I’m daily visiting a patient in a hospital who has a high risk of infection. Before entering her room, I’m required to put on a gown and a face mask, and to disinfect my hands.

The gowns and masks are available in the corridor in front of the room; hand disinfection is available in the corridor in front of the room as well as inside of the room.

I’m coming from outside, carrying a jacket and a backpack.

In which order should I perform the involved steps?

I’m a medical layman, so maybe none of this matters, but I always wonder if I’m not undermining certain safety measures.

Especially regarding touching my jacket and backpack as well as the door handle after disinfecting my hands. My assumption is that it would make more sense to disinfect my hands after entering the room and putting away my stuff, but maybe this increases the risk?
However, would putting on the mask and gown with non-disinfected hands be risky? So should I disinfect before and after entering the room?

1 Answer 1


In most isolation cases, the actual order isn't going to matter, since the typical isolation area that you would be allowed to enter isn't for the patient's benefit, but other people, so that they don't catch what the patient has. In this case, it doesn't matter which order you put it on. (Especially since they are being stored in an area where anyone walking by can contaminate them).

You will also most likely be asked to remove jackets/backpacks and other items and leave them either outside, or in the intermediate dressing area if provided.

If the patient is immuno compromised to the point where they are worried about what you might be bringing in, then there will be a very different set of isolation precautions, and you either won't be allowed in, or they will walk you through the washing/garb donning procedures and assist you.

  • 1
    Hmm, I assume(d) it’s for protecting the patient (she got a high-dose chemotherapy; doctors said she has a very high risk of getting an infection now for some weeks). However, I only had to ask for permission to enter the room once, and they told me to wear the mask/gown and to disinfect my hands whenever I enter, without going into details or explaining it to me; and I could bring my stuff with me. But now that you mention it, it may very well be the case that this protocol is primarily/additionally (?) for protecting others (just in case, as she has nothing contagious for now).
    – unor
    Apr 8, 2015 at 21:28
  • 3
    @unor It’s either a negative pressure room or a positive pressure room. In the scenario you describe, I agree with you’re initial assessment - it’s almost certainly a positive pressure room, meant to protect the vulnerable chemo patient.
    – Susan
    Apr 8, 2015 at 21:44
  • 3
    @unor - Susan is correct, in that case that you are describing, it will probably be a positive pressure room and they should assist you in the process (At least the hospital I worked in did that).
    – JohnP
    Apr 8, 2015 at 22:08

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