A Message from Jeannie Cellana Sanborn, RN, MS, CIC
Director of Infection Prevention & Control
Preventing hospital acquired infections is a priority at Heywood Hospital. Hospitals are a place to heal and to recover. We continuously work to safeguard our patients, visitors and employees from infections. Infection prevention is a team sport and everyone has an important role to play. Please partner with us to maintain a safe, healing environment. Infection prevention is in your hands. The first step and best defense in preventing infections is washing your hands.
Hand washing is the single most important means of preventing infections. Whether you are in the hospital as a patient, visitor or employee, or are in your own home or workplace hand washing is the single best way to prevent infections. How you wash does matter. Wet your hands with warm running water. Apply soap and rub your hands together briskly for 15 seconds. Wash the front and back of your hands and in between your fingers and under your nails. If your hands are not visibly soiled, using a waterless hand agent ( such as a gel or foam) is okay too. Apply a small amount of the gel or foam to the palm of one hand and rub hands together until the gel or foam has been absorbed. Don't forget your thumbs.
Download our Patient Hand Hygiene Brochure.
Your skin is your largest organ and is your first defense against infection. Keep your skin healthy by using moisturizers, especially during the winter months to prevent cracking. Keep all cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until they heal. If you are caring for others, be sure to avoid contact with wounds or bandages unless you have gloves on. Contact a physician promptly for any skin infection or wound that does not improve.
Disease prevention is the key to public health. Vaccines prevent serious infectious diseases and save lives. Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in the US, including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, mumps, tetanus and influenza. We vaccinate to protect our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Vaccines are one of the best ways to put an end to the serious effects of preventable diseases. It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat one. Examples of vaccines that we routinely provide to help our inpatients avoid serious illnesses are the influenza vaccine to prevent influenza and the pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumonia, bacteremia (blood infection) and meningitis.
Cover Your Cough
Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, whooping cough or pertussis are spread by sneezing and coughing. To help stop the spread of these germs, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve and not into your hands.
Isolation in the Hospital
Hospitals use isolation as a control measure to prevent germs from spreading from one patient to another or to a healthcare worker or visitor. The isolation precautions require ALL people who enter the room to wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks and gowns. A sign is posted on the door of the room of a patient who requires isolation indicating what to wear when entering the room.
For The Hospitalized Patient
Infection protection is in your hands. Please wash them frequently while staying with us and do not hesitate to ask your healthcare provider if they have washed their hands before entering your room. If you have a fever, cough or stomach complaints 2-3 days prior to being admitted, please alert your healthcare provider. If you have had an exposure to an infectious disease or have any open areas on your skin, even the tiniest cut, please bring it to the attention of your nurse during your admission.
For The Hospital Visitor
Patients enjoy visitors who bring good wishes and support (but not germs) into their rooms. Help your loved ones and friends by always washing your hands upon entering the patient’s room and as you are leaving the room. There are waterless soap containers in patient rooms and strategically placed throughout the hospital. If you have a new cough, running nose, temperature, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or generalized aches and pains not due to exercise, please do not visit.
Preventing the spread of infectious diseases is in all of our hands. Please take a few minutes to watch this video about how we can all work together to prevent the spread of infection.
Following these guidelines helps everyone stay healthier and avoid preventable illnesses. Please join our Heywood team of Infection Prevention. For additional information, contact your healthcare provider or the Department of Infection Control at 978-630-6490.