You and Infection Control: Working Together to Prevent Infections
Hospital acquired infections affect more than 2 million patients each year. Good Samaritan Hospital Infection Control staff helps prevent hospital-acquired infections by:
- Identifying risks for infection
- Teaching proper handwashing methods
- Recommending ways to prevent infection
- Consulting when isolation precautions are needed
Ways to prevent infections while you are in the hospital:
- Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand wash frequently, especially
after using the bathroom and before eating.
- Remind people caring for you to wash their hands or use alcohol-based
hand wash before touching you.
- If you had an IV, keep the site clean and dry.
- If you had an operation, call your nurse if the bandage becomes loose or wet.
- If you have a tube to drain urine or a wound, tell your nurse if
it gets loose or comes out.
- Tell relatives and friends not to visit you if they have a cold or
- Tell the people taking care of you if you have been exposed to a contagious disease recently (chickenpox or influenza).
Ways to prevent infection outside the hospital:
- Always wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
- Keep immunizations up to date; take the annual flu shot.
- Ask your doctor if you need the flu vaccination to prevent a specific
kind of pneumonia.
- Don’t take antibiotics if you don’t need them. Antibiotics
only treat infections caused by bacteria, not viruses.
- Don’t eat raw or under cooked meat, eggs or chicken.
- Clean cutting surfaces and knives after working with raw meat or
- Don’t share personal care items (razors, toothbrushes, hairbrushes,
- Don’t use other’s plates or drinking glasses.
You are part of the team:
Being a patient can be scary. We want you to have as much information as you need to make your hospital stay a good one. You can help your medical team by providing information about yourself, your habits and your medications.
- Write down questions you want to ask the doctor or nurse so you
- Ask questions.
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What will happen?
- Do I need surgery?
- How will this affect other illnesses I may have?
- Keep a list of all your prescription medications. Bring the list
to doctor’s visits and tell your doctor about non-prescription
meds you take such as aspirin, ibuprofen and antacids. Don’t
forget to mention vitamins, herbs or home remedies you may take.
- Ask your doctor about test results, including lab results, x-rays,
or other tests that may show new information about you.
- Ask your doctor about treatment options:
- Is your treatment routine or investigational?
- Is there some thing else that could be done?
Infection prevention in the hospital:
- Handwashing is most important! Use either soap and water or alcohol-based
hand wash that is provided.
- Precautions are followed by all staff when caring for patients in
the hospital. This means that all health care workers wash their hands
(use alcohol-based hand washes) wear gloves, gowns or eyewear when
necessary. This protects you from infections and staff from exposure
to blood or body fluids.
- Some illnesses require additional precautions. If needed, an isolation sign will be placed outside your room. It does not list your illness, but tells staff and visitors about precautions to help prevent spread of disease.
If you need these special precautions staff may:
- Ask you to stay in your room.
- Ask everyone who comes into your room to wear a gown and gloves and
maybe a mask.
- ask you to wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand wash and wear a cover gown before leaving the room.
Infection Control at Good Samaritan Hospital:
Our Infection Control staff work with the people taking care of you to decrease your risk of getting an infection while in the hospital. We work with all hospital employees from physicians and nurses to housekeepers, food service and maintenance workers to teach them the most effective ways to prevent infection. Everyone in the hospital has a role in keeping the number of infections as low as possible. You can help prevent infections in the hospital because you’re part of the team too. If you would like to talk to someone from Infection Control, please call (213) 977-2366.