Hand hygiene for patients
The patient comes to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment of their various conditions, some of which may decrease his/her immune defence mechanisms e.g. broken skin or mucous membranes, polymorph white blood cell deficiencies, acquired B and T lymphocyte disorders.
Microorganisms that may be acquired during the hospital stay may cause HAI and so it is essential that EVERY healthcare workers understands that they have a duty of care to make the healthcare environment as safe as possible. The mainstay of the required measures is to perform effective hand hygiene each and every time it is indicated. The challenges are not just to establish an environment when this exists but to then sustain it. However, an important adjunct to this approach is to ensure that patients also realise that there are expectations of them.
There are few important rules for hand hygiene of patients which should be communicated (often best done by means of a leaflet together with a verbal explanation):
Hand hygiene for visitors
Visitors are rarely a source of infection for patients, but sometimes even community microorganisms can be harmful. This especially applies to viruses, such as during the flu season or when there are norovirus outbreaks. Also, the hospital microorganisms that can be transmitted on to the hands of visitors, can sometimes harm visitors. Therefore, it is important for visitors to also perform hand hygiene following these rules:
Link to IC/HH Core competencies:Area 4 Infection control activities: Domain Elaborating infection control intervention ICA 1-2
1. Cleanyourhands Campaign. London: National Patient Safety Agency, 2007.
2. McGuckin M, waterman R, Porten L et al. Patient education model for increasing handwashing compliance. Am J Infect Control 1999;27:309-14.
3. Munoz-Price LS, Banach DB, Bearman G, Gould JM, Leekha S, Morgan DJ, Palmore TN, Rupp ME, Weber DJ, Wiemken TL. Isolation precautions for visitors. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2015 Jul;36(7):747-58. doi: 10.1017/ice.2015.67.