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Washing your hands

Patients and visitors

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Nurse using hand gelWhy wash your hands?

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of infections is to clean your hands.

Even if they look clean, your hands can still carry many germs. That's why cleaning hands regularly is so important.

  • When should you clean your hands?

    Wash your hands with soap and water:

    • whenever they are visibly dirty
    • after using the toilet/commode, nappy changing/handling potties
    • after sneezing/blowing your nose
    • after contact with blood or body fluid
    • before and after handling food
    • before and after handling any wounds or dressings
    • when visiting a patient with diarrhoea.

    Use hand rub even if hands look clean when entering and leaving the ward. Dispensers of hand rub are at all ward entrances and bedsides. This can be used even on sensitive skin and is very effective in killing germs.

  • How to clean your hands

    Best practice for hand washingOur staff are trained to follow a six stage cleaning technique and we encourage patients and visitors to use the same technique. 

    1. Wet your hands under warm running water.
    2. Apply a small amount of liquid soap.
    3. Rub your hands together vigorously. Make sure you apply soap and water to all surfaces of your hands for at least 15 seconds and up to one minute. Make sure you rub your palms, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, your fingertips, thumbs and wrists and your nails.
    4. Rinse your hands under running water.
    5. Dry your hands thoroughly using disposable paper towels.
    6. Turn the tap off using the paper towel or your elbow, to avoid recontaminating your hands.

    Do not assume that children know how to wash their hands. Watch how they wash their hands and teach them the correct way.

    Please let our staff know if no soap or hand towels are available and they will replace them.

    If using hand rub

    1. Apply one to two squirts of hand rub on your hands.
    2. Rub all surfaces of your hands together in a similar manner to washing point number 3 above
    3. Do not wet your hands or wash the hand rub off. The hand rub dries in 20-30 seconds.
  • Tell us what you think

    If you have any comments or concerns about infection control, hand hygiene or cleanliness in our hospitals, please: