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Hand washing statistics

NEARLY 20 per cent of public hospitals have failed to meet the national benchmark for hand hygiene standards according to data released for the first time yesterday, sparking a call for hospital managers to improve their hygiene policies.

Sydney Morning Herald, 7th March 2012

Hospitals need to scrub up on hand hygiene ... report.
Photo: Michelle Mossop

Correct hand washing in facilities such as Hospitals, aged care facilities, and schools is critical. The data reported on the Australian Government’s MyHospitals website makes it clear that these sorts of places don’t place enough value on proper technique, with many facilities failing to meet even the generous standard, which states that cleaning your hands times out of the ten that you should is good enough.

But why?

In an article that is unfortunately no longer available, Hand Hygiene Australia had some ideas on why health care workers in particular have poor hand washing practices:

  1. Heavy workloads – the busier you are the less likely you are to wash your hands
  2. Time consuming – there just isn’t enough time to wash your hands as often as you need to if using the traditional Hand Hygiene techniques
  3. Hands don’t appear dirty – Bugs are there even if you can’t see them
  4. Problems with skin irritation – frequent washing with soap and water removes skin lipids and can cause dryness, skin irritation and damaged skin
  5. Sinks poorly located – if it’s hard to get to a sink you are less likely to use it.

We also have our own theory to add to the mix:

  1. Staff don’t understand the necessity of hand washing
  2. Staff aren’t fully aware of the extent to which you should wash your hands

GlitterBug Potion makes hand washing training fun and interactive

Thankfully, as well as knowing about the problem, we have an answer: GlitterBug Potion.

GlitterBug Potion is a training tool used to demonstrate how to wash your hands – simply rub the lotion into your hands, wash as you usually do, and then shine a UV light upon the ‘washed’ hands.

It’s scary, but it’s also super-useful. People don’t easily forget what they see.

Use GlitterBug Potion for HAND WASHING Training