Healthcare associated infection is a substantial public health threat in care homes

Publication Date: 10 April 2018

The significant burden of healthcare associated infection (HCAI) is affecting three residents in every long term care facility (LTCF) across Scotland, according to a report from Health Protection Scotland (HPS).

The National Point Prevalence survey (PPS) of HCAI and Antibiotic use in LTCF for the elderly, published today (10 April 2018) included data from 2,147 residents across 52 care homes in Scotland, and indicates the current prevalence of HCAI in care homes is 5.9%.

Antibiotic use remains at the levels when measured seven years ago, with one in every 16 residents taking one or more at any one time, presenting a continuing threat to antibiotic resistance. This burden of HCAI and prescribing, alongside the challenges in infection prevention and control in a LTCF setting, represent a public health threat with implications for resident safety and containing the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Scotland.

Professor Jacqui Reilly, Lead Consultant for Healthcare Associated Infections, Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention Control at Health Protection Scotland, said:

“Healthcare associated infections remain a public health threat across all care settings.

“The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has recently confirmed that these infections represent the highest burden of all communicable diseases monitored in Europe. Health Protection Scotland will develop national programmes to tackle these new threats and work with colleagues across health and social care settings to preserve antibiotics for future use.

“Respiratory, urinary and skin/tissue infections make up the majority of the healthcare associated infection burden in this setting, so new infection prevention measures are needed to tackle the changing risk.”


Katy Jeffrey, Stakeholder Relations Manager
NHS National Services Scotland
Mob: 07811 975 030

Notes to Editors

  1. The Scottish National Point Prevalence Survey of Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Prescribing in Long Term Care facilities 2017: Frequently Asked Questions are attached.
  2. The full report will be available on Health Protection Scotland’s website from 9.30am on Tuesday 10 April