What is a Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI)?
All of us have germs on and inside our bodies. Some of these germs we need, but some of these germs can cause infection when we are unwell in hospital. A Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) is an infection which is acquired whilst in hospital, and although these are rare, they can happen. There are a number of things you can do to prevent these:
- Do not touch wound dressings
- Wash your hands after going to the toilet
- Wash your hands before meal times (if you are on bed rest, the nurses will provide you with moist wipes – feel free to ask them)
- Do not touch any drips or drains you may have. If you have any concerns regarding these devices such as pain / redness, please tell a member of staff immediately.
How can you help minimise the risk of you acquiring a HAI from family or friends visiting you?
Sometimes family and friends visiting you can bring in germs to the hospital which can be passed on to you or other patients. Below lists some precautions you can ask your visitors to take:
- Do not come into hospital if they have had diarrhoea or vomiting within the last 48 hours
- Gel their hands before and after visiting
- Do not sit on the bed
What are we doing to help minimise the risk of you acquiring a HAI?
NHS Forth Valley is committed to minimising the risk to you from acquiring an infection during your stay with us. All staff working with you have been given infection prevention and control training, however, please feel free to speak to them at any time if you have any concerns with their practice. Below is a list of a range of precautions our staff take in order to minimise the risk of infection to you.
Before putting on gloves:
- Washing / gelling hands before putting on gloves reduces the amount of germs on the hands and minimises the risk of these germs being transferred onto the glove.
Before patient contact:
- Washing / gelling hands before contact with you will help minimise any harmful germs being passed to you.
Before aseptic procedure (dressing wounds, checking catheters, IV drips):
- Washing / gelling hands before aseptic procedures will help minimise any germs entering into your body.
After removing gloves:
- Washing / gelling hands after the removal of gloves reduces the risk of any germs that have been transferred from the glove to the hand.
After exposure to body fluids (e.g. urine):
- Washing / gelling hands after exposure to your body fluids will help minimise your germs infecting staff or other patients.
After patient contact:
- Washing / gelling hands after contact with you will help minimise your germs being passed onto the staff member.
After being in contact with your surroundings:
- Washing / gelling hands after contact with your surroundings will help minimise your germs infecting other staff or other patients. It will also minimise the staff members’ germs which may be left on equipment and furniture.
When should staff wear aprons & gloves?
Staff should wear aprons and gloves during the following procedures:
- Dressing changes
- Giving injections / taking bloods
- Inspecting stitches / open wounds
- Inspecting devices that are inserted into you
- When in contact with blood or other body fluids
- Changing bed linen – apron only
These aprons and gloves should be changed in-between patients / tasks.
What should I do if I think a member of staff does not adhere to these precautions?
Please let them know. All staff want to do the best for you, so they will be happy to speak to you.
What can I do if I feel I cannot speak to the member of staff?
You can speak to the nurse in charge of the ward at the time or the ward Senior Charge Nurse.
It is always better to speak to the ward staff at the time; however you can always phone or email a member of the Infection Prevention and Control Team. Their contact details are:
Infection Prevention & Control Department
Phone: 01324 567490