Prevalence of device use and transmission based precautions in nineteen large Australian acute care public hospitals: Secondary outcomes from a national healthcare associated infection point prevalence survey

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Background: The use of invasive devices increases the risk of healthcare associated infections (HAI). The recent national HAI point prevalence survey secondary outcomes aimed to estimate the prevalence of patients with an indwelling urinary catheter device and vascular access devices; and also identify prevalence of those managed under transmission based precautions (TBP); and those colonised or infected with a multi drug resistant organism (MDRO). Methods: A point prevalence study was conducted in large acute care Australian public hospitals. All data were collected by two trained Research Assistants. Surveillance methodology was based on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control PPS Protocol. Data was also collected on prevalence of TBPs and MDROs. Results: A total of 2767 acute adult inpatients were sampled across 19 hospitals. The prevalence of peripheral vascular, central vascular and urinary catheters devices was 55.2% (95%CI: 53.3%–57.1%), 14.8% (95%CI: 13.5%–16.1%) and 20.7% (95%CI: 19.2%–22.3%) respectively. Of the 2767 patients sampled 285 (10.3%, 95%CI: 9.2%–11.5%) were documented as either being infected or colonised with a MDRO, and 781 (11.8%) patients were being managed under the hospital TBP policy. Conclusion: This is the first national study to describe the prevalence of devices, TBPs and MDROs in Australian healthcare settings. In an era where device use should be constantly reviewed to minimise risk of HAI, and the increasing challenges of managing patients with MDROs, this data can serve as a benchmark for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalInfection, Disease and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Healthcare associated infection
  • Invasive devices
  • Multi-drug resistant organisms
  • Point prevalence surveillance
  • Transmission based precautions

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