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CNA Skill Hand Washing

CNA's spend more time with patients providing hands on care then any other member of the health care team.  This makes hand washing the most important step that certified nursing assistants can take to avoid spreading germs and getting ill. It’s not possible to clean or disinfect every surface that a Certified Nursing Assistant may have contact with, but keeping your hands clean is the first line of defense for keeping infection causing germs from reaching your mouth, nose, or eyes, where they can make you and then others, sick.

Some of the most common contaminants in healthcare environments include Clostridium difficile, Enterococci and Staphylococcus aureus. These common contaminants are often spread by inadequate hand washing after caring for patients, handing bed linen, touching bed rails and other objects in the patients environment.

Certified Nursing Assistant Skill Hand Washing Guidelines
Proper hand washing with soap removes germs from hands.

  • Hands should be thoroughly wet all the way up to the wrists
  • Hands should be lathered for at least thirty seconds
  • Hands should be lower then your elbows and positioned downwards
  • Soap should be worked and lathered around your nails
  • Paper Towel should be used to turn on and off the faucet to avoid contamination

When Should CNA's Wash Their Hands:

  • If Hands are visibly soiled
  • Before and After Any direct Contact with Residents/Clients
  • Before Preparing, handling, serving or eating food
  • Before Feeding a Resident/Client
  • After removing gloves
  • After any personal functions such as blowing your nose and using the restroom

As important as it is for CNAs to properly wash their hands, it’s equally important to dry them properly too. The bacteria and viruses that can be left on your hands after even a good washing can thrive on moist skin.  You want to make sure that you dry your hands thoroughly after each wash.