“It is internationally recognised that the most important preventive measure in Infection Prevention and Control is hand hygiene” (HIQA 2007)

Adherence by healthcare workers with hand hygiene opportunities and technique is a frequent focus of evaluation and audit measure. But we should not forget that good hand hygiene technique should be supported by having appropriate facilities. I know clinicians find this a dull topic but it’s simple and so easy to get right.

QUIZ: Let’s start with your hand hygiene facilities check list (answer Yes or No):

  1. Is there a dedicated hand washing sink in each dental surgery?
  2. Are the following items available in palm-pump dispensers:
  • Liquid soap
  • Hand Gel/Rub
  • Hand moisturiser
  1. Is there a dispenser which issues single sheets of paper towels?
  2. Is there a pedal operated solid sided domestic paper bin to take the used paper hand towels?
  3. Is there a mixer tap capable of being operated by wrist or preferably elbow?
  4. Is there a seamless, wipeable splash back to the hand sink area?
  5. Is the sink free of an overflow or has the overflow been sealed off?
  6. Is there a pictogram illustrating the steps to hand washing / gel technique?
  7. Is the surrounding area free of clutter?
  8. A brief note in your practice infection control policy on cleaning and auditing the hand hygiene facility sink?

If you have been able to answer YES to all the above congratulations your hand hygiene facilities are compliant with the guidelines. If not, you now have a to do list.

Some items on this list can be achieved immediately, others may not be possible until you undertake your next refurbishment.

However, by undertaking this exercise and making a written note in the hand hygiene section of your practice compliance file/folders you are moving towards a practice action plan.

It is essential that you now date and sign your action plan. Regulators love to see that you have targets and plans. Of course, they will expect over time to see progress on the plans but that’s for another article!