Hand washing

Why is hand washing so important for health care workers?

The most common transfer of pathogens in health care services is on the hands of the doctors and nurses.  Doctors and nurses move from patient to patient and around the hospital, which means that they are in contact with many different people with different infections and with different surfaces and environments.  The movement of an infection from one patient to another causes complications and prolongs their stay in hospital or the length of time they are ill.

Why do healthcare workers need to wash their hands more than anyone else?

In a healthcare environment, there tend to be more pathogens which can be picked up from the surroundings and the patients.  The patients are already sick, so will be more vulnerable to being infected.  Furthermore healthcare workers will often be moving between patients after having been in physical contact with them.  This will mean pathogens on the skin of the patient will be transferred to the healthcare worker, who could become infected or infect someone else unless they clean their hands straight away.

What can be done to reduce infection from unclean hands?

Regular washing of hands before and after patient contact, and after helping a patient in the toilet.  Washing hands after any kind contamination, or before and after putting on gloves.  Ensuring hands are washed before eating and after going to the toilet.  Careful monitoring of hand hygiene is crucial in reducing hospital infections, because hand hygiene is the most important method of controlling and reducing infection. IMG_1471         IMG_1481

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