Women’s health and patient safety experts at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Women’s Hospital (WH) cautioned patients, their families and other visitors against using certain decorations for patient rooms and other unsafe practices in an effort to ensure that WH does not compromise patient care and provides a clean and safe environment.

Senior Consultant for Quality and Safety at WH, Dr Huda Abdulla Hussain Saleh, stressed the importance of maintaining a clean environment in patient care facilities, in order to provide safe care and avoid the risk of transmitting infections, particularly for patients who have weaker immune systems, such as women who have just given birth and their newborn babies. Dr Saleh said:

Our patient rooms and units are designed in accordance with evidence-based infection control measures, in order to ensure we provide the safest care possible for our patients. These measures require strict adherence to high standards of cleanliness and proper ventilation of patient areas, therefore, WH restricts the amount of items that can be brought from outside. We also strive to ensure that patients avoid contact with visitors and very young children who are sick.’

As part of standard infection control precautions, WH does not allow decorating patient rooms with carpets, posters, curtains, stands, vases, aquariums, candles, balloons or any kind of furniture and interior design elements that may support the growth of disease-causing microbes. Carpets, curtains and other furniture have been documented to harbor large numbers of microbes. Bringing in any electrical equipment is also prohibited as it may interfere with the hospital’s electrical system and other life support equipment, and could cause electrical malfunctions.

Clinical Director of Operational Affairs at WH, Dr Zeena Saeed Al Mansoori, said:

Patients can easily acquire infections through physical contact, as well as through harmful chemicals, bacteria and viruses that may spread in the air. There is also a risk of transmitting infections if patients are visited by sick people or by very young children.’

Dr Al Mansoori also stressed the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infections within the hospital, pointing out that in order to facilitate hand-washing, HMC has provided dedicated sinks or hand sanitizers at patient room entrances and other prominent locations throughout all its facilities.

Small flower bouquets and small chocolate boxes are allowed in the patient rooms. However, placing any gifts, flowers and decorations in the hospital corridors outside the patient rooms is not allowed. Besides this practice being unhygienic, it is a fire hazard and can also block passages and restricts access to patients by members of the healthcare team.

WH Assistant Executive Director for Support Services, Ghislaine van den Born, said:

We strongly encourage the public to help us maintain a clean and safe environment for all who come to our hospital. We urge families not to spend large sums on employing companies to provide decorations that do not comply with our infection control guidelines or could damage the patient rooms during installation.’

The WH is one of the eight hospitals HMC manages, incorporating five specialist hospitals and three community hospitals. HMC has been the principal public healthcare provider in the state of Qatar for over three decades. The Corporation also manages the National Ambulance Service as well as home and residential care, all accredited by Joint Commission International. HMC is leading the development of the region’s first academic health system and is committed to building a legacy of healthcare expertise in Qatar. The Corporation collaborate with partners who are key experts in Qatar and beyond, including Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.