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Preventing Infections

pitchett_thumbBy Jenny Pritchett, MBA, MPH, RN, CIC, Director of Quality Management and Infection Preventionist at Southwest Health

There are many different germs inside and outside the healthcare setting. These germs spread in many different ways. For example, germs can spread from person to person and from objects to people. To stop germs from infecting people, healthcare professionals, patients, and families need to work together to stay healthy.

At Southwest Health, we take many steps in keeping our patients and visitors safe from healthcare associated infections. It takes a chain reaction of events for infections to spread to others. The way to stop germs from spreading is by interrupting this chain at any link. Here are 10 ways our team members at Southwest Health put your safety as our number one priority.

  1. Washing our hands frequently, before and after every patient encounter or after touching surfaces in the patient’s environment
  2. Staying up to date on our vaccines (including our flu shots!)
  3. Covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick
  4. Following the rules for standard and contact isolation and using personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, gowns) the right way
  5. Cleaning and disinfecting patient equipment and rooms
  6. Sterilizing medical instruments and equipment
  7. Following safe injection practices
  8. Prescribing antibiotics wisely to prevent antibiotic resistance
  9. Nationally Board Certified Infection Preventionist on staff to monitor for infections and educate our team members
  10. Staying up-to-date on the latest guidelines in preventing healthcare-associated infections

Germs are everywhere, so you can also keep yourselves and loved ones safe from the spread of infections at home and in your community by washing your hands, covering your sneezes and coughs, keeping up to date on vaccinations (get your flu shot!), and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

The best way to stay healthy while visiting the hospital is to speak up for your care. Don’t be shy. After all, we’re talking about your health. Your doctors, nurses, and other members of your care team want you to have a voice in your care. So ask questions, voice concerns, and make sure you’re comfortable with the care you are getting while at Southwest Health.

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