With Flu season upon us – we want to send this out as a reminder to those making hospital visits on behalf of Ragan’s HOPE. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Preventing Infections When Visiting
Infections are illnesses that are caused by germs such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Although the patients Ragan’s HOPE supports typically are not contagious, other patients in the hospital are. Therefore exposing the families you are visiting to these germs may make it harder for them to recover and go home. Also, we want to minimize you to any exposure of such infections so we suggest you follow these steps for yourself and those you are visiting.
The best way to stop the spread of germs is to wash your hands often, stay home if you are sick, and keep your immunizations up to date.
Alcohol-based Hand Cleaners and Hand Washing
Clean your hands:
- When you enter and leave a patient’s room
- After using the bathroom
- After touching a patient
- Before and after using gloves
Before entering a patient’s room use an alcohol-based hand cleaner (sanitizer). Also as you leave the room use the alcohol-based hand cleaner again. Dispensers can be found in patient rooms and throughout the hospital or other health care facility.
- Apply a dime-sized amount of sanitizer in the palm of one hand.
- Rub your hands together, making sure all surfaces on both sides of your hands are covered.
- Rub until your hands are dry.
Washing your hands (you may be asked to follow this process if the patient is in isolation or in the ICU):
- Wet your hands and wrists, and then apply soap.
- Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds so the soap gets bubbly.
- Remove rings or scrub under them.
- If your fingernails are dirty, use a scrub brush.
- Rinse your hands clean with running water.
- Dry your hands with a clean paper towel.
- Do not touch the sink and faucets after you wash your hands. Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.
Stay Home if You Are Sick
Volunteers should stay home if they feel sick or have a fever. This helps protect everyone in the hospital. If you think you were exposed to chickenpox, the flu, or any other infections, stay home.
Remember, what may seem like just a little cold to you can be a big problem for someone who is sick and in the hospital. If you are not sure if it is safe to visit, call your doctor or nurse and ask them about your symptoms before you visit the hospital.
Anybody who visits a hospital patient who has an isolation sign outside their door should stop at the nurses’ station before entering the patient’s room.
Isolation precautions create barriers that help prevent the spread of germs in the hospital. They are needed to protect you and the patient you are visiting. The precautions are also needed to protect other patients in the hospital.
When a patient is in isolation, visitors may:
- Need to wear gloves, a gown, a mask, or some other covering
- Need to avoid touching the patient
- Not be allowed into a patient’s room at all
Other Things You Can Do to Prevent Infections
Hospital patients who are very old, very young, or very ill are at the greatest risk of harm from infections such as colds and the flu. To prevent getting the flu and passing it to others, get a flu vaccine each year. (Ask your doctor what other vaccines you need.)
When you visit a patient in the hospital, keep your hands away from your face. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the crease of your elbow, not into the air.
We want our volunteers to be safe and healthy, and we want to bring more hope, health, and comfort to the families we are supporting. We appreciate our volunteers so much, as well as the families served through Ragan’s HOPE! Please let us know how we can help you today.