Are you glove aware?
What's the idea?
While PPE is important in helping to prevent infection, this can create a significant amount of single-use plastic waste. Between 25 February 2020 and 24 February 2021, 5.5 billion gloves were used in the NHS and social care in England alone. However, there are a number of situations in which gloves may not be appropriate so long as high standards of hand hygiene are kept. Ensuring that gloves are used only when necessary will help to reduce the amount of waste produced by the NHS.
The Royal College of Nursing is raising awareness of medical gloves and when it is necessary to use them. This includes:
- During contact with blood/bodily fluids, non-intact skins, or mucus membranes. In contact with chemical hazards, such as disinfectants, preserving agents, or cytotoxic drugs.
- When in an operating theatre or carrying out a high risk procedure, in these scenarios, it is recommended to double glove.
This campaign also highlights the importance of hand hygiene in providing care.
Impact of the project
Reduce single-use plastic
Protecting clinicians' skin
More skin-to-skin contact with vulnerable patients
How you could implement a similar idea
Using gloves only when they are needed can significantly reduce the use of disposable medical gloves. The Royal College of nursing suggests the below changes as a good place to start:
- to not use gloves to give vaccinations
- to not use gloves when feeding people
- to not use gloves when entering a patient's home
- to not use gloves automatically when giving IV medication
- to not use gloves when comforting patients
Resources to get you started
If you're interested but would like a bit more understanding around glove use or reducing PPE waste, check out these links for more information and inspiration:
- Glove awareness | Campaigns | Royal College of Nursing (rcn.org.uk) for guidance and resources on glove use from the Royal College of Nursing
- NHS England » Standard infection control precautions: national hand hygiene and personal protective equipment policy for the national policy on hand hygiene and personal protective equipment