The Caregiver


Hand Washing





The hands serve as the conduit for the transmission of microorganisms from person to person or from a contaminated object to a person.  Thus, the most effective technique in preventing and controlling the spread of infection is through hand washing. Clean hands with short finger-nails, and no rings minimise the risk of contamination. Although it is impossible to keep your bare hands germ-free, it is your responsibility to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes to the person needing care or vice versa.










When to Wash Your Hand?.


Before and after rendering direct care.


After each contact with bloody or body fluids.


After contacting contaminated surfaces or objects.


After you remove your gloves.


Before meals.


After toileting.


Tips on Basic Hand Washing.


Wet your hands and lower arms thoroughly under running water.


During washing, keep the hands and forearms lower than the elbows.  This would ensure that water flows from the least to the most contaminated area, rinsing microorganisms into the sink.


Apply soap to all aspects of your hands, including the backs.


Scrub all surfaces for at least 15 seconds using friction. Interlace the fingers and rub the palms and back of your hands with a circular motion at least 5 times each.


Pay particular attention to the areas between the fingers and under the nails where uninvited germs like to hang out.


Rinse your hands and wrists thoroughly, keeping hands down and elbows up.  This will prevent water dripping down your elbows.


Dry well with a clean or disposable towel from the fingers up to the wrists and forearms.  Drying from the cleanest area (fingertips) to the least clean (forearms) is necessary to avoid contamination.


Use a clean, dry paper towel to turn off the faucet to prevent contaminating the cleansed hands.


If soap and water are not available, antiseptic hand cleanser may be used.  The hands should then be washed with soap and water as soon as possible.