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Your Role in Preventing Infections in the Hospital


What is Health Care Associated Infection? 

Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are infections people get while they are receiving health care for another condition. HAIs can happen in any health care facility.

As a patient in a healthcare setting, you are at risk of getting an infection while you are being treated for something else. Patients and their loved ones can play a role in asking and reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands. Your hands can spread germs too, so protect yourself by cleaning your hands often  


What do I need to do?

  • To reduce your risk of an infection:

    • Wash your hands often for about 20 seconds using a hand sanitizer or warm water and soap.  Your visitors should also wash their hands.

    • Insist that healthcare workers wash their hands before entering the room and wear clean gloves prior to performing tasks in your room.

    • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the bend of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

    • Please ask all visitors who are sick to stay home

    • Stay up-to-date with your flu and if appropriate pneumonia vaccines

    • Some infections require special precautions to prevent their spread to others.  Sometimes patients are placed in isolation to prevent the infection from being spread to others from contact with clothes, hands, personal items, or equipment.

    • You can have visitors while you are in isolation. When they come to see you, they will need to clean their hands before coming into your room and when leaving your room. Please ask the visitors to check with your nurse about what they need to wear if they are visiting you or are going to help take care of you. If visitors wear gowns, gloves, or masks they need to remove them before leaving your room and put them in the clear trash bag in your room.  They should wash their hands before leaving the room.

    • Healthcare workers may do the following:

      • Place patient in a private room, or in a room with others who have exactly the same infection.

      • Place restrictions on who can enter and exit this room.

      • Wear a mask and eye protection or a face shield, gloves, gown, or other items, and ask you to do the same when you visit.

      • Wear an air filter (respirator) for some infections, and ask you to do the same when you visit.

      • Wash your hands often for about 20 seconds using a hand sanitizer or warm water and soap.


Why is it important for me to do this?  

Despite these efforts, the spread of infections in the hospital happen. Handwashing is the best way to prevent infection. Together we will work to keep you as safe as possible.


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