Monday, December 9, 2013

Glove Use- An Enemy of Hand Hygiene?

Here is an article recently published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.The researchers employed an observational methodology to assess appropriateness of glove use and hand hygiene.   

A total of 163 glove-use episodes were observed over a period of 13 h. Glove use was inappropriate in 69 out of 163 (42%) episodes, with gloves commonly used inappropriately for low-risk procedures (34/37; 92%). In 60 out of 163 (37%) episodes of glove use there was a risk of cross-contamination, most (48%) being associated with failure to remove gloves or with perform hand hygiene after use. HCW interviews indicated that the decision to wear gloves was influenced by both socialization and emotion. Key emotions were disgust and fear. 

The data on glove use are mixed. Here is one report suggesting that universal gloving may beneficial, particularly in a pediatric ICU. Concerns about the impact of glove use on hand hygiene should not be overlooked. Also, universal gloving may impact the doctor-patient relationship as explored here.

We are soon to launch a survey study of motivators and perceptions of glove use at VCU Medical Center. Stay tuned.

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