Hand hygiene

Keeping your hands clean while at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney

We all play a role in stopping the spread of infections and the best way to do this is to practice hand hygiene. Hand hygiene is a term use to describe washing hands with soap and water or a hand-rub gel or foam solution. There is hand-rub gel on the end of every patient’s bed and on entry to and within all wards.

Hand hygiene is the single most important activity that assists in reducing hospital infections. Hands may look clean but there are often many invisible germs that are present and can be transmitted from person to person and across various environments. When unwell, natural defences are weakened and hospital acquired infections can lead to prolonged illness, a longer hospital stay and a slower recovery.

We can all help beat infections by regularly performing easy and quick hand hygiene. If you don’t see your health care workers washing their hands, we ask that you remind them to do so.

When should I clean my hands?

  • On entering and leaving St Vincent’s
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing your nose
  • When your hands are visibly dirty

How do I use the hand-rub gel/foam?

When your hands are visibly clean you should:

  1. Remove excess jewellery
  2. Squirt 1 pump action into the palm of your hands and rub the product to cover both hands
  3. Rub your hands together and move the product over the back of your hands and between your fingers until the product dries.

How do I use soap and water?

When your hands are visibly dirty you should:

  1. Remove excess jewellery
  2. Wet your hands with water
  3. Apply the soap
  4. Rub all over your hands
  5. Rinse off well with water
  6. Pat dry with paper towel and place in waste bin.