Infection Prevention

St. Clair has taken the approach that most, if not all, hospital–associated infections can be prevented.

Dedicated teams focus on infection prevention and have incorporated leading clinical practices into the Hospital’s everyday routine.  Best practices such as: using the proper antiseptic when inserting a central line, closely monitoring how long a patient's urinary catheter is in place, wearing gown and gloves when necessary,   proper disinfection of medical equipment and the environment  and frequent hand washing are just a few of the tactics used to help prevent infection. We look to the community to help us fight infections by practicing good hand hygiene, washing their hands before and after their visit.

Infection Prevention Frequently Asked Questions:

Who are “infection preventionists”
Infection Preventionist work in healthcare settings to keep patients, visitors, volunteers, employees and healthcare providers safe from infections.

What are healthcare-associated infections?
Healthcare-associated infections can occur as a result of the care or treatment that a patient receives.

The most common infections associated with healthcare are:
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI):  Infection develops either during or after placement of a urinary catheter. Urinary catheters are normally placed in patients undergoing long surgical procedures who need assistance with passing urine, or those who are extremely ill. Bacteria enter the tubing and make their way into the bladder or kidneys. 

Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI): Infection develops either during or after placement of a tube placed into a vein. You may know this as an IV. IVs are normally placed to give fluids and medication or may be used to withdraw blood for testing. Bacteria enter the tubing and circulate in the blood.

Surgical site infection (SSI):  Infection develops either during or after a surgical procedure when bacteria enter the wound. Sometimes, these bacteria may also move to other sites and cause infection in the urine, blood, or lungs.

Pneumonia: Infection develops when bacteria enter the nose or mouth and travel to the lungs. Bacteria may also travel through a tube that has been inserted to help with breathing.

Gastrointestinal infections:  Infections that cause inflammation in your intestinal tract and can lead to deadly diarrhea.   These infections are frequently caused by the C.difficile germ and are often seen in patients who have taken antibiotics.

Click here to see St. Clair Hospital Standardized Infection Ratios (SIR)

How does an infection preventionist affect the care I receive?
Infection Prevenitoists partner with members of your healthcare team and use proven methods to ensure that your stay safe from healthcare-associated infections during your stay.  You may notice the presence of infection prevention activities throughout the facility:

  • Hand Washing stations
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Healthcare providers wearing gloves, masks and gowns
  • Frequent disinfection of equipment and surfaces by healthcare workers
  • Signs reminding visitors to perform hand hygiene and cough their cough

What do I need to know to stay safe?
Your care providers are concerned about your health and safety.  They want you to have a voice and participate in care.  You and your family are important members of healthcare team.    

  • Clean your hands and make sure everyone around you does too
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, not hour hand
  • Take medications as directed
  • If you are having surgery, ask if you should shower with a antibacterial soap a head of time
  • Ask your provider if you still need your catheter


Click here to learn more about preventing hospital-aquired infections from Dr. Stephen M. Colodny, Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at St. Clair Hopsital.