Gloves Are Getting Scarce

Updated | Posted
by Kitiger Kitiger, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 43 years experience.


Is anyone else having trouble getting enough gloves?

With my homecare clients we use gloves for oral care, diapering, dressing changes, suctioning, etc.. Medicaid pays for up to 4 boxes of 100 gloves/month, which is often not enough. And now the medical supply companies are running short; at least, they're running short of the sizes we need.

I'm in the Midwestern United States.. Is this a problem nation-wide?


iluvivt, BSN, RN

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience. 2,773 Posts

Yes, it is and some of the manufacturers are putting limits on the high demand items.If you reach your limit for the year you can order from that manufacturer all you want and they will not send it. For example, I can't get any more sterile field NS pre-fill until next year because I reached my limit. 



1,558 Posts

Yes it is nationwide and there is currently an investigation going on in Thailand because they are getting used gloves, trying to clean them and ship them into the US.  

I do not glove up as much as I used to.  It’s not good.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,540 Posts

We have stopped getting nitrile, but now get ill fitting vinyl gloves because that's what's available. We can't stop gloving up with all of the presence of blood  (hemo) or need for aseptic connection (PD). I realize that there are supply chain issues, but healthcare can't sustain this type of issue without severe ramifications


Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,954 Posts

WE have what I call "subway sandwich gloves" here. THEY SUCK. They are flimsy and ill fitting. Not to mention they stick to everything! We have to conserve nitrile gloves so we use these horrible things for all not-direct patient care chores like cleaning, etc.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 43 years experience. 1,711 Posts

Thanks to those who have commented. Right now, we have some gloves that fit me (small hands) and some that might fall off if I don't tape them on.

I've started to save gloves that I used for suctioning, to use for oral care. Of course, this is all on the same client (private duty, home health). I've even used these used gloves for diapering (code brown) - but only after putting them on and using hand sanitizer. I don't want to spread a trach infection to the urinary tract or bowel.

Trach care gets a new glove, oral care gets a used glove. A wet diaper gets no glove . . . I do wash my hands often and well. We haven't actually run out of gloves. Yet. But I think it could happen.

At what point am I trying too hard to conserve gloves?