Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a significant burden on healthcare facilities. Universal gloving is a horizontal intervention to prevent transmission of pathogens that cause HAI. In this meta-analysis, we aimed to identify whether implementation of universal gloving is associated with decreased incidence of HAI in clinical settings.
A systematic literature search was conducted to find all relevant publications using search terms for universal gloving and HAIs. Pooled incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using random effects models. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the Woolf test and the I2 test.
In total, 8 studies were included. These studies were moderately to substantially heterogeneous (I2 = 59%) and had varied results. Stratified analyses showed a nonsignificant association between universal gloving and incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA; pooled IRR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.79–1.11) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE; pooled IRR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.69–1.28). Studies that implemented universal gloving alone showed a significant association with decreased incidence of HAI (IRR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.67–0.89), but studies implementing universal gloving as part of intervention bundles showed no significant association with incidence of HAI (IRR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.86–1.05).
Universal gloving may be associated with a small protective effect against HAI. Despite limited data, universal gloving may be considered in high-risk settings, such as pediatric intensive care units. Further research should be performed to determine the effects of universal gloving on a broader range of pathogens, including gram-negative pathogens.