Visitors to Greenacres Hospital received a major wake-up call about the cleanliness of their hands last week as nurses in charge of infection control introduced them to the Glitterbug – a device that shows how well they have washed their hands – or not.
Sharlette Cullis, of Netcare Greenacres Hospital’s infections control team, said the Glitterbug was used for training purposes to show people how important proper hand washing was.
She said that the Glitterbug worked with “glitter potion” – a lotion to put on your hands before washing.
“Once you have washed your hands, you put them inside the Glitterbug which clearly shows the spots you missed,” Cullis said.
Heidi Wiehahn, also of the infection control team, said proper hand washing was essential for infection control and stopping the spread of harmful germs and viruses.
“It doesn’t matter whether you do it with hand sanitiser or water and soap,” she said.
“There is a technique you should use to do it properly.”
Most people missed the gap between thumb and forefinger, the knuckles, under the nails and between the fingers, she said.
“When women wear a ring, they often don’t wash around it,” Wiehahn said.
“If you sing Happy Birthday to You twice in your head while you wash your hands, you have done it properly.”
Surprisingly, Cullis said, hand washing compliance increased when touchless hand sanitiser dispensers were provided in the hospital.