Pauline McIntyre is Deputy Director of Care at Erskine, a charity caring for veterans in four care homes across Scotland. As Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate launch new infection prevention and control, Pauline explains why she’s been delighted to be a part of it.

At Erskine, our residents’ safety is paramount. Therefore, I was delighted and proud to be involved in developing new standards for infection prevention and control (IPC) in care homes in Scotland, alongside Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate.

IPC is well known to us all, never more so than during the pandemic. Now that the standards have been launched, alongside the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual, they will help us to deliver care in ways that minimise the risk of infection. This is particularly important in somewhere like a care home, which is not a clinical environment.

Achieving the standards

When the opportunity came up to be involved in developing the new IPC standards I was delighted to support this work and to offer my knowledge and experience as a care home nurse. From the outset it was important for me that the group considered the practical implications of decisions made about the standards especially around how the standards could be achieved in care home environments.

Over the past 20 months we have all been faced with profound challenges as we work tirelessly to keep our residents safe, well and living fulfilling lives. We have been responsive to implementing ever changing guidance around how best to keep our residents safe in their homes. There has been a great deal of pressure placed on us to embed new approaches, systems and processes at pace.

We continue to rise to this challenge because our resident’s quality of life and safety is paramount. Although it has been a difficult time, there have been good stories. I’m personally pleased to see more partnership and integration across health and social care.

Communications from the project team at Healthcare Improvement Scotland started in March of last year this year and the first development meeting was in April. The group met virtually to discuss, debate and direct the content of the new standards.

The project team kept us on track and everyone in the group was given opportunities to contribute throughout the development process. My input always considered aspects that we cannot forget, care homes are people’s homes.

A realistic approach

Until my involvement in developing new IPC standards I had not referred to the previous Healthcare Associated Infection standards from 2015, simply because I was not aware of them. They were healthcare focused and the language and terminology did not resonate in social care.

The new standards need to be viewed in a realistic way in that not every part will apply in every care setting but where we can apply this good practice, no matter the care setting we work in, a lot can be achieved.

Pauline McIntyre is Deputy Director of Care at Erskine. Pauline is a registered nurse with over 26 years’ experience.

To find out more about Erskine, visit their website:

More information

Visit the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website to download the IPC standards.