Updated post - previously posted 12/04/19 | Author: Jon Williams, COO at Crandall Corporate Dietitians
Did you know that there is a simple way to prevent foodborne illness in senior living communities? Proper hand washing is the single most important way to keep food safe for residents. The lack of washing hands or washing hands improperly puts residents at risk of contracting serious illnesses.
Staff should wash their hands prior to starting work, after using the restroom, after handling unsanitary items such as trash, touching the face, and when switching tasks.
Follow these steps to ensure proper handwashing:
- Wet hands and remove any initial food or other debris from hands
- Apply soap: Lather vigorously by rubbing hands together for at least 20 seconds (some county guidelines may differ)
- Rinse hands to remove soap
- Dry hands with disposal paper towel
- Shut off the water by using the disposable towel used to dry hands, do not touch the faucet knobs with bare hands as this would create a cross-contamination
- Use a step-on trash can to dispose of paper towel
What about gloves? Can’t they keep our hands safe? Yes and no. Wearing gloves is determined by the task being completed. Gloves can create a false sense of security and can carry germs the same ways our hands do.
- Ready-to-eat foods should not be touched with bare hands. Ready-to-eat foods are foods that will not be receiving any additional cooking. In this instance wearing gloves is appropriate and needed.
- It is not recommended to wear gloves when serving from the food line where utensils are being used or when preparing food items that will be cooked further.
- Gloves must be changed between tasks, i.e. preparing chicken and then preparing salad.
- Hands should be washed when changing gloves.
By following these guidelines for handwashing and glove usage, you can keep your residents safe!