There are standard policies on hand hygiene, cleaning provision and signs to ensure that every effort is taken to ensure cleanliness at all times. Some examples of these policies are:
- Nails must be short, clean and free of nail varnish and false nails should be removed.
- Separate clinical wash-hand basins for hand washing are provided in each surgery and decontamination room.
- Basins do not have plugs or overflows as these are areas where bacteria can collect.
- Basins are fitted with either sensor-operated or lever-operated mixer taps, which do not discharge directly into the drain opening to avoid generating an aerosol of water vapour.
- Wall mounted liquid hand-wash dispensers with disposable soap cartridges are located near to the sinks. The nozzles should be kept clean. Refillable hand-wash containers are not used at the practice as bacteria can multiply within the container and act as a potential source of contamination. Bar soap should not be used.
- Posters depicting appropriate hand washing techniques are displayed above or near the clinical wash-hand basins in the practice. An example is available in our student download area
- Hands should be dried carefully, using the disposable towels provided, to avoid damaging the skin. Dispose of towels in the foot-operated or sensor-operated waste bin.
- At the end of a session, use the hand cream provided to counteract dryness. Hand cream should not be used under gloves as it encourages the growth of microorganisms.
Alcohol-based skin-disinfectant hand-rubs/gels can be used on visibly clean hands in conjunction with a good hand-rub technique. A poster depicting an appropriate hand rub technique should be displayed in each surgery and decontamination room.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of applications for hand-rubs/gels before hand-washing is required. Repeated applications leads to a build-up of the product on the hands; if hands become sticky, wash as normal using a proper hand-hygiene technique.
Alcohol-impregnated wipes used for cleaning surfaces should not be used in place of hand-rubs/gels; they are not effective in hand decontamination.
By keeping your hands clean and reducing the risk of damaging your skin you will reduce the risk of infection or cross contamination.