New Hand-Hygiene Guidelines Issued — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 17, 2014

New Hand-Hygiene Guidelines Issued

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and others have released expert guidance on proper hand hygiene in the healthcare setting in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Among the recommendations:

  • Soap and alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) should be conveniently located for routine hand hygiene in all areas where patients are seen. Staff members should be consulted on the products' tolerability.

  • Healthcare workers should wash their hands with soap and water or use ABHR before direct patient contact, preparing or handling patients' medications, and moving from a contaminated body site to a clean body site on a patient.

  • Hands should also be cleaned before and after using an invasive device and after contact with bodily fluids, direct contact with a patient, or contact with a patient's surroundings.

  • When hands are visibly soiled, healthcare workers should use soap and water, not ABHR.

  • Soaps containing triclosan should be avoided because of the risk for antimicrobial resistance.

  • Hand hygiene adherence should be monitored either directly (e.g., by technology) or indirectly (e.g., by tracking the volume of product used).

Reader Comments (4)


Need hand creams at all wash sites to prevent dry skin problems from this much washing.

DONALD CRAVEN Physician, Infectious Disease, Lahey Medical Center & Hospital

overall excellent

Douglas Burwell MD Physician, Internal Medicine, Veterans Affairs, White City, Oregon

Why not discourage "hand shakes"? I greet my patients with a forearm-to-forearm "bump" which surprises them the first time, but is appreciated when I explain what unknown disease on my hand they are not contacting.

Anna Gifford, ARNP - BC Other Healthcare Professional, Family Medicine/General Practice

So simple, so useful.
Now if we could just get those stethoscopes from around those millions of necks teeming with pathogens.......

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