Campaign to reduce glove use improves nurses’ hand health and saves money

Initiative at children’s hospital also benefits the environment
Removing plastic gloves from hands

Initiative at children’s hospital also benefits the environment

Picture: iStock

A London children’s hospital has saved more than £90,000 and stopped 18 tonnes of plastic being sent to landfill after teaching its staff to avoid inappropriate glove use.

Nurses have also reported fewer instances of sore, red hands, and parents have said the change has led to more pleasant experiences for their children while in hospital.

These benefits stem from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children’s (GOSH) ‘The Gloves Are Off - Safer In Our Hands’ campaign, which launched in spring last year. 

Helen Dunn.
Picture: GOSH

GOSH lead nurse for infection prevention and control Helen Dunn said the trust had followed national and international best practice guidance when designing its campaign. It had also worked closely with the RCN, which ran an awareness week that highlighted how the overuse of gloves puts healthcare staff at risk of contact dermatitis. 

Empowering nurses to determine appropriate glove use

Ms Dunn said she had worked with the hospital’s practice education team to design an education package for clinical staff, which explained when gloves were not needed, such as when bed-making or handwashing.

‘Although our nurses hadn’t been suffering contact dermatitis, they were experiencing sore, red hands, and some were giving up to 36 medications in a shift so there was constant washing of hands and putting on of gloves.

‘What is positive is that staff now feel empowered to make a decision about when to use gloves.’

Reducing the use of plastic

Ms Dunn added that reducing glove use has also brought environmental benefits.

‘We have used 3.7 million fewer gloves in the past year, and nursing staff are really pleased with the plastic reduction,’ she said.

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