We should all be wearing gloves as much as possible to protect our patients, right?
Wearing gloves can cause us to believe that we and our patients are safe from the spread of infection. However, research shows that the overuse of gloves can causecross-contamination because of poor compliance with hand hygiene, and studies have shown gloves can have tiny pinprick holes which will allow the transfer of microorganisms.
The culture of routine glove use in our healthcare system means that we are often wearing non-sterile gloves in situations where they are not required, such as helping a patient sit up in the bed and other care situations where there is no exposure to blood or body fluids.
The overuse of gloves:
Reduces the emphasis on hand hygiene.
Contributes to the mounting problem of plastic pollution.
We can all play our part in changing the ‘glove culture’ in our workplace by being aware of when it is necessary and appropriate to wear gloves.
So wear gloves:
When handling blood or body fluids.
When performing a sterile procedure.
When contact/droplet/airborne precautions are required.