Background Non-sterile gloves are required to protect healthcare workers against blood and bodily fluids (Loveday et al, 2014). Gloves that are worn to protect the patient should be sterile as non-sterile gloves have been shown to be contaminated with a range of bacteria (Berthelot et al, 2006). The RCN Standards for Infusion Therapy (2016) advised that non-sterile gloves should not be routinely worn for the preparation and administration of intravenous medication. The aim of this improvement project was to reduce unnecessary non-sterile glove use across the Trust.
Methods A working group with healthcare staff from across the organisation was set-up to ensure that the project addressed all areas of practice improvement. This also ensured that all staff were given a chance to discuss the project and input into the plan of work.
The Lead Practice Educators in conjunction with the IPC team worked together to create an educational awareness programme.
Staff were asked to risk assess when they would wear gloves for giving medication. In summary gloves were only needed for:
Any medication where you could be in contact with a bodily fluid. E.g. eye drops, nose drops
Any therapeutically active cream
Any liquid hormones or cytotoxic medications
Results In the 12 months before go- live 11.1 million gloves were ordered and cost £289,599.32. In the year post go-live this reduced by 3.7 million gloves, to 7.4 million gloves being ordered. This has led to a cost saving of £90,000 to the organisation, and also equates to 18 tonnes less plastic being used by the organisation.
Conclusions The initial findings from this project are very promising and demonstrate that changes in clinical culture and practice are possible through the combined team work of education and infection control.
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