The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the importance of handwashing in patient care in preventing the transmission of pathogenic organisms from person to person and from place to place. This objective is achieved with the aid of a nurse who demonstrates proper techniques in handwashing under various conditions. In this presentation the principle of medical asepsis is described first and compared to surgical asepsis. This principle involves the mechanical removal of dirt and microorganisms with the use of running water, soaps and related compounds, and friction. These essential ingredients are described in detail. The clean and contaminated objects within the vicinity of the sink area are then discussed. The clean objects include the hand lotion, paper towels, foot-operated soap dispenser, and water faucet. The contaminated objects include the sink bowl and the nail cleaning sticks. In an ordinary type sink, the faucets and hand soap are considered to be contaminated and handled accordingly. The nurse then demonstrates the proper technique for handwashing using a sink equipped with knee controls for regulation of the water and foot-controlled soap dispenser. She then demonstrates modifications for use with a regular sink, and in caring for a patient in isolation. The use of 70% alcohol for rinsing or swabbing the hands in emergency situations is also discussed.
The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. (More information)