If your child has been invited for a face-to-face appointment or procedure, it’s important you still come unless you hear otherwise.
To help keep everyone safe, only one parent or carer can attend. No other family or friends can visit.
See all our information about COVID-19, including steps we are taking to keep you safe.

Infection prevention and control for families

This website page explains how you can help us minimise risk of infections whilst your child is in hospital.

If you have any further questions, please speak to the nurse caring for your child. 

Children and young people can be at a higher risk of getting an infection when they are ill.

The body has natural defence mechanisms to fight off infections, but these may be affected for a variety of reasons when someone is ill.

For example, when a child has an operation, the surgical wound means that the natural skin barrier is broken, which could allow bacteria (germs) to enter the body.

Bacteria and viruses (germs) may come from other patients, staff, visitors (including siblings), equipment or the environment. This website page explains the key principles that will help to prevent infections.

Hand Hygiene

What we do

  • All our staff have been trained in hand hygiene.
  • We expect all staff to wash or use the alcohol hand rub on their hands before and after having contact with your child.
  • Every month, we audit compliance with our hand hygiene protocol.

What you can do

Ask your visitors to do the same

  • If you are not sure if a staff member has cleaned their hands, it is ok for you to ask.
  • Make sure that your child washes their hands before meals and after using the toilet.
  • Make sure that you wash your hands before and after visiting your child, before meals or feeding your child, after visiting the toilet and after changing your child’s nappy or helping them use the toilet or bed pan. 

Monitoring

What we do

  • We test all patients before or on admission if they carry germs that are resistant to common antibiotics, such as MRSA (meticillin resistant staphylococcus). The test is done by taking a swab from the nose, throat and groin, we may also need to do a rectal swab (if your child is admitted to a critical care areas and/ or has had admission to any hospital in the last 12 months).
  • If your child is carrying a germ that is resistant to the common antibiotics, we will nurse them under isolation precautions either in a single room or in a bay. Your child’s nurse will advise you on any special precautions needed.

What you can do

  • If your child has been in contact with someone who has an infectious disease, such as chickenpox, shingles or measles, or has developed a rash or high temperature, let us know before you come to the hospital. This will help us to prevent it spreading to other children and their families.
  • If one of your other children (siblings of the patient) has Chickenpox rash 5 been in contact with someone who has an infectious disease, such as chickenpox, shingles or measles, or has developed a rash or high temperature, please don’t bring them in to visit. Please speak to the ward staff to check when it is ok for them to visit.
  • Do not visit or bring in your other children if any of you have symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting, a cough or a cold.
  • Tell your visitors that they should not visit if they have symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting, a cough or a cold.
  • If you / your family become unwell and are resident in hospital accommodation such as Ronald McDonald House or Gassiot House, please call the hospital switchboard on 020 7188 7188 and ask for the bleep desk. Ask for bleep 1698 and wait for a response. This will then connect you to the Paediatric Nurse Practitioner who can advise you on any special measures and where to go for assistance.

Environment

What we do

  • Cleanliness of the environment is very important to us and we are making sure that our wards and departments are clean and tidy.
  • There are regular hygiene inspections of all of our clinical areas.

What you can do

  • You can help us by telling us if you think an area or a piece of equipment is not clean enough – please let the nurse caring for your child know. 
  • Please keep your child’s room or bed area tidy and free from clutter to help our domestic staff to clean the area.

Isolation

What we do

If your child has an infection we may need to nurse them in isolation in a single room or use screens in a bay. The aim of isolation is to prevent the transfer of infection from infected patients to other patients, staff and visitors. Infections can be passed on in different ways:

  • They may be spread by direct contact with another person, usually by the hands.
  • They can be passed on indirectly from one person to another via contaminated equipment, toys or the environment.
  • They may be airborne from someone coughing or sneezing and can be passed on through the inhalation of airborne droplets. If we need to look after your child in an isolation room, we will explain to you and your child why this is necessary. Depending on what type of infection your child has, staff may need to wear gloves, aprons or face masks when looking after your child.

What you can do

Make sure that everyone cleans their hands before and after leaving the room with soap and water or alcohol hand rub.

  • Make sure that the door of the room is kept closed.
  • Make sure that all toys and equipment used for your child are kept in their room and until they are better and no longer need to be isolated.
  • Make sure that your child stays in their room and does not go to any other areas of the ward.
  • Do not visit other children and parents on the ward and make sure that they do not come to visit you.
  • Check with the nurse in charge if you can use the parent’s room and kitchen on the ward.
  • Check with the nurse in charge if you’re other children can come to visit.

(adapted with kind permission by the IPC Team at Great Ormond Street Hospital)

Useful sources of information

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns please telephone the Infection Prevention and Control team on 020 7188 3153 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).


Leaflet number: 4651/VER1
Date published: October 2018 
Review date: October 2021 
© 2018 Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust 
A list of sources is available on request

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If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s medicines, please speak to the staff caring for them or contact our helpline.

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