Your Role in Preventing Infections
The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) has a“Stand Up for Patient Safety” project designed to provide patients with helpful principles for managing their healthcare, including preventing infections in the hospital. Infections can occur after many types of medical procedures.
This is particularly true if you are having surgery. There are several things you can do to help prevent infections from developing in the hospital:
- While you are in the hospital, it is important to remember to wash your hands carefully after handling any type of soiled material. This is especially important after using the bathroom.
- Since you are part of your healthcare team, do not be afraid to remind doctors, nurses, and nurse assistants about washing their hands (or using the alcohol rub hand sanitizer) before working with you.
- If you have an intravenous catheter, keep the skin around the dressing clean and dry. Tell your nurse promptly if the dressing works loose or gets wet.
- If you have a dressing (bandage) on a wound, let your nurse know promptly if it works loose or gets wet.
- If you have any type of catheter or drainage tube, let your nurse know promptly if it becomes loose or dislodged.
- When allowed by your doctor, get out of bed often and walk in the hospital hallways to increase your circulation.
- When breathing treatments have been ordered by your doctor, perform them as instructed by the respiratory therapist or your nurse. This will help improve your ability to breathe.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for sufficient pain medications. This will increase your comfort and enable you to participate in the activities intended to speed your recovery (for example: ambulation and breathing treatments).
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your care so that you may fully understand your treatment plan and the expected outcomes of your care. This will help you and your family to assist with your recovery.
- Ask visitors to clean their hands with soap and water or the alcohol hand rub as they enter and leave the room.
- Smoking can lead to infections. If you smoke and need help to stop, please let your nurse know. This is a tobacco free hospital campus.
- If you have diabetes, be sure to ask your doctor about the best way to control your blood sugar. High blood sugar can increase risk of infection.
- If possible, ask friends and relatives not to visit if they feel ill.
At Fairfield Memorial Hospital, we are committed to providing you with the best of care. Because your health and safety are important to us, Fairfield Memorial Hospital is taking part in state and national patient safety programs to reduce the risk of transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
There are bacteria, or germs, both inside and outside the hospital that are of special concern because they are resistant to antibiotic treatments and can cause infection while patients are receiving medical care. Antibiotic resistance is a growing worldwide problem.
People can carry these germs in or on their body without symptoms, and they can unknowingly be passed from patient to patient if important steps are not taken. A very important bacteria that may be resistant to many antibiotics most commonly used to treat infections is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). MRSA is commonly found on the skin or in the nose.
It is important for your health providers to know if you are carrying MRSA, if screening criteria is met a nasal specimen will be collected for a MRSA test. The first specimen is collected by simply swabbing the inside of your nose with a small sterile swab. Additional specimens may be collected throughout your stay.
If you are found to carry MRSA, you will be placed in“contact precautions” to help us prevent the spread of MRSA in the hospital. This means that healthcare staff (doctors, nurses, lab and radiology personnel, etc.) will be wearing gowns and gloves while caring for you. The presence of these bacteria does not require treatment unless you have an infection.
Please ask your nurse if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information about MRSA. Within approximately 48 hours after the swabs are collected, your nurse and/or physician will share the results with you. If you have any questions regarding the results of these tests, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Our staff is working hard to protect you from infection while you are in the hospital, as well as to protect you from infection after you go home. Information about MRSA and other multi- drug resistant organisms are available. You can ask your nurse for this information at any time.