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Sponge and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust make handwashing game available to all for free

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Sponge make interactive handwashing game available to all for free, to help support the prevention of the spread of viruses. 

NHS guidance states that ‘washing hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from the spread of infection’. The game raises awareness and promotes the use of correct techniques for handwashing.

Play Handwashing Game

Originally created for Southern Health’s NHS staff based across Hampshire, the animated game was part the ‘Infection Prevention Module’ of 13 mandatory compliance elearning modules co-developed with Sponge in 2016. Due to its innovative use of gamification design elements, this training, covering a broad range of statutory and mandatory compliance subjects, was shortlisted for a Training Journal Award in the category of Best Public Sector Programme in 2016



Using arrow keys on a desktop keyboard or the touch screen function on mobile devices and tablets, players are required to follow step-by-step instructions for effective handwashing while a timer clock runs down to add urgency and focus for the game player. Official NHS guidance says, ‘you should wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds)’.  

Players of the handwashing game begin by clicking on the tap to turn on the water, touching ‘push’ on the dispenser to release the soap and then rubbing hands, beginning with palm to palm, then with fingers interlaced and finally rotational rubbing, as instructed by the onscreen arrows. The aim of the game is to reduce the level of bacteria; a coloured indicator shows bacteria level from high (red) to low (blue) reducing as hands are washed for the required time.

Working with Southern Health, game elements were identified as being valuable for scenarios involving real risks and consequences. There is also evidence to suggest play promotes long term memory retention of key learning outcomes. 

Bobby Moth, Associate Director of Education, LEaD, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said, “With cases of COVID-19 on the increase, we’re happy to make our hand hygiene training game widely accessible to support wider NHS efforts to curb the spread of the virus – regular and thorough handwashing is a key part of that. The game was co-developed with Sponge as part of our Infection Prevention Module of compliance elearning modules back in 2016 and remains in use today - we’re hopeful it will prove useful and instructive to a wider audience at this time.

"In collaboration with Southern Health, we’re pleased to be able to make the hand hygiene game available to all for free".
Quote Louise Pasterfield
Louise Pasterfield Managing Director Managing Director

Sponge’s Managing Director, Louise Pasterfield, said, “In collaboration with Southern Health, we’re pleased to be able to make the hand hygiene game available to all for free. Coronavirus is a serious public health issue, we’re hopeful that opening up the game to the general public will prove useful in supporting the timely adoption and better understanding of NHS’ official guidelines on handwashing.” 

See the official NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) for guidance on risks, symptoms and how to avoid catching or spreading the virus.

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