Infection Prevention and Control

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1 2012 Infection Prevention and Control

2 Infection Prevention and Control Who are we? The Infection Prevention and Control department includes several Registered Nurses (RNs) who are specialized Infection Control Practitioners (ICPs). We also have secretarial assistants, 2 infectious diseases doctors, who are our medical directors, and a district health services manager (who is an RN). We report to the district Infection Prevention and Control Committee. All Capital Health facilities are linked to one or more ICPs. Our role is to help the staff and doctors prevent patient infections. Infection prevention and control is an important part of patient safety. Health care-related infections About one in nine patients will get an infection while in hospital. These infections may be minor or much more serious. Some common infections that patients can get in hospital are C. difficile diarrhea (linked to antibiotic use), pneumonia (a lung infection), a bladder infection, or wound infections. Patients may be at risk for these infections because of the types of treatments they may need; medicines they may take that weaken their ability to fight infection, or surgery. Some infections, but not all, may be prevented. The sicker you are when you come to hospital, the greater your chance of getting an infection. 1

3 What should I expect my health care team to do to help prevent infection? Health care staff work hard to prevent infections. Having clean hands is the best way to prevent the spread of infection. Staff and doctors should clean their hands before they touch you. You may ask them if they have cleaned their hands. Your health care providers should wear a mask if they have a cold or cough. Your health care providers should follow the proper steps if you are on special measures. If necessary, your health care providers should clip hair around an operation site (done with clippers, not shaved with a razor) before surgery. You are a partner in your care. Sometimes health care providers need to be reminded of what to do to prevent infection. If you are worried that a health care provider is not following the proper procedures, speak with them, your nurse or doctor, and/or call the Infection Prevention and Control department at What can a patient do to help prevent infection? Ask your doctor about any vaccines you may need to prevent infections such as the flu and pneumonia vaccines. Follow advice to lose weight, get your diabetes under control and stop smoking, if you are a smoker. These all help lower your risk of infection. 2

4 Clean your hands often, especially after using the bathroom and before eating. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough. Use a new tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the old one out. Then clean your hands. You can also cough into your sleeve, or the crook of your elbow. Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible. Many illnesses are spread in this way. Let your nurse know if you need a clean gown or linens, tissues, or other supplies. Keep the area around you free of clutter. This helps the housekeepers to keep your area clean. Follow your doctor s instructions to walk and or deep breathe and cough following surgery. Don t be afraid to ask questions. What can visitors do to help prevent infection? Visitors should clean their hands before they enter the patient s room, before handling food, before and after assisting with care and again at the end of the visit. Hands should also be cleaned before approaching the bedside of other patients in the same room. Don t visit if you have an infection. Even a cold can be very serious for a patient in hospital. Children are more likely to spread infection. Leave them at home if they are sick or just getting over being sick. Don t let children run around unsupervised when visiting in the hospital. 3

5 Limit the number of visitors in a room at any one time. This reduces the number of people that can spread germs. Do not sit on beds or use patient s washrooms. Follow the hospital s special measures (policies). See below. What are these special measures? Special measures are sometimes needed to prevent germs from spreading from one patient to another. Gowns, gloves and masks may be needed when patients are on special measures. You may notice different signs in the hospital indicating what extra steps are being used. How can I contact Infection Prevention and Control? If you have a question or concern about Infection Pevention and Control, ask one of your health care providers or ask them to page the Infection Control Practitioner for your area. Or you can call the Infection Prevention and Control department at (main office). Capital Health takes infection prevention and control very seriously. It is an important part of safe patient care. 4

6 Looking for more health information? Contact your local public library for books, videos, magazine articles and online health information. For a list of public libraries in Nova Scotia go to Capital Health promotes a smoke-free and scent-free environment. Please do not use perfumed products. Thank you! Capital Health, Nova Scotia Prepared by: Infection Prevention and Control Department, Capital Health, Halifax Illustrations by: LifeART Super Anatomy 1 Images, Copyright 1994, TechPool Studios Corp. USA Designed and Printed by: CH Audio Visual and Printing Departments The information in this brochure is provided for information and education purposes only. The information is not intended to be and does not constitute healthcare or medical advice. If you have any questions, please ask your healthcare provider. WC Revised June 2012 The information in this pamphlet is to updated every 3 years.

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