As a patient or relative/visitor, you can play an important role in the promotion of hand hygiene. By doing so, you become a partner of physicians, nurses and paramedics in your own care or that of your relative/friend. Indeed, hand hygiene is important in every kind of care, for every kind of healthcare worker (physician, nurse, paramedic,...) and in every kind of care setting (hospital, care centre, at the GP’s, at home,…).
Clearly show your appreciation whenever physicians, nurses and paramedics disinfect their hands while providing care. If you think your healthcare provider has forgotten about it, kindly ask them if they have disinfected their hands. Before the healthcare provider approaches you, you can politely remind him/her of the importance of good hand hygiene.
In the hospital, healthcare providers have to disinfect their hands at the following moments:
- Before patient contact
- Before an aseptic task (e.g. applying an arterial catheter, performing a blood collection)
- After contact with the patient or his/her surroundings (bed, bedside table)
- After body fluid exposure (e.g. emptying a urine bag).
Relatives and visitors should wash or disinfect their hands when entering your room in the hospital (and especially before touching you), but also when they leave your room.
If you address physicians, nurses and paramedics in a gentle and positive way about hand hygiene, they will understand your good intentions and they will not blame you.
By means of the national campaign for the promotion of hand hygiene in Belgium, we stimulate healthcare providers to be open to any active contribution of the patient and his family to the care process. Besides, it is your right to ask information to healthcare providers and to check whether the best possible care is being given to you.