HIQA publishes a COVID-19 assurance framework to support social care services improve infection prevention and control

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today announced details of an assurance framework to support social care services in ensuring effective infection prevention and control practices are in place.

This framework was developed using the National Standards for Infection Prevention and Control in Community Services (2018). The framework focuses on the national standards, providing a tool to enable providers tailor their approach to meeting national standards effectively in their centre. It does this by focusing on the critical aspects of care to ensure the efficacy of:

  •  infection prevention and control governance and management arrangements
  • preparedness and contingency plans
  • staffing arrangements
  • the knowledge and confidence of staff in care services in implementing infection prevention and control measures
  • and audit and review arrangements.

Mary Dunnion, HIQA’s Chief Inspector of Social Services and Director of Regulation, said: “By giving providers and their management teams the tools necessary to identify good practice and areas of improvement, they can more easily assess their own levels of compliance with national standards and preparedness for infection outbreaks.

“We developed this in the context of the ongoing public health emergency but this is a living document, with lessons which will have long-term positive implications for infection prevention and control in centres.

”Along with the framework, we have developed a self-assessment tool and quality improvement template for providers to use in conjunction with the framework.”

The ongoing use of this self-assessment tool will support registered providers to identify areas of good practice and any gaps or deficits in their infection prevention and control measures.

The quality improvement template will enable registered providers to set out and update their action plans on how they will address any gaps or deficits in their centre.

The guidance, self-assessment tool, and quality improvement template are available at www.hiqa.ie. 

Further information:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
085 805 5202, mwhelan@hiqa.ie 

Notes to Editor:

  • This framework builds on the already published contingency planning assessment and assurance programmes. 
  • The framework comprises of a guidance, self-assessment tool and quality improvement template.
    • Inspectors may ask to review the providers completed self-assessment during routine or risk inspections.
  • The Health Act 2007 Regulation requires all registered providers to ensure that procedures, consistent with the standards for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections published by the Authority are implemented by staff. 
    • This framework will assist providers to comply with this regulation.