Most germs in hospitals can be spread by unclean hands. Each time a person touches an object or another person, germs go along for the ride. An infection could prolong you or your loved one's hospital stay.
What you can do to help prevent the spread of germs
Did you know, proper hand cleaning is the best way to reduce infections and the spread of germs? Alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is the preferred way for cleaning hands if they are not visibly soiled. For information on how to properly perform hand hygiene and when, visit our Hand Hygiene webpage.
Please Wash Your Hands:
- Before entering a patient room
- When leaving a patient room
- At the end of your visit
- If you notice your healthcare worker has not washed their hands, it is okay to remind them to wash their hands.
Visit YouTube to view a video on the Importance of Hand Hygiene.
Infection control precautions
Sometimes patients require extra infection control precautions and have a sign posted at the entry to their room or bed space. In these instances, your visitors should stop at the nurses’ station to receive instructions before they visit. Some precautions may include:
- Needing to wear gloves, gown, mask or protective eyewear. If so, you and your visitors can ask a staff member for assistance.
- Being asked to stay in your room or bed space.
- Cleaning your hands frequently, especially when leaving your room, before eating and after using the washroom.
- Keeping personal items to a minimum to reduce clutter in order for cleaning.
Infection control tips for visitors
- Do not visit if you are feeling unwell. Wait until you are feeling better to visit.
- Wash your hands before entering a patient’s room, when leaving the room and at the end of your visit.
- Visitors should not sit or put their feet on hospital beds or chairs that are covered with sheets or blankets.
- Visitors should not use patient washrooms.
- Visitors should not touch the supplies on the supply carts. Please ask staff for the item you need.
- Try to limit the amount of people visiting at one time.
- Try not to visit multiple patients during the same visit.
Respiratory illness prevention information
Influenza, COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and the common cold are easily passed from person to person through droplets in the air, or by contact with unwashed hands. If you are sick or feeling unwell with symptoms of respiratory illness and your appointment or visit can be put off, you should not come to the hospital. If unable to postpone, please wash your hands and put on a mask right when you get in the hospital.
Other infection prevention and control practices, such as: proper hand hygiene, masking, vaccination, and covering your cough are critical aspects of preventing the spread of respiratory viruses.
What We Do to Help Prevent Infections
At LHSC all staff are trained on how germs are spread from person-to-person and how to help stop the spread of germs. A few examples of the things we do to protect our patients, visitors and staff are:
- Assessing symptoms and risks for having infections.
- If a patient has symptoms of a possible infection we place them on additional precautions, put them in a space that is the most appropriate and wear personal protective equipment.
- We use signage at the room entry to show if a patient requires additional precautions and the actions required for their known or suspected illness are listed on the front and back of the signage.
- Encourage staff and visitors to stay home if they are unwell.
Cleaning our hands
- The hospital has many alcohol-based hand rub dispensers so hands can be cleaned when and where they need to be.
- All staff are trained in the four moments of hand hygiene from Public Health Ontario’s "Just Clean Your Hands Program".
- We participate in auditing our hand hygiene compliance and those results are posted on our website.
- We encourage all staff, patients and visitors to remind each other to wash their hands.
Cleaning our equipment and environment
- We have a lot of equipment in the hospital that is shared between patients. We require that all of our equipment is cleaned after it is used, before it’s used on another person.
- We use powerful cleaning products that are proven to kill germs and are safe for staff to use.
- Every space has a schedule to be cleaned and training is done on how to clean it properly.
- We request spaces remain clutter free so that surfaces can be properly cleaned.
Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Staff are trained to properly put on and take off their PPE to not contaminate themselves.
- Staff are trained on what PPE to use to protect themselves for the different infections that can occur and how they are spread.
- We provide a wide range of PPE and make it easy for people to access it when and where it is needed.
- We require that PPE is changed between patients.