Resource Details


Hand Hygiene Policy and Procedure

Author(s)Health Protection Scotland
AbstractHands are the most common way in which microorganisms, particularly bacteria, might be transported and subsequently cause infection, especially to those who are most susceptible to infection. In order to prevent the spread of microorganisms to those who might develop serious infections through this route while receiving care, hand hygiene must be performed adequately.

This is considered to be the single most important practice in reducing the transmission of infectious agents, including Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI), during delivery of care.

The hand hygiene procedure being undertaken should consider the potential/actual hazards that have or might be encountered, the subsequent potential/actual contamination of hands, and any risks that may present as a result. The nature of the work - patient/client interaction will often determine this along with the vulnerability of individuals.

It must however, always be assumed that every person encountered could be carrying potentially harmful microorganisms that might be transmitted and cause harm to others. For this reason, hand hygiene is one precaution which must be applied as standard. Hand hygiene is one of the nine elements of Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs).

Everyone has an important part to play in improving patient/client safety. Undertaking SICPs is an essential element to ensure everyone’s safety

All of the steps detailed in this policy aid the process of ensuring hands are free from contamination and are therefore not a factor in causing infection.

The term hand hygiene used in this document refers to all of the processes, including hand washing and hand decontamination achieved using other solutions, e.g. alcohol based hand rub.
Date of publishing04/01/2008
Date of last revision by publisher09/01/2009
Date of last review by us08/03/2010
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