Keeping clean and preventing infections

This advice comes from our infection prevention and control team to help anyone who uses our services either in the community or in hospitals. You can find further information about infection control by downloading the leaflets in the box on the right.

Handwashing

It is very important that our staff maintain high standards of hand hygiene to reduce the spread of infection. Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water helps remove germs before they can be transferred to another person or object. Hospital staff or any other healthcare professional can protect you from infection by washing their hands or cleaning them with a alcohol hand rub before they touch you.

If a healthcare professional needs to examine you or perform a procedure do not be afraid to remind them to clean their hands if you are worried they may have forgotten. It is ok to ask.

Whilst in hospital

As well as guidelines for staff, there are also precautions that patients, carers and service users can take to help. The infection prevention and control team have provided some guidelines below.

Personal hygiene

Personal hygiene is an essential part of looking after yourself and others while you are in hospital.

You should take with you all your personal toiletries, including soap, facecloth and towel; gentlemen should take their own personal razor for shaving. If you are confined to bed having a container of moist hand wipes with you will ensure you always have means of cleaning your hands especially before eating and drinking. Avoid touching your wounds.

Always wash your hands after using the toilet. If you use a commode ask for a bowl of water to wash hands or use a moist hand wipe afterwards.

Try to keep your bed area free from clutter. This will allow the cleaning staff to clean your locker properly.

Visitors

Encourage your visitors to wash their hands or use alcohol hand rub before entering or leaving the ward. They should be advised to cover up any open wounds such as cuts to fingers with a suitable dressing. If your visitors have symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throat or seasonal infections such as cold / flu, they should defer the visit until they are feeling better. Please discuss this with the nurse in charge of the ward.

The ward

If you have concerns regarding the cleanliness of the ward, please speak to the nurse in charge.

Equipment

Avoid touching drips, catheters or other tubes.

If you have an intravenous cannula (line/drip), and you experience any of the symptoms below, take action.

Inform the nurse immediately if you:

  • feel pain in the area
  • feel swelling
  • see redness around the site
  • the area feels hot to the touch
  • you feel hot/cold/shivery
  • the dressing is wet, soiled or falls off easily

How to contact the infection control team

If you have any further questions or need to get in touch with the infection control team, please call 01708 574 301 or email nelft.infectioncontrol@nhs.net