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Hand hygiene education and promotion

Last modified at 4/21/2016 8:16 PM by Vladimir Prikazsky


Any educational and promotion program for hand hygiene needs the availability of the necessary infrastructure, eg sinks with dispensers for alcoholic handrub, fluid soap and paper towels.

Training in hand hygiene can include more general aspects like

  • scientific basis for hand hygiene,
  • transmission of bacteria through hands,
  • advantages and disadvantages of washing hands and disinfection of hands,
  • hand care or
  • methods of rubbing hands.

This might be done with the help of tools for training

  • presentations,
  • e-learning modules,
  • posters,
  • focus groups,
  • videos,
  • self-learning modules,
  • practical demonstrations,
  • or combinations of these methods.

Since many years it is know that you can learn more effectively with a combination of text and good illustrations – see for example the nice clinical books of Frank H. Netter (1906-1991).

Also it has been shown that videos can as well as tv movies (like Dr. House) can improve the learning results, eg of medical students.

Training can also be given in a very short way with the main target of correct hand disinfection. For these reasons, often specially prepared alcoholic handrub is used which is containing fluorescent particles which can be shown in black light (lamp emitting UV-A).

This is often done on wards during team meetings. Also the black light box can be left there so that all the staff can test themselves several times during multiple shifts.

Important for promotion are reminders at the workplace like posters showing the moments when hand disinfection has to be done or how it has to be done.

The promotion of hand hygiene is the more successful the more the leaders are supporting it and akt as good examples in performing hand hygiene. 

Patients' perspective

Whether patients should be included in control and promotion of hand hygiene of healthcare workers is under ongoing discussion. Some see it as a partnership which might help to promote hand hygiene. Others argue that patient is coming seeking help and not taking over tasks of the hospital which has the duty to deliver best work.  


Link to IC/HH CC:


Materials available on the website of WHO:

E-learning modules:


  • some posters in German you may find on the website of Hospital hygiene of University Clinics Essen:


  • a lot are on the website of EUNETIPS:
  • additional videos in German on the website of Hospital hygiene of University Clinics Essen:
  • Video “its in your hands” like an old silent movie: