Gastroenteritis Outbreak Management

Outbreak Definition of Gastroenteritis: An outbreak of gastroenteritis is where two or more people, residents and/or employees, in a residential care facility become ill, with vomiting and/or diarrhea within 24 hours of each other. 

If an outbreak of gastroenteritis has been declared, the first 24 hours are critical in minimising the impact of the infection on residents and employees.

Immediate actions need to include


Set up PPE station and signage 

Cohort healthcare workers, working areas 

Provide a single bathroom, bedroom, observation, and care equipment to the affected resident

Implement the management plan for essential visitors (Partners in Care/Named Visitors/compassionate visitors) to continue to connect with residents

PPE Required For Outbreak Management



Plastic or waterproof gowns

Face shield or eye protection

PPE and hand hygiene training for employees

Use Standard Precautions and Transmission-Based Precautions to minimise transmission


Explain isolation precautions to the resident and why they are necessary

Notify the leadership team to assist 

Notify the Doctor to provide guidance and treatment

Notify all employees to ensure understanding of tasks required in an outbreak (including kitchen, laundry, and cleaning)

Notify the family, provide reassurance, and make them aware of visiting requirements/restrictions in an outbreak

A thorough handover is required between shifts, including affected residents and those at risk

Advise healthcare workers to go home and stay home if they are sick. They can return 48 hours after gastroenteritis symptoms have cleared


Monitor all residents twice daily for symptoms, isolate, test, report, and document any residents with symptoms

Check sufficient PPE, testing equipment, hand hygiene, waste disposal, and cleaning stock are available 

Identify vulnerable healthcare workers for alternative duties

Screen any visitors to the facility before entering 

Ensure visitors entering wear PPE


Record all assessments and actions taken in residents' medical records