Glove Use Guidelines

Guidelines for wearing glovesAre the doctors and nurses you work with in medical tourism following best practices in wearing gloves? Proper and routine glove use enhances patient safety and treatment quality. Keep your eyes open.

When to wear gloves:
• For contact with moist body substances (e.g., blood, wound drainage, oral secretions, feces, urine, and open skin and mucous membranes).

When to remove gloves:
• Promptly after handling any of the listed moist body substances, open skin, or mucous membranes, remove your gloves, discard them in a wastebasket. After removing gloves, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 15 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. To prevent contaminating environmental surfaces, such as siderails, door knobs, countertops, elevator buttons, etc., gloves should never be worn after completing the specific task for which they were put on. Gloves should not be worn while traveling around the hospital.

When gloves are NOT required:
• For activities that do not typically involve contact with moist body substances, such as changing bed linens, passing medications, and transporting patients.

Which gloves are best?
• Latex, nitrile, and vinyl gloves provide equal barrier protection; there is no difference in the ability of microorganisms to penetrate either type of glove.

• Compared to vinyl, nitrile and latex gloves are more flexible and resistant to tears. Choose latex or nitrile gloves if performing prolonged patient care activities that involve significant hand contact with body fluids. Latex and nitrile gloves are also a good choice for activities that will involve “rigorous” and significant hand contact with body fluids (i.e., activities that may cause gloves to be pulled and/or twisted).

• Heavy-duty gloves, such as Playtex® gloves, should be used by Environmental Services staff and employees who clean instruments. These thick gloves provide good protection for staff members involved in cleaning procedures.

• Latex gloves should not be worn by those with latex allergy/sensitivity.

Thanks to Patient Safety Monitor for these guidelines, reprinted with permission from the Infection Control Manual of the Infection Control & Epidemiology department at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI.

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