Infection Control

Your Role In Preventing Infections

The MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Program is committed to patient safety by doing everything possible to prevent the spread of infections among patients, healthcare workers, and visitors. Frequent contact is made between people who have an infection or can spread one, and people who can easily become infected. Some types of procedures can increase a patient's risk of infection. Preventing infections is important to help patients recover quickly and stay as healthy as possible.

Cleanliness is the key to infection prevention and control. The best way to prevent the spread of infection is through good hand washing with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand foam using the following simple guidelines:

Hand Wash Procedure

  • Wet hands with warm water
  • Apply soap
  • Rub together fronts/backs for 15 seconds
  • Rinse thoroughly & dry completely
  • Use paper towel to turn off water
  • Alcohol-based Hand Foam Procedure
  • Dispense 5 grams (a palmful) of hand foam into one hand
  • Spread thoroughly over fronts/back hands
  • Rub until dry

When should you wash your hands?

  • After using the toilet, blowing your nose, or sneezing
  • After handling dirty items
  • Before and after eating, drinking, or handling food
  • When your hands look dirty

Everyone should wash his/her hands before and after entering your room. There is easily accessible alcohol-based hand foam at the entrance to your room for this purpose. Feel free to ask anyone entering your room to wash their hands if you have not seen them do so.

Other ways to prevent infections include, but are not limited to:

  • Always use good personal hygiene.
  • Don't share patient care items such as creams, glassware, or towels with
    your roommate.
  • Take an active part in your care.
  • If you have an illness that could be dangerous to others, don't visit the
    hospital while you are infectious.
  • If you have questions about certain situations, ask a doctor or nurse.
  • Be aware of infection possibilities and early signs of infection (coughs,
    fever, rashes, redness, swelling).

If you have questions, contact the Infection Control Department at ext. 4-3686 or ext. 4-3711.