Precautions for patients & visitors
Some germs can spread easily to other vulnerable patients, putting them at harm. Contact precautions provide protection to help prevent the spread of these germs.
Why am I on contact precautions?
If you are on contact precautions, it's because you have germs in or on your body that can spread easily in the hospital environment. Most of the time these germs won’t make you sick, but patients with weak immune systems are at greater risk.
What staff will do
If you are on contact precautions staff will:
- Place you in a single room if available (the door can remain open), or you may be with other patients
- Wear a long-sleeved gown and gloves every time they provide direct care to you or have a lot of contact with your environment
- Place a sign on your door to remind others who enter your room about the special precautions
- Clean and disinfect your room and equipment regularly
- Clean their hands every time they leave your room
What family & visitors need to do
If you are on contact precautions, family members and visitors must wear a gown and gloves only when they provide direct care to you (e.g., assisting with bathing, using the toilet, changing incontinence products and caring for wounds). Feeding or pushing a wheelchair is not considered direct care.
Before leaving your room, visitors must remove the gloves and gown and throw them in the garbage or linen container located in your room. They must then clean their hands. Your family and visitors should not help other patients with their care as this may cause the germ to spread.
When you go home from the hospital
If you had germs that placed you on contact precautions in the hospital, the chance of spreading the germ to your family is small as long as you practice good hand hygiene habits.
- Ensure that everyone who assists with your hygiene washes his or her hands after contact with you
- Wash your hands before you make any food and before you eat
- Wash your hands well after using the toilet and make sure others that use the bathroom or sneeze, cough or blow their nose wash their hands well afterwards
- Clean your clothes in the same manner as the rest of the household laundry
- Use common household disinfectants and routine cleaning for your home. Special cleaning of furniture or items like dishes is not required
- Always tell your physician, paramedics, nurses or other care providers that you have a germ requiring contact precautions to help prevent its spread to others
More about patient safety
Find out what you can do to keep patients and staff safe and protected from the spread of infections.