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Role of institutions

Health establishments have prime responsibility for preventing and controlling nosocomial infections, because they are charged with providing high quality, safe care and services to users.

Nosocomial infections are a challenge for each institution. Combatting them involves a joint effort by administrators, managers, physicians, professionals, clinicians and technical and support staff, and requires a structured program.

Infection prevention and control program

Implementation of a structured infection prevention and control (IPC) program is known to be effective in reducing the infectious risk associated with the delivery of care and services. Program content should be adapted to each establishment and reflect its size, mission, activities, and experience in this area. The IPC program is generally designed to protect patients from contracting infections or multiresistant germs during a care episode, and to safeguard personnel, visitors, volunteers and family caregivers.

The program comprises various activities:

  • infection surveillance;
  • policies, procedures and support measures for prevention and control of nosocomial infections;
  • education and training;
  • evaluation;
  • communication and information;
  • management of outbreaks.


Each institution should set up a team to conduct its IPC program activities.

In order to be completely transparent with the public, the Minister of Health and Social Services has asked the managements of health institutions to provide information about nosocomial infection rates at their establishments. Since November 2005, figures from the provincial surveillance program monitoring Clostridium difficile infections in Québec hospitals have been posted on the MSSS website. The information shows infection rates by hospital and public health region for the whole of Québec.

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