Study: Axing Glove Requirement Boosted Hand Hygiene Compliance

The elimination of a glove use mandate for healthcare workers caring for patients on contact precautions increased hand hygiene compliance 64.5 percent, according to a study in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

Researchers examined hand hygiene compliance for healthcare workers at a hospital. The workers cared for 50 patients colonized with multidrug-resistant microorganisms, and researchers studied them before and after eliminating mandatory glove use. In addition to ending this policy, the hospital provided regular hand hygiene training to workers.

In 2009, before the glove policy was changed, hand hygiene compliance was 51.9 percent. In 2012, six months after the policy changed, compliance was 85.4 percent — a 64.5 percent increase.

Hand hygiene compliance improvement was particularly apparent before performing invasive procedures and before patient contact, as compliance increased from 23.9 percent to 72 percent and from 32.3 percent to 76.7 percent, respectively. Hand hygiene compliance after patient contact remained high — greater than 90 percent — with no significant difference after the policy change.

Hospital-wide, hand hygiene compliance increased 17.5 percentage points, according to the study.

The authors suggested that glove use may cause healthcare workers to skip hand hygiene, according to the study.

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