Hand hygiene – why so important?


Today (Sunday 15th October) is Global Handwashing Day – a day to increase awareness of the significant role hand hygiene plays in reducing infections and ultimately save lives.

Hands are one of the main modes for transmission of germs within healthcare; our hands touch thousands of surfaces every day spreading microorganisms from one surface or person to another. This is why hand hygiene is one of the most important stages in reducing the risk of infection for our patients - when it is performed at key points it removes these organisms before they are spread.

The key moments that are essential for all heath care workers (HCW) to follow when caring for a patient:

  1. Before touching a patient
    • This helps to protect the patient from any organisms that the HCW has on their hands
  2. Before a clean/ aseptic procedure
    • This helps to protect the patient from organisms, including their own, entering their body
  3. After body fluid exposure
    • This is to protect the HCW from infection from the patients’ blood or body fluids
  4. After touching a patient
    • This is to protect the HCW and health care environment from any organisms which are on the patient
  5. After touching the patient surroundings
    • This is to protect the HCW from any organisms which may be present on items within the patients environment
  6. Before and after removal of gloves
    • Gloves are not a replacement for hand hygiene as organisms are still spread on the surface of the glove, and it is difficult to not touch the outside of the glove when removing them which spread the organisms the HCW’s hands

Want to know more? Have a look at our internal infection prevention and control (IPC) pages on East24.

If you’re on Twitter, follow all the updates by checking out #GlobalHandwashingDay and following @HandwashingSoap

Published 15th October, 2017

Leave a Comment
Name (required)
Email Address (required, never displayed)
Enter a message

(all comments are moderated - your submission will be posted on approval.)