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What can I do to help?

Please help us ensure that our patients and visitors are protected from the spread of infections. If you have an infectious (communicable) disease, inform staff when admitted to a health care facility.

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. In fact, if you're ever wondering if health care providers and visitors have cleaned their hands we encourage you to politely ask. 

Remember, 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 thoroughly for 20 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

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

If you've been diagnosed with MRSA

If you've recently been 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 that they should use (e.g., gloves, gowns). 

  • 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. Don't be shy about reminding everyone to clean their hands.

If you've been diagnosed with VRE

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 sanitizer 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 toilet facilities.

  • Avoid touching any open sores.

  • Don't share personal items. This includes towels, washcloths, razors, soap, creams, lotions, cosmetics, toothbrushes, nail files, combs and brushes.

More about patient safety

Current outbreaks

When an infectious disease outbreak is declared in licensed acute and long-term care facilities in the region, our main priority is to keep staff and patients safe. Read on to find out how we do it.

Precautions for patients & visitors

Learn about the steps you'll need to take if you're a patient who has been put on contact precautions, or if you're a visitor.