That old chestnut, to glove or not to

Mrs Kaye Bellis1

1Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia

Introduction: Our initial aim was to ascertain why our Healthcare Workers (HCWS) wore non sterile gloves (NSG). NSG have a place in our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) armoury but should not be used just because they are there. We set out to observe the use, misuse and overuse of NSG.

Methods: We developed an audit tool to observe HCWs perform daily tasks and NSG usage whilst observing their ability to follow the “5 Moments” for Hand Hygiene and local policy.

Results: Observations began just before COVID-19 hit. Auditing was halted for months limiting data collection pre COVID-19. PPE education during this period was escalated.

Pre COVID-19 data:

  • 2% of total staff observed wore NSG in non-clinical area
  • 5% clinical staff wore in non-clinical area
  • 7% non-clinical staff wore in non-clinical area


The audit tool has been converted into an electronic format. Observations have not recommenced.

Conclusion: Post the COVID-19 intense education, NSG usage anecdotally appears to have decreased. COVID has changed many practices and workflows. Hypothetically this has raised many questions which warrant further exploration:

  • How COVID impacted:
    • introduction of PPE buddy system
    • staff awareness of face touching with clean hands
    • changes to hand hygiene auditing requirements and its possible impacts
  • As well as other non PPE related issues:
    • telehealth and changed workflows
    • decreased traffic through departments
    • cancellation of surgeries/non urgent tests
    • introduction of concierge on COVID wards

Will these changes stay?


The last 22 years of my working life have been in Infection Control and have been focused in one format or another around HH. I am still passionate and a firm believer in HH.

Whilst working as an infection Control Practitioner across many large Melbourne based healthcare facilities I always seems to manage the portfolio of HH. I realised that HH is an ongoing challenge but one that we are slowly gaining ground on.

I have worked with HH Victoria in its early days and then with HHA for its formative years where one of her roles was to travel around Australia as an educator, where I meet many of you.

Currently my role as HH coordinator is to engage with all HCWs to promote local ownership, educate, listen and learn and reinvigorate Alfred’s HH program

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