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the panhandle of Oklahoma.

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Lowering Patient Risk of Infection While at PRMC

Like all hospitals across the country Pratt Regional Medical Center has infection control procedures and policies that are strictly followed by staff in order to take every precaution to avoid hospital-acquired infections or HAI.

“Our infection rates are consistently below the state and national average,” PRMC Infection Control Nurse, Cecile Pearce said.

However, the risk of infection can never be completely eliminated and some patients have a higher risk of acquiring an infection than others. There are things patients can do before, during and after a hospital stay to help reduce the chance of acquiring an infection.

Prior to a hospital stay it is recommended patients:

Stop smoking - smoking can interfere with healing processes. It also damages the airways, which can make lung infections more likely.

Maintain a healthy weight - people who are overweight are more prone to infection.

Inform your doctor of all existing or recent illness - a cold or the flu can lead to a chest infection, so let your doctor or the hospital staff know if you are not well.

Manage diabetes - if you are a diabetic, make sure that your blood sugar levels are under control.

Before having a surgery, it is important to follow all pre-operative instructions. For instance, patients are asked to wash with an antibacterial soap such as Dial, using the E-Z scrub brush provided, wear clean clothes and sleep on clean sheets, and do not shave the area to be operated on.

During a hospital stay, there are practices and protocols that all staff should follow when preparing a patient for surgery. This includes cleaning and disinfecting of hands; use of sterile gowns, gloves, masks; and prepping and disinfecting the area to be operated on. Staff members check and recheck the site that is to be operated on to verify there are no complications and it is the correct site, they make sure to give the right antibiotic at the right time.

“Patients should notice staff washing their hands or using hand sanitizers before and after they provide care,” Pearce said. “It is best if family members and visitors also wash their hands or use the alcohol hand foam (available in every patient room) before and after each visit. We ask that visitors do not come to the hospital if they have a cough, fever, runny nose, open sores, or just don’t feel good.”   

Once a patient has been dismissed from the hospital, it is important they continue to practice good hygiene and follow all post-operative instructions. “Stay in touch with your doctor, and make sure you report any signs or symptoms of an infection,” Pearce said.

Cecile Pearce is PRMC’s Infection Prevention Nurse and Employee Health Coordinator.  If you have questions or concerns regarding infections or the quality of care at PRMC, please call her at 620-450-1169. Sherry Besser is Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.  If you have questions or concerns regarding care that you have received at PRMC, please call her 620-450-1229.

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