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Why is hand washing so important on the Neonatal Unit?

Why is hand washing so important?

Babies on the Neonatal Unit are very young and their immune systems very immature. This makes them extremely susceptible to infection.

By washing your hands thoroughly you can remove bacteria which may be harmful to your baby.

Is there a ‘right’ way to wash my hands?

Yes—follow these steps to effectively wash your hands:

  • Take off your outdoor jacket or coat and hang it on the hooks provided (keep your valuables with you).
  • Roll up your sleeves and remove your watch, bracelets and rings. Keep them securely in your pocket or bag until you leave the Neonatal Unit.
  • Wet your hands.
  • Apply soap from the dispenser and wash your hands, wrists and lower arms following the instructions in the next panel.
  • Dry your hands, wrists and lower arms using the paper towels provided.
  • Finally, apply the alcohol provided in the dispenser, using the same technique as when washing your hands. It will dry in a few seconds.

When should I wash my hands?

  • Every time you go into the Neonatal Unit. This will help to reduce germs being carried into the unit from outside
  • In the nursery
  • Before and after you touch or handle your baby
  • After every nappy change
  • Before and after expressing breast milk
  • Before and after preparing the feed for your baby
  • Before you leave the Neonatal Unit. This helps to prevent germs being carried out of the unit.

If you have just washed your hands on leaving the nursery, you may use the alcohol gel instead of washing your hands before you leave the unit.

To help protect the babies on the Neonatal Unit, all parents and visitors are asked to follow the hand washing policy at all times.

We reserve the right to refuse entry to the Neonatal Unit if visitors do not follow the hand washing policy.

Please inform the Sister in Charge if you see anyone not following the hand washing policy.

If you or your relatives would like further information or advice about hand washing techniques, please speak to a member of staff

Using either soap and water or alcohol gel:


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