Surveillance of HAI in ICU Protocol

Publication Date: 25 July 2019

The Scottish Surveillance of Healthcare Associated Infection Programme (SSHAIP) team at HPS and the Scottish Intensive Care Audit Group (SICSAG) work collaboratively to lead a national surveillance programme for surveillance of healthcare associated infection (HAI) in Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

The SICSAG quality indicators for critical care mandate that all ICUs must have an ICU surveillance system in place and the HAI and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) policy, set out in 'Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Policy Requirements' DL(2015) 19, states that ICUs in all NHS Boards should undertake HAI surveillance. The national surveillance programme supports NHS boards to comply with these requirements.

The Scottish National Point Prevalence Survey of Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Prescribing found that the prevalence of HAI in intensive care was significantly higher than in general wards. The ICU patient population are critically ill, often with underlying health issues and are subject to invasive medical procedures which increase their risk of acquiring an HAI. It has been well demonstrated that some HAI, for example central venous catheter (CVC) related bloodstream infections (BSI) can be reduced to minimal levels if best practice guidelines are in place and adhered to.

The data are collected through the SICSAG WardWatcher audit system. Case definitions, data definitions and data required are those specified by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) protocol for surveillance of healthcare-associated infections in intensive care units.​​

The SIGSAG WardWatcher system user guide can be accessed via the SICSAG website.

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Health Protection Scotland
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