Handwashing is one of the most important parts of the job as a healthcare provider. Maintaining good hand hygiene not only protects the patient, but also protects the employee from potential germs and other communicable diseases. Employees should always wash their hands before and after providing personal care for a patient (bathing, toileting, etc.), handling garbage and blowing nose, coughing or sneezing. These are only a few examples of situations in which good hand hygiene is necessary.
The best practices for handwashing:
- Wet hands with running water
- Lather hands by rubbing them together with soap. Be sure to get the back, between fingers and under nails. This is very important as bacteria can remain under nails even after proper handwashing.
- Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. (Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice for a timer).
- Rinse hands thoroughly under running water.
- Dry hands with a towel.
- Use a clean towel to turn off the faucet. (NEVER use clean hands to turn off the faucet).