According to overseas studies, there is a high rate of infection in aged care facilities, but little is known about the causes of infection in the Australian context. Demographic data indicate that the elderly occupy an increasing proportion of the total population and there is increasing demand for aged care facilities. There is therefore an important need to address issues related to the development of infections in the institutiolised aged, a population particularly vulnerable to infection by virtue of the many physiological changes and other factors associated with the aging process. Through a review of the literature, this paper provides an overview of factors that influence the likelihood of health care associated infections in the institutiolised aged, and outlines practical strategies for the prevention and control of infection. The review highlights the need for further research and recommends attention to funding and staffing levels, formation of infection control committees, implementation of surveillance programmes, development of policies and procedures and ongoing staff education.
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