Hospitals are very busy places where people are caring for people, working hard to make them well. Hand hygiene (hand washing) is the single most important thing health care workers can do to prevent infection.
While providing care for you, remind health care providers to wash or sanitize their hands to prevent passing infection to you or themselves. It is okay to remind them, and we encourage you to do so.
For your health, it is important to remember to wash your own hands before you eat, after using the bathroom, bedpan, or commode, and after touching something soiled. It is important for your visitors to follow these instructions, too.
Wash your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds, rinse and dry with a paper towel. It is a good idea to turn off the faucet handle with a paper towel to avoid soiling your hands again.
Other ways to prevent infection:
- Do not touch areas of your body that have had surgery or have IV lines or other devices
- Let your doctor or nurse know if your IV or surgical dressing is wet, loose or has fallen off
- Ask for tissues to cover your sneeze or cough. Wash or use alcohol hand rubs after wiping your nose or covering a cough
- If you feel like you have a fever, tell your nurse or doctor
- It is important to have a clean body. Wash daily or if you need help, let your nurse know what help you need for bathing. Wear clean hospital pyjamas each day
- If you have visitors, tell them not to touch any supplies used to care for you
- Encourage visitors to stay home if they are not well. You can talk to them by phone
Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, we need to take extra steps to prevent infection. These steps may mean using a term called "isolation."
Isolation has been used for centuries to separate those who are sick and those who are susceptible.
To identify an isolation room, we use a brightly colored sign on the door to tell health care workers to use extra steps to prevent infection from spreading.
If you have a sign like that on your door, it means people will care for you wearing special equipment and take certain measures to control infection. Health care workers may come wearing a mask, blue gown, or gloves to care for you. This is normal and helps to prevent infection.
What do the colors of the signs mean?
- GREEN is for contact isolation. This is for germs that can be passed on hands and supplies. Health care workers will wear gloves and sometimes blue gowns.
- ORANGE is for droplet isolation. This is for germs that can be coughed or sneezed out. Health care workers will wear a mask and eye wear; the door to your room may be open.
- PINK is for airborne isolation. This is for germs that can be passed in the air. The door to your room will be closed, and health care workers will wear masks. You can call the nurse any time with the call bell.
If I have an isolation sign on my door, what do I need to do as a patient?
In most instances, you will need to stay in your room. If you have a cough or cold symptoms, you may need to wear a mask when you go to a test or out into the hallway.
Always ask your doctor or nurse:
- If you may leave your room to walk in the hall.
- What to do when you go home.
What about visitors?
Visitors should report to the nurse's station if there is an isolation sign on your door. The nurse will explain to the visitors visiting safety requirements. It is important for visitors to wash their hands when they arrive and when they depart.
Special circumstances may prevent visitors from coming to see you. When visitors are not permitted, they can contact you by phone to wish you well.
There may be times when only family members and those who live with you are allowed to visit. Your nurse or doctor can tell you about any special visiting rules that apply to you.
We care about the health and safety of all our patients and their visitors. We remind you that many diseases can be spread by touching body fluids (such as blood, urine, etc.) We ask that patients and visitors call immediately for a nurse if assistance is required. Please do not touch any body fluids or medical supplies, such as tubes, bandages, etc. We know that visitors may want to help patients, but our nurses are trained to handle these substances with the proper precautions.
For the well-being of all of our patients, no one should visit the hospital if they are not feeling well, have a cold, or have been exposed to a contagious disease, such as the flu, chicken pox, tuberculosis (TB), measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, or impetigo.