What can you do to prevent infection?

Preventing infection175We're committed to providing high quality care in a clean and safe environment. Infections aren’t fussy about who spreads them, so we all need to play our part.

Read about keeping yourself and others safe while in hospital in our preventing infection leaflet.

Please remember that it’s ok to ask - if you have any worries or concerns during your time in hospital, please speak to a member of staff who will do their best to help you.

Hand hygiene

Cleaning your hands is one of the simplest, cheapest and most effective ways to stop the spread of germs. Our hospital wards and clinical areas have alcohol hand gel dispensers available for staff and visitors to use. Our staff should always wash their hands or use an alcohol rub or gel before they examine you, don't be afraid to ask if they have cleaned their hands.

Alcohol hand rubs are very effective at killing germs, but there are occasions when you should wash your hands. Read more about when you should wash your hands in our preventing infection leaflet.

If you're visiting a patient

  • Leave infections at home - please do not visit if you feel unwell. If you have recently had sickness and diarrhoea you must not visit until you have been free from symptoms for at least three days.
  • Cover any open wounds or cuts, and do not touch the patient’s wounds, bandages or dressings, or medical equipment.
  • Please do not sit on the patient's bed - if there are no chairs available, ask a member of staff.
  • Please use the visitor toilets located outside of the wards rather than the patient toilets.
  • Remember to practice good hand hygiene, using alcohol gel on visibly clean hands on arrival and leaving, and before touching food. Wash your hands with soap and water if they are soiled, after using the toilet, changing a nappy or helping a relative to use the toilet, and when visiting or leaving an area where patients have been suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting.

Respiratory and cough etiquette

As we all know, 'coughs and sneezes spread diseases'. Practice respiratory and cough etiquette:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, dispose of the tissue promptly and wash your hands. Tissues should be disposed of in domestic waste.
  • Do not use cloth handkerchiefs or reuse tissues - this can contaminate pockets or handbags, which then recontaminate hands. 
  • Clean your hands frequently, especially after coughing, sneezing and using tissues.
  • Spatial separation (ideally more than one metre) of persons with respiratory infections in common waiting areas where possible (CDC 2007).
  • Please protect hospital patients by avoiding visiting if you have a respiratory infection such as flu.
Remember; infection prevention is everyone’s responsibility.