Here’s how these two important elements of infection prevention complement each other in everyday healthcare.
Gloves and hand disinfection go hand in hand
When is it mandatory to wear gloves?
Indications for wearing medical gloves
There are mandatory requirements for the use of medical gloves. Gloves must be worn during the following activities:
- In contact with body excreta
- During aseptic activities
- During possible contact with infectious material
- During invasive procedures and operations
When using gloves, the following guidelines apply:
- Gloves must only be put on dry hands
- Gloves must be removed or replaced if they are damaged or contaminated, or after the end of the care activity
When do hands need to be disinfected?
Indications for hygienic hand disinfection
In addition to the use of gloves, another measure of infection prevention is hygienic hand disinfection. As a guide for nursing staff, the World Health Organization (WHO) advocates 5 Moments for hand hygiene:
- BEFORE patient contact
- BEFORE aseptic activities
- AFTER contact with potentially infectious materials or body fluids
- AFTER patient contact
- AFTER contact with surfaces in the direct patient environment
In addition, hand disinfection should be carried out when gloves are used in the following situations:
- BEFORE removing gloves from the glove box
- AFTER taking off the gloves
Good to know in the context of the 5 Moments:
- After "initial contact", further hand disinfection may be required on the same patient e.g., when changing from an unclean to a clean side.
- Before aseptic activities, hand disinfection alone can significantly reduce the most common nosocomial infections (including ventilator-associated pneumonia, urinary tract infections from catheters, postoperative wound infections, and bloodstream infections from central venous catheters).
- Gloves provide indispensable, but not solely sufficient protection against infection. Always disinfect hands after removing gloves.
- Disinfect hands after every procedure on the patient and before contact with objects outside the patient environment, e.g. the ward round trolley.
- Disinfect hands even if there is only contact with the patient environment, e.g., when exchanging glasses and water bottles on the bedside table.
KRINKO (2016). Händehygiene in Einrichtungen des Gesundheitswesens, Bundesgesundheitsbl. 59: 1189-1220.
https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/Krankenhaushygiene/Kommission/Downloads/Haendehyg_Rili.pdf?__blob=publicationFile (accessed 21.07.2021)