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IMpleMenting Effective infection prevention and control in ReSidential aged carE (IMMERSE): protocol for a multi-level mixed methods implementation study

Tropea, J., Peters, S., Francis, J. J. ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-8895 , Bennett, N., Fetherstonhaugh, D., Buising, K., Lim, L-L., Marshall, C., Flynn, M., Murray, M., Yates, P., Aboltins, C., Johnson, D., Kwong, J., Long, K., McCahon, J. & Lim, W. K. (2023). IMpleMenting Effective infection prevention and control in ReSidential aged carE (IMMERSE): protocol for a multi-level mixed methods implementation study. BMC Geriatrics, 23(1), article number 109. doi: 10.1186/s12877-023-03766-9


Older people living in residential aged care facilities are at high risk of acquiring infections such as influenza, gastroenteritis, and more recently COVID-19. These infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality among this cohort. Quality infection prevention and control practice in residential aged care is therefore imperative. Although appointment of a dedicated infection prevention and control (IPC) lead in every Australian residential aged care facility is now mandated, all people working in this setting have a role to play in IPC. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed inadequacies in IPC in this sector and highlighted the need for interventions to improve implementation of best practice.

Using mixed methods, this four-phase implementation study will use theory-informed approaches to: (1) assess residential aged care facilities’ readiness for IPC practice change, (2) explore current practice using scenario-based assessments, (3) investigate barriers to best practice IPC, and (4) determine and evaluate feasible and locally tailored solutions to overcome the identified barriers. IPC leads will be upskilled and supported to operationalise the selected solutions. Staff working in residential aged care facilities, residents and their families will be recruited for participation in surveys and semi-structured interviews. Data will be analysed and triangulated at each phase, with findings informing the subsequent phases. Stakeholder groups at each facility and the IMMERSE project’s Reference Group will contribute to the interpretation of findings at each phase of the project.

This multi-site study will comprehensively explore infection prevention and control practices in residential aged care. It will inform and support locally appropriate evidence-based strategies for enhancing infection prevention and control practice.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Infection prevention and control, Nursing homes, Residential aged care, Best practice, Implementation science, Organisational readiness, Behaviour change, Mixed methods
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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