Hand Hygiene For Healthcare

BY: Angelica Minoia and Richard Dowd

The most important factors in preventing the spread of pathogens and/or Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 for workplace and home settings is hand hygiene. Hand hygiene can be one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of reducing the spread of germs. The methods of hand hygiene include, hand washing with soap and water, anti septic hand wash, and anti septic hand rub. 

There are times when it becomes necessary to practice hand hygiene. An example of this is when hands become visibly dirty, contaminated, or soiled. This should be done with soap and water. When hands are not visibly dirty, contaminated, or soiled, immediately before and after patient care and when PPE is not used hand hygiene needs to be practiced. This should be done with an alcohol based hand rub.

In addition to hand washing, glove use is also a very important component of hand hygiene. According to the CDC:

  • Wear gloves when it can be reasonably anticipated that there will be contact with blood or OPIM’s
  • Gloves are NOT a substitute for hand hygiene
  • If your task requires gloves, practice hand hygiene before and after doning gloves
  • Change gloves and perform hand hygiene during patient care when:
    • Gloves become damaged and visibly soiled
    • When moving work from a soiled environment to a clean environment with the same patient
    • Never wear the same gloves in the care of more than one patient.

If these simple measures are implemented, this will help prevent the spread of germs between staff to patients. To learn more visit https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/providers/index.html or our COVID-19 information page.