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Information last updated 17 November 2022
The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Infection Prevention and Control Unit

The Infection Prevention and Control Unit is an integral service at the Women's and Children's Health Network, providing information, education and resources to all departments and staff throughout the hospital and the region.

The Infection Prevention and Control Unit is an integral service at the Women's and Children's Health Network. It provides information, education and resources regarding the control and prevention of infections to all departments and staff throughout the hospital and the network.

The primary role of Infection Prevention and Control Unit is to:

  • Prevent the spread of illness, disease and germs to our patients, carers, their family and staff
  • Educate and advise our staff, patients and their families of infection control practices.
  • Monitor infection rates in the hospital and vulnerable patients in the community.
  • The infection prevention and control nurses develop, implement and assess policies, procedures and guidelines regarding infection prevention and control.
  • Contribute to state and national committees to deliver best practices across the WCHN.

How to access this service

Opening hours

For general enquiries, contact the Unit during business hours.

For urgent enquiries, contact your GP or after hours also call the hospital switchboard.

Located at the Women's and Children's Hospital and available on:

  • Phone: (08) 8161 6388
  • Fax: (08) 8161 8450

Further Information

Healthcare-Associated Infections

Many healthcare associated infections are preventable. As a consumer of healthcare, you may wish to know more about how to prevent catching an infection or a bug during your hospital stay.

This page explains the key principles that will help to prevent infections:

Hand Hygiene

Hand washing or using alcohol gel is the most effective way of stopping germs passing from person to person.

What we do

  • All our staff have been trained in hand hygiene.
  • We expect all staff to wash or gel their hands before and after having contact with you/ your child.
  • We expect our staff who are having direct contact with patients to not wear anything on their hands/wrists (plain band is the only exception). To be “Bare Below the Elbow”
  • Every month, we audit compliance with our hand hygiene procedure.

What you can do

  • If you are not sure if a staff member has cleaned their hands, it is OK for you to ask.
  • Make sure that you and/or your child washes their hands before meals and after using the toilet.
  • Ask your visitors to do the same.

What we do

  • We test patients on admission if they have come from another hospital where they might have been exposed to germs. These germs may be resistant to common antibiotics. Such germs are MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) also known as golden staph We will test you/your child by taking a swab from the nose and the groin, or sending a faeces (poo) sample for testing. If you/ your child is carrying a germ that is resistant to the common antibiotics, we will nurse them in a single room. Then we will alert this on your/ your child’s medical record and on our computer system.

What you can do

  • If you/ your child has been in contact with someone who has an infectious disease, such as chickenpox, shingles or measles, or has developed a rash, let us know before you come to WCHN. This will help us to prevent it spreading to other patients and their families.
  • If one of your other children (siblings of the patient) has been in contact with someone who has an infectious disease, such as chickenpox, shingles or measles, or has developed a rash, check first with the ward if it is ok for them to visit.
  • Do not visit if any of you have symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting, a cough or a cold.
  • Tell your visitors that should not visit if they have symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting, a cough or a cold.

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.

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 in charge know. The majority of equipment is single use (used only once) but if it needs to be reused (used over and over again) it is cleaned using recommended cleaning method
  • Please keep your room/ your child’s room or bed area tidy and free from clutter to help our cleaning staff to clean the area.

What we do

If you/ your child has an infection or is symptomatic, we may need to nurse them in isolation in a single room. 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 by sharing contaminated equipment, toys or the environment.
  • They may be airborne (transported through air) or droplet from someone coughing or sneezing.
  • If we need to look after you/ your child in an isolation room, we will explain to you or/and your child. Depending on what type of infection you/your child has, staff may need to wear gloves, gowns or face masks- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when looking after your child. There will also be a STOP sign placed on outside of the door. This will alert staff to what PPE is required to nurse you/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 gel.
  • 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 you/your child stays in their room and does not go to any other areas of the ward.
  • Do not visit others on the ward and make sure that they do not come to visit you.
  • Check with the nurse if you can use the common areas/ parent’s room on the ward.
Visiting WCHN

Please view the following poster on visiting the hospital:

Infection Prevention and Your Baby

Please view the following fact sheet on the importance of hygiene and infection control as part of your baby’s care:

Caesarean Wound Care

Please view the following fact sheet on how to take care of your caesarean wound:

Handling and Preparing Food

Ensure work surfaces, utensils and cutting boards have been cleaned and sanitised before being used to handle and prepare food. Safe food handling and preparation practices include:

  • washing hands well in soapy water for at least 10 to 15 seconds before preparing food, before eating and after touching raw meats and eggs
  • asking other people to prepare food if you are not feeling well
  • never placing cooked foods on dishes that have contained raw products such as meat, poultry and fish, unless the plates have been thoroughly washed first
  • never use a sauce on cooked food if it has been previously used to marinate raw meat or seafood, unless the marinade has been cooked first or will be cooked. For example, do not spoon the uncooked juices or marinade over the cooked food and serve. The uncooked marinade will probably contain harmful bacteria.

Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables (except sprouts, rockmelons or pre-washed salads) if they are to be eaten raw.

Perishable foods should not be left unrefrigerated for long periods. If perishable foods have to be out of refrigeration, the following time limits can be applied to ensure that they remain safe to eat.

  • Between 0 to 2 hours: use immediately or refrigerate at ≤5°C
  • 2 to 4 Hours: use immediately/consume – do not return to refrigeration!
  • After 4 Hours: Discard

Childcare and School Exclusions Periods