Handwashing before gloving-up isn't necessary, study finds

Handwashing in clinical settings prior to putting on gloves may not actually be the best policy for infection prevention, a new study has found.

Hand hygiene is important, but past research has "demonstrated no difference in glove contamination when nonsterile gloves are donned directly vs after performing hand hygiene," according to researchers, which published their findings Oct. 26 in JAMA

Because of that, it turns out that a policy that only requires direct gloving — rather than the added step of handwashing prior to it which actually may not make a significant difference in infection prevention — can actually boost procedural adherence. 

"Hands, including gloved hands, are the most important contributors to pathogen transfer in health care, resulting in pathogen spread and health care-associated infection…," researchers wrote of their findings. "Yet barriers continue to limit adherence, including time taken to let hands dry after alcohol- or water-based hand hygiene… Evidence-based strategies are needed that improve practice by helping [healthcare workers] efficiently integrate infection prevention practices into their work flow. Prior studies have shown direct gloving to be safe."

Researchers analyzed results from a trial of 3,790 healthcare employees at 13 hospitals and four academic centers in the U.S. comparing the adherence to a policy of directly gloving or handwashing prior to gloving. 

In total, 81% were adhering to the direct glove policy, compared to only 41% adherence for a handwashing + gloving policy. Researchers note that this represented a 46% increase in adherence to a direct-gloving strategy.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars