Thanks to everyone who participated in our Glove Use Challenge. The answers to “What’s wrong with this picture?”, for the four photos below, are as follows:
Gloves should not be worn for anything except:
- Direct patient care
- when it is anticipated that the hands will be in contact with mucous membranes, non-intact skin, or bodily fluids
- if the patient is on contact precautions
- Transporting contaminated items (or potentially contaminated)
- Cleaning spills of blood or bodily fluids.
Question: When I go into a patient room, I often don’t know what I’ll be asked to do; wouldn’t it be safer to just wear the gloves anyway?
The reason for not putting gloves on before you enter the room is that you will likely touch items in the patient environment before performing any task that requires gloves, and the items you wil touch — such as the bedrail, curtain, blanket IV stand, bed tray, equipment, etc. — likely have germs on them. So if you’ve already donned gloves, you will contaminate the gloves upon touching these items.
It’s important to remember that once you’ve donned gloves, you must not touch any of the items mentioned above. If you do, remove the gloves and put on a fresh pair.
The photos above also suggest that these people left their gloves on after performing care… which means they are spreading germs onto all kinds of surfaces!
Remember, germs can travel on gloves as easily as they can on hands! – which is why the gloves must be removed immediately after providing care.
In the photo below, the person is leaving a patient room with her gloves still on. Gloves must be removed before exiting the patient area – otherwise, any germs that were transferred to the gloves from the patient will be spread to other areas.
The photo below is an obvious no-no! If the healthcare worker has just donned gloves, she is now contaminating them by touching her eye. If she has already performed the task that required gloves, then she risks infecting herself by touching a mucous membrane with dirty gloves.
Below: Although it might seem ‘safe’ to carry a pair of clean gloves in your clean scrubs, remember: your scrubs may not be as clean as you think… even clothing can harbour germs.
The photo below was our red herring (we mentioned this in Week 1!) – there is nothing wrong in this photo. The person is wearing gloves (you can just spot the right one) to transport potentially contaminated materials.
You can read more about correct glove use here.
Thanks to everyone who participated! The winners of the Let’s Go Viral! kit and Germ Bowling set are:
- Elaine Eng of BC Emergency Health Services
- Heather Axam of BC Genome Sciences Centre