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Infection Prevention

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Patients on dialysis are at a high risk for getting an infection. But there are several things you can do to minimize your chances of getting an infection.

Know where germs can be found:

  • on our hands and skin
  • in our nose and mouth
  • on the hands of your medical staff and in their noses
  • on your pet
  • inside and outside your house
  • on surfaces and equipment

Know the signs and symptoms of an infection:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • pain
  • drainage
  • fever
  • chill

Report any signs of infection to your care givers

Wash your hands often, especially before and after dialysis treatment

  Keep your access site clean

  Never scratch or remove scabs from your access site

  Make sure your caregivers:

  • Wash hands
  • Wear gloves, mask, and gown
  • Disinfect your skin before inserting needles
  • Change gloves after stopping dialysis machine and before removing needles

Infection-Prevention Videos

Dialysis Patients Speak Preventing Infections 2012 (Video)

Dialysis Patients Speak: Preventing Infections Created by Liza Walworth for the ESRD Network of New England, Inc. at Dialysis Clinic, Inc.'s facility at Tufts Medical Center

How to Properly Wash Your Hands and Your Vascular Access (Video)

How to Wash your Hands and Your Vascular Access to Prevent Infection Produced jointly by Network 15 and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment


Vaccines for People on Dialysis

This flyer provides recommended immunizations for people on dialysis.

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Bloodstream Infection Prevention

Patients who undergo dialysis treatment have an increased risk of infection. They are at a high risk for infection because the process of hemodialysis requires frequent use of dialysis catheters or the insertion of needles to access the bloodstream. Additionally, hemodialysis patients commonly have...

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Caring for Your Dialysis Catheter

This tri-fold brochure about caring for a central venous catheter (CVC) and how to recognize and trouble shoot problems, is an excellent resource for patients with CVCs. 

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Hand Hygiene Saves Lives Brochure

This brochure provides information about how hand hygiene can saves lives.

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Sepsis Zone Tool: My Plan to Identify Infection and/or Sepsis

Tthis one page tool will help you determine if you're fine, may have an infection and need to call your provider about possible infection, or are in trouble and need to call 9-1-1 in the event of sepsis.

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Dialysis Patient Speaks About Preventing Infection

Created by Liza Walworth for the ESRD Network of New England, Inc. at Dialysis Clinic, Inc.'s facility at Tufts Medical Center. Used with permission.

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Clean Hands Save Lives!

This educational flyer offers simple guidance on how staff and patients can practice infection prevention through good hand hygiene.

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Myth Busters: Vaccinations

Fact or fiction? This handout, available in English and Spanish, dispels some of the myths and highlights the facts about the Pneumonia and Hepatitis B vaccinations.

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Let's Talk: Starting the Conversation to Prevent HAIs

Preventing infections is important for patient safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants dialysis patients and dialysis centers to start a conversation about preventing infections. Family members can also start the conversation. We hope this guide can be a starting point to improve awareness about patient safety issues.

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Patient Hand Hygiene Audit

This document offers examples of hand hygiene audit opportunities and instructions on how to complete an audit.

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Washing Your Access

This document offers tips for washing your vascular access, as well as infection signs and symptoms to be aware of.

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Preventing Bloodstream Infections in Outpatient Hemodialysis Patients: Best Practices

The CDC has created a video for frontline dialysis staff along with an accompanying poster for staff and pocket card for patients that convey best practices for preventing bloodstream and other infections in hemodialysis outpatients.

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Infection Prevention in Dialysis Settings

The CDC has created a new continuing education course "Infection Prevention in Dialysis Settings" for outpatient hemodialysis healthcare workers, including technicians and nurses.

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Hemodialysis Catheter Compatibility Chart - Compatible Skin Antiseptics and Antimicrobial Ointments

This chart provides links to information available from catheter manufacturers on compatibility of topical antiseptics and antimicrobial ointments with various chronic hemodialysis catheter models.

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Injections without Infections: Basic Patient Safety

This resource includes CDC presentation slides providing an overview of basic patient safety techniques for injections.

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Core Interventions for Dialysis Bloodstream Infection Prevention

This CDC resource provides resources, education, and tools regarding the CDC approach to BSI prevention in dialysis facilities.

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Recommended Staff Competencies

This resource provides an overview of infection control categories on which staff should be assessed at least yearly.

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Protocol: Scrub the Hub for Hemodialysis Catheters(2)

This protocol outlines a suggested approach to preparing catheter hubs prior to accessing the catheter for hemodialysis. It is based on evidence where available and incorporates theoretical rationale when published evidence is unavailable.

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Key Areas for Patient Education

This CDC resource lists key areas for annual patient access and infection education.

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Protocol: Scrub the Hub for Hemodialysis Catheters

This protocol outlines a suggested approach to preparing catheter hubs prior to accessing the catheter for hemodialysis. It is based on evidence where available and incorporates theoretical rationale when published evidence is unavailable.

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CDC Suggested Use of Dialysis Observation Tools

This is a CDC resource providing suggested use of dialysis infection prevention observation tools.

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CDC Suggested use of Dialysis Checklist Tools

This is a CDC resource providing suggested use of dialysis infection prevention observation tools.

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Protocol: Hand Hygiene and Glove Use Observations

Goals and recommendations related to the CDC protocol for hand hygiene and glove use observations

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Herd Immunity

When a lot of people in the community are vaccinated against an illness, it makes it harder for the disease to spread. This is because there are fewer people to become infected. This is called "Herd Immunity."

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