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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 12:09 GMT
'Clean yourself' advice on MRSA
Image of washing hands
Patients should check staff have washed their hands
Patients should bring their own medical wipes and scrub up before coming to hospital to cut MRSA, say advisors.

They should ask relatives to launder their clothes and make sure their visitors have washed themselves properly before entering the ward.

The Patients Association's 10-point code also advises patients to collect their own rubbish and insist staff wash their hands to cut infection risk.

Nurses welcomed most of the measures but questioned their practicality.

Patients' cleanliness code
Wash before coming to hospital
Ask relatives to launder nightwear/bring toiletry supplies
Visitors should be freshly showered/bathed
Only two visitors at a time
Visitors should not sit on the bed
Patients in isolation should not have visitors
Ask staff/visitors to wash their hands
Bring medical wipes with you and clean your hands after using a bottle or bed pan
Collect your own bedside rubbish
Fill out hospital questionnaires

Jean Lawrence, chair of the Infection Control Nursing Association, said: "It's obviously patient choice.

"The hospital and the healthcare setting should have enough people and proper procedures in place to try and ensure that patients do not have to do this.

"But if they want to do it then they can do it."

She said some patients might not be able to financially afford to follow all of the recommendations.

Nursing colleague Christine Perry, also from the ICNA, said most of the recommendations were sound, but questioned the advice that patients in isolation should have no visitors and rely on the telephone for contact instead.

"I'm seriously concerned that patients who are stuck in a single room would not have visitors.

"It would seriously impact on their recovery from a psychological point of view."

But she thought it was reasonable to limit visitor numbers. The Patients Association's code recommends two at a time.

'Everyone's responsibility'

Ms Perry said attention should be focused on good infection control strategies such as hand hygiene and proper use of gloves and that patients could help by reminding staff.

These are all very practical measures that patients can do.
A spokeswoman from the Patients Association

The proposed 10-point code will be up for discussion at the Clean Hospitals Summit, which Health Minister Lord Warner will be attending, as reported in Nursing Standard.

A spokeswoman for the Patients Association said: "These are all very practical measures that patients can do."

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Paul Burstow MP said: "It is right to recognise that patients and their visitors have a role in protecting themselves and others from these bugs."

But he added that the Government must do more to tackle hospital acquired infections.

The Department of Health said it was keen for everyone to take responsibility for MRSA.



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