As the old saying goes, "prevention is better than cure". Sometimes the best prevention can begin with simple actions, i.e. promotion of hand hygiene.
For convenience to patients and visitors, alcohol-based hand rub dispensers are installed in most public areas of the Hospital. Pocket-sized hand rub is also available for all healthcare personnel and inpatients upon admission.
Hand-washing guidelines are strictly enforced in most patient areas. Posters are put up hospital-wide to remind healthcare personnel of the correct procedures step-by-step. Regular audits are also conducted to assess the hand hygiene practice.
Admission Requirements & Isolation Facilities of HKSH
Stringent infection control measures will be implemented as soon as a patient suspected of or confirmed as having contracted an airborne/droplet infection is admitted to the Hospital. Patients of varying conditions and severity will be transferred to different wards with enhanced infection control facilities, thereby minimising cross infection within the Hospital's premises. There are three types of isolation rooms in the Hospital with various sizes and special features for admission of different patients.
- Airborne Isolation Rooms (AIR): 21/F (adults) & 26/F (paediatrics) with negative pressure rooms and sufficient air exchange
- Single room with individual bathroom: 36/F (adults), 37/F (adults), 26/F (paediatrics), 31/F (negative pressure), 32/F (negative pressure), 33/F (adults)
- Single room with shared bathroom: 26/F (paediatrics), 31/F & 32/F
Patients suspected of or confirmed as suffering from airborne infectious diseases (i.e. chickenpox or disseminated zoster, measles and open tuberculosis) should be isolated in airborne isolation rooms (AIR).
Those in need of contact or droplet precautions will receive medical care in the single rooms with individual bathrooms.
Patients who require only droplet precautions will be taken care of in single rooms with shared bathrooms.
Airborne Isolation Unit
Each isolation room is specially designed for patients with open tuberculosis, measles, chickenpox, etc. As a precautionary measure, medical personnel must wear full personal protective equipment in a separate room before entry. They are allowed to leave the unit only after removing all the protective gears in the same room.
- Negative Pressure Air Extraction System - It establishes a steep pressure gradient as the air pressure is maintained at its highest outside the anterior room and its lowest in the toilet of the isolation room. The unidirectional air flow ensures a one-way passage of all air-borne pathogens, thereby minimising the risk of further infections within the Hospital's premises.
- Air Outlets with Ultraviolet Lamps - The outlets facilitate quick exit of airborne pathogens from patients coughing and sneezing. The air is disinfected by the UV lamps before release.
- Double - Door Design - Each airborne isolation room has an anterior room with two doors. One cannot open the doors at the same time, which helps prevent pathogen-carrying air from leaving the isolation room. By simply waving hands in front of the sensors, medical personnel can open the doors without touching the switch pad. It helps minimise the infection risk.
- Window Setting - Isolated patients can distinguish day and night by looking through the window panes at the isolation room. This is particularly important to the elderly as it relieves symptoms of disorientation.
- Video Communication - Staying in their own rooms, patients are free to converse with their relatives in another room via a video communication system.
- Other Facilities - Each isolation room has a private lavatory and shower room, telephone, nurse call, touch-screen IE Buddy with access to the internet, hospital information and TV entertainment (local TV, NOW TV and Satellite TV channels).
Enhanced Protection in General Wards
The Hospital has introduced the first ceiling-height movable partitions in Hong Kong. They can maintain patient privacy and, more importantly, minimise cross infection.