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Reducing Infection

It's a good idea, to reduce potential infections on the day of your surgery.

When you are healthy your body has very good ways of fighting infection. One of the first lines of defence is our skin. When you come into hospital to have surgery, this first line of defence will be broken. This can happen when you have a drip put in. It can also happen as a result of the surgical cut through your skin. When these things happen there is a small chance that your normal germs, or germs from another person or the environment can get into your body and cause an infection. A risk in any surgery is that the surgical site may become infected with bacteria from your own skin.

It is important to shower the morning of the surgery. Depending on the surgery that you are having some patients will be given a special body wash. If you have been given the special body wash and it is important that you follow the instructions given to you. This will usually involve using the body wash the night before the surgery and on the morning of the surgery. If you do not require the special body wash it is important and strongly recommended that you have a shower the morning of your surgery, use a mild soap to wash all over your body, once finished ensuring a clean towel is used to dry your body and clean clothes are put on. It is important that no creams, lotions, deodorants are used following showering with either the special body wash or mild soap. Jewellery should be removed.

At the Hospital before and after the surgery

It is important that you:

  • Do not apply creams, lotions, deodorants prior to the surgery
  • Do not shave or wax below the neck (facial shaving is allowed)
  • Do not wear make-up, lipstick
  • Do not wear nail polish or artificial nails
  • Do not use hair spray or gels
  • Clean your hands regularly
  • Do not touch any dressings that you have or any lines that you might have (drip)

Expectations of our staff

  • Attend to hand hygiene (cleaning their hands) before and after seeing you
  • Have clean uniform
  • Are not wearing excessive jewellery, have no nail polish or artificial nails and have hair tidied back
  • That they clean equipment that may be reused on other patients before and after use
  • Gloves are used when in contact with body fluids
  • Will wear gowns, gloves and masks if medically indicated

Expectations of hospital environment

  • It looks clean and tidy
  • There is no dust or rubbish around
  • The space where you are in should have nothing left from other patients

What you can do to help prevent infection

The prevention and control of infection is everyone's responsibility including staff, doctors, patients and visitors. We are committed to providing high quality care in a safe and clean environment.

Hand hygiene is important

  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need assistance.
  • Our staff are professional and do not mind being politely questioned or reminded about hand hygiene.
  • If you have an intravenous drip, it will have a clear dressing.
  • Do not touch the area if the dressing becomes loose or the area becomes red or painful – tell your nurse and they will check it.
  • Do not touch your wound or any other devices such as drip or drains. Tell your nurse promptly if it becomes loose.
  • Keeping the tables and locker uncluttered will assist the cleaning staff to access all surfaces.

What visitors can do to help prevent infection

  • Avoid coming to the hospital if they are feeling unwell.
  • If visitors have suffered from any form of gastro, they should not visit for 48 hours after symptoms have ceased.
  • Children that are unwell or just recovering from an illness should not be brought to the hospital.
  • Visitors are welcome to use the hand washing sink or alcohol gel when entering and leaving the wards.
  • Visitors should not touch the patient's wounds or device.
  • Visitors should not sit on the beds or use the patient bathrooms. Public bathrooms are available on each floor.


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