Late-onset infection is a serious cause of mortality and long-term morbidity in NICU patients. Healthcare worker hands are the most common vehicle for transmission of pathogenic organisms to neonates. Studies have suggested a reduction in infections in neonatal and pediatric patients cared for with universal nonsterile glove use.
We developed an online survey (https://fhspeds.mcmaster.ca/pedsCapOne/surveys/?s=9RDX7EHT79) for clinicians to understand the current glove use and hand hygiene practices in NICUs in North America. The survey was sent to neonatologists and Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialists via the AAP Neonatal-Perinatal Section listserv, SHEA and the Canadian Neonatal Network.
Of 336 responses; the majority were from physicians at level 3 to 4 NICUs (97%), and from the United States (96.1%). Beyond sterile procedures, sterile gloves were used for central line dressing changes (88.4%), contact with central nervous system shunts (61.0%), and direct contact with central lines (57.4%). Nonsterile gloves were used most commonly for universal precautions and diaper changes (Table 1). Almost half of participants also used nonsterile gloves for all patients and 37.5% for extremely low birth weight (<1000 g) infants. While most sites (76.8%) stated that nonsterile gloves were not required for parents, 15.8% requested gloves also for parents. 58% of respondents felt there was not enough evidence for a practice change at this time and 53.3% felt further study was needed to assess the effect of nonsterile gloves and infection (Figures 2 and 3). Almost a third of respondents (n = 109) would be interested in participating in a randomized study to assess glove-based care. Major concerns with this approach included a possible reduction in hand hygiene compliance, environmental waste, and glove contamination (Figure 4).
There is variability in gloving practices across NICUs in North America, with equipoise and interest in a potential randomized study to further explore the hypothesis that nonsterile gloves prevent late-onset infections in neonates.
All authors: No reported disclosures.