Q: We are looking for some different, fun ways to teach donning and doffing and are also trying to get staff to recognize infection problems when entering a resident room. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Bravo to you for teaching staff to spot a potential problem before it becomes one!

For doffing and donning, perhaps use shaving cream or a glo-germ type product if you have a black light for the “glo” product. Spray shaving cream on the gloves and gown of the staff member and ask them to remove the gown and gloves correctly and dispose of them.

If done correctly, the shaving cream will be contained in the gown and gloves. If the shaving cream escapes, you know that the employee needs further education.

You can use just about anything like pudding, whipped cream or jelly to mark the gown and gloves. But we found shaving cream was easily cleaned if it dropped onto the floor or got on clothing.

For recognizing a potential problem,  I set up a room (awaiting an admission). I would put a Foley bag laying on the floor, put a toothbrush uncovered on the bathroom sink, uncovered oxygen tubing, rotten fruit in the drawer … also a commode with apple juice in it (resembling a commode that needed to be emptied), a filthy wheelchair, a disposable soiled with chocolate pudding in the bedside trash, and pills on the bedside.

We would have 10 to 15 items we identified as a problem and told staff who worked in pairs, to write down the 15 problems. We timed them. Those who recorded all of the problems were kept to the side. 

At the end of the day, the top five fastest with all correct answers won a gift card. Usually to a coffee or tea retailer. The staff loved this game and we had different themed rooms — testing safety, infection control, etc.

Make it fun or serve food — but NOT PIZZA — and they will attend!

Please send your resident care-related questions to Sherrie Dornberger at [email protected].