If you have ever had a state or federal surveyor observe you performing wound care you can relate to the angst most nurses feel. Not only are you responsible for making sure the resident is comfortable, the treatment orders are accurate, your supplies are readily available but now you are also responsible for answering questions from a surveyor.
In the past 4 years many of us have received infection control citations related to wound care and/or gloving. The citations indicate the nurse didn’t change gloves appropriately, the gloves were contaminated, etc. OR that sterile gloves were not used when they should have been. Well, stay tuned, a recent analysis of randomized trials found that the use of sterile gloves might not be necessary to prevent infections when treating wounds! The types of wounds were typical, trauma related, dermatological or surgical. The researchers said with moderate certainty that the evidence indicates there was no difference in infection outcomes no matter which type of glove was used. Add to these findings, the expense of using sterile gloves and the incidence of contamination! Nonsterile, clean gloves are cheaper than sterile gloves and if you add the additional nursing time required to be sure the gloves remain germ-free, etc. it makes sense, right?
Now, that said, DO NOT run out and get rid of your sterile glove supply. Remember, we are still required to follow “best practice” based on outcomes. Although this research is enlightening and will hopefully lead to a change in practice, we are still under the “sterile glove” standard for certain treatments. Consider reviewing your current policy and practice at your next QAPI committee meeting. Get guidance from your medical director, infection preventionist, your QIO and the NPIAP before making any major changes to your current protocols. Stay well and stay informed!