The importance of practicing good hand hygiene isn’t news when it comes to infection prevention. It has however come back into focus as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and our joint efforts to limit the rate of transmission.
Best practice for hand hygiene
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend cleaning hands regularly with soap and water1, but how ‘regular is regular’ for a patient or resident in a healthcare or aged-care environment?
A recent study, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, found that on average there are over 93 contact episodes per hour between patients, staff and visitors, demonstrating the significant potential for cross-infection in a healthcare setting2.
Guidance from NHS England, and many other healthcare institutes worldwide, includes washing hands after using the toilet, sneezing or coughing, and handling food3.
Most of us can adhere to this guidance quite easily, but for patients/residents with mobility issues or long-term conditions, regular access to a sink may prove more difficult, or in some cases impossible.
One research paper published by NICE suggested that only 13% of Acute care patients undertook pre-meal hand hygiene4, which highlights a gap in infection prevention for bedbound patients.
Alcohol-based hand gels are often used as a solution when there is no immediate access to soap and water, however research suggests that such products are ineffective when hands are visually contaminated5.
Bedbound patients, who are more likely vulnerable to contracting infections, require an alternative solution for washing and removing contamination from their hands.
Waterless solution when hand washing isn’t available
Infection Prevention specialists, including the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) have recently recommended making hand wipes easily available for resident/patient use6, with Public Health Agencies, such as the HCS, also highlighting wipe usage to help prevent the spread of infection5.
Conti® Wet Wipes are proven to physically remove over 99% of contamination from hands, ideal for when traditional hand washing isn’t available.
The super-soft wipes contain no harmful chemicals and offer convenient cleansing for patients’ hands and face, helping to keep skin refreshed and moisturised.
Unlike alcohol gels or products containing disinfectants which may cause irritation or dryness, Conti® wipes physically remove harmful pathogens whilst moisturising and protecting the skin.
- WHO 2020, Clean hands protect against infection [ONLINE] who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/
- Cheng, V. et al. (2017) Hand-touch contact assessment of high-touch and mutual-touch surfaces among healthcare workers, patients, and visitors. Journal of Hospital Infection, [ONLINE].
- NHS 2019, How to wash your hands [ONLINE], https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/
- NICE 2019, Improving pre-meal patient hand hygiene compliance; A quality improvement collaborative. [ONLINE] https://www.nice.org.uk/sharedlearning/improving-pre-meal-patient-hand-hygiene-compliance-a-quality-improvement-collaborative
- HCS Public Health Agency, Hand hygiene [ONLINE] https://www.niinfectioncontrolmanual.net/hand-hygiene
- IPS (2020), Infection Prevention and Control for Nursing & Residential Care Homes