Visiting a friend or family member in a healthcare facility? Take these five steps make sure you don’t spread infections:
- Sanitize hands before and after visiting.
The soap and hand sanitizer in patient rooms are for everyone. Wash or sanitize your hands when entering and leaving the room of the person you are visiting to avoid bringing in and carrying out germs. Insist that healthcare providers do the same before caring for your loved one. Clean your hands after sneezing, coughing, touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, after using the restroom, and before and after eating or drinking. Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve, and do not sit on patient beds or handle their equipment. Read and follow any instructions posted outside the patient’s room.
- Stay home if you are sick.
Do not visit the hospital if you are sick or have had any ill symptoms within the last three days—including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever (or feeling feverish), an uncontrolled cough, or a rash.
- Check first before you bring food, send flowers, or bring the kids.
While flowers, young visitors, and home-baked goodies spread cheer, they may not be allowed. Always check first with the nurse on duty.
- Follow special precautions, if necessary.
If the person you are visiting is on “isolation precautions,” talk to the nurse before entering the room to find out what steps you will have to take, such as wearing a mask or other protective clothing.
- Don’t contribute to the clutter.
Limit the patient’s personal items. Less clutter eases the critical job of cleaning hospital rooms. Keep patient items off the floor and away from waste containers.
And don’t forget that infection prevention continues after the patient has left the healthcare setting. Follow discharge instructions and eliminate germs from the patient’s environment by using disinfectants, such as sprays and wipes, to clean hard surfaces often. Learn more about infection prevention at home.