Infection prevention and control and healthcare-associated infections

The most important task within the area of infection control is preventing infections from spreading and healthcare-associated infections from emerging. As the problem of resistance increases, good infection control becomes a means of preventing antibiotic resistance from spreading.

In accordance with Swedish law, our healthcare must be of good quality and have a good standard of hygiene. In order to ensure that healthcare providers can offer all patients treatment with good hygiene standards, there must be access to expertise in infection control which is tied to a Infection Control Unit consisting of Infection Control Practitioners.

At present, there are Infection Control Practitioners on regional level who, by providing the health and social care services with expert knowledge, are supporting in developing practices that will prevent healthcare-associated infections from emerging and spreading.

Efforts to improve patient safety

Since the early 2000's, Sweden has worked actively to improve patient safety. The efforts to prevent healthcare-associated infections are a prioritised area of patient safety. National surveys that have been conducted since 2008 show that just below 10 per cent of all hospitalised patients contract such an infection. The efforts to improve infection control is an important and decisive factor in ensuring that fewer patients contract a healthcare-associated infection.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden acts to limit healthcare-associated infections from emerging and spreading within the health and social care services by:

  • surveillance of healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • supporting the implementation of knowledge as part of the preventative efforts
  • collaboration with stakeholders within Infection Prevention and Control
  • acting to ensure that it is considered unacceptable for infections to spread within the health and social care services.

The Agency produces a knowledge base and participates in the development of national recommendations and guidelines. The work also includes participating in Nordic and European networks in this field.