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Operating Suite Guidelines for Latex Allergic Patients

The nurse in charge of the operating room is to ensure the guidelines are followed.

Follow preceding guidelines for the general ward.

A. Preparation of Operating Room

Steps 2, 3, 4 are not necessary if the operating suite does not use any powdered latex gloves.

1. Synthetic gloves must be used.

2.Ideally latex sensitive patients should be scheduled first on the morning operating list.

Patients must only be operated on in a clean operating room ie free of powdered latex gloves for at least 3 hours.  

3. Furniture and equipment in the operating room must be washed down by staff wearing synthetic gloves to remove latex powder.

4. From the time of the preparation of the operating room staff traffic should be limited and all staff entering the operating room should change into clean clothes and thoroughly wash their hands to remove latex powder. 

5. The operating room must have signs attached to all entrances to ensure latex safe area.  

6. Operating room table mattress and arm boards must be completely covered with linen.  

7. The patient's limb must be covered prior to applying a tourniquet.

Sterile Set-up.

Step 2 is not necessary if the operating suite does not use any powdered latex gloves.

1. Synthetic gloves must be used.  

2. The sterile trolleys must be set up in the operating room rather than in the core to prevent latex powder contamination.  

3.The latex free product list must be consulted to ensure all equipment used is latex free.  

Anaesthetic Equipment:

  • Synthetic gloves must be used.
  • Latex free anaesthetic circuit, masks, rebreathing bag, common gas outlet tubing, licorice sticks (catheter mount), oral airways, must be connected or available. 

B. Transfer of patient

Step 4 is not necessary if the institution does not use any powdered latex gloves.

1. Synthetic gloves must be used.  

2. Only when the operating room is fully prepared and checked is the patient to be sent for.  

3. The patient must wear a balaclava with ties not elastic, and no other disposable clothing with elastic.  

4. Patients must be brought straight from their room to the anaesthetic room and not placed in a holding area which may be contaminated with latex powder.  

C. Operative period

Steps 2, 3 are not necessary if the operating suite does not use any powdered latex gloves.

1. Synthetic gloves must be used.  

2. During the patient's stay in the operating suite all the staff entering the operating room should change into clean clothes and thoroughly wash their hands. All staff should remain in the operating room for the duration of the case.  

3. Staff should be available outside the operating room to collect and deliver any extra equipment that may be required, remembering not to wear latex gloves or touch any latex products during this time.  

D. Recovery

Steps 2, 3 are not necessary if the operating suite does not use any powdered latex gloves.

1. Synthetic gloves must be used.  

2. The patient should be recovered in the operating room, or anaesthetic room, to reduce possible contamination with latex powder from staff in adjacent operating rooms.  

3. Recovery staff entering the operating room, or anaesthetic room, should change into clean clothes and thoroughly wash their hands to remove latex powder.  

4. Face-mask elastics should be removed and replaced with cotton tape.  

When the patient is returned to the ward, the recovery staff must ensure the ward staff are aware of the patient's latex allergy and that the patient is returning to an environment which has been prepared.  

Delivery Suite

  • Synthetic gloves must be used.
  • CTG monitoring require the patient's skin to be protected from the elastic straps.  

Other Procedural Areas

Emergency departments, Intensive Care Units, Coronary Care Units, Endoscopy Suites, and Pathology Collection Areas.

These areas are high risk areas to latex allergic patients, particularly in institutions where powdered latex gloves are used.

Some of these areas may have latex glove usage at least as high as the operating suite, but may not have air-conditioning which meets the standards of an operating suite. This means that where powdered latex gloves are used the levels of latex aeroallergen can be very high.

Emergency areas are usually unable to prepare hours in advance, and are thus unable to reduce the risk of reactions to aeroallergens.

Follow preceding guidelines for general ward.

 

Content updated March 2010

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