Infection Prevention and Control



The number of hospital-acquired infections—known as nosocomial infections—is on the rise in most health care establishments, and this trend is world-wide. With good reason, this type of infection is often a source of worry for patients. While it is impossible to eradicate such infections completely, the Montreal Heart Institute puts every measure in place to ensure that they aren't given a fighting chance.

Our daily infection crusade is carried out by a dedicated and trusted team of infection prevention advisors, microbiologists-infectiologists, and a highly trained disinfection team. The priorities of this multidisciplinary team consist in preventing and monitoring infections, managing outbreaks, educating staff and hospital visitors on the measures to adopt, and instituting best practices in infection control.

How you can make a difference as a visitor

Hand washing may seem like a trivial gesture. Yet, as something that everyone can implement, it is the single most important action a person can take to decrease the number of nosocomial infections. Using the alcohol-based hand gel placed at every entrance and exit, the simple act of hand washing at opportune moments (e.g. when entering or leaving the hospital or a patient's room) effectively reduces the spread of nosocomial infections by 50%. For the welfare of our patients, here are a few other important measures our visitors should observe:

  • Avoid having multiple visitors in the same room at once.
  • As much as possible, avoid bringing preschool-aged children into patients' rooms.
  • Avoid using the patients' washrooms.
  • Follow any additional precautions as required (e.g. wearing a gown, mask, or nitrile gloves).
  • Anyone who currently has an infectious disease (e.g. the flu, a cold, gastroenteritis, or otherwise) must avoid coming to the MHI.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after using the washrooms.

What is a nosocomial infection?

By definition, a nosocomial infection is an infection that is contracted in a hospital setting. To be considered nosocomial, the infection must have developed at least 48 hours after the patient has been admitted. Under 48 hours, the infection could have been acquired outside the hospital. Those who are the most at-risk for contracting a nosocomial infection are children—especially newborns—and seniors.