Skip to main content

Infection control

In our health care facilities, patients with weak immune systems are at risk when exposed to everyday germs. Help us ensure that our patients and visitors are protected from the spread of infections.

If you have a infectious (communicable) disease, be sure to let staff know when admitted to a health care facility. This section also includes a list of current outbreaks in our facilities and the precautions patients and visitors may need to follow.

Patients & staff should clean their hands 

Protect yourself and others from getting infections by using good hand washing habits: it is very important that you clean your hands often and completely. Wash your hands after using the washroom and before eating. You may also use the alcohol-based liquid/foam hand sanitizers available on each unit. As part of our commitment to hand hygiene, we encourage you to politely ask health care providers if they have cleaned their hands before providing care.

Do you have MRSA?

If you've been recently diagnosed with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), be sure to notify health care staff that you are MRSA positive.

Expect the following MRSA infection control measures in a health care facility:

  • Infection control staff will place a 'contact precautions' sign on your door advising health care workers and visitors of any special equipment (e.g. gloves, gowns) that they should use. 
  • Your activities outside your room may be restricted, because MRSA can spread easily in some acute care settings. 
  • In some cases, equipment used in your daily care will remain in your room. 
  • You will be taught how to clean your hands with soap and water and with a waterless hand-cleaning agent. You must always clean your hands after using the toilet, before meals and upon leaving your room.
  • Health care staff and visitors must clean their hands when they enter and when they leave your room. Do not be shy about reminding everyone to clean his or her hands.

Do you have VRE?

Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) is commonly spread by direct contact with an infected person, usually with the hands. In most situations, the spread of VRE and other bacteria can be controlled by diligent hand washing. Occasionally additional precautions are needed to protect others in the hospital who are ill and more likely to develop an infection. VRE can be more easily spread with diarrhea. Tell anyone who treats you that you were known to have VRE.

Expect the following VRE infection control measures in a health care facility:

  • Practice careful hand hygiene: Hand hygiene is effective in killing germs. Lather wet hands for 30 seconds before rinsing with water, or use alcohol based hand rub and rub until hands are dry.  Always clean your hands after using the toilet and before leaving your room.  Staff, volunteers and visitors will also be advised to clean their hands.
  • Use appropriate toileting facilities
  • Avoid touching any open sores
  • Do not share personal items. This includes towels, washcloths, razors, soap, creams, lotions, cosmetics, toothbrushes, nail files, combs and brushes.
SOURCE: Infection control ( )
Page printed:

Copyright © Vancouver Coastal Health. All Rights Reserved.