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SMHC Patients: Infection Prevention

Maintaining a safe hospital environment is very important. Germs that can cause infections can travel from patient to patient, from patient to staff or from staff to patient. The health care staff may wear gloves, gowns, masks, or eye protection which is standard practice to protect our patients from infections.

Because of a known or suspected infection, you may be placed on special precautions. These added measures are important to stop the spread of some infections and may include:

  • a private room or semi-private with a person who has a similar condition;
  • protective clothing worn by staff, such as gloves, gowns or masks;
  • special equipment that stays in your room;
  • limited movement in and out of your room;
  • hand hygiene for patients, staff and visitors.

Hand Hygiene
The most important step to prevent the spread of germs that cause infection is hand hygiene. Hand hygiene can be done by washing hands with soap and water or with the application of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Patients are encouraged to practice hand hygiene during their hospital stay. All health care staff must clean their hands before and after providing care to any patient. Visitors should clean their hands before and after visiting a patient.

Respiratory Etiquette
Preventing spread of germs when coughing or sneezing is also an important infection control measure. Respiratory etiquette is important all year long, not just during cold and flu season. Everyone should:

  • cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue, discard the used tissue, and then...
  • wash hands;
  • if tissues are not handy, cough or sneeze into your elbow to avoid soiling your hands.

For your protection, keep current with your immunizations. The influenza (flu) and pneumonia vaccination can protect you from becoming seriously ill from the flu or pneumonia. Discuss the vaccinations with your doctor to see if they would be beneficial in protecting your health.

SMHC is committed to the national patient safety goal of reducing your risk of developing a health care associated infection. We encourage you and your family to make sure our care meets your needs. If you have questions, please ask your nurse or doctor. If you would like to contact the Infection Control nurse, please let your nurse know.

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