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Gary Dangerfield
Non sterile gloves for homecare patients

What are your thoughts on using non sterile gloves for your IV patients in the home?

Is the non sterility of the gloves an issue when performing IV bag changes, or flushing the IV lines?? (Dressing changes of course need sterile gloves)

And if not, why not?? If you wash your hands, why put on non sterile gloves? (I know, to protect the caregiver and patient from each other's skin flora and body fluids).

But isn't there enough bacteria on the gloves to be concerned about?

My nurse was perplexed when I asked these question, but couldn't give me a great answer. So I ask the silly questions to you.

Thanks for your insights.

Gary Dangerfield, Pharm.D.

Access IV

Marina, ca

The need for gloves when

The need for gloves when changing any IV fluid container and flushing the lines is totally dependent upon the exposure of the caregiver to the patient's blood. These requirements come from the BloodBorne Pathogens Standards from OSHA and from the Standard Precautions for Infection Control used universally in healthcare. Changing fluid containers should not require gloves of any kind because there should be no blood exposure. The only time I can think of where blood may be an issue is when the fluid container and tubing are permanently connected and must be changed simultaneously. Flushing IV catheters usually does require gloves because the caregiver could be exposed to blood during this procedure. These procedures all require clean gloves and sterile gloves are not required at all. Handwashing is an absolute mandate before and after all manipulation of anything connected to the IV, but the gloves are for the purpose of reducing blood exposure. The use of gloves does not eliminate the need for good handwashing and neither does proper handwashing eliminate the need for gloves. The clean gloves that I am talking about come packaged in a rectangular box. I have never seen any data about microorganisms on these gloves, however these manufacturers would be required to produce their product under the current good manufacturing practices outlined by the FDA. I am not aware of the specifics but I am reasonably sure there would be some attention to reduce the bioburden on these gloves. After the package is opened and hands reach in I am sure the load increases. But the purpose of using these gloves is not necessarily to protect the patient. It is to protect the caregiver from all blood and body fluids from the patient. You company is bound by law to follow the occupational health standards in your state. California does have Cal-OSHA. State regulations can be stricter than the federal regs but they must at least be equal to the federal regs. 

 The CDC guidelines also have a statement about using sterile or clean gloves for changing dressings on central venous catheters. I do believe that most places still use a sterile technique for changing these dressing though I could be wrong. 

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

126 Main Street, PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

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