Research led by Dr. Sheldon Stone of the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, observed more than 7,000 patient contacts in 56 intensive care and acute care of the elderly wards in 15 United Kingdom hospitals, makes this one of the largest and most detailed studies on gloves and their impact on hand hygiene. Overall, the study found that hand hygiene compliance was “disappointingly low,” at just 47.7 percent. Compliance was even lower in instances where gloves were worn, dipping to just over 41 percent.
Stone and his colleagues suggest further study on the behavioral reasons behind why healthcare workers are less likely to wash their hands when wearing gloves. Regardless, the researchers recommend that campaigns such as the World Health Organization’s Clean Care is Safer Care program should emphasize better hand hygiene associated with gloving practices.