Campaign Encourages Patients and Caregivers to Protect Themselves from Infection

Dentistry Today


The Joint Commission’s Speak Up to Prevent Infection campaign offers free, downloadable educational materials in English and Spanish for the public and for healthcare providers to support patient involvement in their care. Its resources include: 

  • An infographic poster/flyer in three sizes, all available in English and Spanish, for patients and their families
  • An animated video, available in English and Spanish, to incorporate in office programming
  • A distribution guide with recommendations on how healthcare organizations can use and provide the materials for patients and their families, caregivers, and advocates 

Speak Up to Prevent Infection focuses on six primary ways that caregivers, patients, and their advocates can actively prevent the risk and spread of infection:

  • Clean your hands. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. Clean your hands before eating or touching food.
  • Remind caregivers to clean their hands as soon as they enter the room. This helps prevent the spread of germs. Caregivers may wear gloves for their own protection.
  • Stay away from others when you are sick. If possible, stay home. Don’t share drinks or eating utensils, don’t touch others or shake hands, and don’t visit newborns.
  • If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose. Use a tissue or the crook of your elbow, and clean your hands as soon as possible after you cough or sneeze. Ask for a mask as soon as you get to the doctor’s office or hospital. Keep a distance of about five feet between yourself and others.
  • If you visit a hospital patient, clean your hands when entering or exiting the hospital and before going in our out of the patient’s room. Read and follow the directions on signs posted outside the patient’s room. You may be asked to put on a mask, gloves, a paper gown, and shoe covers. If sanitizer wipes are in the room, read the instructions. Some wipes are only for cleaning equipment and surfaces and are not safe for skin. If you are unsure about what to do, ask the nurse.
  • Get shots to avoid disease. Make sure your vaccinations are current, even for adults. Help prevent diseases like the flu, whooping cough, and pneumonia.

Launched in 2002, the Speak Up program has been used in more than 70 countries. It encourages patients to be their own advocates and to: 

  • Speak up
  • Pay attention
  • Educate themselves
  • Advocates (family members and friends) can help
  • Know about their new medicine
  • Use a quality healthcare organization
  • Participate in all decisions about their care

The campaign is the second to be introduced in the Joint Commission’s refreshed Speak Up program, which debuted last year after national market research including focus group feedback from patients and their families.

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