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MODULE 1145

NICKOLA LASH-HARTNOLL

ODP STUDENT

APRILL 2011 COHORT

PRACTICE ESSAY

This assignment will compare two different methods of hand washing within the perioperative environment. It will also discuss how hand washing can influence the prevention of health care infections

(HCAI’s) a HCAI is a type of infection that a patient will acquire through a hospital stay. Most infections in hospitals are spread through direct contact (cross contamination) usually on the hands of the healthcare workers (Gould et al, 2008).

The most sagacious way of breaking the chain that leads to infection is to first clean the hands and mechanically remove or destroy the micro-organisms and bacteria’s (BJHA 2009). The cleaning of the hands of the practitioner removes these transient bacteria and micro-organisms that can primarily lead to a health care related infection. (Gould 2009).

HCAI’s often occur by direct contact to the skin. The skin is the first line of defence against the bacteria that threaten to invade and cause infection. To keep infection risks low cross infection should be controlled (Fraise and Bradley, 2008).

Effective hand washing is the first step in preventing cross infection and the maintaining of hand hygiene is paramount to its control (Gould et al 2008). However, hands are the preeminent route by which HCAI’s will occur (Elliot 1992). In the perioperative environment there are two types of hand washing techniques.

Before entering the perioperative environment, hands should be primarily clean. The fingernails should be short. The area under any finger nails of length acts as a breeding ground for bacteria and increases the risk of cross infection (Jeanes and Green 2001). Nails should also be devoid of any nail polish or type of acrylic. All jewellery should be removed and arms should be bare below the elbow. (Weston 2008).

One type of hand washing done in the perioperative environment...
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