Visitors to wear protective clothing to prevent infecting others

Starting December 1, folks visiting Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center to visit a patient who’s in isolation will have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to help guard themselves and others from illness.

Carle is following guidelines from the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America-Infectious Disease Society of America.

PPE in the hospital consists of gloves, gowns and/or surgical masks.

Hospitals need to isolate patients who have highly infectious diseases such as pertussis, flu, tuberculosis, measles Clostridium difficile (C.diff) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

PPE protects the wearer from becoming infected. Before leaving the patient's room, they take off the PPE by the door and throw it away. This helps prevent spreading infectious disease.

If a visitor comes to Carle to see a patient in isolation, they will be directed to the nurses’ station first to be instructed on isolation and proper PPE.  Visitors will then put on PPE according to Carle policy and the types of isolation.

Types of isolation are:

  • Contact isolation: Visitors will wear a gown and gloves if they will come in direct contact with the patient (holding hands, hugging and could include assisting with feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.).
  • Contact/Soap and Water isolation: Visitors will wear a gown and gloves at all times.
  • Contact Plus:  Visitors will wear a gown and gloves at all times.
  • Droplet isolation: Visitors will wear a surgical mask within three feet of the patient.
  • Airborne isolation: Visitors will wear a mask at all times.

In addition, children under age 12 cannot visit an isolated patient unless there are special circumstances cleared in advance. Adults must accompany all minors under age 12.

"Our staff wears PPE when taking care of patients in isolation," said Taffy Creviston, MPH, senior infection preventionist. "Going forward, if our staff is wearing PPE in a patient room, our guests will wear the same protective gear."

"We will explain to visitors why we need them to put on PPE and we will teach them how to properly wear the clothing," Creviston said. “Keeping our patients, visitors, and staff safe is our top priority.”

Curbing viruses and bacteria helps keep everyone safe.

"We understand that wearing PPE might be new for our visitors," said Robert Healy, MD, chief medical quality officer at Carle.

"But, we must do everything we can to stop the spread of infectious disease and visitor PPE is a tool to do that."