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Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) Policies Date of issue: April 2009 Date of re-issue: April 2011 1) What are Standard Infection Control Precautions? Standard Infection Control Precautions are designed to prevent cross transmission from recognised and unrecognised sources of infection. These sources of (potential) infection include blood and other body fluids secretions or excretions (excluding sweat), non-intact skin or mucous membranes and any equipment or items in the care environment which are likely to become contaminated. 2) Why are Standard Infection Control Precautions necessary? They are necessary to ensure the safety of patients/clients, health/social care workers and those who visit the care environment. 3) When should Standard Infection Control Precautions be applied? Standard Infection Control Precautions should be applied at all times within a health and social care setting or where health and social care is being provided and must underpin all health and social care activities. The application of SICPs during care delivery is determined by: • the level of interaction between the health/social care worker and the patient/client; • the anticipated level of exposure to blood or other body fluids. 4) How do the elements of Standard Infection Control Precautions relate to Transmission Based Precautions? The “ten SICP elements” must underpin all health and social care activities. However, SICPs cannot prevent infection transmission from all infectious agents and consequently when specific infectious agents are suspected or known (e.g. Clostridium difficile) additional Transmission Based Precautions (TBPs) are required (i.e. droplet, contact and/or airborne precautions). 5) Who should use Standard Infection Control Precautions policies? The policies should be used by all health and social care workers during direct and indirect patient/client care procedures, and for all procedures required to ensure the safe maintenance of the care environment. The policies can be used to: • ensure the minimum set of infection control policies are in place; • ensure the content in local policies is current and comprehensive; • inform the basis of local policy development or used in their entirety. 6) What are the objectives of these policies? It is intended that these policies will: • provide a common, consistent approach to infection prevention and control; • prevent duplication of effort and therefore reduce time spent on policy development. They intend to provide evidence based guidance where possible. (A standardised scientific methodology has been applied to literature reviewing and critiquing of the evidence base to inform the policies). The policies are designed to be used in conjunction with other initiatives and activities already underway in many local and national settings. Those using them should take account of the other pieces of work they are directed to within the literature reviews and policies, and also take account of local situations.
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