AHRQ Safety Program for Long-Term Care: HAIs/CAUTI
The How-To's of Hand Hygiene
Activity 1: Are your hands clean?
This activity is designed to show staff just how many germs are on health care workers' hands.
- Ask for staff volunteers. Try to select staff who are from different units and wards and who perform different jobs and roles.
- Have staff place their fingers on agar plates.
- Incubate these plates at room temperature for 24 to 36 hours.
- After the incubation period, gather staff and present the contaminated plates to show how much bacteria was on the hands of staff.
- Use this time to remind staff about the four moments for hand hygiene discussed during the training and once again emphasize the importance of hand hygiene.
Activity 2: Let's illuminate good hand hygiene!
Effective hand hygiene can easily prevent germs from being spread all over the facility. This activity is designed to highlight how hand hygiene can interrupt the chain of infection and how hands not washed properly can be a vehicle for pathogen transmission.
- Select a number of units to take part in the exercise. Consider making it a friendly competition.
- Contaminate an area in the selected units with "glow powder."
- Return to the units after a specified number of hours, say 2 to 3 hours.
- Use a handheld ultraviolet light starting where the "glow powder" was initially placed and investigate how the powder was spread just in this short period of time.
- An important part of this activity is discussing the results with staff. Were people surprised by the results? Which areas were the most contaminated? Did some of the powder contamination reach residents' rooms? What could have helped staff to stop the spread of the powder?1
1For more information about these and similar hand hygiene activities, please visit the resources on the World Health Organization's Web site