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Hand Hygiene

Man washing hands

This hospital has been chosen as a partner because all our staff take infections seriously and are committed to keeping you, our patients, as safe and healthy as possible. This leaflet tells you more about infections and the cleanyourhands campaign for hand hygiene, and invites you to be our  partner while you are here.

What causes infections?

Infections can be caused by viruses, but mostly by ‘bugs’ or germs called bacteria that occur naturally all around us.  They are sometimes on our skin, and even in our mouths and noses. Most of them don’t do us any harm.

But when we are not well or after an operation, our bodies’ natural defences are weaker, so more care is needed to protect us. Getting an infection in hospital might mean staying longer while it is treated. Some bacteria – like MRSA – are difficult to fight with antibiotics because they’ve developed resistance.

We want to prevent our patients getting these infections in the first place.

What is the Clean Your Hands campaign about – and how can it help prevent infections spreading in hospital?

The campaign is about getting better at hand hygiene. When staff clean their hands before and after touching each patient, it helps stop bugs spreading. There are two main ways to do this:

  • Washing with soap and water – this removes germs and is best when hands are soiled.
  • Using disinfectant handrubs – these kill about 99% of germs in around 30 seconds and dry naturally on the skin.  And because we don’t have to be near a sink to use them, they are also very convenient. The cleanyourhands campaign especially encourages staff to use these rubs. We hope that seeing us use them will help you feel confident that in this hospital you’re in safe hands.

Did you know that to keep their hands free of germs, an intensive care nurse might need to clean them up to 40 times an hour?

Disinfectant handrubs kill almost all bugs in 30 seconds and are an excellent way of keeping you safe.

Working together

You may see us wearing badges, stickers or aprons with the message “It’s OK to ask”. That’s because it is. We take hand hygiene seriously. But sometimes, when we’re really busy, we might not clean our hands as often as we should. So if you are worried that we’ve forgotten, it’s OK to remind us! We welcome your help in keeping you safe.

To find out more about infections in hospital you can speak to your infection control nurse or patient advice and liaison officer here in the hospital. Just ask. 

Sending you home healthy really matters to us. Help us get it right.

The campaign posters you'll see on the ward are there to keep reminding everyone how important clean hands are in the fight to prevent infections.

The above text is reproduced from a National Patient Safety Agency leaflet.

Further information

Find out more about the importance of good hand hygiene in the following leaflets:

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