Hand Washing with Soap and Water
Germs that naturally live on the skin and normally cause few problems may be more serious when brought into a hospital.
These germs are often passed from one person to another by physical contact so it’s important that patients, visitors, health care workers, nursing staff and doctors cut the risk of spreading infections by regularly cleaning their hands.
All hospital staff should be hand washing or using a gel:
before and after direct patient contact
after helping a patient to use the toilet, bathroom or commode
after any contaminating procedure
before putting on and after taking off gloves.
Hand cleansing Products
The following products can be used to sanitise your hands because they kill 99.99% of germs that may cause infections.
Liquid soap and warm water is available at all sinks in every area of the hospital. We recommend soap and water to wash with if your hands are visibly dirty.
An alcohol gel is at all patients' bedsides and at the entrance to every ward, bay and side room. The gel can be used as long as your hands are visibly clean.
Apply one squirt to the palm of your hands and rub them together, covering all of your hands until they are dry.
Advice for patients
Please wash your hands whilst in hospital as you would normally do:
whenever you can see your hands are dirty
after going to the toilet.
You may wash them at any sink with liquid soap and warm water or use one of the hand gels by your bedside.
If you have wound dressings, stitches, catheters or an intravenous line, try not to touch them any more than absolutely necessary. You could spread germs to other parts of the body.
Advice for visitors
Generally, visitors should follow the same hand hygiene guidelines as we have listed for patients.
Please clean your hands as soon as possible when arriving at the hospital or at the entrance of the ward that you’re visiting.
It’s likely that your hands won’t be visibly dirty so using soap and water or the gel should be all that’s required. These can be found at the entrance of every ward, bay, side room and by each patient bedside. If you intend to visit more than one ward, please clean your hands before entering each new ward.
The National Patient Safety Agency’s 'Clean Your Hands' campaign: www.npsa.nhs.uk/cleanyourhands