Hospitals and Long Term Care Facilities

Nursing Homes, Retirement Homes and Rest Homes for the Aged are included in the reference to Long Term Care Facilities.

Infection control in these establishments are essential to reduce the incidence of food poisoning and spreading infectious diseases.

Infection control practices

Infection control practices should include:

  • Ongoing inspection, collection, analysis and management of [hospital] infections for early identification of an outbreak.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of washrooms and bathing facilities including floors, furnishings and wall areas.
  • Ensure hair salons and barber shops comply with Beauty and Body Art Safety protocol.
  • Promote proper personal hygiene and glove use.

Infection control is everyone's business

Why is infection control so important in a health care facility?

The residents in a health care facility are more likely to pick up infections because they:

  • Often have decreased immunity and/or underlying medical conditions 
  • Live in close quarters
  • Have a lot of personal contact

Best infection control practices


In order to prevent the spread of bacteria, viruses or parasites from person to person, hands of health care workers should be washed between direct resident contacts.

open file WashYourHandsSign.pdfResidents should be reminded to wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet.

Visitors should take the same precautions to protect themselves, their relatives and friends.

All staff and visitors should wash hands or use hand sanitizer before entering and exiting the facility.

Handwashing Fact Sheet

Handwashing Sign

Other Precautions

Staff may sometimes need to wear gloves, masks and gowns in order to stop the transmission of infection to residents or themselves when giving care.

It is recommended that residents be immunized annually with influenza vaccine. In addition, immunization for tetanus/diphtheria and pneumococcal disease should be up to date.

Food should be carefully handled and monitored in all health care facilities to prevent any possible food borne illness. Visitors sometimes bring food or treats to residents. This may result in food borne illness if the resident keeps the food in their room too long before eating it. If you want to bring food, it is best to give it to staff so they can refrigerate it until served.

Outbreaks should be managed well. In the event of an outbreak of infectious illness (influenza, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.) there should be some changes in the routine to try to stop the spread.

These may include:

  • Restriction on visitors
  • Restriction on social activities
  • Temporary shifting of rooms to isolate the ill or exposed residents from the others

What if I am sick and I want to visit?

Family members and visitors should not visit when they have a cold, influenza or diarrhea.

Children who have been exposed to infectious illness, but have not yet developed symptoms, should not visit either.

If in doubt, check with a nurse or doctor at the residence.

Germs brought in with a well-meaning visitor can sometimes start an outbreak of illness that can affect everyone.

Forms and resources

Surface Disinfecting with Chlorine - Fact Sheet

Public Health Ontario Best Practice Documents

Control of Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Long-Term Care Homes, A Guide for Long-Term Care Homes and Public Health Unit Staff, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, October 2013

Appendix B, Provincial Case Definitions for Reportable Diseases, Gastroenteritis, Institutional Outbreaks, 2013, MOHLTC

Appendix A: Disease Specific Chapters, Gastroenteritis, Institutional outbreaks Infectious Diseases Protocol, 2013, MOHLTC 

Norovirus Facts, MOHLTC, last updated 2012