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5 Moments

Five Moments

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed an approach to hand hygiene called the Five Moments. This approach aims to ensure hand hygiene is performed at the correct moments, and at the correct location, within the flow of care delivery. 


The Five Moments approach to hand hygiene was developed within the most comprehensive evidence based document available on hand hygiene, the WHO’s guidelines for hand hygiene. This means that the approach is easily described within the context of care delivery and transmission dynamics.


The Five Moments approach has been adapted, with the kind permission of the WHO, by the NPSA for application in the UK context.


The Five Moments approach to hand hygiene, as adapted by the cleanyourhands campaign, aims to improve hand hygiene across the NHS. The approach supports coordinators in ensuring hand hygiene is performed at the right time (the Five Moments) in the right place (the point of care) using the appropriate method (soap and water handwashing or alcohol hand rub) using the correct technique. 


Link: WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care




Point of care refers to the patient’s immediate environment (zone) in which healthcare staff-to-patient contact or treatment is taking place. In the hospital environment it is usually at the patient’s bed, but in other contexts it could be a treatment room, cot, chair, ambulance or a patient’s home, for example.


Patient zone is the area in the immediate vicinity of the patient where care is provided. The zone can differ according to where the patient is being treated and needs to be agreed by the staff working within that environment.