Quality Care in a Safe, Secure Environment

Safety, Security & Infection Control

Ensuring a safe environment and quality care is very important to staff and physicians at all Baystate Health locations. This includes taking standard precautions (isolation precautions) to protect patients and employees from the risk of infection. If the person you are visiting is on “isolation precautions,” talk to the nurse before entering the room to find out what steps you will have to take such as wearing a mask or other protective clothing.

Here you’ll find information related to our health and safety precautions, including what we ask of our patients and their visitors.

Health & Safety Precautions

It’s easy to spread diseases by touching body fluids (blood, urine, etc.). Patients and visitors should call immediately for a nurse if you need help with bodily fluids. Please do not touch any body fluids or medical supplies, such as tubes, bandages, etc. We know that visitors may want to help patients, but our nurses are trained to handle these substances with the proper precautions.

Personal Items

Please leave jewelry, valuables and large sums of money at home. Keep personal items that you need, such as dentures, eyeglasses and hearing aids, in protective cases in your bedside stand when not in use. We can’t take responsibility for these items.


Due to fire and safety codes, we don’t permit small electrical appliances like small televisions, hairdryers, curling irons, and shavers in the hospital. We ask patients and visitors not to use any non-hospital items requiring the use of an electrical outlet. You may use battery-operated appliances. You can, however, bring laptops and iPads.

Visiting Patients

For the well-being of all our patients , we ask that you not visit patients if you're not feeling well, have a cold, or have been exposed to a contagious disease such as the flu, COVID-19, chicken pox, tuberculosis (TB), measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, or impetigo.


  • No smoking: We don’t allow smoking in patient rooms or throughout the hospital.
  • No marijuana: We don’t permit possession or consumption of marijuana in any form on Baystate Health premises. This includes edibles. If you feel you require medical marijuana, speak with the patient's healthcare provider to discuss possible alternatives.
  • Hand hygiene . To maintain patient safety, follow our hand hygiene policies.
  • Beds: Don’t touch or sit on clean, unoccupied beds in double rooms or hallways.
  • Patient care: You may need to leave the patient's room if a nurse or physician needs to visit a patient while you’re visiting.
  • No latex balloons: Don’t bring latex balloons into the hospital or have them delivered to patients or staff, due to the increasing dangers and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to latex rubber. Mylar balloons do not cause allergic reactions and are cheerfully accepted.
  • Cell phones: Some cell phones interfere with medical equipment. Help us to ensure the safety of our patients by turning off your cell phone and not using it in patient care areas, including hallways and patient rooms. You may use your cellular phone in offices, administrative areas, and cafeterias
  • Flowers and plants: Flowers and plants are not permitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and other locations where immunocompromised patients are housed. However , flowers and plants are allowed in common areas, and Regular inpatient locations.
  • You can find more information in our visitor policy.

Learn About Our Non-Smoking Policy

Our Smoke-free Policy

To ensure the health and safety of Baystate Health patients, visitors, and employees, smoking is not allowed:

  • In any Baystate Health patient room, building or office
  • Outdoors on any Baystate Health property, including parking facilities
  • At any event or program sponsored or presented by Baystate Health

Our non-smoking policy, enacted in 2007, is in line with the Baystate Health mission: "To improve the health of the people in our communities every day, with quality and compassion."

The Baystate Health Smoke-free Environment Policy

Smoking is strictly prohibited in all buildings and properties owned or leased by Baystate Health as well as on the grounds of those facilities, including:

  • Patient rooms
  • Lounges and public spaces
  • Lavatories
  • Cafeterias
  • Building entryways
  • Campus walkways
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Company-owned vehicles
  • Private vehicles when on Baystate Health property
  • Smoking is not permitted at Baystate Health-sponsored events.
Help for Patients & Visitors Who Smoke

Our smoke-free environment may be uncomfortable for patients who smoke. Here is some information and some of the support services to help patients and visitors who smoke comply with our non-smoking policy while on Baystate Health property.


Make sure hospital admissions staff and your nurse know you are a smoker so we can make the following support available to you.

Your nurse will ask you if you want to use a nicotine replacement product during your stay. If you do:

  • The nurse will contact your physician to order an appropriate product.
  • Keep in mind that there’s a high risk of medical complications if you smoke while using a nicotine replacement product.
  • Be sure to tell the nurse how you are dealing with any cravings that come up while you’re on the nicotine replacement product.
  • It’s possible you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms on the third day of not smoking. We will do all we can to help you deal with any severe nicotine cravings.

Close to your discharge date, consider asking to meet with a smoking cessation expert (someone who can help you quit smoking) from the hospital who can help you find a longer-term solution through a smoking cessation program in your community.

Please remind your visitors about the Baystate Health no smoking policy and ask them to comply during their visits.


Visitors must observe the smoke-free policy for the health and comfort of everyone in the hospital. There is no smoking on hospital grounds. Gum, mints, and hard candy can help smokers manage nicotine cravings during their visits.

Smoking Cessation Help

A physician can help you determine which smoke cessation program and technique is best and safest for you. These options can include:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), which provides measured amounts of nicotine to help reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. There are different forms of NRT.
  • Gum
  • Patch
  • Lozenges
  • Inhalation devices
  • Acupuncture, which involves inserting flexible, thin needles into the skin to reduce the side effects of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Behavior modification programs, through individual, group, or telephone counseling
  • Hypnosis, which can help strengthen motivation and reduce the physical and "habit" cravings for nicotine
  • Non-nicotine Medications - such as Zyban® or Chantix™

Our Focus on Infection Control & Prevention

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 & Other Infectious Diseases

Here are things you may be able to do, both at home and in the hospital, to avoid the spread of any infectious diseases:

  • Avoid close contact (keep a distance of at least 6 feet) from people outside your household and people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you’re sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash.
  • Sanitize your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water aren't readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily — including tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, cell phones, and cabinet handles. Using regular household detergent and water.
Preventing Infection While You’re in the Hospital

Here are things you can do while you’re in the hospital to prevent the spread of infection.

Quick Tips

  • Sanitize your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use waterless hand sanitizers before eating, after using the bathroom and after touching something soiled. Hand hygiene is the single most important thing you and health care workers can do to prevent infection.
  • Don’t touch areas of your body that have had surgery or have IV lines or other devices.
  • Let your doctor or nurse know if your IV or surgical dressing is wet, loose, or has fallen off.
  • Ask for tissues to cover sneezes or coughs. Wash or use alcohol hand rub after wiping your nose or covering a cough.
  • If you feel like you have a fever, tell your nurse or doctor.
  • Wash daily. If you need help, let your nurse know what help you need for bathing. Wear clean hospital pajamas each day.
  • If you have visitors, tell them not to touch any supplies used to care for you and to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom and after touching something soiled.
  • Encourage visitors to stay home if they aren’t well. You can talk to them by phone.
Resistance to Antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. It's mainly caused by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics to treat infections like the common cold, the flu or bronchitis.

Many of these infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics. As a patient, feel comfortable asking if an antibiotic is necessary to treat your infection.

For more information, visit the CDC's Be Antibiotics Aware website.

Understanding Isolation Signs

Sometimes, we need to take extra steps to prevent infection in our patients. These steps may include isolating patients. Isolation means to separate those who are sick and those who could be vulnerable to other illnesses.

Patients who need to be isolated are usually in their own rooms. To identify an isolation room, we use brightly colored signs on doors to make our staff aware and tell them (and visitors) to use extra steps to prevent infection from spreading.

If you have a sign like that on your door, it means the people who will care for you may wear special protective equipment like mask/gloves/gown and take certain measures to control infection.

Healthcare workers may come into your room wearing a mask, disposable gown, or gloves to care for you. This is normal and helps to prevent infection.

What do the different colored signs mean?

GREEN is for contact precautions. This is for germs that can be passed on through hands and supplies. Healthcare workers will wear gloves and disposable gowns.

ORANGE is for droplet precautions. This is for germs that can be coughed or sneezed. Health care workers will wear a mask and eye wear, and the door to your room may be left open.

BLUE is for airborne precautions. This is for germs that can be passed on in the air. The door to your room will be closed, and health care workers will wear special masks. You can call the nurse any time with the call bell.

PURPLE is for Enhanced Respiratory. This is for germs that can be passed through air and via contact. The door of the room should be closed and healthcare workers will wear gloves, special masks, eye wear and gowns.

I have an isolation sign on my door. What do I need to do as a patient?

In most instances, you’ll need to stay in your room. If you have a cough or cold symptoms, you may need to wear a mask when you leave your room for a test or to go into the hallway or when healthcare workers are present in the room. If you are planning to leave the room, ask your doctor or nurse for directions.

What about visitors?

If there’s an isolation sign on your door, your visitors must report to the nurse's station before going in to see you. The nurse will explain to the visitors visiting safety requirements, which will include sanitizing their hands when they arrive and when they depart.

Unfortunately, there may be special circumstances which prevent visitors from coming to see you. When visitors are not permitted, they can contact you by phone to wish you well.

There may be times when only family members and those who live with you will be allowed to visit. Your nurse or doctor can tell you about any special visiting rules that apply to you.

Cleaning at Baystate Health

baystate medical center environmental services staff cleaning patient room
Our Environmental Services team cleans each room between patients. Everything, including equipment, beds, and tables, gets cleaned with approved CDC cleaning products. They also clean high touch surface areas continually. This includes doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails, and waiting room chairs on day, night, and weekend shifts. Employees also wipe down their work stations, keyboards, and phones with approved cleaners.

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