What is it about?
Over the last years, we observed a considerable shift from inpatient care to outpatient care, including home healthcare (HHC). Currently, the number of patients and medical conditions treated in HHC is increasing, and ‘home hospitalisation’ projects are emerging more and more in Belgium and elsewhere. However, healthcare in the home setting exposes providers to specific challenges and patients to new hazards, especially healthcare-associated infections (HAI). Unlike hospital care, data on HAI in home care is scarce, and its real burden remains unknown. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate a definition of HAI in HHC, identify their associated risk factors and develop recommendations for infection prevention and control (IPC). To address this objective, we conducted a study which was structured in three parts. First, we carried out a desk study including a scoping literature review and in-depth interviews with individuals involved in the field of HHC. A two-rounds Delphi online survey was then performed to search for consensus among experts on the results of the previous steps. Finally, we assessed all the information collected to develop a standardized framework for IPC of HAI in HHC in Belgium.