Infection Prevention and Control
Ensuring effective Infection Prevention and Control practice on ward areas is an essential way of preventing infection developing or spreading within the hospital setting. Both patients and staff have important roles to play in implementing infection prevention and control practices.
Patients: Hands may look clean but invisible germs are always present, some harmful, some not. Removal of germs is an important factor in preventing infection both at home and in hospital. These germs are often passed from one person to another by physical contact so it's important that patients, visitors and all staff attempt to reduce the risk of spreading infections by regularly washing their hands. Staff also use an alcohol hand rub for cleansing their hands.
Handwashing is especially important:
• Before eating (both snacks and meals) - hand wipes are available
• After using the toilet, bathroom or commode
• Whenever your hands look or feel dirty
It is important to remember if you have wound dressings, stitches or catheters try not to touch them any more than is necessary.
Visitors should follow the same hand hygiene guidelines as listed for patients and use the hand gel dispensers located at the entrance to all wards when entering and leaving. Alternatively, visitors should wash their hands with soap and water, especially if they are visiting a friend or relative with diarrhoea and vomiting or another type of infection. Can we ask a member of staff “Have you washed your hands?”
Ward staff won't be offended if you ask them whether they have washed their hands or cleansed with alcohol rub. Feel free to ask the question of your doctor, nurse or other staff (e.g. physiotherapist, or occupational therapist) who is about to care for or examine you. This may be on the ward or else where within the hospital e.g. x- ray.
Alcohol gel will be placed at the end of your bed for staff to use before and after they care for or examine you. If you have a diagnosed or suspected infection, you may be nursed in a side room or in a bay
with other patients also with the same infection. This may be the case if a ward experiences an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting often caused by a mild gastric illness Norovirus.
Nursing and medical staff caring for you will explain everything you need to know if you have a diagnosed or suspected infection. Also a member of the Infection Prevention and Control Service who are specialists in this area can visit you on the ward and discuss any issues you may have.
Relatives and friends should refrain from visiting if they feel unwell or are suffering from:
• Nausea (sickness), vomiting or diarrhoea
• Colds, respiratory infections or flu type symptoms
• Undiagnosed rashes or infectious skin conditions
It may not be appropriate to bring young children and babies into the ward.
Norovirus infection is a common cause of gastronenteritis, which commonly causes problems during winter months. The onset of illness is often sudden with vomiting (sometimes projectile) and some people also have diarrhoea. The symptoms usually last for 24-48 hours after which the person may feel lethargic and "washed out".
When a ward has been closed due to the virus the Trust asks that members of the public consider whether visiting their family or friends can be kept to a minimum, or the visit could wait until after their relative has been discharged home. This is in an attempt to stop anyone from the community that may have symptoms from visiting someone who is already unwell in hospital.