Improving surgical gloving practice is about embracing a culture of safety and leading the OR team to the most effective hand protection.
Communication is critical
Preventive measures to reduce the risk of SSI, such as clean theatres, laminar air flow, good draping and skin prep, and so on, are protocol driven but rely very much on open communication policies in the OR and the surgeon setting that tone for the entire team.
Communication into practice
Ensuring safe OR practice also demands that PPE is donned properly, including double gloving and using a correct donning technique. The senior surgeon is responsible for staff, and should set the standard of practice for everyone in the OR.
Reality: Sharps injuries happen
Sharps injuries happen in the OR whether the injured party realises it or not. Sometimes only when removing surgical gloves does the wearer find that the barrier has been breached. Double gloving helps protect the sterile inner glove – and hand – from bacterial contamination and keeps patient and OR staff safer, especially when an indicator glove system shows when the outer glove is breached.
Reality: Tackling tactile sensitivity
The surgical glove can facilitate the tactile sensitivity required, and, for Mr Coombs, double gloving when employing high-quality surgical gloves, tactility in breast cancer surgery was equal to, if not better, than single gloving when gripping and working with breast tissue.
For surgeons, their hands are everything. Double gloving offers an efficient, cost-effective way to add that extra layer of protection during surgical interventions.
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- Good Surgical Practice. Royal College of Surgeons of England 2019. https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/standards-and-research/gsp/