Why you should ask your nurses or doctors to clean their hands

It’s your health or that of someone close to you. So, don’t be shy — if you don’t see your health care providers clean their hands, ask them to.

We often give reminders to our kids and family members about washing their hands. After all, it’s a do-it-yourself vaccine that can help prevent flu and other disease, and keep infections at bay. Did you know that when you’re in any kind of medical setting, whether it be your pediatrician’s office or a hospital, you can and should ask your providers to clean their hands?

When should a caregiver clean his or her hands?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined key moments when health care workers should wash their hands, called “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene.” According to the WHO, health care workers should clean their hands:

  • Before touching a patient
  • Before performing a procedure
  • After exposure to body fluids
  • After touching a patient
  • After touching a patient’s surroundings

If you notice a caregiver hasn’t cleaned his or her hands at any of these moments, you can ask the caregiver to do so. It’s as simple as saying, “Could you wash your hands?” The caregiver should stop, wash his or her hands, and continue on with the task.

Hand hygiene at Norton Children’s facilities

One of the ways we keep our patients safe is by working to prevent infections while patients are in our care. Practicing good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to do this. Norton Healthcare follows the “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene” guidelines.

If you ever wonder whether a caregiver has cleaned his or her hands, please ask. You and your guests should do the same, for example, when coming into and going out of a patient room, as well as before eating, after using the restroom or after blowing your nose. Hand washing is a simple action, but it makes a tremendous difference in stopping the spread of germs and preventing infections.

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When hospital patients have infections or conditions that could spread to others, special precautions are needed.If that is the case with your child, your child’s caregivers must wear protective apparel (mask, gloves and/or gown, for example) in the room. Any visitors to the room also must wear this apparel. These items must be removed when leaving the room, to prevent germs from spreading in the hospital. If a caregiver or visitor enters your child’s room without the required protective apparel, please speak up with a reminder.

Norton Children’s wants you, your child, family and guests to feel comfortable asking questions, especially about something as important as your health and safety in our facilities. Always feel free to remind anyone entering your room about hand hygiene or wearing protective apparel. Doing so can help keep children and the community healthy by stopping the spread of germs.