Infection Prevention and You
Learn about who's working to keep you safe and how you can take control of your care.
Who are "infection preventionists?"
Infection preventionists are among the many experts who help to protect you from health care-associated infections. They work in many healthcare settings to keep you, visitors, volunteers, employees, and health care providers safe from infection.
What is a healthcare-associated infection?
Healthcare-associated infections can occur when a patient receives care or treatment. These kinds of infections are often preventable.
How does an infection preventionist affect the care I receive?
Infection preventionists partner with your health care team and use proven methods to help you stay safe from healthcare-associated infections during your stay.
Although you may not see the infection preventionist during your visit, you will notice the presence of infection prevention, including:
- Hand sanitizer rubs or gels
- Hand washing stations
- Disinfecting wipes
- "Cover your cough" signs
- Healthcare providers wearing gloves, masks and gowns
- Environmental services cleaning staff
What do I need to do to stay safe?
Please speak up. Do not feel shy about asking for more information about your care. Infection prevention is everyone's business. If you have a concern, feel free to ask the following:
- Before receiving an injection, ask if the needle, vial and syringe have been newly opened for you.
- If you have not seen healthcare staff who care for you either wash their hands or use an alcohol hand rub, ask them to do so. This also applies to visitors.
- If you have a catheter in your bladder or vein, tell your nurse if it becomes loose or painful. Also ask each day when it can be removed.
- If you are having surgery, ask your doctor if you should shower with an antiseptic soap before you are admitted.
- Ask your provider if you need any shots or vaccines.
- If you think that the area around you or the equipment in your room looks dirty, ask to have it cleaned.
- If you have a bandage or dressing, let your nurse know if it gets wet, loose or feels uncomfortable.
Wash your hands or use alcohol hand rub often. This is one of the most important ways to prevent infection.
Who is the infection preventionist at my hosptial?
Call the hospital switchboard to request that information.
To learn more, visit the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology website at preventinfection.org.
Source: Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology