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  • MRSA: Questions and Answers

  • Why do I have to be in isolation?

    • At Rhode Island Hospital, we place patients in isolation to stop the spread of MRSA from one patient to another patient. All hospital staff must wear gowns and gloves when they enter your room so they will not get MRSA on their clothes or on their hands. Sometimes a mask may be worn, too. All persons who enter your room must wash their hands with soap and water or clean them with alcohol gel before entering and upon leaving your room.
      All equipment that is used for your care must stay in your room or be cleaned before it is taken out and used on another patient. Regular linens and dishes are used because dishes and linens from all patients are treated as if they are contaminated.

    How long must I stay in isolation?

    • The Department of Epidemiology and Infection Control will determine how long you must remain in isolation. Usually patients may leave isolation after having two tests, over a period of time, that show you no longer carry MRSA.

    Can I leave my room?

    • You may leave your room to go for testing. If your doctor allows you to leave your bed, you may walk in the hall if you wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol gel before you leave the room and you wear a clean gown or robe. Please do not sit in the lounge or waiting areas.

    May I have visitors?

    • Your family and friends may visit if you have MRSA. Your visitors have the option of wearing gowns and gloves, but they may not leave your room while wearing them. Visitors may not use your bathroom. Before they leave, visitors must dispose of their gowns and gloves in your room and wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol hand gel.

    Can I go home if I have MRSA?

    • You can go home with MRSA. People who are at risk of getting sick from MRSA are patients who are ill with other diseases, have some type of medical device (tubes, drains) or those who have had recent surgery. Any or all of these factors make them more likely to get infections. Proper hand washing and good personal hygiene are the best ways to prevent the spread of MRSA. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before you eat and before and after you handle any bandages or tubes. Others living in your home and anyone who may be assisting you need to do the same. Clean and disinfect your home often, especially the bathroom. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors and clothing.