Quick Response: What are the guidelines for washing hands?
This question was submitted by a general dentist: What are the guidelines for washing hands if I am moving directly from one patient to another, such as when my hygienist asks me to perform an examination?
Dr. Nita Mazurat, representing the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) has provided this quick initial response
The guidelines for hand washing state that hands should always be washed immediately after removing a pair of gloves and immediately before placing another pair of gloves.
However, to be practical, if you are moving directly from one patient to another, remove contaminated gloves, hold your hands together during movement to the next patient, and immediately wash your hands in front of this patient, prior to gloving.
If you are accustomed to greeting your patient by shaking their hands, then your hands should be washed immediately after removing gloves from the previous examination.
Washing your hands in the presence of the patient provides them with peace of mind that gloves will be properly handled and treatment will be performed with clean hands. Reducing the number of hand washes while at the same time, providing maximum safety for the patient, increases compliance for hand hygiene.
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