Infection Prevention

How Our Hygiene Practices Protect You

In order to provide you with the best environment for care and treatment, infection control precautions must be observed by all. These include:

Hand washing: carefully and often — Visitors should wash their hands or sanitize them with the alcohol hand rub in the wall dispensers when entering and leaving the patient’s room. When washing with soap and water, wet your hands thoroughly; rub your hands together for at least 15 seconds; cover all surfaces; concentrate on areas between the fingers, fingernails and palms; rinse and dry thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand gel before and after touching furniture, equipment and your loved one. If your hands are visibly soiled, please use soap and water.

Please encourage everyone who enters your room — family, visitors and health care professionals — to clean their hands. It’s OK to ask our health care professionals to clean their hands before and after caring for you.

Covering mouth and nose — When we sneeze or cough, germs can travel. Use a tissue or cover your mouth and nose with the crook of your elbow. Wash or sanitize your hands right away.

Leaving infections at home — Visitors who have had a cold or an infection should stay away until completely recovered. Any open wounds/cuts need to be covered. This includes pimples, insect bites and any unexplained sore or abrasion.

Children under the age of 12 are at particular risk for spreading infection. Please ensure your children’s safety while they are here. Keep your child off of the floor and ensure they’re with a responsible adult at all times. Help children wash their hands when you wash yours.

Infection Surveillance Program — Carondelet Health Network is taking part in national patient safety programs to reduce the risk of transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. During your stay here, you may be screened for a resistant strain of bacteria called MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The screening may require the staff to swab your nose to check for the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If bacteria are present, additional testing and precautions may be required.

Observing the signs — Visitors may see a sign posted at the entrance of a patient’s room. These signs are posted to help prevent the spread of germs. Visitors need to wear the protective equipment shown on the sign (e.g., mask, gown or gloves) and wash their hands as well as sanitize them before entering and when leaving a patient’s room. Please direct any questions to your (or the patient’s) nurse.

Surgery — Your health care team will follow a process to prevent harmful events related to your surgery. This process may include checking and verifying your identification, marking your surgical site with a pen, monitoring your blood sugar, clipping hair near the surgical site, reviewing your medications and giving you antibiotics to prevent infection. In addition, you may be asked to bathe with special cloths containing chlorhexidine (CHG) to further prevent infections.

Oral hygiene — While in the hospital, ask your health care team for help with your oral care twice a day. If you do not have a toothbrush or toothpaste with you, we can provide them to you … it’s okay to ask! Oral health is important for overall health. The American Dental Association suggests that an unhealthy mouth may worsen serious medical problems, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 

The American Dental Association recommends the following:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Clean between teeth daily with dental floss
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed
  • Visit your dentist regularly

Central venous catheter — During your admission, you may require placement of a central venous catheter or “central line.” A “central line” or “central catheter” is a tube that is placed into a large vein, usually in the neck, chest, arm or groin. The catheter is often used to draw blood or to give fluids or medications. It may be left in place for several weeks.

To prevent catheter-associated bloodstream infections, doctors and nurses will carefully select a vein. Before beginning the procedure, they will clean their hands, put on special protective equipment, including gloves and place a sterile cover over you while installing the catheter.

Your health care team will assess daily whether you still need the catheter and remove it as soon as it is no longer needed. During the removal process, they will be careful handling medications and fluids that are given through the catheter. You can assist in preventing central line infections by asking your health care professionals daily if you still need the catheter and making sure they clean their hands before and after caring for you. Tell them if your dressing comes off, is wet or dirty and inform them if the area around the catheter is sore or red. Do not let visitors touch the catheter or the tubing.