OVERVIEW | REGULATIONS & GUIDELINES | BEST PRACTICES | INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES | PATIENT RESOURCES
Hand hygiene is a general term that applies to routine hand washing, antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub, or surgical hand antisepsis.
Hand hygiene substantially reduces potential pathogens on the hands and is considered a primary measure for reducing the risk of transmitting organisms to patients and health care personnel (HCP). Hospital-based studies have shown that noncompliance with hand hygiene practices is associated with health care-associated infections, the spread of multi-resistant organisms, and has been a major contributor to outbreaks. Studies also have shown that the prevalence of health care-associated infections decreased as hand hygiene measures improved.
Indications for hand hygiene include the following:
- Before and after treating each patient (e.g., before glove placement and after glove removal).
- After barehanded touching of inanimate objects likely to be contaminated by blood, saliva, or respiratory secretions.
- Before leaving the dental operatory.
- When hands are visibly soiled. Before regloving, after removing gloves that are torn, cut, or punctured.
- For oral surgical procedures, perform surgical hand antisepsis before donning sterile surgical gloves.