Guidelines & Recommendations

Practical Guidance on Glove Use:

  • Use a pair of well-fitting, clean, disposable latex or latex-free gloves per patient or per procedure.
  • Glove use reduces the health care worker's potential exposure to blood and reduces the patient's risk of cross contamination between patients.

When to wear Non-Sterile, disposable, Single-Use Gloves:

  • For direct contact with patient's mucous membranes, blood, body fluids, moist body substances, non-intact skin.
  • For handling potentially infectious materials or in contact with contaminated items and surfaces.
  • For performing venepuncture.
  • If the integrity of skin on the health care workers' hands is compromised.
  • When there is a probability of contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials (saliva in dental procedures), mucous membrane, or non-intact skin.

When to Wear Sterile Gloves ONLY:

  • Any procedure where aseptic technique is required (e.g., intra-vascular infusion and devices).
  • DO NOT wash or decontaminate gloves for reuse.
  • DO NOT wear gloves away from the bedside or laboratory bench; at nursing stations to handle phones, charts; to handle clean linen, clean equipment or patient care supplies; in hallways or elevators.

When to Change Gloves:

  • Between tasks and procedures on the same patient, and after contact with material that may contain a high concentration of microorganisms.
  • During a procedure if visibly soiled, torn or punctured.
  • After contact with each patient.

What to do after Use:

  • Remove gloves promptly and discard.
  • Perform hand hygiene immediately after removing and discarding gloves. Gloves DO NOT replace the need for hand hygiene.
  • Discard gloves on completion of treatment and before leaving areas of patient-care activities.

Gloves DO NOT provide protection from needlesticks or other puncture wounds caused by sharp objects. Use extreme caution when handling needles, scalpels, etc.

Healthcare workers with a latex allergy should be provided with gloves made from synthetic material.

PPE for Standard Precautions: Determining What to Wear

Decisions about what PPE to use should be determined by the type and level of contact you will have with the patient.

Ask yourself:

  • Will I be touching the patient or potentially contaminated objects in their environment?
  • Is there a likelihood of blood or body fluids spraying or splashing?
  • Is the patient coughing, sneezing, or vomiting?
  • Do they have diarrhea?

Decisions about PPE can also be made with the following in mind: the diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of the patient, the patient's symptoms, and the type of infectious agent or illness you may encounter.

To determine what PPE to wear, ask yourself:

  • What is the patient's diagnosis or suspected diagnosis?
  • Is the patient infectious?
  • What is the infectious agent or illness that I may encounter?
  • What is the mode of transmission of this agent or illness?
  • Does the patient have symptoms which lead to increased likelihood of transmission?

Consider the use of the following PPE:

  • Gloves: Use when you will have to touch a patient in a way that might lead to exposure to blood or body fluids or touch objects in their environment that may be contaminated
  • Gowns: Use when there is a risk of your clothing or exposed skin coming in contact with anything wet or weeping
  • Mask and goggles or a face shield: Use when there is a risk of being splashed or sprayed with blood or body fluids

When in doubt, applying the most conservative level of PPE is the best protection.

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