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Infection Control Guidelines

HAND HYGIENE   Hand hygiene is the single most effective means of preventing the spread of organisms and diseases in the healthcare setting. Hand hygiene is defined as cleansing hands with either soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rubs.

Hand Hygiene is indicated at the following times:

IMMEDIATELY BEFORE patient contact

When moving from a contaminated site to a clean site on the same patient (eg. After moving soiled linens, before proceeding to take examine the patient)

After contact with blood or potentially infectious body fluids, regardless of whether gloves were worn

After touching objects in the patient’s environment (these are likely contaminated, and hands should be cleansed even if you did not contact the patient)

AFTER patient care or after removing gloves

AFTER using the toilet

BEFORE eating, drinking or applying cosmetics

ALCOHOL-BASED HAND RUBS are effective, less drying to skin than soap and water, easy to locate throughout the healthcare setting, and convenient to use. Rubs are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for most routine hand cleansing. There are two exceptions to this general rule:

Hands must be washed with soap and water when visibly soiled, and

Hands must be washed with soap and water when caring for a patient with C. difficile diarrhea (alcohol does not kill bacterial spores).

To properly apply hand rub:

Squirt an adequate amount of hand-rub to cover all surfaces of hands into the palm of one hand.

Rub hands together for at least 15 seconds, spreading the alcohol rub on all surfaces of hands

Don’t forget around fingernails and between fingers

Alcohol-based hand rubs are FLAMMABLE when wet. Be sure hands are completely dry before touching powered equipment or objects.

DO NOT use Alcohol hand rub if hands are visibly soiled

DO NOT use Alcohol hand rub when caring for patients with C. difficile diarrhea

HAND WASHING is defined as using either anti-microbial or plain soap and water to clean hands and remove pathogens using surfactant and friction.

Turn on WARM water (hot or cold water is irritating to skin)

Wet hands and apply soap

March 17, 2009

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