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6.19 Prevention and control of communicable diseases

Last Modified: 11-Dec-2019 Review Date: 18-Jan-2019

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


To inform residential care workers about strategies to identify, assess and control communicable and infectious diseases to minimise the risk of spread of infections.

Practice Requirements
  • Due to the nature of the work staff may become exposed to a range of communicable diseases.
  • Communicable diseases have the potential to spread readily and quickly in residential care home settings, as people live in close proximity, there are high levels of contact with workers and children, facilities may be shared, and children may have trauma histories that impact on hygiene.
  • The types of communicable diseases to which staff may be exposed can include:

    Blood-borne Diseases such as *Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) ,Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and A.

    Respiratory Diseases such as colds, Influenza, Bronchitis, Tuberculosis, Croup, Whooping Cough

    Skin, Viral and Bacterial Diseases such as Measles/Shingles, Cold Sores/Herpes zoster, Scabies, Ringworm, Head lice, Chickenpox, , Thrush, Warts, Conjunctivitis

Gastrointestinal Diseases such as Gastroenteritis, Giardiasis, Salmonella, Worms, Rotavirus, Campylobacter 

  • Successful infection prevention and control in residential care homes involves implementing work practices that prevent the transmission of infectious agents and managing infections when they occur, this is achieved through a two tiered approach:

    Universal precautions: routinely applying basic infection prevention and control practices eg hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment when cleaning bodily fluids, cleaning and disinfection of reusable equipment and the environment.

    Transmission based precautions: controlling infection by interrupting the mode of transmission, where standard precautions may not be sufficient. This includes adoption of contact, droplet and airborne transmission-based precautions eg teaching children respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
Process Maps


Staff and children should follow the following prevention and control practices:


  • Hand washing with soap and water for at least 15 seconds before preparing or eating food, after using the toilet, after blowing nose with a tissue and after any contamination of the hands with body fluids such as blood and vomit.
  • Effective cleaning with detergent and water, followed by rinsing and drying to remove germs from environmental surfaces.
  • Protection of damaged skin by covering with a waterproof dressing or by gloves.
  • Use of appropriate cleaning tools and use of protective personal equipment (gloves) should be easily accessible to clean up spills immediately, to prevent aerosol spread of viruses and bacteria.
  • If a child has a suspected communicable disease they should be examined by a medical professional and appropriate treatment followed.
  • All house staff, the Assistant Director and the Case Manager should be notified by email about a highly infectious communicable disease and the following information:
      • Method of transmission
      • Incubation period
      • Infectious period
      • Exclusion period
      • Treatment plan.
  • The child who has a diagnosed highly infectious communicable disease will need to be excluded from activities outside of the house for the recommended exclusion period.
  • If school or other activities require a medical clearance before returning, the child will need to reviewed by a medical professional.
  • If a staff member has a confirmed communicable disease they will be required to advise the house manager of the requirement to be absent from work.

Bio Hazard (Sharps) Container

Bio Hazards containers are not part of day to day household item within the homes.  Should the use of a biohazard container be necessary on a specific purpose basis, this can occur following:

  • discussion with and the endorsement of senior management
  • ensuring staff are appropriately trained in their use, as per bio hazard/infectious disease control procedures. (Please refer to in attached tools)


Related Resources

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