Hand hygiene is another name for hand washing or cleaning. Hand hygiene is the single most important factor in reducing hospital acquired infections. Our hands may look clean but germs are invisible to our eyes. We can unknowingly transmit germs on our hands to others and our environment. The accepted way of measuring hand hygiene is for an auditor to watch healthcare workers as they go about their day, treating patients in hospital. There is a government–approved organisation called “Hand Hygiene Australia”. Each opportunity for hand hygiene is called a “moment”. Five moments for hand hygiene have been identified by the World Health Organisation as the critical times when hand hygiene should be performed in a hospital.
1. Before touching a patient
2. Before a procedure
3. After a procedure
4. After touching a patient
5. After touching a patient’s belongings or surroundings
All Health care workers should perform hand hygiene. If you do not see them and are concerned please ask them. We can all play a major role in stopping the spread of infections to our family and friends.
It’s very important that each time you visit someone in a healthcare facility you clean your hands, even if your hands look clean. Hand hygiene is a general term referring to the use of soap & water or a waterless hand rub to cleanse your hands.
It is important to perform hand hygiene as you enter and leave the hospital and also: