Skip links and keyboard navigation

Infection control

Infection control means preventing or limiting the spread of infections both in the hospital and in our community.

Patients may come into hospital with infections acquired in the community. In addition, some treatments may increase the risk of infection; for example, surgery or taking certain medicines may weaken your immune system.

How we prevent infection

Hand washing

Hand washing is the most important way to stop the spread of infections.

All staff should wash their hands before and after caring for you and we encourage you to ask staff if they have washed their hands. As a patient or visitor to our hospital you can help stop the spread of infection by doing

Protective rooms and equipment

If you have an infection, you may need to be isolated in a single room.

Our staff will wash their hands before entering your room and may wear gloves, masks, apron or gowns and eye protection. If this is required, you and your family will be kept fully informed.

Regular testing

While you are in hospital, you may need to have routine swabs taken to look for infections; these may include swabs from the nose, groin, rectum or wound areas. Nursing staff will explain what is needed and why, and you will be advised of the results. If you would like more information on infection control, please ask your nurse.

What you can do

You can help prevent the spread of infections by:

  • telling staff about your medical history, including any childhood illnesses such as chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella as well as any previous infections
  • advising your nurse if you have been overseas in the past three weeks, if you have a cough or cold, diarrhoea or vomiting, open wounds or weeping skin sores
  • washing your hands regularly, particularly after visiting the toilet
  • always keeping toiletries for your own use
  • placing all hospital laundry in the linen baskets provided
  • telling nursing staff about any poor hygiene in the ward or bathrooms
  • not sitting on any other patient’s beds or allowing your visitors to sit on your bed.

Please do not visit a patient in hospital if you are sick with infections such as cold, flu, vomiting, diarrhoea and any childhood illnesses, e.g. chicken pox.

Last updated 21 October 2016
Last reviewed 21 October 2016

Page feedback

Contact (optional)

Please provide your phone number or email address if you are happy for us to contact you with any follow-up questions.