For: Hand Hygiene Guidelines - Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Hand hygiene forms an integral part of risk management and clinical governance within each Trust. It is essential that healthcare workers recognise the importance of hand hygiene in relation to their own personal safety and that of their patients or clients. Patients are put at risk of developing a healthcare-associated infection when a healthcare practitioner caring for them has contaminated hands. Effective hand hygiene can greatly reduce the transmission of infection and decrease the incidence of preventable healthcare associated infection, leading to a reduction in patient morbidity and mortality.
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and COSHH Regulations (Amendment) 2003,require all employees to follow safe working practices which involves effective hand decontamination. The adoption of safe working practices will assist in the control of existing infectious diseases and help to prevent the acquisition of infection at work.
The following guidance outlines measures relating to hand hygiene that must be taken by all members of staff in order to prevent the acquisition or spread of infection. As clinical care is provided in a variety of settings in both hospital and community, the prevention of infection is essential in any healthcare environment. Consequently, this guidance applies to any area where healthcare is performed.
Definition of Terms
Transient micro-organisms - are not constantly present on the skin but are acquired by touch from direct patient contact, equipment or the general environment. They can, however, survive on hands and are easily transmitted to others and items of equipment. They can easily be removed by hand-washing.
Resident micro-organisms - live on the skin and protect the skin against invasion by harmful bacteria/transient micro-organisms. Unlike transient micro-organisms, they are not easily removed by the friction of hand-washing but their removal is desirable when hand-washing before procedures which break the patient’s natural defences – eg: surgical procedures.
Social hand-washing - the aim is to remove transient micro-organisms during a 10-15 second hand-wash with liquid soap and running water by mechanical action/friction.
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