Services

Ansell Guardian® is our proprietary service to help companies select the right personal protective equipment solution to improve their safety, productivity and cost performance.

LEARN MORE

AnsellCARES is a program guided and supported by a Scientific Advisory Network that includes leading scientists, physicians, educators and researchers from around the world.

LEARN MORE

With an Ansell license, you will gain access to innovative patented technologies surrounding the materials and design of our cutting edge products. Our experts will work with you to reach an agreement that suits your needs.

LEARN MORE

What Hospital Are You?

Quick Links

 

Introduction

Hospitals take different approaches when it comes to latex allergy prevention. Some hospitals only make non-latex products available to healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients with known latex allergies. Other hospitals go a step further and use only non-latex gloves in highly sensitive areas, such as paediatric and gynaecology, while still using natural rubber latex (NRL) gloves in other departments. This second approach has shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of latex allergy in children with spina-bifida or other at risk children, which is the patient group that shows the highest incidence of latex allergy.1,2,3

The third approach, which is the most complete one, is the total conversion to non-latex surgical gloves throughout the entire hospital. In this approach, the hospital not only minimises the risk of allergy related events, but also creates a safer working environment to help avoid the development of future latex allergies by HCWs or patients. These hospitals can also obtain significant associated savings that should be taken into account when considering the switch from latex to non-latex surgical gloves.

Back to top

 

Hospitals using non-latex gloves only when a known allergy exists

These hospitals primarily use latex gloves, but have non-latex gloves available for HCWs and patients with known latex allergies.

This approach only addresses HCWs and patients already sensitised or allergic to latex. However, it will not protect HCWs from the development of any future latex allergies, as one of the factors influencing this is the amount of latex exposure, and it will also not protect patients with unknown allergies. It is important to note that while staff members will be mostly aware if they have a latex allergy, patients may not be, or may forget to inform staff until the last minute, which leaves them, and the hospital, at risk.

This approach also places some patients at risk, especially the paediatric population, such as children with Spina Bifida, where the latex sensitization has been reported to significantly decrease in patients exposed only to non-latex gloves, from 55% to 5%. 1

In the case of HCWs, the majority of affected personnel are in a sensitized stage and reported to be between 10 to 17%. 4, 5 Even though these HCWs may not present clinical signs, they are at higher risk of developing a latex allergy over time if they continue to be exposed to latex.

The advantages and disadvantages of this approach is summarised in the table below:

 ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
 Elimination of most known glove associated latex allergies  Some patients may have unknown allergies and adverse effects may occur with associated costs
 Elimination of some treatment cost  Increased O.R. turnover time for a latex-allergy patient surgery
 Minimisation of HCW sick leave and replacement cost  Time and product waste when a surgery is cancelled/postponed due to latex allergy if not planned for ahead of time
   Latex protocols and training are required
   High number of product lines required to cover needs
   Does not offer HCWs protection from developing future latex allergies

Back to top

 

Hospitals using all non-latex gloves only in high-risk theatres; and, mixed NRL and non-latex gloves in other theatres

This approach ensures protection for theatres dedicated to non-latex, typically paediatric. However, these hospitals only offer protection on a case-by-case basis for the rest of the theatres.

This approach protects at-risk patient populations, not protected by the previous approach, such as paediatric patients, especially children with spina bifida or children that need multiple surgeries such as those with chronic renal failure. These children’s sensitisation and allergy level is high and the allergy incidence is significantly reduced when they are only exposed to non-latex surgical gloves.1

The advantages and disadvantages of this approach is summarised in the table below:

 ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Most glove associated latex allergies are eliminated Time and product waste when a surgery is cancelled/postponed due to latex allergy if not planned for ahead of time
Most allergic treatment costs are eliminated
 Latex protocols and training are required for avoiding any mix-up or errors
Full prevention is only achieved in all non-latex theatres  High number of product lines required to cover needs
Minimisation of HCW sick leave and staff replacement costs
Does not offer HCWs protection from developing future latex allergies

Back to top

 

Hospitals using only non-latex gloves throughout all departments (complete elimination of NRL gloves)

This is the best approach as it offers full protection for all patients and HCWs, offering a safer working environment that minimises the risk of latex allergy related adverse events and the development of future allergies. This approach has many other advantages such as the elimination of glove associated latex allergic adverse events, decrease in OR turnover time for a latex-allergy patient surgery, elimination of time and product waste when a surgery is cancelled/postponed due to latex allergy, together with some logistical advantages caused by product consolidation and more storage space available in the O.R. To learn more, access the Why Non-Latex section for more information.

The advantages and disadvantages of this approach is summarised in the table below:

 ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Elimination of glove associated latex allergy adverse events
Higher cost of product– this will be mostly outweighed by the benefits and avoidance of costs associated with latex usage
Elimination of lost time and productivity for glove related allergy incidents
Elimination of allergic event treatments costs
No special O.R. turnover requirements for latex-allergy patient surgery
No surgery is cancelled/postponed due to latex allergy
 Product consolidation
 More storage space available in O.R.  
 Simplified ordering  
 Minimisation of HCW sick leave and staff replacement cost  

In conclusion, in order to eliminate the risk of latex allergies and to make sure hospitals offer a safer environment for HCWs and patients, a complete switch to non-latex gloves is required. The use of only non-latex gloves has other associated advantages that will help to offset any cost increases that this move may have.

Contact Ansell today to discuss how to eliminate latex gloves from your hospital and the glove range that will help you achieve this.
 

Back to top

 

References

  1. Blumchen et al., Effects Of Latex Avoidance On Latex Sensitization, Atopy And Allergic Diseases In Patients With Spina Bifida. Allergy 65 (2010): 1585-1593
  2. Rendeli et al., Latex Sensitisation and allergy in children with myelomeningocele. Childs Nerv Syst (2006) 22:28-32
  3. Sparta et al., Latex allergy in children with urological malformation and chronic renal failure. The journal of urology. 2004; vol 171:1647-1649
  4. De Queiroz M, Combet S, Berard J, Pouyau A, Genest H, Mouriquand P, Chassard D. Latex allergy in children: modalities and prevention. Paediatric Anaesthesia 2009; 19: 313-319
  5. Brehler R and Kütting B. Natural rubber latex allergy.Archives of Internal Medicine 2001; 161: 1057-1064
  6. Yunginger JW, Jones Rt, Fransway AF, Kelso JM, Warner Ma, Hunt LW. Extractable latex allergens and proteins in disposable medical gloves and other rubber products. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1994; 93: 836-842

Back to top

 

GAMMEX® is a registered trademark owned by Ansell Limited. ©2014 Ansell limited. All Rights Reserved.

We see you are using an older version of Internet Explorer. We recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of IE, Chrome or Firefox.