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. 

Learn more about infection control: 

Infectious disease outbreaks at our acute and long-term care facilities.

Canines for Care

Learn about our team of dogs who can sniff out C. difficile as well as new and emerging pathogens like COVID-19
Contact precautions

What it means if a patient has been put on contact precautions.

Handwashing & infection prevention

Washing your hands is the most important and effective way to prevent the spread of infection and to protect yourself and your loved ones. We encourage you to politely ask health care providers and visitors if they have cleaned their hands. 

Clean your hands often and completely, especially after using the washroom, before eating and when entering or exiting your room. Visit How to wash your hands on the Sneezes & Diseases website to learn more.

Two ways to clean your hands

  1. Wash at the sink using soap and water. Put soap on your hands and rub your hands for 20 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

  2. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer which is available throughout the hospital. Take one squirt and rub it over your hands for 15-20 seconds and allow to dry.

Infection control measures

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

MRSA infection control measures

  • 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.

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.

VRE infection control measures

  • 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.