Infection Prevention and Control Resources for Healthcare Professionals

Ottawa Public Health maintains this resource page to provide information on infection prevention and control (IPAC) for healthcare professionals working outside the hospital setting.

Ottawa Public Health is not mandated to routinely assess IPAC practices in facilities where regulated health professionals operate. However, Ottawa Public Health is required to investigate IPAC complaints in all healthcare settings.

Responsibilities of healthcare professionals
 Adherence to infection prevention and control (IPAC) standards by healthcare professionals and staff working in clinical offices is required to minimize the risk of infection both to patients/clients and staff. Self-regulated healthcare professions are responsible for ensuring that their members’ practice meets IPAC standards. For example,

All healthcare professions, including those that have not developed their own infection prevention and control standards or guidelines, are expected to follow the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) best practices.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Resources for Healthcare Professionals
 A series of documents detailing infection prevention and control (IPAC) best practices are available from Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC). By following these guidelines, healthcare professionals meet the expected standard of care to protect their patients from contracting iatrogenic infectious diseases.

Guidelines for all healthcare settings: 

Guidelines for healthcare providers working in clinical office settings:

Online training:

Additional guidance documents and many free training opportunities are available on Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) website.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Policy and Procedure Templates for Community Health Care Settings

The following are policies and procedures templates that can be used as guidelines when creating facility:

How to address the top 10 infection prevention and control (IPAC) deficiencies in clinical office practice settings
  1. Follow the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) Infection Prevention and Control best practices.
  2. Use appropriate cleaning agents and a hospital grade, low-level disinfectant suitable for a clinic setting (as opposed to household cleaning products).
  3. Hire a professional cleaning service able to meet the standards for healthcare.
  4. Use safety-engineered devices. (see figure 1 below)
  5. Follow the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) guidance for Cleaning, Disinfection and Sterilization of Medical Equipment and Devices, including ensuring that staff are appropriately trained, completing all reprocessing steps, following the sterilizer’s manufacturer’s instructions for use, monitoring the physical parameters, chemical indicators, and biological indicators for the sterilizer and documenting the results.
  6. Ensure one-way workflow from dirty to clean where reprocessing occurs, with clear separation between the dirty and clean areas.
  7. Post signage for hand hygiene and cough etiquette where patients can see them.
  8. Have an isolation area for patients identified with respiratory infections and other communicable diseases.
  9. Do not reuse single-use items (see figure 2 below). This symbol (the number two in a circle with a bar through it), which is found on medical equipment packaging, indicates that an item cannot be reused. 
  10. Dispose of medical waste appropriately.

Figure 1

needle and syringe

Figure 2

Image result for single use symbol

This list is based on the 10 most common inspection control deficiencies seen by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).

Ottawa Public Health’s role
 OPH is required to investigate matters regarding infection prevention and control and potential health hazards under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7., as amended and in accordance with the following Protocols published under the Ontario Public Health Standards:

As per the Infection Prevention and Control Complaint Protocol, 2018 when Ottawa Public Health receives an IPAC complaint, or if a reportable disease investigation implicates a healthcare facility, Ottawa Public Health initiates an investigation within 24 hours to determine whether an IPAC lapse has occurred.

An Infection prevention and control (IPAC) lapse is a failure to follow IPAC practice standards resulting in a risk of transmission of infectious diseases to clients, attendees or staff through exposure to blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, mucous membranes, non-intact skin, or contaminated equipment and soiled items (Infection Prevention and Control Complaint Protocol, 2018)

If an IPAC lapse has occurred, Ottawa Public Health must ensure that corrective action is taken in a timely fashion to protect the public’s health. Where there is spread or risk of spread of communicable (infectious) diseases, or a health hazard exists, Ottawa Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health has the authority under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) to require, when necessary, actions to be taken to decrease or eliminate the risk to health or the health hazard.

As per the Infection Prevention and Control Disclosure Protocol, 2018, Ottawa Public Health must post a report of the IPAC lapse on its website for 2 years.

When a regulated health professional is involved in an IPAC lapse, Ottawa Public Health is required notify their professional regulatory college.

More information
For more information, you can contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.

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