Quick Glance: Hand Washing and Glove Usage Guidelines
Yes, you’ve heard it all before; hand washing is a very important procedure for preventing infections. But unfortunately, it’s not always a priority! So I’ve taken the opportunity to remind you and your staff of the steps to hand care and prevention of cross-contamination:
The steps to thorough hand washing are:
- Rinsing hands under warm running water with an adequate amount of soap, using friction, covering the entire surface of the hands and figures for 20 seconds. Often missed are thumbs, under nails, backs of fingers and hands
- Rinse hands under warm water to wash off residue
- Dry hands completely with a disposal towel or forced air
- Artificial nails and chipped nail polish may be sources of increased bacteria
Hands should be washed:
- Before preparing, handling, serving or eating food;
- When hands are visibly dirty;
- After any contamination is likely;
- After removing gloves;
- After using the toilet or blowing the nose; or any personal bodily functions.
Wash hands whenever in doubt, and always in front of your client if possible!
Gloves are worn in addition to and not in place of hand washing. They provide an additional protective barrier between the therapist and client to help reduce potential cross-contamination.
Worn gloves should be changed and/or protected:
- Between clients;
- When the glove tears or has a leak;
- Between activities with the same client if the therapist comes in contact with something that could be contaminated. Do not perform “other” tasks with your gloves on and then return to your existing client to resume the service. (Ie. Leaving the room to gather product; supplies; tools; or paper work). If you are moving to a temporary or repetitive task within the existing service, wear larger plastic gloves over your gloves to avoid contamination.