Hand hygiene is the single most important step in reducing the spread of germs and bacteria.

It’s also the simplest.

And the cheapest.

So when healthcare settings are battling against budget cuts and underfunding, whilst still trying to ensure high levels of patient care and safety, it’s unsurprising there’s a push to get back to basics.


Why is hand washing so important?

Hand hygiene is largely regarded as one of the most effective defences in infection control.

Yet despite this, a report on hand hygiene within the NHS found that the median compliance rates were just 40%-60%.

Admittedly this report was conducted before the Covid pandemic, which undoubtedly raised awareness and increased buy-in for keeping hands clean, but the figures are still pretty alarming.

Following strict, yet basic, hand hygiene rules can dramatically reduce cross-contamination and the spread of infection. Helping to protect healthcare professionals, patients, and visitors alike.


‘Clean care is better care’

Performed at the right time – and in the right way – thorough clinical hand washing can save lives. Fact.

This recognition that standards of care are greatly improved when hygiene levels are maintained is a key initiative for the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The guidelines from WHO, referred to as the ‘5 moments for hand hygiene’, are:

  1. Hands should be washed before touching or coming into contact with a patient
  2. Before carrying out a procedure
  3. After being exposed to bodily fluid and glove removal
  4. After contact with a patient and their immediate surroundings
  5. After touching any objects in the patient immediately surrounding – door handles, remote controls, phones etc.


How to clean hands

Knowing when to clean your hands is only the start. It’s also essential to understand how to do it properly.

Whilst doctors and nurses will be well versed, it may not be quite so intrinsic with less clinical healthcare professionals, nor with the many patients and visitors likely to frequent the environment.

As a basic guide, when washing with soap and water it’s important to:

  • Ideally, remove any jewellery
  • Wet hands with warm water
  • Apply enough soap to get a good covering on both hands
  • Rub hands together – palm to palm and then use one hand to scrub the back of the other and vice versa
  • Interlock hands and rub together to clean in-between fingers
  • Single out thumbs and use the opposite hand to rub the thumb before switching focus to the other hand.
  • Use the tips of your fingers to rub palms
  • Rinse the soap from your hand
  • Dry hands thoroughly – ideally with a disposable towel
  • Use this towel to turn off the tap


Washing with an alcohol-based sanitiser

Hand sanitisers are widely used as an alternative to handwashing. Fast and convenient it can be ideal for keeping on top of hand hygiene when soap and water are not readily available.

It’s recommended to position stations in key areas – reception areas, ward entrances, waiting rooms, and consultation rooms, alongside visual prompts, and reminders about the importance of hand hygiene.

Whilst hand sanitiser can be highly effective, it’s not a fully comparable substitute for hand washing and has proven to be less so in cases of minimising the spread of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Research has indicated that hand sanitisers have limited impact on the germs causing these unpleasant symptoms, making the need for a clinical sink – for handwashing with soap and water – the ideal solution.


Hand hygiene made easy

For maximum protection, washing hands with soap and water is the best line of defence.

Here at ONVO, as specialists in handwashing for the healthcare sector, we offer a range of products for clinical handwashing.

With an intuitive design, our clinical sinks are finely tuned to meet the needs and practicalities of any healthcare setting. Not only can our clinical wash hand basin encourage better handwashing, but with a revolutionary seamless design, they can actively reduce the spread of germs and bacteria.

Combine their installation with effective information sharing and promotion on the importance of hand cleanliness and you could see impressive results.

Ready to raise the standards of patient care in your healthcare setting? Then browse our medical wash trough range or contact the team to discuss your requirements in more detail.