Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Many patients in home care question why their caregiver wears gloves. Any nurse who has worked in home care will tell you that they have encountered clients and family members who have asked why they wear the gloves. Home care companies hand out pamphlets about infection control and hand hygiene to inform patients, but the questions sometimes persist. Many of the elderly population were raised in a time when it was believed that gloves were impersonal. The best way to explain the importance of gloves and washing hands is that we wash our hands and wear gloves because we care. Wearing the gloves keeps our patients safe, which is important to the healthcare worker and the patient.
It is important to note that wearing gloves does not diminish the importance of washing hands. Wearing gloves does not replace the need for handwashing. Your healthcare worker should wash his/her hands immediately before donning gloves. Gloves may have small, unapparent defects or may be torn during use, and hands can become contaminated during removal of gloves. In addition, bacteria can multiply rapidly in moist environments underneath gloves. Healthcare workers should dry their hands thoroughly before donning gloves and wash their hands immediately after removing the gloves. If the integrity of a glove is compromised, the glove should be changed as soon as possible.
Wearing gloves and handwashing are important to protect patients and caregivers from infection. Using proper infection control keeps patients safe, which is every caregiver’s goal.