Riding the Wave

Discover how the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a technical innovation which is now revolutionising the hand hygiene process for care homes across the UK.

A contactless handwashing timer is helping care homes beat coronavirus - and impress inspectors.

British-made handwashing aid Wavewash is helping care homes, and many other organisations across the country, to improve hand hygiene and combat the spread of COVID-19.

Designed in response to the pandemic and launched commercially this summer, Wavewash is a 20-second light-up timer that can be fitted above virtually any sink.

Activated with a wave of a hand, the simple device reminds people to wash their hands more thoroughly and uses lights and sounds to help them to wash for the time that’s recommended by health authorities around the world.

Now, Wavewash is being used at more than 50 care homes across the UK and it’s even been praised by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Wavewash is also supporting a wide range of other organisations, including cafes, pubs, restaurants, offices and schools, helping staff and service users to keep their hands clean and stay COVID-secure.

Automotive engineer Robert Corke came up with the idea for Wavewash aſter learning about the importance of thoroughly washing to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Working with colleagues from across the automotive sector, the team of engineers designed and began manufacturing the first edition of Wavewash within just 30 days, to bring immediate support to care homes during the lockdown.

Since then, the product has been refined and improved to use brighter LED lights and long-life, replaceable batteries. A version with colourful graphics has also been created to appeal to children.

Wavewash inventor Robert Corke said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant to see how much people have taken to using Wavewash. When I came up with the idea, I knew that it would help, but I didn’t expect the incredible feedback we’ve had from elderly residents of care homes, children with special educational needs, adults in the workplace and families at home. It’s

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amazing to see so many people properly wash their hands with the help of our device.”

Aſter an initial trial of Wavewash, Black Swan Care Group is installing the device at sinks in staff toilets and in communal washrooms across each of its 20 care homes in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Lincolnshire.

Tom Lyons, Managing Director of Black Swan Care Group, said: “Washing your hands for 20 seconds is one of the most effective and simple ways to control the spread of viruses, and Wavewash helps and encourages everyone to do it every single time. Not only does it remind you to wash thoroughly, once you wave your hand to activate it, you feel like you have a responsibility to see it through and keep washing until it beeps.

“We’ve found that Wavewash makes a big difference in hand washing and improving people’s understanding of how to wash their hands effectively, making it an excellent additional safety measure.

“Staff and residents are using Wavewash regularly throughout the day and that’s fantastic - and it’s been particularly useful for our residents with learning disabilities and comprehension difficulties.

“We don’t see this as a short-term measure; we’re committed to using Wavewash even after COVID-19 is no longer an issue, and we’ll be fitting them as standard at all of our care homes in future.”

Recently, one of Black Swan’s care homes, The Lodge in Essex, was one of 300 care homes selected for a targeted inspection by the CQC as part of a thematic review into the preparedness of the sector for future spikes of coronavirus.

In their report, inspectors singled out the use of Wavewash as an example of good practice, contributing to their conclusion that the care home was “preventing visitors from catching and spreading infections”, “promoting safety through the layout and hygiene practices of the premises” and “making sure infection outbreaks can be effectively prevented or managed.”

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