6 ways to prevent spread of infection
A newly developed Speak Up™ To Prevent Infection campaign from The Joint Commission focuses on a half dozen ways that you can help to prevent the risk and spread of infection – especially (but not only) in a health care setting.
- Clean your hands. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. Clean your hands before eating or touching food.
- Remind caregivers to clean their hands as soon as they enter the room. This helps prevent the spread of germs. Caregivers may wear gloves for their own protection.
- Stay away from others when you are sick. If possible, stay home. Don’t share drinks or eating utensils, don’t touch others or shake hands, and don’t visit newborns.
- If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose. Use a tissue or the crook of your elbow, and clean your hands as soon as possible after you cough or sneeze. Ask for a mask as soon as you get to the doctor’s office or hospital. Keep a distance of about 5 feet between you and others.
- If you visit a hospital patient, clean your hands when entering or exiting the hospital and before going in or out of the patient’s room. Read and follow the directions on signs posted outside the patient’s room. You may be asked to put on a mask, gloves, a paper gown, and shoe covers. If sanitizer wipes are in the room, read the instructions. Some wipes are only for cleaning equipment and surfaces, and are not safe for skin. If you are unsure about what to do, ask the nurse.
- Get shots to avoid disease. Make sure your vaccinations are current — even for adults. Help prevent diseases like the flu, whooping cough and pneumonia.
Available resources in support of the campaign include:
- Free, downloadable educational materials in English and Spanish for the public and for health care providers to support patient involvement in their care.
- An infographic poster/flyerin three sizes, all vailable in English and Spanish, for patients and their families.
- An animated video, available in English and Spanish, to incorporate in hospital programming.
- A distribution guide with recommendations on how health care organizations can use and provide the materials for patients and their families, caregivers and advocates.
Launched in 2002, the award-winning Speak Up™ program has been used in more than 70 countries. It encourages patients to be their own advocates and to:
- Speak up
- Pay attention
- Educate yourself
- Advocates (family members and friends) can help
- Know about your new medicine
- Use a quality health care organization
- Participate in all decisions about your care
About The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.