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Routine IT maintenance on Wednesday, June 19 will cause service interruptions between midnight and 6:00am affecting the YourHealthNS app and on-line appointment booking including COVID-19 testing, blood collection, X-Ray, EKG and the Need a Family Practice Registry.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

Comfort, Safety and Support

Hand Washing and Infection Prevention

Hand Hygiene

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of infection and disease. There are two acceptable ways to keep your hands clean:

  • Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer (These can be found throughout the hospitals)
  • Wash your hands with soap and running water

Please read our hand hygiene patient education resource to learn more.

How to Prevent an Infection While in Hospital

Despite the best efforts of health care providers, patients can get infections while seeking health care. (See public reports here)  There are some things patients can do to help reduce the chance of getting an infection.

Before you are admitted:

  • Ask your doctor about any vaccines you may need to prevent respiratory illness including influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia.
  • Follow any recommendations from your healthcare providers regarding weight loss, diabetes management or smoking cessation before hospitalization. This can help to prevent the complication of an infection following surgery.

Once you have been admitted:

  • Hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs. All staff should clean hands before caring for you. If you have not seen a staff member clean their hands, feel free to ask if they have done so.
  • Cover your cough with fresh tissue. Try to keep your hands away from your face because germs can enter through the nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Let your nurse know if your gown or linens are soiled or if you require tissues or any other hygienic supplies.
  • Try to keep the area around your bed clutter-free. This helps the housekeeping staff to keep the area clean.
  • Some patients are placed on “special precautions” while in hospital. This may include wearing combinations of gloves, gowns and masks by staff, visitors and patients. If you have questions while in hospital regarding these special precautions ask your nurse or a member of the Infection Prevention and Control Department who will be happy to explain this to you.
  • If any of your dressings are loose, or appear to have increased drainage, tell your nurse who will assess for any signs of infection.
  • Intravenous (IV) and drains can be an entry point for infections, if your dressing is loose or the area appears red or has increased tenderness, tell your nurse who will assess for any signs of infection.
  • Follow your health care providers’ instructions regarding any breathing exercises and directions for getting out of bed. This movement can help prevent a lung infection (pneumonia) after surgery.

Once you go home:

  • Be alert to any symptoms that might indicate you have an infection: increased or unexpected pain, chills or fever, increased drainage, pus, or swelling of a surgical wound.
  • Complete the full course of any antibiotic prescriptions as instructed by your doctor.
  • Follow all discharge instructions provided by your healthcare providers.
  • Make sure you attend any follow-up appointments with the members of the healthcare team caring for you.

Fall Prevention

Many patients have reduced mobility, sight and hearing. There is an increased risk of falls in the hospital. Family and friends can help reduce the risk of falls. Please remove any obstacles on the way to the bathroom or hallway and make sure the patient’s call bell is within reach.

Safe environment

  • Move slowly. The hours spent in bed (or sitting in a chair) can affect your balance.
  • Sit for a short time on the edge of your bed until you feel steady before standing or walking.
  • Make sure that your call bell is always within reach. If it is not, please ask a staff member or loved one to move it for you.
  • Be careful not to over-reach for things. If you can’t reach something, call for help.
  • If you have trouble getting in and out of bed, talk to your health care team about how to make this easier.

Help with mobility

  • Wait for staff to come and help you before moving if they have told you that you must have help.
  • Always use a mobility device such as a cane or walker if your health care team has told you to use one.
  • Wear shoes on all floor surfaces.
  • Tell your health care team right away when you need to go to the bathroom.
  • Tell your health care team about any medication that makes you feel dizzy, drowsy or confused.

Fall risk reduction

  • Wait until you are steady on your feet before you start to walk.
  • Wear non-slip, footwear that fits well.
  • Wear your glasses and hearing aid(s) if you need them.

Family help

  • Ask your health care team about any factors that could increase your risk of falling.
  • Talk about your risk of falling with your family and support people.

Watch our falls prevention videos HERE


For the protection of your personal property we recommend you bring $25 or less for any small items you may need during your visit. Please leave any valuables at home.

If you must bring something valuable, please remember that Nova Scotia Health Authority is not responsible for any items that go missing from your room or other areas of the hospital.

Drug Allergies

It is important that your health care providers know about your allergies.

If you wear a MedicAlert or allergy bracelet, make sure your health care providers know about it. Remember to tell the doctors and nurses if you have allergies or have ever had a bad reaction to an anesthetic (medication used to put you to sleep during surgery) or any other drug.

If you have any known drug allergies, you will have to wear a bracelet while in hospital to let staff know. Expect your health care team to check this information often. They may ask you questions about your allergies many times; this is to keep you safe.

Public Reporting on Patient Safety

You can find our patient safety performance reports here.

Clinics, Programs, and Services

Transportation Support (Northern Zone)

To reduce barriers in accessing healthcare for residents of Colchester, Cumberland, and Pictou counties and the Municipality of East Hants, Public Health is offering free, non-urgent transportation support to get...


In-Home Respite

(en français)

In-home respite provides caregivers with a planned and temporary break from their care giving responsibilities at home. Respite is provided through our contracted home care agencies...

Music Therapy

Offered at 5 locations

The music therapy service consists of a team of five accredited music therapists (MTAs) who have been accredited by the Canadian Association for Music Therapists (CAMT).

MTAs use music to...


prideHealth works to improve access to safe, coordinated, comprehensive primary health care for people who are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

prideHealth provides the following services for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community...

Patient Education Resources

Hygiène des mains

| .pdf

L’hygiène des mains est la meilleure façon d’éviter la propagation des germes dans les établissements de soins de santé, dans la collectivité et à la maison. Le dépliant décrit l’importance de se laver les mains, la bonne façon de se laver les mains avec de l’eau et du savon et l’utilisation d’un gel désinfectant à base d’alcool. This pamphlet is also available in English.

Accessing Primary Care

There are many ways to access primary care, even if you're not currently attached to a primary care provider.

Answer a few quick questions to receive personalized instructions for accessing Nova Scotia Health's primary care options near you including in-person, virtual and telephone options.

Get Started

Find Emergency Care

Use this tool to identify the emergency care options that are currently available nearest to you.

If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance

Get Started

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