The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Infection Prevention and Control for Healthcare Personnel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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When Should Hand Hygiene be Performed?

Healthcare providers should clean their hands at important stages that have been shown to disrupt the transmission of microorganisms to patients. Examples of when hands should be cleaned include:
  • Upon completion of required tasks performed in any area not pre-designated as a clean area
  • Immediately after removal of gloves or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Upon contact or when there is visible contamination with blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM)
  • Before and after direct patient contact, whether or not gloves are worn
  • Before eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics, or handling contact lenses
  • After using the bathroom
  • Before any activities in which hand contact is made with mucous membranes, the eyes, or breaks in the skin (eg, cuts, abrasions, wounds).
  • Before handling an invasive device
  • After contact with inanimate objects in the immediate vicinity of the patient