7.3 Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is considered one of the most important practices in preventing the onward transmission of any infectious agents including COVID-19. 

Hand hygiene should be performed in line with section 1.2 of SICPs bare below the elbow and must be performed:

Within this section you will find videos demonstrating how to perform a hand wash and how to perform a hand rub. 

Posters detailing hand washing techniques and alcohol based hand rub (ABHR) technique can be found in the resources section of this addendum. 

Hand washing should be extended to the forearms if there has been exposure of forearms to respiratory secretions.

7.3.1 Hand hygiene in the community

Staff working in the community should carry a supply of Alcohol Based Hand Rub (ABHR) to enable them to perform hand hygiene at the appropriate times. 

Where staff are required to wash their hands (when visibly contaminated) in the individual’s own home they should do so for at least 20 seconds using any hand soap available. 

Staff should carry a supply of disposable paper towels for hand drying rather than using hand towels in the individual’s own home.  Once hands have been thoroughly dried, ABHR should be used.

Staff may also carry antimicrobial hand wipes if they are going to be attending a property where there is no running water.  The use of antimicrobial hand wipes is only permitted where there is no access to running water.  Staff must perform hand hygiene using ABHR immediately after using the hand wipes and perform hand hygiene with soap and water at the first available opportunity.