What are the accreditation standards in India for infection control in hospitals?
For accreditation in India, hospitals are required to follow certain standards for infection control and prevention. NABH accreditation Standards for Hospitals has an entire Chapter- Hospital Infection Control (HIC) enumerating requirements for infection control and prevention. The first thing hospitals must have is a documented Infection Control Program which requires hospitals to measure and act appropriately to prevent/ reduce Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI). No program can be made effective unless supported by adequate facilities and resources and the same hold true for an Infection Control Program. This program aims for patients, visitors and healthcare workers, and includes surveillance activities to capture and monitor data related to infection prevention and control.
Summary of Standards
HIC 1 “ The organisation has a well-designed, comprehensive and coordinated Hospital Infection Prevention and Control (HIC) programme aimed at reducing/ eliminating risks to patients, visitors and providers of care.
HIC 2 “ The organisation implements the policies and procedures laid down in the Infection Control Manual.
HIC 3 “ The organisation performs surveillance activities to capture and monitor infection prevention and control data.
HIC 4 “ The organisation takes actions to prevent and control Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) in patients.
HIC 5 “ The organisation provides adequate and appropriate resources for prevention and control of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI).
HIC 6 “ The organisation identifies and takes appropriate actions to control outbreaks of infections.
HIC 7 “ There are documented policies and procedures for sterilisation activities in the organisation.
HIC 8 “ Bio-medical waste (BMW) is handled in an appropriate and safe manner.
HIC 9 “ The infection control programme is supported by the management and includes training of staff and employee health.
Should hospitals be asked to furnish or display their infection record?
A far as NABH accreditation is concerned, hospitals are required to furnish records of infection rates and associated activities during on-site assessment. Further, NABH has defined eleven mandatory indicators including surgical site infection rate, intra-vascular device infection rate, respiratory infection rate, urinary tract infection rate for which data must be submitted to NABH every quarter.
As a best practice, hospitals should display their infection rates, however there is a risk to the reputation of hospitals. Moreover, in India we do not have any such policy on that and hospitals displaying their rates might be frowned upon.
Further, there is lack of awareness and the patient/public is not educated for that matter in order to comprehend infection rates, worse still compare them. In current circumstances, hospitals should be encouraged to follow best practices to prevent/ control infections to not only provide Safe Care but also make the hospital a Safe Place.