As the requisite use of protective barriers has evolved over the years, the use of gloves also has become more prevalent as a key strategy for reducing the risk of an exposure incident. Perioperative personnel use gloves on a daily basis to protect themselves from exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials in the surgical practice setting. But in today’s healthcare environment, new pathogens, in addition to well-known pathogens that have developed resistance to therapeutic modalities, have given greater awareness to the use of gloves as a primary protective barrier for perioperative staff members. Paralleling these developments is the practice of double-gloving. Therefore, it is imperative that members of the surgical team understand the role of protective barriers, as well as the practice of double-gloving as an exposure risk reduction strategy.
This continuing education activity will provide a historical review of the evolution of the use of gloves as a protective barrier. The current impact of occupational exposure on healthcare workers will be presented. The contemporary literature citing the practice of double-gloving as an effective risk reduction strategy also will be reviewed. Recommendations promulgated by professional associations will be outlined. The implications of double-gloving in the surgical practice setting, including approaches to implement a change in practice and the identification of perceived barriers, will be discussed. Finally, selected case studies will provide the participant with the opportunity to synthesize the information and evaluate workplace scenarios with regard to double-gloving practices and policies.