We trailed the removal of gloves for contact precautions for contacts not expected to involve body fluids to improve hand hygiene between multiple contacts of the patient and patient zone” Jain et al 92019).
Background: Patients colonized or infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus are placed under contact precautions. Contact precautions require patients to be placed in single rooms and their health care workers (HCWs) to wear gowns, aprons and gloves on entry and doffing on exit. Glove use is widely accepted to be associated with poor hand hygiene compliance. We trailed the removal of gloves for contact precautions for contacts not expected to involve body fluids to improve hand hygiene between multiple contacts of the patient and patient zone.
Methods: We have conducted a 5 phase study of the removal of gloves for contacts without body fluids in 250 HCWs using pretrial focus groups (N = 12), hand microbiology (N = 40) (reported elsewhere), development of a modified contact precautions poster, trial of modified poster (n = 100), posttrial focus group discussion (n = 22), and a survey of HCWs postrollout in additional locations (n = 76).
Results: Pretrial focus groups identified 4 themes, and the leading theme identified as the facilitator for glove use as self-protection. HCWs viewed current contact precaution guidelines as preventing them from making their own judgement regarding the need for gloving for patient contacts, leading continuous glove use without changing gloves between multiple contacts.
Participants believed that the trial empowered them to make their own clinical judgment for gloves and to consciously use hand hygiene between dry (no body fluid) contacts.
Four themes were discussed during the posttrial focus groups and although self-protection remained the central theme, hand hygiene replaced glove use. Participants spoke of an appreciation of and increased trust in hand hygiene during nonglove use for dry contacts.
The survey responses from additional sites were mostly positive for the safety of nonglove use for dry contacts, it improved hand hygiene and that the adoption of the modified guidelines was empowering.
Conclusions: The trial of nonglove use for expected dry contact, while caring for patients under contact precautions for methicillin-resistant S aureus and or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, was successful in refocusing HCWs reliance on hand hygiene for self-protection. Mandatory glove use for contact precautions was believed to contribute to their failure to change gloves between procedures on the same patient and patient zone, with HCWs now recognizing multiple contacts with the same gloves as a risk for contamination.
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Jain, S., Clezy, K. and McLaws, M-L. (2019) Modified glove use for contact precautions: Health care workers’ perceptions and acceptance. American Journal of Infection Control. march 5th. .