Hand Hygiene for Patients and Visitors
Hand hygiene is of the utmost importance at a hospital. Hospitals have high concentrations of very ill people, those with compromised immune systems, the very young and the very old. Patients are highly susceptible to bacteria and other pathogens.
Washing your hands is one of the most basic defenses against the spread of germs and bacteria. Hands commonly come in contact with the face, where germs easily enter through the mouth, nose and eyes. During flu season, it is especially important to follow basic hygiene rules to prevent the spread of flu viruses.
Hand Hygiene for Patients
Hospital patients are susceptible to germs and are expected to follow general hygiene guidelines.
- Always wash your hands after using the bathroom.
- Wash your hands or use antibacterial foam after you come in contact with hospital staff.
- Always wash your hands before eating.
- Never touch dressings, wounds, or IV lines.
- Ask visitors to stay home if they are sick.
- If you are in doubt, ask your health care workers if they have cleaned their hands.
Visitors are also under an obligation to maintain hygiene habits when in the hospital. Patients are already in a compromised state and outside contaminates can be especially damaging. Consider the health of those you are visiting and those around you as you enter the hospital.
- Always wash your hands both before seeing a patient and after you leave.
- In the absence of soap and water, use antibacterial foam, available from dispensers in each hospital room and in hallways.
- Never touch wounds, bandages, IV lines, catheters or tools used to treat the patient.
- Stay home if you are sick.