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Hand hygiene

Cleaning our hands is one of the most important things we can all do to prevent infection.   Hands should be cleaned: 

  • Before and after touching a patient with a physical illness

  • After using the toilet

  • Before eating or preparing food

  • After blowing your nose or coughing into hand 

Someone washing their hands with soap and water

Soap and water

Washing with soap and water should be done if your hands are visibly dirty or if you have just used the toilet.

Alcohol hand rub

Alcohol hand rub is as effective as soap and water in most cases but only if your hands are visibly clean.   In Southern Health Community Hospitals for physical health conditions you will find it at the bedside at point of care and at the entrance to wards.  This enables staff to clean their hands immediately before and after touching patients.  Patients and visitors should use the alcohol hand rub, if provided, to clean their hands too.

In Southern Health Community Hospitals for mental health conditions, alcohol hand rub is available to visitors at ward entrances.   Staff use personal alcohol hand rub dispensers. 

Evidence from the National Patient Safety Agency shows that if alcohol hand rub is at the bedside/point of care, it is more effective than having it in places like the main entrance. 

If you find any hand cleaning supplies running low such as soap, alcohol hand rub or paper towels, please let a member of staff know immediately so we can arrange for them to be refilled.           

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