What gloves are used in healthcare?
Gloves used in healthcare are defined as single use disposable gloves and are used during medical procedures or provision of care. These include:
> examination gloves (sterile or non-sterile)
> sterile surgical gloves that have specific characteristics of thickness, elasticity and strength
> chemotherapy gloves – not addressed within this document.
Why wear gloves?
1. To reduce the risk of contamination of healthcare worker hands with blood and body fluids, including contact with mucous membranes and non-intact skin. 2. When indicated as part of contact precautions, to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious agents to the patient’s environment and to other patients.
Facts about glove use
> Gloves can act as a vehicle for the transmission of micro-organisms so must be removed and hand hygiene performed as soon as an episode of patient care is completed and prior to leaving the patient room/area.
> Gloves do not provide complete protection against hand contamination due to microscopic defects in the glove material. Therefore hand hygiene is required after removal.
> Any cuts or abrasions present on hands should be covered with an occlusive dressing prior to donning gloves.
> Gloves should be used during all patient activities that may involve exposure to blood and all other body fluids (excluding sweat) including contact with mucous membranes and non-intact skin.
> Gloves need to be removed when contact with blood or another body fluid, mucous membranes or non-intact skin has ended.
> Gloves must be removed when moving from a contaminated body site to another site (including mucous membranes, non-intact skin or a medical device) on the same patient.
> If gloves are damaged then they should be removed immediately and hand hygiene performed before replacing gloves.
> Gloves are also required when providing any care for all patients requiring contact precautions.
> The same pair of gloves must not be worn for the care of more than one patient.