While rates of many healthcare-associated infections are going down, it's more important than ever to involve patients of all ages, as well as healthcare professionals, in the quest to prevent infection.
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has come up with a list of ways visitors to hospitals can keep their loved ones safe from infection.
Ways to Be a Good Hospital Visitor
Sanitize hands before and after visiting.
The number one way to prevent the spread of germs is "hand hygiene." That's hospital lingo for washing your hands in soap and water or sanitizing your hands with an appropriate sanitizer when entering and leaving the room of the person you are visiting. You'll see soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer all around the hospital and in patient rooms. These are there for everyone to use. That includes visitors in addition to healthcare professionals.
As a visitor, you should wash or sanitize your hands after sneezing, coughing, touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, after using the restroom and before and after eating and drinking. Healthcare providers should do the same. Remember: It's OK to ask the healthcare provider to perform hand hygiene before caring for your loved one.
Stay home if you are sick.
It's best avoid visiting a friend or family member in the hospital if you are sick or have had symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, fever and/or an uncontrolled cough or rash within the last three days. Your loved one will thank you for not bringing in any germs.
Check before you bring in the kids.
It's best to check with the nurse on duty before bringing in children. This is particularly true for Doylestown Health's VIA Maternity Center, where newborns are especially vulnerable to outside germs.
Follow special precautions, if necessary.
"Isolation Precautions" are used in hospitals to stop the spread of germs from one person to another. You'll see information about isolation precautions on a sign on the door of a patient's hospital room.
If the person you are visiting is on "isolation precautions," talk to the nurse before entering the room to find out what steps you should take, such as wearing a mask or other protective clothing. Hospital staff follow the same rules.
Don't contribute to the clutter.
Try to limit the number of personal items in a patient's room. Keep these items off the floor and away from waste containers. Less clutter eases the critical job of cleaning hospital rooms.
The goal of infection prevention is to protect patients, their families, other visitors, and healthcare workers—and stop germs from spreading across a healthcare setting.
About Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 271 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.