Infection Prevention and Control

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information videos are available about Coronavirus (COVID-19) including advice about what you can do to help stop its spread.

NI Direct Coronavirus Information Videos

General Hospital Infection Control Information

Reducing infections is a top priority and long-term commitment of the Trust and we will continue to take every step possible to keep healthcare associated infections to a minimum.

How visitors can help

  • Refrain from visiting patients if you have any illnesses such as vomiting and/or diarrhoea, coughs, colds or flu-like symptoms and any infectious conditions e.g. chicken pox, mumps etc.
  • Wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser before and after visiting. Even if hands look clean, they can still carry harmful germs. So cleaning your hands properly helps to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Do not sit on beds or lie on beds or touch the patients’ wounds, drips or drains as this can spread infection.
  • Do not bring children to hospital in all but exceptional circumstances especially babies and young children under 13 years of age.
  • Keep the bedside locker tidy and clutter free and around the bed clear. Patients’ personal property should be stored inside the locker. Relatives should take dirty laundry home as soon as possible.
  • Friends and relatives will be requested not to send or bring in unnecessary items, e.g. cuddly toys, multiple bottles or outdoor clothing.
  • Fresh flowers and potted plants are not permitted in hospital as these pose an infection risk to patients.
  • Visitors are not permitted to bring high risk foods for example, meats, poultry, takeaway food, sandwiches or dairy products into the hospital.
  • Visitors may bring in low risk foods for example, sweets, foods which can be safely stored at room temperature e.g ‘long-life products’, juices and biscuits. Individual requests can be provided by advising the Nursing Team who will in turn contact the local Catering Dept.
  • Restrictions to visiting may be put in place for infection prevention and control purposes on the recommendation of the Clinical or Infection Prevention and Control Team.  Strict visiting arrangements apply in health and social care settings from 15 January 2021. 

    Visiting Arrangements during the COVID-19 Pandemic – Effective from 15  Jan 2021

How patients can help

Coming into hospital as a patient can be a very worrying time. However, when you are staying in hospital you can speed up your recovery by helping to prevent infections by following some simple guidelines:

  • If possible, bath or shower before coming into hospital and as often as you are able during your stay. Staff will be able to advise you on this.
  • Tell your nurse or doctor when arriving at hospital if you recently had any other illnesses or infections such as vomiting, diarrhoea, coughs, colds or flu-like symptoms and any infectious conditions like chicken pox or mumps.
  • Before entering and after leaving the ward, wash your hands with soap and running water or use the hand sanitisers. Taking a container of moist hand wipes with you will also ensure you always have something available when you need to clean your hands.
  • Bring clean changes of underwear, nightwear and towels with you to hospital.
  • Take personal toiletries to help maintain personal hygiene such as a flannel, soap and hand wipes. Gentlemen should bring their own razor so they can shave.
  • Keep your locker and table tidy and clutter free which makes it easier to clean.
  • Send your dirty washing home to be cleaned as soon as possible.
  • Do not share personal belongings with other patients such as MP3 players, portable TVs or towels.
  • You should receive a moist handwipe on the meal tray – often people use it after they have eaten. Use it before you eat to ensure your hands are clean or wash them if possible.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet and whenever you see they are dirty.
  • Do not let visitors sit or lie on your hospital bed.
  • Do not touch or let any visitors touch wounds, dressings, drips, drains or medical equipment.
  • Hospital staff can help protect you by washing their hands or by cleaning them with sanitisers. If a member of staff needs to examine you or perform a procedure, do not be afraid to ask if they have first washed their hands.

Please speak to the ward sister or charge nurse if you have any concerns or questions.

If everyone coming into a hospital follows these simple guidelines, together with the measures taken by doctors, nurses and other hospital staff, we can further improve the prevention and control of infection.

If you have any queries regarding infection control in the Northern Trust please contact 028 9442 4000.

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