Audits – How are they used in Infection Control?

Whats the big deal?

Audits, Audits, Audits – thats all we seem to hear about! Where is your audit? How is this validated? Can you evidence it….. and rightly so!

I wanted to address why they are so important, the benefits and where you should be carrying them out to support your cross infection protocols and measures.

What the CQC thinks

A recent article by the CQC notes that “Audits form part of the quality assurance and risk management system”. I believe audits underpin the system, highlighting where it could fall down and providing strength and evidence when the system is tested. Audits are your proof, your evidence and your early warning system. Think of them as a fire alarm… they tell you when the smoke is detected and give you time to put it out before the house burns down. (Dramatic but makes the point.)

Audits are used to identify best practice and shine light on areas that need attention. Ultimately, all Infection Control audits you undertake seek to improve patient care by reviewing, improving and reviewing again.

The CQC requires you to complete audits in order to demonstrate safe treatment of patients and maintenance of equipment. Audits are the physical evidence of your good governance responsibilities and should not be avoided.

The Benefits

Undertaking an audit of your infection prevention and control measures is a detailed exercise but one that has several benefits to the practice and staff.

    1. Training – Conducting an audit makes the Auditor really look at the topics, the processes and the legislation. As a training tool, it is multi functional providing the syllabus, directing the user to find more information where appropriate and ensuring they gain a level of understanding on each area.

STAFF TRAINING TIP – Split your IPS audit between the nurses during staff training,collect the highlights and lowlights and display them in your staff room then brain storm some solutions or adjustments.

  1. Innovation-Getting different staff members to “do” a CQC Infection Control Visit will provide a variety of different perspectives and opinions. Innovation comes from not knowing, or forgetting and re learning things – use your teams to generate some amazing ideas and innovative ways to stay compliant.
  2. Recognition – Audits are there to praise, to bring to light the fantastic work that is being done every day for every patient. It is important to recognise the contributions of  your team through highlighting areas of the audit that were fantastic.
  3. Improvement – Audits allow you to see where you need to improve and by how much. They are a tool to be used to focus your attention onto the areas most in need and provide you with a structured method of detailing the requirements. TIP – Remember Audits are nothing without Action Plans – Create them, use them, review them and make CQC happy!

Where and When?

The standard Audit to use for your Infection Control is the IPS (Infection Prevention Society) audit tool. This fantastic tool walks users through the practice and provides them with a score and action plan when completed (if using the downloadable system).

CQC expect to see this being done every six months in full and action plans completed and reviewed.

practices should audit their decontamination processes every six months (as a minimum) , with an appropriate review depending on audit outcomes

The IPS audit breaks it down into standards or areas that need to be covered, if you are designing your own audit, these headings would be a good place to start.

  1. Prevention of blood borne virus exposure
  2. Decontamination
  3. Environmental Design and cleaning
  4. Hand Hygiene
  5. Management of dental devices
  6. PPE
  7. Waste Control.

So if you haven’t audited in some time, get the IPS tool and engage your team in auditing your practice. Find the   positives and areas for development, make an action plan and implement. When the CQC rolls in, you’ll be ready!


Originally posted 2016-09-16 13:27:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Laura Edgar

About Laura Edgar

Managing Director of Aura Infection Control Ltd, qualified in Dental Decontamination and passionate about sharing knowledge and education. Qualified Adult training tutor and experienced in Business Management and Strategy development.