Breaking the Cycle of Glucometer Contamination: Changing Gloves Between Fingerstick and Cleaning/Disinfecting

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      Background: In 2018, our three campus health system participated in an Infection Control Assessment and Response (ICAR) assessment. During this comprehensive assessment, a docked glucometer was found with traces of blood. This finding prompted the system infection preventionists (IPs) to take a closer look at the process of cleaning and disinfecting glucometers.


      Methods: After examining glucometers at each campus, the IPs found there was an opportunity for improvement with cleaning/disinfecting. The ICAR team had recommended a “Glucometer Safety” video which stressed changing gloves and performing hand hygiene between fingerstick testing and cleaning/disinfecting. The IPs observed the collection process firsthand: the staff member would perform the fingerstick and compress the finger with a piece of gauze. This allowed the staff member's glove to become contaminated with blood. The staff member would then hold the glucometer to disinfect but contaminated it in the process. Blood was occasionally found on the back of the glucometer in the dock.


      Results: It was apparent that re-education of all registered nurses (RNs) and patient care technicians (PCTs) was needed. The importance of preventing the spread of blood-borne pathogens was stressed. This re-education was initially rolled out in huddles and unit councils. It was also added to nursing orientation and annual skills fairs. Included was the importance of changing gloves and performing hand hygiene between testing and cleaning/disinfecting, and also the importance of examining the glucometer before placing it back in the dock. Ongoing monitoring of the glucometer cleaning/disinfecting process by the IPs has indicated success in the re-education.


      Conclusions: Hospitals need to be vigilant about the potential for inadequate cleaning and disinfecting during the use of glucometers. Contamination of gloves during the testing process may be an unrecognized cause of glucometer contamination.
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