Did you know that you can contribute to your preemie’s healthcare a lot by observing the strict guidelines of hand washing and thus lowering your medical costs?
Good hand washing is the first step to stop the spread of illnesses and infections. Do not underestimate the power of handwashing towards the overall health of your preemie! Hand washing is a hygienic procedure that has even been given a globally recognized day! October 15th!
In the NICU you will use antiseptic soap and alcohol hand sanitizers to help remove and kill germs on your hands, wrists, and arms. Good hand hygiene will help keep both you and your child healthier.
Hand washing is an inexpensive and cost effective way of preventing neonatal infections. World Health Organization has a set standard for hand washing.
WHEN SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?
WHO recommends the 5 Moments Hand Hygiene Procedure
- Before touching a patient for example when assisting in personal care activities such as to move, giving a massage, feeding, getting dressed, before giving medications etc.
- Before cleaning or when performing a septic procedure. This can occur where a wound is involved. For newborns, an example would be while cleaning the navel.
- After body exposure risks. For example after changing the diaper, removing a gauze, after cleaning any contaminated material – soiled bed linen. Clean your hands immediately after the exposure has ended and after taking off a glove.
- After touching a patient and when leaving the patient’s bedside/incubator. After giving a massage, feeding, dressing the patient
- After touching patient’s surroundings. Try to avoid unnecessary activities such as leaning on the bed/incubator, touching each and everything around the patient.
NB – The use of gloves does not replace the need for cleaning hands.
WHY SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?
Any health-care worker, caregiver or person involved in patient care needs to be concerned about hand hygiene
• Therefore hand hygiene concerns you!
You must perform hand hygiene to:
- Protect the patient against harmful germs carried on your hands or present on his/her own skin
- Protect yourself and the health-care environment from harmful germs
• HOW SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?
- Keep natural nails short and clean
- Do not routinely wash hands with soap and water immediately before or after using an alcohol based rub
- Avoid using hot water to rinse your hands.
- Do not wear artificial fingernails or extenders when in direct contact with the patients.
- Dry your hands properly before putting on gloves after hand rubbing or handwashing.
- Use a protective cream regularly