Tips for visiting hospital patients
Having visitors while you’re a patient in a hospital can have a positive impact on your recovery. But there can also be negative consequences if visitors don’t adhere to necessary infection control rules.
“It’s natural for people to feel stressed, anxious or even excited – such as in the case of a new baby – when they are seeing a friend or loved one in hospital,” said Mirza Ali, an Infection Control Practitioner at The Scarborough Hospital.
“However, for the safety of all patients, visitors should take the time to be aware of certain policies and procedures.”
Mirza recommends hospital visitors take into account the following:
- Wash or sanitize your hands when you enter the hospital, before you touch the patient, and after you leave their room.
- Ensure you are aware of any personal protective equipment that may need to be worn while you are in the patient’s room, such as masks, gowns or gloves. This information will be posted on the door of the patient’s room. Speak to someone at the nursing station if you are unsure about the requirements.
- Family members and those who provide care to hospitalized patients should strongly consider getting vaccinated against seasonal flu.
- Refrain from going into other patient rooms or staff areas while you are visiting.
- Postpone or avoid visiting if you are ill or have any symptoms that are contagious. These symptoms include:
- Symptoms of acute respiratory tract infection, including cough, sore throat, runny nose and/or fever;
- Eye infection or pink eye;
- Chicken pox, shingles, measles or mumps;
- Infectious rashes.
“It’s important to remember that these rules are in place to protect our patients, as well as their family members and other visitors,” stresses Mirza.
“Compliance with hand hygiene before and after visiting a patient, and the use of personal protective equipment where required, are important steps that prevent the transfer of disease both inside and outside of the hospital.”