Washing hands frequently and thoroughly

Washing hands frequently and thoroughly

The use of basic hygiene procedures is one of the most robust ways of helping to lessen the possible spread of infection. However, this will only be possible if staff are aware of what their responsibilities are in terms of personal hygiene and handwashing procedures.

All organisations should have a policy in place about hygiene procedures and how these are best followed. It should be easily accessible to all staff who can refer to it if they have any doubts about what their own responsibilities are in lessening the risk of infection spreading within their setting.

Hand washing is the most basic but essential way of preventing cross infection when working with individuals and with equipment that may have been used with someone who has some form of infection. The NHS has a standard practice for the best way to wash hands to ensure that they no longer potentially contain harmful bacteria.

  1. Wet your hands with water
  2. Apply enough soap to cover all over your hands. You can use alcohol-based hand rub if you do not have immediate access to soap and water
  3. Rub hands palm to palm
  4. Rub the back of your left hand with your right palm with interlaced fingers. Repeat with other hands
  5. Rub palms together with fingers interlaced
  6. Rub the backs of your fingers against your palms with fingers interlocked
  7. Clasp your left thumb with your right hand and rub in rotation. Repeat with your left hand and right thumb
  8. Rub the tips of your fingers in the other palm in a circular motion, going backwards and forwards. Repeat with the other hand.
  9. Rinse hands with water
  10. Dry thoroughly, ideally with a disposable towel
  11. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.