Infection Prevention

At CHOC Children’s Hospital, we are committed to providing our patients with the safest surgery possible by taking extra steps to reduce the risks of surgical infections. Children undergoing surgery are at risk of infection and by teaming with patients and their families, we are able to lower those risks. Our nurses are happy to answer any additional questions regarding infection prevention and can provide patients and their families with additional resources.

CHOC Children’s Surgical Infection Prevention

Our healthcare team takes a number of precautions before and during surgery to prevent surgical site infections. We ask that anyone at the Tidwell Procedure Center who appears to be sick to wear a surgical mask or wait in an area away from our patients. Healthcare providers will always wash their hands or use an alcohol hand gel before coming in contact with patients.

Once in the operating room, we have a number of additional safe guards in place to help prevent infection. Patients may not wear any clothing from home and must wear a hospital-provided gown and hair cover. In addition to thoroughly washing with a special soap from their fingertips to their elbows, our doctors and nurses ensure that the surgery site is cleaned with a special germ-killing antiseptic. The healthcare team is very careful to use surgery equipment and instruments that are sterilized. Patients with certain risk factors may receive antibiotics before surgery.

While in the operating room, we use special positioning aids that keep our patients comfortable and protect them from pressure ulcers on the skin. Pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores, pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) develop when the blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than two to three hours. The sore first starts as a red, painful area, which eventually turns purple and can become infected if left untreated. By using special pressure distribution pads under our patients during surgery, we are able to redistribute the pressure put on the areas of the body most prone to pressure ulcers and maintain proper blood flow to the patient’s tissues. Learn more about surgical infection prevention.

Infection Prevention Starts with Patients and their Families

For the safety of our patients, family members and visitors are welcome in the preoperative unit before and after patients’ procedures as long as no one is ill or contagious. Family members and friends should not visit a hospitalized patient if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • runny nose

Surgical patients with any of these symptoms, the day before or day of surgery, should contact our preoperative nurses at Procedure Center 714-509-9185 until 7p.m. Monday through Friday or 714-509-9175 on weekends or after 7p.m. Monday through Friday.

Friends and family can help prevent infection through proper hand washing and respiratory etiquette. It is very important that anyone who will be near a sick child wash their hands before coming in contact with the patient. To properly prevent infection, always rub hands together with soap and water for at least fifteen seconds or use an alcohol hand gel.

When it comes to sneezing and coughing, always do so in your upper sleeve or directly into a tissue—not into your hands. After a cough or sneeze, always wash hands thoroughly or use an alcohol hand gel.

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UC Irvine

CHOC Children's is affiliated with the UC Irvine School of Medicine