Powdered surgical gloves: Is it time for a change?

Overview

Preventing disease transmission and subsequent infection in surgical patients and staff members are key outcomes across all perioperative practice settings. The problems of surgical site infections and other health care-associated infections take on greater significance today in the face of newly recognized pathogens and drug-resistant microorganisms, as well as the economic incentives outlined in the Affordable Care Act, designed to improve the safety of patient care. During an operative or invasive procedure, both the patient and members of the surgical team are at risk for transmission of infectious agents; therefore, surgical gloves are used on a daily basis to reduce the risk of disease transmission for both patients and personnel. However, as the use of gloves continues to evolve, so do concerns related to the risks associated with powdered surgical gloves; these concerns and risks have provided the momentum for the transition to powder-free surgical gloves as the new standard of care. Many perioperative nurses realize that continuing the use of powder and latex is not worth the potential risks — not only for patients, but for clinicians as well. Today, as more reimbursements are directly tied to patient outcomes and satisfaction, the more these types of issues need to be considered.

This continuing education activity will provide a historical review of the evolution of surgical gloves used as a protective barrier. The specific safety risks to patients and staff associated with the use of powdered surgical gloves are outlined. Key factors, including regulatory and professional recommendations, influencing the momentum toward the use of powder-free surgical gloves will be reviewed. Advances in powder-free glove manufacturing and coating technologies, followed by the clinical and economic benefits of powder-free surgical gloves, will be discussed.

 

Objectives

Upon completion of this continuing education activity, the participant should be able to:

  1. Outline the historical evolution of the use of surgical gloves as protective barriers. 
  2. Explain the risks associated with the use of powdered surgical gloves for patients and perioperative team members.
  3. Identify factors providing the impetus toward the use of powder-free surgical gloves.
  4. Discuss advances in surgical glove technology in regards to the development of powder-free gloves.
  5. Describe the clinical and economic benefits of powder-free surgical gloves.

 

Intended audience

This continuing education activity is intended for perioperative registered nurses who want to learn more about the risks associated with the use of powdered surgical gloves and key considerations in the use of powder-free surgical gloves.

Content shown provided by Pfiedler Enterprises. Full references are available within the CE program, accessible via the link above.