Pulmonary Hypertension News Forums Forums PH Care and Treatment Do you wear gloves when filling a pill box or administering medication?

  • Do you wear gloves when filling a pill box or administering medication?

    Posted by Colleen Steele on May 8, 2024 at 8:15 pm

    As a caregiver, you must wear gloves when filling a pill box or administering medication. This is to prevent the accidental absorption of drugs, which can have profound health implications. Moreover, not wearing gloves can contaminate someone else’s medicines with traces of drugs, dirt, or germs on your hands. Gloves also serve as a protective barrier, preventing the caregiver from potentially absorbing or inhaling the medication, which can be particularly harmful for a woman who might be pregnant or breastfeeding.

    I just filled my son’s pill box for the week, washed my hands well before and after, and skipped the gloves, which I’m embarrassed to admit is my standard practice. However, when my son was on Flolan and Milrinone, I always wore gloves when mixing and filling the cartridge and touching his central line in any way.

    As a caregiver, how good are you at wearing gloves when touching and administering medication, and why or why not? If you are a patient, do you wear gloves when filling your pill box, and why do you feel it’s important to do so?

    jen-cueva replied 1 month, 3 weeks ago 6 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • jen-cueva

    Member
    May 9, 2024 at 3:13 pm

    Hi @Colleen, what an interesting question. As a patient, I do not use gloves. I filled my med box this morning and washed my hands before and after. I’m not embarrassed because they are my medications. If it were someone else’s, maybe I would wear gloves. It would also depend on what types of meds they have. Also, if they prefer me to use gloves, I would.


    But with anything like an IV line, etc. I do use gloves and always have them in the past with my patients.

    Washing my hands before and after is my routine. I think it’s OK because it’s what I accept. If Cullen has other wishes, maybe you can use the gloves. Does he use gloves if he fills his pill box? I’m considering when he will leave college in a few months.

    • Colleen Steele

      Member
      May 9, 2024 at 6:01 pm

      @jen-cueva Cullen doesn’t use gloves when filling his pill box and has never requested me to wear them but understandably expects me to was my hands well beforehand.

      • jen-cueva

        Member
        May 14, 2024 at 9:30 am

        Hi @Colleen-Steele, that’s not an unusual request. Like Cullen, most of us would expect someone to wash their hands before and after. I’m also the same with cooking meals. I’m guilty of overwashing my hands at times. Hehe.

  • Sherri

    Member
    May 9, 2024 at 5:40 pm

    As a patient filling my own daily medication boxes, I do not wear gloves. I simply wash my hands. My husband and I both take care of my subcutaneous site for Remodulin. We use hand sanitizer, but not gloves for this process. We are careful to clean different parts of the system with alcohol wipes and use a clean drape during prep. I recall being told that the process was clean, but not sterile when it came to Remodulin subcutaneous. It never occurred to me that we might need to wear gloves. The hospital staff where we transitioned, used gloves, but that is their standard practice. I am so glad you brought up this subject. It is definitely something I will discuss with my pharmaceutical nurse.

    • Colleen Steele

      Member
      May 9, 2024 at 5:59 pm

      @Sherri I need to correct myself. My husband and I did not wear gloves when mixing my son’s Flolan or when changing his cartridge, but we did wear gloves when doing a dressing change in which his central line was exposed. For everything else we just washed our hands well, used a clean drape as you mentioned and keep everything as sanitized as possible.

    • jen-cueva

      Member
      May 14, 2024 at 9:45 am

      Hi @Sherri, the people I know on IV or SubQ shared that they wore gloves and masks when cleaning their sites, but mixing meds was about 50/50.

      Follow up with your pharmacy nurse and let us know what they say. I am also sharing this read in case some want to see the difference between clean and sterile. If you’ve been doing it without gloves this long with no complications, they probably already know that.

      Thanks for sharing. It’s so good to see you post in the forums. How have you been?

      @Carol Volckmann, would you like to share how you approach cleaning your site? Clean or sterile? With or without gloves?

      https://www.mcknights.com/news/ask-the-treatment-expert-when-are-clean-and-sterile-dressing-techniques-indicated/

  • Roger Bliss

    Member
    May 10, 2024 at 12:22 am

    Never thought about that. Neither of us have ever used gloves. We both fill our own pill boxes.

    • jen-cueva

      Member
      May 14, 2024 at 9:50 am

      Hi @Roger Bliss, It’s good that you and I fill your pill boxes yourselves. Like you, I fill mine, which will be here shortly, and never wear gloves; I only wash my hands well before and after.

      Thanks for sharing, buddy!

  • Jimi Mcintosh

    Member
    May 12, 2024 at 12:36 pm

    Nope, I wore gloves, mask and frequently washed hands during covid. I only wash my pill box weekly, wash hands and fill my pill box. Tead the label on each bottle, cause so many pills look similar today, trying to make sure that I am not doubling on some meds. Thanks for alerting me to wearing gloves. I also frequently print a list of the drugs I take morning, mid-day and night, so if incapacitated my care-giver can make sure I am getting right meds. Nothing worse than taking 2 heart meds and dropping heart rate and blood pressure almost too low to remain conscious.

    • jen-cueva

      Member
      May 14, 2024 at 9:58 am

      Hi, @Jimi Mcintosh. It sounds like you do a fantastic job keeping your medication list updated. I also update mine every month or so unless nothing has changed. I have a copy in my wallet, on my desk, and one with my medications.

      That’s a crucial list to update so you are taking the correct meds, and also, if needed, a caregiver can see which medications you’re on at a specific time. Certainly, too much of one med can easily throw our bodies into shock and put us in harm.

      Thanks, Jimi, for sharing and for this reminder about updating our medications. Also, we should read each label when refilling our boxes. It’s confusing when the pharmacy changes the manufacturer of one medication and doesn’t tell us. They often look different when this occurs.

    • Colleen Steele

      Member
      May 14, 2024 at 5:56 pm

      @Jimi Mcintosh I’m so happy to hear from you! I feel like it’s been a while. How are you doing?

      I’m also constantly updating Cullen’s med list. He has been going through so many changes lately so not only to I list what he is taking but what was recently changed so that his many specialists can keep up with each other.

  • Carol Volckmann

    Member
    May 14, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    Great question Colleen and Jen, for your follow up. I do not wear gloves with filling my pin boxes nor changing my cassette of Remodulin. Nor did I wear gloves for my subQ. Washing my hands before and after, using sanitizer and alcohol wipes for each connection. I did wear serial gloves when I first was transferred over to IV Hickman line from sobQ whenever I changed the dressing. I no longer have a dressing to change but at least once a week after cleaning around my IV site I cover the site with a waterproof AquaCell Foam. When mixing the Remodulin both Dick and wash and sanitize, use sterilized towel and alcohol wipes. We will mix up 7 cassettes to cover 14 days and put the ones I am not using in the fridge. At first all of this was so overwhelming and scary, but now it is a routine we are both so use to. BUT … we also have learned when mixing we do not talk, take calls simple distractions can really get you in trouble. Thanks for bringing this to the forum Colleen.

    • Colleen Steele

      Member
      May 14, 2024 at 5:48 pm

      @Carol Volckmann your Remodulin routine is very similar to the one Brian and I had for Cullen. You bring up an excellent point about doing what you can to avoid distractions while mixing or doing cartridge changes. It’s a tip I have not thought to share. TV/radio off and cell on silent when doing that! I still practice this when filling Cullen’s pill box because he is on a tremendous amount of pills since post-transplant. Even with no distractions mistakes are possible which is why Cullen always double checks his meds before he takes them every day.

  • Carol Volckmann

    Member
    May 15, 2024 at 12:50 pm

    @Colleen , You’re so right, careful as you can be mistakes do happen. Dick and I were mixing and our guest came in to see how we do thing. Talking to her we both noticed that the cassette we just filled did not look right – it seemed that it did not have enough. We threw it out and stared over and asked our guest to not talk while we mixed – better still go out tobthe kitchen and have some coffee while we finished. Fortunately we have extrascof everything so we were okay. And, yes, I do the same filling my pill boxes – no distraction. How is Cullen doing and also, how are you doing? Did you make your appointment with your Cardiologist? Lots of warm hugs for all of you!

    • jen-cueva

      Member
      May 16, 2024 at 2:18 pm

      Hi @Colleen and @Carol Volckmann, these are great examples of limiting distractions when we refill our medication box or mix. So quickly, we can miss something and make a mistake. When I refill my medications, I don’t want anyone to talk to me or have things going on at the same time.

      Thanks for the reminder, Carol, and you and Colleen for sharing these examples. This is so critical for us all to keep in mind.

  • Colleen Steele

    Member
    May 22, 2024 at 4:51 pm

    I was just thinking about something just as important as avoiding distractions when filling pill boxes…try not to do it when you are exhausted or sleep deprived. I know sometimes that is unavoidable but try to fill them on “good days” when you are wide awake and able to concentrate.

    There have been many times when I have filled Cullen’s pill box when I was extremely fatigued, only to go through the tedious process (he’s on a LOT of medications” later of making sure I didn’t make any mistakes.

    • jen-cueva

      Member
      May 23, 2024 at 10:17 am

      OMG, that’s an excellent reminder, @Colleen! I have been there and done that…

      I prefer to refill my med box in the mornings, preferrrably before noon but after my morning coffee and I’ve been awake a tad.

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