Is hand hygiene before putting on nonsterile gloves in the intensive care unit a waste of health care worker time? - A randomized controlled trial

Clare Rock, Anthony D. Harris, Nicholas G. Reich, J. Kristie Johnson, Kerri A. Thom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Hand hygiene (HH) is recognized as a basic effective measure in prevention of nosocomial infections. However, the importance of HH before donning nonsterile gloves is unknown, and few published studies address this issue. Despite the lack of evidence, the World Health Organization and other leading bodies recommend this practice. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of HH before donning nonsterile gloves prior to patient contact. Methods A prospective, randomized, controlled trial of health care workers entering Contact Isolation rooms in intensive care units was performed. Baseline finger and palm prints were made from dominant hands onto agar plates. Health care workers were then randomized to directly don nonsterile gloves or perform HH and then don nonsterile gloves. Postgloving finger and palm prints were then made from the gloved hands. Plates were incubated and colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria were counted. Results Total bacterial colony counts of gloved hands did not differ between the 2 groups (6.9 vs 8.1 CFU, respectively, P =.52). Staphylococcus aureus was identified from gloves (once in "hand hygiene prior to gloving" group, twice in "direct gloving" group). All other organisms were expected commensal flora. Conclusion HH before donning nonsterile gloves does not decrease already low bacterial counts on gloves. The utility of HH before donning nonsterile gloves may be unnecessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)994-996
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Volume41
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol hand rub
  • Handwashing
  • Health care-associated infection
  • Infection control
  • Nosocomial infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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