Information for the public

Explanation of terms

Aseptic technique

A procedure to reduce the number of infectious organisms and prevent their spread by following key principles such as cleaning hands thoroughly, using protective equipment and touching as little as possible.

Enteral feeding

A type of feeding used for people who cannot eat normally. Liquid food is given through a tube directly into the gut.


A liquid for rubbing onto hands that kills germs that can cause infection. Handrubs used for preventing infections in people having treatment or care should conform to British Standards.


Anything that can cut, graze or prick you, such as needles, scalpels or other sharp instruments.

Urinary catheter

A thin flexible tube used to drain urine from the bladder.

Vascular access device

A tube that is inserted into a vein. There are various types. A central vascular access device is placed into a major vein, usually in the chest or neck (note that this is done in hospital rather than in a person's home or in the community). A peripheral vascular access device is placed into a smaller vein, usually in the arm or hand.

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