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Publication Date: 26/10/2009 

Clean hands save lives 

Infection Prevention Awareness Week promotes key message 

June McAlpine, lead nurse HAI primary care, with Nicola Pollock, clerical officer in Lanark Health Centre. 

Hand hygiene the key: June McAlpine demonstrates the importance of hand hygiene to Nicola Pollock, clerical officer in Lanark Health Centre. 

Clean hands save lives – that was the message from NHS Lanarkshire’s infection control team during Infection Prevention Awareness week.

Patients, visitors and staff within Lanarkshire’s hospitals and community health premises learned more about hand hygiene during the annual event – which ran from 19 to 23 October.

Awareness sessions were held by infection control staff at Monklands, Hairmyres and Wishaw General hospitals, and also in Motherwell, Lanark and Cumbernauld Central health centres.

June McAlpine, lead nurse healthcare associated infection (HAI) for primary care, said: “The awareness stalls provided an opportunity to test hand washing technique using the ultra violet glo box, do demonstrations on the correct technique and provide information on infection control.

“The feedback we received from patients, visitors and staff was very positive. “They asked lots of questions and wanted to know more about the right way to wash your hands.

“Clean hands really do save lives – and we feel this message is getting across because everyone was very enthusiastic and keen to know more.

“We had lots of comments from people saying they appreciate just how important good hand hygiene is.”

For anyone visiting hospital, Scotland's Chief Medical and Chief Nursing Officer has five top tips to help prevent infection:

  1. Think about keeping patients safe before you visit someone in hospital. If you, or someone you live with has a cold or diarrhoea, or if you feel unwell, try to stay away until you are better.
  2. Wash and dry your hands before visiting a hospital ward, particularly after going to the toilet. If there is alcohol hand gel provided at the ward door or at the bedside, use it.
  3. Ask ward staff for advice before you bring in food or drink for someone you are visiting in hospital.
  4. If you visit someone in hospital, don't sit on their bed and keep the number of visitors to a minimum at any one time. Never touch dressings, drips, or other equipment around the bed.
  5. If you think NHS premises are not as clean as they should be, let the sister or charge nurse know. If you think a healthcare worker has forgotten to wash their hands, remind them about this.

For more information about hand hygiene visit the Scottish National Hand Hygiene Campaign website www.washyourhandsofthem.com