Tips for maintaining skin integrity and health while performing hand hygiene
Hand hygiene is considered one of the simplest, most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Skin on hands can become dry and irritated from frequent hand washing, dry heat/low humidity (especially in the winter months) and lack of moisturizing.
While routine hand hygiene is expected and important for the overall safety and wellbeing of both patients and staff, it is also important for staff to protect the health of their hands.
Below are some tips for maintaining hand skin integrity when performing hand hygiene:
- Wash your hands with lukewarm water rather than cold or hot water
- Avoid using excessive amounts of soap — our electronic soap dispensers deliver a metered dose and for most individuals, one pump should be a sufficient amount
- Rinse hands thoroughly so you don’t leave any soap residue
- Gently pat dry your hands with a soft, clean disposable paper towel
- Moisturize immediately after hand washing using a hospital-approved lotion. Doing this several times a day can help keep your hands hydrated throughout the day and protect the skin barrier. Bottles of lotion can be placed by hand washing stations for easy accessibility. Hospital-approved unscented lotion can be ordered through Supply Chain Services (MSC# 43708, MSC# 86172)
- Consider using an alcohol-based hand rub (Purell) which can be less irritating to the hands than soap and water when hands are not visibly soiled. Hand hygiene should be performed with soap and water when hands are visibly soiled, or when exiting CP-D patient rooms.
Staff with allergy concerns, or who are experiencing dermatitis upon using new hand hygiene products should contact Occupational Health Services (OHS) for further evaluation. Approved substitutes may be arranged if appropriate.