contact and droplet spread of infection 

Droplet spread 

COVID-19 spreads through direct contact with droplets from an infected person who speaks, sneezes or coughs without covering their mouth. 

The virus can be transmitted between people if they are within 1 metre of a person who has COVID-19 demonstrating the importance of social distancing. Keeping 1.5m distance between yourself and the client reduces the risk of infection. 

Contact spread

Surfaces become contaminated by the droplets from an infected person falling onto a surface or by being touched by an infected person with unwashed/unsanitised hands.

Touching that contaminated surface and then touching the face, mouth, nose or eyes can introduce the virus into the body. Sharing items like cutlery, cups, straws, water bottles or cosmetics are some examples of transmission routes.

Choosing the correct PPE

This decision-making chart to help workplaces choose the correct PPE for different clinical situations. Standardising the use of PPE will ensure that health care workers are protected from infection without depleting PPE stores unnecessarily.

PPE Decision-making chart for community service providers

PPE information to healthcare workers, clinical staff (for example, doctors, AHW’s, nurses) and non-clinical staff who enter the patient’s room or cubicle, or transfer patients within the hospital (for example, cleaners, patient services assistants or meal services staff).

PPE required for assessment and collection document of specimens from people with suspected COVID-19 or for clinical examination of a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Appropriate use of PPE

When caring for a client with a respiratory infection it is essential to be able to apply and remove PPE without contaminating your uniform or yourself.

Watch these demonstrations of the sequencing of how to apply (donning) and removing (doffing) the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) for protection against COVID-19.   

The mask used in the previous video link was a P2 (duckbill) respirator mask, which is different from the recommended surgical mask. Here is the application and removal of a surgical mask 

Note: The mask needs to be applied and removed in the order demonstrated in previous videos

Useful posters of fitting and removing PPE can be found here.

There may be occasions if your client is very unwell, is coughing and sneezing or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 that you will need to apply a thicker more protective mask. This mask is called a P2/N95 respirator mask. In order to wear this mask safely and effectively the mask must be fitted to the worker’s face correctly. The worker must complete a 'fit check' after donning the P2/N95 mask. Watch a demonstration of the correct application and fitting of the P2 mask. and the correct usage of n95 respirators in clinical settings. 

Instruction poster for fitting a P2 respirator mask

Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette

Anyone (staff, clients and family members) with signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection, regardless of the cause, should follow or be instructed to follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette as follows: 

  • Cover the nose/mouth with disposable single-use tissues when coughing, sneezing, wiping and blowing noses 
  • Use tissues to contain respiratory secretions 
  • Dispose of tissues in the nearest waste receptacle or bin after use 
  • If no tissues are available, cough or sneeze into the inner elbow rather than the hand 
  • Practice hand hygiene after contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials 
  • Keep contaminated hands away from mouth, eyes and nose.

Routine environmental cleaning 

Contact transmission of COVID-19 can occur through direct contact with contaminated equipment, or indirectly, for example, via hands that are in contact with contaminated equipment or the environment. 

General surfaces can be divided into two groups:

  • those with minimal hand contact (e.g. floors and ceilings)
  • those with frequent skin contact (frequently touched or high risk surfaces). 

 Frequently touched surfaces  such as door handles, keyboards, tabletops, light switches 

  • Clean frequently touched surfaces with detergent and disinfectant wipe/solution between each episode of patient care (according to normal infection prevention and control practice) 

General surfaces and fittings (Non-client areas)

  • Perform routine cleaning at least daily or when visibly dirty with detergent/disinfectant solution/wipes.  

Environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for health and residential care facilities guidelines

Cleaning of transport vehicles

  • This fact sheet provides recommendations for the cleaning and management of personalised transport vehicles in order to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when transporting patients in civilian small buses and cars.