You use your hands constantly. The easiest and most important way of preventing the spread of infection is by hand washing. Washing your hands before and after caring for your care recipient will help to prevent the spread of microorganisms.
Good hand hygiene is important:
Hand washing seems like such an obvious thing to do, but numerous studies show that many people, including health care workers, often forget to wash their hands as thoroughly and frequently as they should.
When to wash hands:
- Before and after wearing gloves.
- At the start of the workday and several times throughout the day.
- When your hands are visibly soiled (dirty) or contaminated with blood or body fluids.
- Before having direct contact with the resident’s skin.
- After having direct contact with the resident’s skin, especially when the skin has wounds or is broken.
- After assisting with toileting or changing incontinence products from the resident.
- After the direct care worker uses the restroom.
- Before eating.
- Before preparing food.
- Before serving food.
- After wiping nose, sneezing or touching the face.
- Before and after each task.
- After smoking.
When washing your hands, some guidelines to follow are:
- If available, use a paper towel to turn water on and off.
- Rinse the bar of soap before and after using it.
- Avoid touching the sink and wastebasket with your hands.
- Do not lean against the sink.
- Rubbing, or friction, helps remove germs.
- Use enough soap to get a good lather.
- Rinse from above the wrists to fingertips.
- Make sure all equipment is available: Soap, Paper towels, Nail brush, if used, Wastebasket.
- Turn the faucet on with a paper towel if available, and adjust the water temperature.
- Throw the paper towel in the wastebasket.
- Wet your hands and wrist under running water.
- Rinse the bar of soap and work up a good lather.
- Wash hands and 2” above wrists. Rub vigorously. Make sure to get between fingers and nail beds.
- Use a nailbrush to clean under nails or rub fingertips against palm of hand to get soap under nails.
- Continue to wash your hands for 1-2 minutes.
- Rinse wrists and hands thoroughly.
- Dry your hands with paper towels if available and throw them in wastebasket.
- Turn off the faucet with a dry paper towel and throw in the wastebasket.
- Place 6-7 drops of the sanitizer into the palm of a clean, dry hand.
- Rub the hands together vigorously until the sanitizer evaporates completely.
- Proceed with care as usual.
- Wash hands with soap and water as soon as practical or after 10-15 applications.
Procedure: Hand washing
Instructions for Use of Sanitizer:
Using gloves to reduce risk of infection:
As a direct care staff person, you should use gloves when there is the possibility that you will have contact with blood, other potentially infectious material or items and surfaces contaminated with these materials. Wear gloves to carry materials that are soiled or contaminated, and carry the material so it does not touch any other surface, including your clothing. It is important to dispose of soiled material as soon as possible. For example, put soiled linens directly into the designated container and not on the floor. Do not leave soiled linens on the floor even for a short time, such as while you finish making the bed.
Putting on and taking off gloves:
Before putting gloves on, remove all sharp jewelry and wash hands to remove germs. When putting the gloves on, begin by putting your fingers into the tips of the glove and then pull the entire glove over your clean hand. Remove gloves by pulling the glove inside out so that whatever has touched the glove remains untouched by your exposed skin.
Gloves are to be worn any time there is a risk of coming in contact with blood or body fluids. Gloves are available to all field employees upon request. They can be obtained from the receptionist or the supervisor.
Examples of events that require theuse of gloves:
- During procedures:
- Providing mouth care for patient;
- Touching, cleaning broken skin, or mucous membranes;
- Cleaning genital area;
- Handling utensils or supplies that are soiled with body fluids.
- Changing linens that are soiled with body fluids.
- Cleaning spills of body fluids or blood.
- Any time the employee has an opening in the skin on the hands (includes around nails).
- Wash and thoroughly dry hands before putting on gloves.
- Handle gloves carefully while putting them on.
- Never use gloves that have been torn or punctured.
- Change gloves between procedures and after contact with each patient.
- Wash hands between sets of gloves.
- Never clean and re-use disposable gloves.
- To remove gloves, peel them off one at a time, pulling them inside-out (with the contaminated side to the inside).
- Properly dispose of used gloves in the family’s trash receptacle.
Instructions for Proper Use of Gloves:
- Wash and thoroughly dry hands before putting ongloves.
- Handle gloves carefully while putting themon.
- Never usegloves thathave been tornor punctured.
- Change gloves between procedures and after contact with eachpatient.
- Wash hands between sets ofgloves.
- Nevercleanandre-use disposablegloves.
- Toremovegloves,peelthemoffoneatatime,pullingtheminside-out(withthecontaminated side to theinside).
- Properly dispose of used gloves in the family’s trashreceptacle.