Washing your hands properly, aside from vaccination, is probably the most effective contribution we can make to public health and is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness in hospitals

The 15th of October was Global Handwashing Day, a date dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases, and save lives.

Global Handwashing Day was developed by the The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, to design, test and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times, and we at IntelliCentrics fully support this activity.

When entering and leaving any healthcare setting, handwashing is of paramount importance, especially during the winter months when Influenza, Norovirus and other viruses spread incredibly quickly.

Surprisingly, not everyone fully understands the importance of handwashing. In a healthcare environment where dangerous pathogens can be transferred from one patient to another via the hands of healthcare personnel and visitors, hand hygiene goes beyond a quick washing of hands. Training includes when to wash your hands, how to properly wash your hands and what products (i.e. soap and water vs. alcohol-based hand rubs) work best in different situations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed an approach to hand hygiene called the Five Moments. This approach aims to ensure hand hygiene is performed at the correct moments, and at the correct location, within the flow of care delivery. The Five Moments approach has been adapted, with the permission of the WHO, by the National Patient Safety Agency for application in the UK.

Prevent the spread

Anyone visiting a healthcare facility has a responsibility to protect those staying, or working in, what should be a safe and clean environment. SEC3URE members can play a vital role in reducing the spread of infection and ensure the healthcare facility remains a safe environment by washing their hands correctly.

Everyone, from a patient visitor to a medical device representative or service technician running diagnostics on a piece of equipment presents the potential for widespread transmission of viruses, not only to patients, but to staff as well.

IntelliCentrics believes that all visitors have a duty to protect patients or healthcare personnel in hospitals as well as themselves. Since hand hygiene is so critical in reducing the risk of infections, the majority of SEC3URE hospitals require vendor representatives and other commercial visitors, based on their responsibilities and hospital access areas, to fulfil all relevant training requirements including hand washing techniques.