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CMS Interim Final Rule Regarding Placement of
Alcohol-Based Hand-Rub Dispensers

March 25, 2005

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee published the Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings in October 2002 in which alcohol hand-rubs were recommended for use in healthcare facilities. At that time existing national fire codes as set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) permitted hand-rub dispensers in patient rooms, but prohibited their installation in egress or exit corridors.

On March 25, 2005, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule adopting an amendment by the NFPA allowing for the installation of alcohol hand-rub dispensers in egress corridors. (Note: Local or state fire code requirements may differ from the national codes; therefore, facilities are strongly urged to determine requirements for their particular locale.) For additional information see the Federal Register NoticeThis is a PDF file - Click for InstructionsPDF.

Alcohol hand rubs are an important strategy for improving hand-hygiene practices by healthcare personnel, reducing healthcare-associated infections, and improving overall patient safety. CMS’s new interim rule is an important step in improving access to alcohol hand-rub dispensers in healthcare settings. Healthcare facilities should continue to promote hand hygiene to prevent transmission of healthcare-associated infectons.

Clean Hands Save Lives!

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds.  However, if soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.

 When washing hands with soap and water:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend!
  • Rinse hands well under running water
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet
 Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.

  When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Apply product to the palm of one hand
  • Rub hands together
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

 When should you wash your hands?

  • Before preparing or eating food
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom
  • Before and after   tending to someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling an animal or animal waste
  • After handling garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound


CDC News

(Center for Disease Control)

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