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Infection is when part of your body gets a disease.

This page is about our work to keep the hospital very clean.

This will help to make sure that patients don't catch a disease while they are in the hospital.

Who are we?

We work hard to ensure our hospitals maintain a very high degree of cleanliness and keep infection rates to the absolute minimum. We were awarded the prestigious status of the being the world's first International Centre of Excellence in infection prevention from Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP), following a reduction of over 80% in Clostridium difficile infections alone in the period 1 April 2008 – 31 March 2011.

We've also drastically cut the spread of MRSA (meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) infections across our hospitals, making us one of the best in the country.

Our team provides a specialist advisory service to all grades of healthcare staff in all departments in relation to infection prevention and control.

In conjunction, with medical microbiologists and virologists, based in the department of Infection and Immunity the advisory service is available 24 hours a day seven days a week.

What we do

The overall activities of the Infection prevention and Control team are:

  • Staff education and training
  • Policy and guideline development e.g. MRSA Screening
  • Producing patient information leaflets and visiting patients on request to provide additional information / clarification on infection control issues / control measures
  • Co-ordinating the annual infection prevention and control audit programme supported by 70 link practitioners throughout our hospitals
  • Surveillance of specific healthcare associated infections e.g. MRSA bloodstream infections and Clostridium difficile infection
  • Investigating outbreaks and co-ordinating control measures
  • Working closely on issues related to cleanliness of environment and equipment with the Hotel Services contract monitoring team, Trust Decontamination Lead and managers of services contracted by our hospitals
  • Participating in evaluation of new technology link and supporting national infection prevention and control collaborative projects.

How you can help - Working together

Hand cleansing:

It is possible to pick up bugs on the hands which may cause infections. Hand washing is particularly important before eating and after using the toilet. Using soap and water is recommended if hands are visibly dirty or if you have been suffering from diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

Hand gel is very effective for cleansing hands at other times. Healthcare staff are taught a set of steps to follow to ensure they don't accidentally miss any parts of their hands and can help you to learn this technique too.

Hand gel is available in hospital for staff, patients and visitors to use. You may find a packet of moist hand wipes a useful item to bring into hospital with you. Healthcare staff are aware that they need to cleanse their hands before caring for you and it is OK to ask if you have not seen this happen.

Locker tops and bed tables

Please assist the ward cleaning staff by keeping surfaces as clear as possible so that they can clean these properly each day.

Please do not store uncovered food on locker tops and bed tables and check with the ward manager first before asking visitors to bring food into hospital for you.

Visiting

Whilst everyone looks forward to visiting please limit visitors to two at a time. Young children and babies should not visit unless this has been agreed with the ward manager. This is to protect your family and other patients. We may have patients with undiagnosed/unsuspected infections in bays on wards. Occasionally young children may have early symptoms of childhood infections which can be serious for some of our patients.

Please also ask visitors who are unwell not to visit and let us know if you have been in contact with any illnesses which the staff caring for you may need to be aware of e.g. vomiting and diarrhoea, flu, shingles, chicken pox, measles.

Isolation

If you have an infection you may be asked to stay in a single room or you may be cared for in a bay where there are other patients with the same infection. We also have two dedicated isolation wards 3X and 3Y to which patients may be transferred. For your own safety and for the safety of other patients, please follow the isolation procedures and stay in your room or by your own bed if you are asked to do so.

Further Information

The clinical teams in each ward/department will provide information and support for you. If you have any additional queries about infection prevention and control measures you can ask for a member of the team to visit you to discuss these.

How you can help as a visitor

Hand gel is available outside clinical areas, bays and single rooms. Please use the hand rub to cleanse your hands before and after visiting a relative/friend.

If the dispenser is empty let us know. We also have portable hand gel dispensers which can be used whilst the wall mounted dispenser is refilled.

Hospital staff are taught a technique to cleanse their hands to ensure they don't miss any areas of the hands accidentally. We are happy to provide leaflets and to show you how to do this on request.

Hand gel is useful for cleansing hands which do not look visibly dirty but is not recommended for use after visiting someone who is in a single room because they have diarrhoea. Hand washing is more effective using a similar technique to that used with hand gel.

If you are unwell

Visiting time is important to our patients but if you are unwell please postpone your visit and let the ward manager know.

During the winter and spring months, Norovirus, which is associated with outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhoea is present in the community and may be accidentally brought into the hospital by adults and children visiting when unwell.

We also need to protect our patients from influenza (flu) and would ask that if you or other family members or friends have colds/flu like illnesses visits are postponed until you are well.

This is particularly important on our haematology and transplant wards.

Visiting patients who are in single rooms or bays with door notices advising special precautions

If you are visiting a person in single rooms or bays with a sign on the door which says Contact, Droplet, Airborne precautions or Protective isolation ask a member of staff for advice on precautions before you go in. If you are still unsure or need further advice ask to speak to a member of the Infection Control team.

Food

Please do not bring food in for patients without checking first with the ward manager.

Children

Please check with the ward manager before bringing children in to visit. There may be visiting restrictions in place in some clinical areas to protect our patients and your family.

Contact us

Ask a member of staff for details or phone the call centre on 0151 706 2000