Continence: Hand Hygiene

Frequent hand washing is the best way to control infection risks. Continence Advisor Andrea Lord provides helpful tips about hand hygiene!

The number one infection control measure you can take for yourself and the person you support is hand washing. You need to wash your hands frequently with liquid soap or an alcohol based hand sanitiser gel. Wash your hands before and after any hands on care and after coming into contact with body fluids such as blood, urine, or bowel motions.

  1. If you have any cuts, abrasions or skin lesions, cover them completely with a waterproof dressing and change as needed or when the dressing becomes soiled. This will protect you and the person you support from infection risks.
  2. It’s a good idea to use disposable gloves for tasks involving body fluids. These are inexpensive and can be purchased from the chemist, supermarket, or specialist health suppliers. You may also want to use disposable aprons to protect your clothing.
  3. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  4. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Make sure your hands are thoroughly dry before you start any new task. Use hand cream or lotion to keep your skin supple and for protection, especially if you wash your hands often. Wash soiled linens normally. Presoak as you would any other clothing or bedding to remove stains.

Hand hygiene tips!

When to wash your hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching rubbish
  • Encourage visitors to wash their hands by leaving a bottle of alcohol based hand sanitiser gel by the front door, which they can use when they arrive and again when they leave.
  • Don’t forget to wash the hands of the person you are caring for, or ask them to do this regularly, especially if they need to be reminded.

View our complete Managing Continence At Home ‘watch and learn’ series with Andrea Lord at