Infection Control

Washing Hands

If a member of the family has an infection, they may risk spreading it to a person who is “at
risk.” It is important that the patient’s home and surroundings are always kept as clean as
possible.

Take these steps to prevent infection in the home:

  • Always wash your hands before and after providing patient care, after coming into
    contact with the patient, after touching patient equipment, after contact with the
    patient’s immediate environment (bed, night stand, linens, etc.), after removal of gloves,
    after toileting and before eating.
  • Either an antimicrobial soap and water or an alcohol hand sanitizer may be utilized for
    hand hygiene.
  • Family members should keep their distance from the patient if they have been diagnosed
    with a communicable disease, or have symptoms of infection (e.g., fever, cough,
    congestion, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, drainage from eyes or skin).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of your
    used tissue in the garbage. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper
    sleeve instead of your hands.
  • Use clean, disposable (not sterile) gloves to assist with care when bodily fluids
    will be contacted.
  • Gowns may be worn if there is a chance your clothes may be soiled; masks are not
    necessary unless specifically instructed to use them.
  • Toothbrushes and razors should not be shared, since bleeding may occur during use.
  • Wash soiled tabletops, toilets, showers and floors with hot, soapy water, then disinfect
    with a solution of one part bleach and ten parts water.

Safe Disposal of Medical Waste

Medical household waste is any disposable item used when providing patient care in the home
that has been soiled by blood, bodily fluids and/or bodily waste (that is, urine, feces, vomit,
blood). Examples of this waste are used gauze bandages, dressings, disposable diapers,
underpads, tissues and disposable gloves.

  • Use gloves when providing patient care or handling items soiled with blood/bodily fluids.
  • Dispose of household waste in the regular garbage and do not recycle.
  • Always keep a waste container near the patient’s bed.
  • For disposal of soiled bandages, dressings, diapers, underpads, tissues or other
    disposable equipment (except needles, syringes and sharps), use two plastic bags to
    line the waste container and, when full, close securely and place in the regular garbage.
  • Always dispose of feces, urine and vomit in the toilet and flush.

How to Dispose of Needles, Syringes and Surgical Instruments:

  • Dispose of needles, syringes and surgical instruments immediately in an appropriate
    container. Please call our office if a container is needed. An appropriate container is something opaque, puncture-resistant and leak-proof with a screw-on top. Hard plastic laundry detergent, bleach or fabric softener containers are perfect.
  • Store the container near the area where needles, syringes or surgical instruments (sharps) will be used.
  • Store the container in an upright position and out of the reach of children.
  • When the container is full and ready for disposal, screw the top on tightly, label it “Needles,
    Sharps,” place in double plastic bags, and place in the regular garbage for pickup

For Safety Reasons Do Not:

  • Use glass containers to store or throw out needles, syringes or other sharps.
  • Use metal coffee cans to store sharps because the lids can easily fall off.
  • Bend, break or re-cap contaminated needles or sharps.
  • Throw needles, syringes or sharps into the household garbage because someone
    might get stuck.

Infection Control in Hospice Residences and Inpatient Units

  • Postpone visiting if you have been diagnosed with a communicable disease or have
    symptoms of infection (e.g., fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea,
    rash, drainage from eyes or skin).
  • Follow all infection control measures, including use of gown, gloves, mask, as indicated
    by signage and/or staff, when visiting a patient on Contact Precautions for an infection.
  • Follow staff directions regarding the patient’s ability to leave the room or go to shared
    areas of the unit, when on Contact Precautions or during a unit infectious outbreak.
  • Perform hand hygiene prior to entering the patient’s room, after having contact with the
    patient, and when leaving the patient’s room.

Poison Control

NYC: 212-POISONS (764-7667)
Nassau County: 516-747-3323
All Areas: 800-222-1222 ( available 24/7)