Hand hygiene is a general term referring to any action of hand cleaning. It relates to the removal of visible soil and removal or destruction of transient micro-organisms from the hand while maintaining good skin integrity. Children are taught proper hand hygiene by Educators, and are supervised.
Hand Hygiene at LEF
Child Care Centres will use liquid soap, water, and paper towel as their primary method of hand hygiene.
When running water is not available, ABHR containing 70% to 90% alcohol will be used. In both cases, effective hand washing/hand sanitizing procedures will be followed.
Indications for Hand Hygiene
A hand hygiene indication points to the reason hand hygiene is necessary at a given moment. There may be several hand hygiene indications in a single care sequence or activity. Some examples of hand hygiene indications are:
- Upon arrival to the Child Care Centre and after coming inside from outside.
- Before initial contact with children or handling items in the room; this should be done upon entry to any room.
- Before putting on gloves when changing diapers or assisting with toileting.
- Before and after preparing, handling or serving food or giving medication.
- Before and after care involving contact with blood, body fluids, secretions and excretions of children or staff, even if gloves are worn.
- Immediately after removing gloves and before moving on to another activity.
- After sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, or using the washroom.
- Whenever in doubt.
Effective Hand Washing Steps
Effective hand washing steps are as follows per Toronto Public Health:
- Wet hands with warm water.
- Apply soap.
- Lather for 15 seconds. Rub between fingers, backs of hands, and under nails.
- Rinse well under running water.
- Dry hands thoroughly with paper towel or hot air blower.
- Turn taps off with paper towel, if available.
When soap and water are not available, using hand sanitizer is an effective method of killing/removing micro-organisms on hands.
How to use Hand Sanitizer
- Choose a hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) containing 70% - 90% alcohol.
- Apply a small amount in palm and rub hands together, spreading the sanitizer over the hands to include fingertips, under fingernails, and the backs of your hands.
- Rub hands together for at least 15 seconds until the gel feels dry.
Note: Since the effectiveness of alcohol is inhibited by the presence of organic material, when hands are visibly soiled and running water is not available, a moistened towelette should be used to remove the visible soil, followed by a hand sanitizer or ABHR.
Permission for Child’s Use of Hand Sanitizer
Primary Contacts are required to consent to their child’s use of hand sanitizer, using Consent Form for Use of Hand Sanitizer 7.4.25.
Gloves must be worn when it is anticipated that the hands will be in contact with mucous membranes, broken skin, tissue, blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, or contaminated equipment and environmental surfaces.
Gloves are task-specific and single-use only and must be removed immediately and discarded into a waste receptacle after the activity for which they were used.
When staff are mixing chemicals into bottles or buckets, they must wear thicker dishwashing-like gloves.
These gloves can be reused, each staff member should have their own pair.
Also, staff must wear these gloves when immersing toys in diluted disinfectant when toy washing, as their hands are more frequently immersed.
How to Put on and Remove Gloves
Since gloves are not completely free of leaks and hands may become contaminated when removing gloves, hands must be cleaned before putting on gloves and after glove removal.
To reduce hand irritation related to glove use, staff must:
- wear gloves for as short a time as possible
- hands must be clean and dry before putting on gloves
- gloves must be intact and clean and dry inside
Safe Storage of Products
All product containers used for hand hygiene will be appropriately labeled and stored.
Soap dispensers will be located at every sink designated for hand washing and refilled as necessary.
Staff are reminded that Safety Data Sheets and product labels provide additional information regarding placement, storage and warnings associated with ABHS.
Regular Monitoring of Hand Hygiene
In order to ensure that staff are following the correct procedures for hand hygiene, the Supervisor will regularly monitor staff and record their observations on the Hand Washing Monitoring Chart 7.2.41 or within the Child Care Centre’s log book. The Supervisor will conduct follow up discussions as necessary.
Respiratory etiquette must be taught to children and regularly practiced by staff.
Respiratory etiquette includes:
- Covering nose and mouth during coughing and sneezing with a tissue or by turning the head away from others and sneezing or coughing into the sleeve or elbow.
- Disposing of used tissues into the garbage immediately after use.
- Practicing proper hand hygiene immediately after coughing or sneezing.
Posters should be posted at the entrance and in areas frequented by staff and children.
Review and Signature
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette Policy 7.2.56-C19 must be reviewed and signed at least annually by all C&F Employees.
7.2.56-C19: Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
Effective Date: July 2, 2020
Prepared and Approved by Executive Director