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 Protecting Against Infection
When giving care at home, it’s important for caregivers to protect themselves and the person they are caring for from infection. Following the guidelines below will help ensure this.
Hand Washing
The most important thing you can do to keep infection from spreading is to wash your hands often. This includes before and after making food, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after using the toilet, and before and after giving hands-on care. Lather with soap and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and dry them, using clean, dry towels. You can also use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Gloves
Keep disposable gloves available in the room where you will be giving hands-on care. Gloves are needed if you will be changing dressings; handling bedpans, urinals, or pads; or coming in contact with blood or other fluids. Wash your hands before and after using gloves. Let someone from your care team know if you need gloves.
Clean-up
Wear gloves when handling fluids and spills. Clean up any body fluids or spills on surfaces with hot, soapy water. If possible, disinfect with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Put soiled tissues, dressings, bandages, disposable pads, and gloves in a plastic bag. Place this bag in a second bag and tie or tape it closed before putting it in the garbage.
Collect contaminated laundry in a plastic bag. Wash it separately in hot water and detergent. If you hand wash a small contaminated item, wear gloves.
Needles
If the person you are caring for uses needles, dispose of them in a tough, puncture- resistant plastic container. An empty bleach bottle works well. Be sure to screw the lid on tightly. Generally, Guardian Hospice will supply you with a container for needle disposal. Talk to your Nurse if you have questions about using it properly.
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