Infection Control: For Patients on Special Precautions and Their Visitors
Spread of infection
Infections can be spread through the air and by contact with hands, personal items, or health care equipment.
Special precautions (pre-CAW-shuns) may be taken because of a known or suspected infection. It is very important to protect all of our patients from infection. We need to use special practices to stop the spread of some infections. This information sheet tells you about special precautions.
Special precautions may include:
- A private room
- A semi-private room, with another person who has a similar condition
- Protective clothing worn by health care staff and visitors, such as gloves, gowns, or masks
- Special equipment that stays in the patient’s room
- Limited movement in and out of the room
- Cleaning of hands by all patients, staff, and visitors
- Patients on special precautions should not use the kitchen on the nursing unit, sit in common waiting areas, or go to the cafeteria
Clean your hands
The most important step in stopping the spread of infection is cleaning your hands. You can clean your hands with soap and water or a waterless hand sanitizer.
When you go home
If you need to take special precautions at home, your nurse will explain them to you before your discharge. Ask your doctor or nurse any questions you may have. They will talk to you about your personal situation.
When you come to visit your loved one, follow these guidelines:
- Before you enter the special precautions room, check with a nurse. The staff may
give you protective clothing that you will wear to enter the special precautions room.
- Read the sign posted outside the special precautions room. The sign lists the precautions you need to take.
- Clean your hands right before you leave the special precautions room.
- There may be a limit to the number of visitors.
- Take as few things as possible into the special precautions room.
If you have questions
If you have any questions about special precautions, please ask your doctor or nurse. You may also contact the hospital’s Infection Control Department. Tell your nurse that you want to do so.
Reviewed March 2011