10 Steps To Help Prevent
Your Loved One From Getting Sick in the Hospital
Certain bacteria and staph infections cannot be controlled by the use of anti-bacterial gel but it’s still a good idea to have a container of antibacterial gel by the patient's bed. You might consider antibacterial wipes as well. Thorough hand washing with warm, soapy water is the most effective step in preventing infectious disease in the hospital.
- Ask everyone who comes in contact with your loved one to wash their hands before touching the patient. Bring anti-bacterial gel and place it at the patient's bedside. Ask everyone to use it. Nurses and doctors can be the worst offenders! Ask them to wash their hands before they put on a pair of fresh disposable gloves.
- Ask the physician to clean his or her stethoscope with anti-bacterial gel or a wipe before touching the patient—the flat, round part of the instrument.
- Place a sign (you can write this yourself) above the patient's bed asking everyone to, "Please wash your hands before touching me."
- Ask for a private hospital room for your loved one. If there is no roommate, the patient has fewer people traveling into his or her room and that translates to a lower probability of transferring infection.
- If you are ill, do not visit the patient. If you notice that a nurse or physician is ill, ask them if they would please wear a mask.
- Don't place your purse, briefcase or backpack on the floor or any surface of the hospital room—place a clean towel between the item and the hospital room surface or place it in a plastic bag. You could bring in bacteria and spread it or leave with it.
- Don’t bring children to your loved one's hospital room. They could spread germs or leave with some.
- After you touch the hospital elevator buttons, wash your hands. Think about how many people in that hospital touch those buttons and where they have been—in sick patient's rooms.
- Ask the medical staff to disinfect hospital room surfaces such as bedrails, bedside table, doorknobs and other medical equipment.
- Ask the surgeon if your loved one can be given antibiotics before his or her surgery to help prevent infection.
By Martine Ehrenclou
Author of Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide To Get Your Loved One Out Alive