6.3 Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is considered one of the most important practices in preventing the onward transmission of any infectious agents including COVID-19.  Hand hygiene should be performed in line with section 1.2 of SICPs.

Hand hygiene is essential to reduce the transmission of infection in care home settings. All staff, residents and visitors should clean their hands with soap and water or, where this is unavailable, alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) when entering and leaving the care home and when entering and leaving areas where care is being delivered.

Hand hygiene must be performed immediately before every episode of direct care and after any activity or contact that potentially results in hands becoming contaminated, including the removal of personal protective equipment (PPE), equipment decontamination and waste handling.

Before performing hand hygiene:

If wearing an apron rather than a gown (bare below the elbows), and it is known or possible that forearms have been exposed to respiratory secretions (for example cough droplets) or other body fluids, hand washing should be extended to include both forearms. Wash the forearms first and then wash the hands.

Staff should support any residents with hand hygiene regularly where required.