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Infection Prevention Week

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2015
Infection Prevention

It's International Infection Prevention Week. Learn what you can do to help stop the spread of germs.

While rates of many healthcare-associated infections are going down, it's more important than ever to involve patients and healthcare professionals in the prevention of infections.

That's why the theme of this year's International Infection Prevention Week (Oct. 18-24) is promoting involvement between patients, visitors, and healthcare professionals to stop the spread of germs.

That's right, even as a visitor to the hospital you can play an important part in keeping patients safe.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has come up with a Top Five list of the things visitors to hospitals can do to keep their loved ones safe.

Top Five 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. 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 when you enter and when you leave the patient's room to avoid bringing in and carrying out germs. Healthcare providers should be doing 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 to stay out of 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 nasty 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 the VIA Maternity Center, where newborns are especially vulnerable to outside germs.

Follow special precautions, if necessary.

"Isolation Precautions" are used in the hospital 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, like wearing a mask or other protective clothing. Hospital staff should follow the same rules.

The goal is to protect patients, their families, other visitors, and healthcare workers—and stop germs from spreading across a healthcare setting.

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.

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