Cards explain clean hands procedures

Healthcare facilities in the NHS have this week been sent limited edition cards explaining the correct procedures that should be followed when cleaning hands.

The guidance has been produced by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), NHS Scotland, Northern Ireland's Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and the Infection Prevention Society.

The guidance is the same size as a credit or business card and it is the first time that the four home nations have collaborated on a UK-wide initiative on hand hygiene.

It also gives a reminder about when soap and water and when alcohol handrub should be used.

Although alcohol handrub kills infections such as MRSA and the common cold virus, the gel is ineffective against Clostridium difficile, Norovirus or other diarrhoea-related illnesses.

In these instances, or if hands are visibly dirty or there has been any direct contact with bodily fluids, the NPSA advises that liquid soap and water must be used instead to prevent healthcare-associated infections spreading from patient to patient, or to visitors.

This week is Infection Control Week.

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