The term personal protective equipment refers to any clothing or equipment used for protection (Safe Work NSW 2020).
In healthcare settings, PPE is used to create a barrier between you and any infectious agents that you may come into contact with during your work. The aim of this is to reduce the risk of touching, transmitting or being exposed to pathogens (MedlinePlus 2021).
Clothing (gowns, aprons, head covering and shoe covers)
Masks (surgical or particle filter respirator)
Eye protection (face shields and goggles).
Using PPE Effectively
Healthcare workers must be thoroughly informed about any infections and updated on the current policies, procedures and protocols of their organisation
Workers must have access to the necessary equipment to carry out the specified task correctly and safely
You may consider having a second clinician present to supervise the donning and doffing process and ensure it is performed correctly
Healthcare organisations must apply both standard and transmission-based precautions as they are applied individually
Workers must have a thorough understanding of contact, droplet and airborne precautions
Always remember to engage with the patient, as it can be quite confronting for them not to see the healthcare worker’s face.
Take regular breaks if you can.
Correct PPE use is crucial to infection control and prevention. You must always ensure correct procedures for donning and doffing are followed, and that staff are well-trained and competent (Pyrek 2018).
Always refer to your organisation’s policies and procedures.
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