hand hygiene


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

hand hygiene

Any of several techniques to clean the hands, including handwashing with plain and antimicrobial soaps and the use of alcohol-based hand rubs. Hand hygiene is the single most effective method of decreasing nosocomial infections. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that if hands are not visibly soiled, alcohol preparations containing between 60% and 90% ethanol or isopropanol kill microorganisms more effectively than plain or antimicrobial soap and are not as harsh. After the hand rub is applied to the palm of one hand, the hands and fingers should be rubbed together, covering all surfaces, until they are entirely dry. Hands that are visibly dirty or contaminated should still be washed with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. The need for hand hygiene is not eliminated by the use of gloves. Contact dermatitis caused by alcohol hand rubs is very uncommon. However, with increasing use of such products by health care personnel, true allergic reactions will occasionally be encountered. Hospital computers can serve as a reservoir for drug-resistant bacteria such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

CAUTION!

Health care personnel should avoid wearing artificial nails and should keep nails less than a quarter of an inch long if they care for patients at high risk of acquiring infections (e.g., patients in ICUs, transplant units, or protective isolation).
See: Hand Washing: Soap and water
See also: hygiene
References in periodicals archive ?
Leaders at Spectrum Health now see hand hygiene as the perfect microcosm for developing the skills and norms required for a highly reliable patient safety culture.
The first set of targeted solutions is for improving hand hygiene in hospitals.
Observational hand hygiene audits are now held every fortnight on all three of Velindre's wards - each has achieved 100% compliance.
For more information, please contact Linda Kusek, project coordinator, Consensus Measurement in Hand Hygiene project, The Joint Commission, at lkusek@jointcommission.
Gill Lishman, lead nurse in infection control for the trust, said yesterday: "It's vital that we continue to reinforce the message about the importance of hand hygiene to staff, patients and visitors.
Putting handrubs into hand hygiene routines actually supports staff by giving them effective and time-saving methods, according to Dr.
We also evaluated whether the frequency of health-care worker hand hygiene was influenced by the behavior of senior medical-care providers.
Adherence to hand hygiene policies improved from 48% of hygiene opportunities in 1995 to 69% in 1997.
The program's direct costs included poster production (artist's fees, printing, maintenance), office supplies, the alcohol-based rubs, and food at monthly team meetings to discuss hand hygiene.
Visitors to Foodtech can try the TORK 5 steps programme using the TORK hand hygiene system and equipment from Cotswold-Autoflow and BioTrace.
NYSE: ECL) is participating in a major World Health Organization (WHO) initiative to reduce healthcare associated infections (HAIs) by improving hand hygiene compliance rates in health care facilities around the world.