The Proper Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If you are using personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of the spread of infections it is important to understand how to put it on and remove it the right way. This guide will provide all the information you need.
There are numerous pieces of personal protective equipment that can be used to reduce the risk of the spread of infections. PPE can be highly effective in reducing the threat of contamination, protecting both team members as well as other people they may come in contact with. However, this will only be the case if personal protective equipment is used correctly. Below are some of the key procedures that must be followed by all team members.
Donning is the process of putting on personal protective equipment. There are numerous steps to follow to ensure that you complete this process the right way and eliminate issues with the spread of infections. First, you need to make sure that you are identifying the proper PPE that you do need to don.
This may include:
- A correctly fitted isolation gown
- An N95 filtering facepiece respirator or a face mask
- Face shield of goggles
- Disposable gloves.
First, Sanitize Your Hands
To ensure that your hands are clean you need to wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer. This process should be completed for at least twenty seconds. After this, you can put on the isolation gown and tie all the ties or complete the snaps. In some cases, it may be necessary to gain assistance from someone else. They should also have sanitized their hands before touching your PPE.
Put On Your N95 Face Mask
After this, you should put on your N95 respirator. If you are using the respirator with the nose piece, you need to fit it to your nose with both hands. However, you should not bend or stretch the respirator. It’s important to ensure that it covers both your chin and your nose. You need to make sure that you pull the strap over your head placing it on top of the crown. The bottom strap should be fitted at the base of your neck.
Check Your N95 Face Mask
You need to complete a user seal check. Breathe and cover the facepiece with your hands, checking that it does bulge slightly. Take in a quick breath and check that it collapses slightly. If air does escape then it needs to be readjusted and this check should be completed each time you put your respirator on.
If you are using a face mask put it on covering your mouth, nose and chin. Ensure that the mask is squeezed so that it curves over your nose and secure the hooks over your ears or the tie around the back of your head.
Put On Your Face Shield
After this, you need to put on your face shield and your goggles. The final piece of PPE equipment that you should put on is your gloves. You need to ensure that the gloves are pulled down to completely cover the wrists of the gown.
Once you have completed this procedure, you will be ready to enter the room of a patient.
Remove Your Latex Disposable Gloves
The first step to taking off your PPE is removing your gloves. You need to ensure that this doesn’t cause any extra contamination of the hands. You should use the glove in glove technique, or the birds beak technique depending on what you find easiest.
Remove the PPE Gown
Once you have done this, you can remove the gown by untying all the ties or loosening all the buttons. As soon as the fastening is loose enough, you should put your hands on your shoulders and carefully full the gown down and away from the body. You can roll the gown down if you find this to be easier and then dispose of it in the correct trash facility.
Step Out of the Room and Sanitize Hands
As soon as the gloves and gown are off, you can then exit the room that you were in. Having stepped outside of the room, you are going to need to go through any hand hygiene procedures that are in place. This may mean washing your hands at one of the designated stations or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer depending on your situation.
Remove Face Shield or Goggles
From here, you should carefully remove the face shield or goggles that you are wearing. Do this by grabbing the strap and pulling it away from your head in an upwards direction. Make sure that you do not touch the front of either piece of personal protective equipment as this can cause contamination.
Remove N95 Face Mask or Respirator
The next step is to remove the face mask or respirator depending on which you are using while making sure you don’t touch the front. If you’re wearing a face mask, you need to untie or unhook it and pull it away from you.
If you’re wearing a respirator, remove the bottom strap but make sure that you only touch this part of the respirator. Gently bring it over your head and then repeat the same with the top strap. When both straps have been moved, you need to pull the respirator away from the face, again ensuring that you do not touch the front.
Hand Sanitize Again
Finally, you need to repeat any hand hygiene once more as soon as you have put your face mask or respirator down. If your workplace is practicing the reuse of these items, you must ensure that you wash your hands properly and thoroughly before touching them to put them back on. If you don’t, you could end up causing contamination and the face mask or respirator will need to be disposed of.
Learn to Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Correctly
Personal protective equipment is there to keep everyone as safe as possible from the spread of infection, which is why it is imperative that you are both donning and doffing carefully. If you find yourself unsure about the procedure for either of these things at any point, refer to the steps laid out above so that you are doing this in the safest possible manner. If you know that your organization is reusing face masks or respirators, ensure that the donning and doffing procedures are altered to reflect this practice.