OSCE guides

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When to wash your hands

The My 5 moments for hand hygiene approach describes the key moments when healthcare workers should perform hand hygiene.

The 5 moments of hand hygiene

  1. Before touching a patient
  2. Before clean/aseptic procedures
  3. After body fluid exposure/risk
  4. After touching a patient
  5. After touching patient surroundings

How to wash your hands with alcohol hand rub

You should clean your hands using an alcohol-based formulation if your hands are NOT visibly soiled.
The entire process of hand washing with alcohol based formulations should take around 20-30seconds.
The benefits of alcohol-based formulations over soap and water include:
  • Faster to clean your hands
  • More effective
  • Better tolerated by the skin on your hands
Limitations of alcohol-based formulations:
  • Not effective if hands are visibly soiled
  • Not effective at eradicating spore forming organisms (e.g. C.difficile)

Step by step guide

  1. Apply a palmful of the product in a cupped hand, covering all surfaces
  2. Rub hands palm to palm
  3. Rub your right palm over the dorsum of your left hand, with fingers interlaced, then vice versa
  4. Rub your hands together palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  5. Rub the backs of your fingers to opposite palms with your fingers interlocked
  6. Place your left thumb in your clasped right palm and rotationally rub the thumb, then repeat using your right thumb and clasped left palm
  7. Rotationally rub the clasped fingers of your right hand into the left palm and vice versa
  8. Allow your hands to dry