The most important technique for interrupting the infectious process is
handwashing. Gloves should be worn during any procedure that could result in contact
with blood or body fluid, open skin lesions, or mucous membranes. Handwashing
procedures should be performed immediately after removal of gloves or if known
contamination with blood or with body fluid has occurred. Health care workers with
draining lesions should not come in contact with patients or equipment until the problem
5-2. PERFORMING A TWO-MINUTE HANDWASH
Prevent nosocomial infection.
Maintain safe, clean environment for patients.
Provide safety for health care workers.
(4) Prevent cross-contamination of patients or the spread of
b. Scope of Responsibility. Teaching patients and visitors about procedures
and appropriate times for handwashing is an important role for the health care provider.
This enables the patient and family to inhibit the spread of microorganisms when health
care is continued at home. The importance of handwashing before and after handling
food, after handling contaminated articles, and before and after elimination should be
stressed in the teaching process.
c. The Two-Minute Handwash. A two-minute handwash will provide
appropriate protection before you begin working with a patient. A 30-second handwash
should be sufficient before caring for another patient. A one-minute handwash should
be appropriate if you have handled organic material or a contaminated object.
d. Additional Actions. In addition to handwashing, other actions can be taken
to reduce the chance of transmitting microorganisms. The patient should receive a
personal set of care articles, such as a bedpan, urinal, bath basin, thermometer, water
pitcher, and drinking glass to prevent cross-contamination. Articles such as
contaminated equipment and soiled linen should be placed in special waste containers
or laundry bag, and kept away from your uniform.