COVID-19: Guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings
Released on - 19/03/2020
As the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to present significant challenges for healthcare providers both in the independent sector and the NHS. Healthcare professionals who are involved in receiving patients confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the perioperative setting, require the best evidence-based guidance on infection prevention control. The following published guidance seeks to ensure a consistent and resilient UK approach, as differences in operational details and organisational responsibilities may apply across the four UK countries.
The following official guidance issued jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and Public Health England (PHE) provides information to assist with standard infection control precautions (SICPs) and infection prevention in the perioperative setting 2020.
In addition to SICPs, transmission-based precautions (TBP’s) for pandemic COVID-19, droplet precautions should be used for patients known or suspected of being infected with COVID-19 in all healthcare settings.
The following key guidance for theatres:
1. Theatres must be informed in advance of a patient transfer of a confirmed or possible COVID-19 positive case.
2. The patient should be transported directly to the operating theatre and should wear a surgical mask if it can be tolerated.
The patient should be anaesthetised and recovered in the theatre. Staff should wear protective clothing but only those at risk of exposure from aerosol generating procedures, i.e. during intubation need to wear FFP3 respirators and full gowns. Information regarding considerations about the use of respiratory/anaesthetic equipment can be found in the critical care section in the guidance pg35.
3. Instruments and devices should be decontaminated in the normal manner in accordance with manufacturers’ advice.
5. Both laryngoscope handle and blade should either be single use or reprocessed in the Sterile Supply Department. Video laryngoscope blades should be single use and scope/handle decontaminated as per manufacture instruction.
The theatre should be cleaned as per local policy for infected cases, paying attention to hand contact points on the anaesthetic machine.
Theatres should not be used by staff or patients for 20 minutes after the patient leaves if conventionally ventilated, or five minutes if ultraclean ventilation is used, possible or confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be placed at the end of the list where feasible.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance
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