Infection prevention

Life Healthcare takes infection prevention seriously. It is a key priority, and to ensure the highest standards our comprehensive, well-entrenched infection prevention programme is aligned with evidence-based international best practices.

Infection prevention throughout our hospitals


Our infection prevention and risk management department is involved in all aspects of the business, including:

  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Procurement
  • Hospital services
  • Operating theatres
  • Sterile services
  • Clinical and general engineering
  • Renovations and new construction
  • Occupational health

What is infection prevention?

The easiest and most important method to prevent the transfer of bacteria is effective hand hygiene. All healthcare workers, patients and hospital visitors should practise good hand hygiene.

Hand hygiene is the cornerstone of infection prevention and patient safety, and while this is vital in our healthcare facilities, it is equally important at home, work and in the community. Hygiene measures are all-important yet often undervalued.

Three questions you should be able to answer

1. Why is handwashing so important?

The hands are one of the most significant contributors to cross-contamination and cross-infection – in the home and hospital.

2. When should you wash your hands?

  • Before...
    Eating or feeding children
    Touching your nose, eyes or mouth
    Applying contact lenses
    Giving medication or first aid
  • After...
    Using the toilet or changing a child’s nappy
    Handling pets and domestic animals
    Contact with blood or body fluids
    Coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
    Contact with a potentially contaminated site
    Touching hospital surfaces such as bed rails and door handles
  • Before and after...
    Handling raw food
    Tending to someone who is sick
    Whenever hands appear dirty

3. How should you wash your hands?

  1. Wet your hands.
  2. Apply soap.
  3. Rub hands together to form a lather.
  4. Rub all over the top of your hands, between fingers and around and under fingernails.
  5. Rinse your hands well.

Download our handwashing tips >

Educating the community about good hand hygiene

Recent studies show that:

  1. 60% of South Africans do not wash their hands properly after using the toilet.
  2. 66% of South Africans do not wash their hands with soap. A five-second splash under water may make your hands appear cleaner and remove any visible dirt, but it’s not really effective in getting rid of the harmful germs on your hands that can cause infection, especially at critical moments – after using the toilet, after cleaning a child and before handling food.
  3. 75% of illnesses in homes can be prevented by using hygiene products and maintaining good hygiene habits such as handwashing.

A 2005-2007 study by Professor Eugene C Cole in the Western Cape found that the following can be prevented through good hygiene habits:

  • 80% of gastrointestinal infections (including vomiting and diarrhoea)
  • 70% of respiratory infections (including colds, flu and ear infections)
  • 70% of skin infections (abscesses, boils, eczema, impetigo, ringworm, scabies and pink eye)

Wound care

Infection must also be prevented in wounds after surgery. Here are some helpful wound care tips for surgical patients after discharge.
Download our wound care tips >

Did you know?

In hospital, patients with contagious diseases will be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease/infection. It is vital that all healthcare workers, as well as visitors, adhere to the precautionary measures prescribed.

Life Healthcare magazine - your better life starts here!

Read our latest edition