Preventing Health-care Associated Infections

October 19, 2015

People can get infections in hospitals and other healthcare settings while being treated for another condition. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a threat to patient safety.

Patients have an important role in preventing infections. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has come up with recommendations for patients to help prevent healthcare-associated infections.

Here are six ways to be a safe patient:

  1. Speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns you might have. Talk to your doctor about how you can reduce your infection risk, especially if you have a foley catheter or have had surgery.
  2. Practice good hand hygiene. It’s proven to be the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Be sure everyone cleans their hands with either soap and water or hand gel sanitizer before touching you.
  3. Get smart about antibiotics. Ask if tests will be done to make sure the right antibiotic is prescribed.
  4. Know the signs and symptoms of infection. Tell your doctor if you notice any pain, redness, or drainage at an IV catheter site or surgery site.
  5. Tell your doctor if you have three or more diarrhea episodes in 24 hours, especially if you have been taking an antibiotic. This could indicate a serious infection called C. difficile.
  6. Protect yourself. Get vaccinated against influenza each year. Ask friends and family members who are sick not to visit you.

Remember: it’s important to be informed, be empowered, and be prepared.

Patti Fisher, RN, BSN
Infection Preventionist