The Powerful Case for Double Gloving
How to convince your OR team to put an extra pair on.
Gail Guterl, Contributing Editor
It's well proven that double gloving helps prevent surgical site infections. But in survey after survey, surgeons denounce double gloving because it reduces essential tactility during surgery. And let's face it: Your staff's probably not wild about wearing 2 pairs of gloves, either. Don't be deterred. Here are 4 evidence-based reasons for double gloving that might help convince your team to give the practice a try.
Reduce your risk for infection. Surgeons bear the brunt of needlestick exposures in the OR at 59%, with scrub personnel a distant second at 19%, according to research done by the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. During 100 hours of surgery, surgeons normally have contact with patient blood for 42 of those hours. Studies show that glove perforations typically occur an average of 40 minutes into surgery, but go undetected in 83% of cases. Double gloving can mitigate a lot of that risk.
Debunking the myth of reduced tactility. While it takes anywhere from 1 to 120 days to adapt to using double gloves, most surgeons become comfortable in 2 days, according to Ramon Berguer, MD, FACS, and Paul J. Heller, MD, in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Drs. Berguer and Heller reported that surgeons who routinely doubled up on gloves mentioned decreased hand sensation less often than those who didn't double glove. So be patient and persevere.
For your protection. Much of what your team does in the OR is for the benefit of the patient. While double gloving provides patient safety, it also offers protection for the OR team. Wearing double gloves helps prevent surgical site infection and creates a double barrier preventing microbial transfer from team members to patients or vice versa. Studies say that anywhere from 600,000 to 800,000 percutaneous medical injuries occur annually in this country, but also point out this is an underestimate because many exposures go unreported.
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