Direct Gloving vs Hand Hygiene Before Donning Gloves Study

Direct Gloving vs Hand Hygiene Before Donning Gloves Study

In the world of healthcare, the battle against infections is a constant challenge. Adherence to infection prevention practices is vital to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare personnel (HCP). A recent study has shaken up the traditional hand hygiene protocol in healthcare settings. Let's delve into the findings of this groundbreaking research, which may revolutionise infection control in healthcare settings.

 

The Background

Hand hygiene is at the forefront of infection prevention in healthcare. However, a prior comprehensive review revealed that adherence to hand hygiene protocols was only around 40% in healthcare settings. The demands on healthcare personnel, such as time constraints, high workload, and understaffing, are major barriers to strict adherence to hand hygiene. The use of gloves, while common and increasing, poses another hurdle to infection control.

Current guidelines require HCP to perform hand hygiene before donning nonsterile gloves. However, this practice can delay care delivery as HCP must wait for their hands to dry before putting on gloves, potentially reducing adherence. The study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a direct-gloving policy, where hand hygiene is not required before donning gloves, in a healthcare setting.

 

This mixed-method, multicentre, cluster randomised clinical trial published in the Journal of American Medical Association was conducted at four academic healthcare centres in Baltimore, Maryland, and Iowa City, Iowa. The study involved 3,790 healthcare personnel across 13 hospital units. These units were randomly assigned to two groups: one that followed the traditional hand hygiene before glove donning protocol (usual care) and the other that adopted a direct-gloving strategy (intervention).

 

Key Findings

The study yielded some remarkable findings:

Improved Adherence: The units that adopted the direct-gloving strategy demonstrated a statistically significant 46% increase in adherence to expected infection prevention practices compared to the usual care units. Adherence in the direct-gloving units reached 87%, while it was only 41% in the usual care units.

Higher Glove Use: The direct-gloving units also reported higher glove use on entry to contact precautions rooms, with 87% adherence, compared to 67% in the usual care units.

Safety: The study showed that the direct-gloving strategy was safe and did not increase bacterial contamination on gloves in most clinical areas, except in the emergency department (ED).

Reduced Efficiency: In the ED, where overall adherence to hand hygiene and glove expectations was low, the direct-gloving strategy resulted in higher bacterial counts on gloves. This suggests that this strategy should be avoided in settings where overall adherence to infection prevention practices is low.

 

Implications for Healthcare

These findings have significant implications for healthcare facilities. The traditional practice of hand hygiene before donning nonsterile gloves may not be as effective as previously thought. The direct-gloving strategy, which eliminates the need for hand hygiene before glove use, can improve adherence to infection prevention practices and increase glove use, especially in areas where hand hygiene rates are generally high.

However, it's crucial to consider the specific context. The direct-gloving strategy should not be applied in settings with low adherence to infection prevention practices, as it may lead to increased bacterial contamination on gloves.

In conclusion, this research challenges the current guidelines and suggests that a direct-gloving strategy without prior hand hygiene should be considered by healthcare facilities. As the battle against infections continues, these findings offer a promising approach to improving adherence to infection prevention practices and enhancing patient and healthcare personnel safety. More studies are needed to explore this strategy's applicability in various healthcare settings and during different periods, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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