What is Personal Protective Equipment?
Personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, usually referred to as “PPE“, is equipment worn to reduce exposure to risks that cause significant occupational injuries and illnesses.
In general these injuries and diseases may arise from contact with chemical, radioactive, physical, mechanical, electrical, or other job dangers.
Hands-on Personal Protective Equipment Example:
- long sleeve gowns
- eye goggles
- face visors
- respirator masks
- surgical masks.
Importance of PPE for Health Care Workers
Personal protective equipment for healthcare workers is used to provide a barrier between healthcare workers and an infectious agent from a patient and to minimize the danger of microorganism transmission from healthcare workers to patient (s).
Who Should Wear PPE in Healthcare Organizations?
All healthcare workers who deliver healthcare services to sick persons directly or indirectly such as:
- Laboratory technicians
Also patients’ families and visitors may also wear PPE, particularly if they are giving direct patient care, such as helping the patient to the bathroom.
The caregivers must be properly trained in the usage of PPE and hand hygiene in these situations.
Personal protective equipment’s precautions
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be selected after a thorough risk assessment of probable exposure to blood/body fluids/infectious agents.
- Both in community and acute care settings, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be readily available at the point of use, and personnel should be trained on the proper use and disposal of PPE.
- People can become infected if personal protective equipment (PPE) is misused.
Personal Protective Equipment For Healthcare Workers
Almost all health care professionals use the same personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves of various types (polythene, vinyl latex, nitrile, etc.), surgical masks and eye protection.
Gloves of Different Types
A pair of gloves should be worn whenever blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions may be present, as well as while handling contaminated materials.
Gloves should also be used when patients need to be protected against transmission of infectious diseases (insert link to TBP).
Gloves are increasingly being used in health care due to growing knowledge among healthcare professionals of their capacity to protect against different harmful germs.
Polythene: Thin and prone to tearing. Health care facilities should avoid using these materials.
Vinyl: As a barrier against germs, they are less efficient than latex gloves. Moreover, they are ill-fitting and unsuited for manual dexterity operations Vinyl gloves are not often used in healthcare.
Precautions for Gloves used during duty and after or before work by healthcare workers are mentioned below:
- After a work is finished, glove should be placed on.
- Be sure to disinfect and dry your hands before putting on your gloves and cover any wounds or broken skin with a waterproof dressing.
- Reusable gloves must never be decontaminated. Single-use items should only be worn once before being thrown away.
- Hands should be cleaned and dried once gloves are removed or decontaminated with alcohol hand rub.
- Gloves should be disposed of promptly after usage in the designated trash container.
- Healthcare workers should visit the Occupational Health service or seek medical advice if gloves cause irritation.
- Storage of aprons and gowns should be in a clean place. PPE can be stored in wall-mounted units, which should be cleaned periodically.
- During shifts, aprons and gowns should not be worn frequently, and they should be replaced between each patient. Also, they may need to be replaced between surgeries on the same patient, if necessary.
- Aprons and robes should be removed with care, using ties and being cautious not to contact the exterior surface of the garment. Apron/gown should be rolled up or folded before being thrown away.
- Aprons and robes should be disposed of promptly after use, according to the EPA.
- After removing an apron, a gown, and gloves, always wash your hands to remove any contaminants.
- All members of the theater surgical team should wear masks that protect their nose and mouth. If blood or bodily fluid spills are expected, a full-face visor can be used instead.
- When performing operations such as lumbar puncture or spinal anesthesia, the patient should wear a neck brace.
- Should only be used once and disposed of promptly after use if soiled. After usage, they should not be left on the wearer’s neck and should not be re-used.
- In order to avoid contamination, they should be stored in their original packing before usage.
- Ties/strings should be removed and disposed of in the proper waste stream (e.g., clinical waste).
Full Face Protection or Eye Protection:
- It should cover the full face if protection of the mouth and nose area is also necessary be replaced if it becomes obviously dirty
- The headband/earpieces should be removed to avoid encountering any possibly contaminated surfaces
- When single use, the device should be disposed away or stored in a container for subsequent processing.
- Should be able to fit over the wearer’s glasses and have anti-fog characteristics.
PPE Use Issues
The term personal protective equipment, or PPE, is being bandied about a lot right now. However, we are also learning about some of the difficulties that come along with lowering the risk of infection for healthcare personnel.
There are also the obvious questions of supply (does everyone who requires PPE get it? It is impossible to know if there is enough. nonetheless, there are a number of other issues.
Someone I know gets such severe heat flashes that she can’t wear full-body PPE and needs to switch jobs, while others report that goggles and masks in particular are causing skin irritation.
It is necessary to consider a variety of considerations while using personal protective equipment (PPE), not only its technical ability to protect the wearer against infection.
COVID-19- And PPE
Related improvements have been incorporated into the modifications to Personal protective equipment for combating highly contagious illnesses in healthcare workers. It is one of a series of quick reviews conducted in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Evidence on which type of full-body PPE and which donning or doffing method reduces contamination or infection risk for healthcare workers, as well as which training methods increase compliance with PPE.
To limit the danger of contamination, putting on and taking off clothing must be done in the proper manner.
A one-step glove and gown removal method, double glove removal, verbal instructions during glove removal, as well as glove disinfection were found to minimize contamination and increase compliance with doffing guidelines, according to the review authors.