- Say something. If you don’t see doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff wash their hands or put on gloves before they touch a patient, gentle reminders are good. If a staffer is particularly dismissive when you raise concerns, you may want to mention it to a nurse you are comfortable with to ask for suggestions on how to address the problem, especially if you seeing the same person forgetting to wash their hands regularly.
- Model your own excellent hand washing practices. Wash your hands in front of others with soap and warm water or use antibacterial gels and foams posted on walls in the hospital. Point them out to visitors and explain why it’s important to wash your hands even if they don’t feel dirty.
- Post visual aids to remind people about hand washing. These are helpful for both the care team and visitors. Several organizations have free posters to remind people how and when to wash their hands:
- World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/background/5moments/en/)
- US Department of Veterans Affairs (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/flu/materials/posters_hand_hygiene.asp)
- US Centers for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.html)
- Minnesota Department of Public Health (http://www.health.state.mn.us/handhygiene/materials.html)
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