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Help in Reducing Healthcare Associated Infections

How can patients/visitors/carers help in reducing healthcare associated infections?

Hand hygiene protects both the patient and the healthcare worker from acquiring micro-organisms (germs) which may cause harm. Hands may look clean, but micro-organisms are always present. Removal of micro-organisms is the most important factor in preventing them from being transferred to other people.

Where possible soap and water should be used to clean hands; alcohol hand rub is an acceptable alternative to hand washing in most situations, provided hands are not visibly dirty.

Hands should be cleaned:

Before After

Eating/handling of food/drinks


Preparing/giving medications


Entering/leaving clinical areas (including ambulance vehicles)

Hands becoming visibly dirty

Visiting the toilet


Blowing/wiping/touching nose

What solution should be used for performing hand hygiene?

Soap (liquid soap where available)


Moist hand wipes


Alcohol hand rub

How long should it take to perform hand hygiene?
It should take at least 15 seconds to perform hand hygiene, however washing your hands for excessive lengths of time is not recommended as this may damage the skin.

The Trust does not have alcohol gel dispensers visible on its vehicles, as you see in hospitals, but our staff carry alcohol gel on their person. This alcohol gel is freely available for Trust staff and you to use.

If you would like to clean your hands whilst in our care please ask a member of staff who will make available either alcohol gel or moist hand wipes for you to use.