Patients: The 5 most important times to wash your hands in hospital

Patients: The 5 most important times to wash your hands in hospital

It’s no secret that good hand hygiene is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Yet, some people are shy to discuss hand hygiene with their healthcare providers.

In Canada, one in nine patients will develop an infection during their hospital stay. Many of these infections can be easily prevented through proper hand hygiene in the hospital. While healthcare providers have a big role to play in helping to prevent the spread of germs to their patients, germs can also be spread by patients on their own hands.

At Hamilton Health Sciences, many teams have initiated hand hygiene promotion initiatives that encourage open communication between patient and caregiver around hand hygiene. The key message? That it’s okay to ask your healthcare provider if they’ve remembered to clean their hands.

If you or a loved one is in hospital, it’s important for you to know the five most important times to wash your hands:

1. Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
2. Before eating or handling food.
3. After coughing or sneezing (it’s best to cough into a tissue or your sleeve)
4. Before entering shared spaces and when returning to your/your loved one’s room.
5. After using the washroom or a commode.

Remember: It’s always okay to ask your healthcare provider if they’ve remembered to clean their hands. Hand hygiene is everyone’s responsibility!

Click here for an infographic for patients and healthcare providers on hand hygiene.