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Hand Hygiene

Hand Hygiene

Did you know….?

Most germs in health care settings can be spread by unclean hands. Each time a person touches an object or another person, germs go along for the ride. Without good hand cleaning harmful germs can spread to others and cause infection. Studies have shown that proper hand hygiene removes unwanted germs and may reduce health care-associated infection rates by as much as 50%!

What can you do to decrease the chance of getting an infection?

Don’t assume anyone’s hands are clean. If you are receiving health care, before a doctor, nurse or visitors touch you, or any items used in your care, just ask “did you clean your hands?

Everyone should clean their hands:

  • Before and after touching you
  • Before and after eating
  • When hands are visibly dirty
  • After using the bathroom
  • After coughing or sneezing

If you are in a health care facility, you should also clean your hands before you leave your room and when you return.

Will staff be offended if you ask them to clean their hands?

Our staff want to prevent infections so they will understand why you have asked. After all, it’s your health we are interested in, so don’t be shy about asking.

Visitors are also important in preventing the spread of infections. If you are visiting a facility, for the protection of both yourself and the person you are visiting, it’s important that you clean your hands when you arrive at the facility, enter the client’s room, exit the client’s room and as you leave the facility.

What are the choices for cleaning hands?

Alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) has been shown to be very effective against germs. Dispensers are available throughout our health care facilities. However, if your hands are visibly dirty, you will need to use soap and water.

Using an Alcohol- Based Hand Rub:

  • Apply 1-2 pumps, or loonie-sized amount, of product to hands
  • Rub product all over surfaces of the hands including between fingers, fingertips, thumbs and back of hands
  • Rub hands until product is dry

Using Soap and Water:

  • Wet hands under warm running water
  • Apply soap and distribute over hands
  • Rub hands together for at least 15 seconds to create a good lather
  • Using friction, cover all hand surfaces including between fingers, fingertips, thumbs and back of hands
  • Rinse under warm running water
  • Dry hands thoroughly
  • Turn off faucet using disposable towel

What is Prairie Mountain Health Doing?

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) recognizes that hand hygiene is the single most important practice to prevent the spread of infections. Thousands of times a day, health care workers handle things that may carry germs. Without good hand cleaning, these germs may potentially be spread to others and cause infections. To assist in the prevention of health care-associated infections, we strive to maintain optimal hand hygiene performance by all staff.

How are we doing this?

All PMH staff are required to complete annual education on appropriate hand hygiene practices. We will also be monitoring staff hand hygiene performance by conducting regular audits throughout our health care facilities. Specifically, hand hygiene practices are observed at the times during care considered highest risk for the spread of infection. We are following nationally-accepted guidelines and tools to monitor performance and develop defined actions for improvement as necessary. Our goal is to provide the safest care possible within all PMH programs.