Care Homes & COVID-19 Healthcare & Coronavirus NHS & COVID-19

PPE Shortages – Guidance for Wuhan Novel Coronavirus Control & Prevention

PPE Shortages

PPE Shortages – Guidance for Wuhan Novel Coronavirus Control & Prevention

PPE shortages occur, it may be necessary to reuse some equipment and recognise when other equipment can’t be reused.

This is a temporary measure and should not be considered standard practice in a healthcare setting.

PPE Shortages – Gowns and coveralls

Sessional use
PPE gowns and coveralls should be worn in all high risk areas and when proning a patient. They should only be removed if they become heavily soiled, or if you’re moving from a clinical to non-clinical area, or going on a break.

Consider using reusable lab coats, gowns, patient gowns and coveralls

Alternatives for high risk AGPs

In the event of PPE shortages:
– Use disposable fluid repellent gowns
– Use disposable non-fluid repellent gowns with a disposable plastic apron
– Use washable reusable gowns, coveralls or lab coats with a plastic apron

PPE Shortages – Medical masks

Sessional use
Face masks may be used for between 2-6 hours depending on factors including shift length, activity levels and heat.

If the mask becomes damaged or soiled or it’s removed for any reason, dispose of it as clinical waste. If a mask is touched for any reason, immediately wash or sanitise your hands.

surgical Masks with elastic ear loops are easier to remove and can be reused unless damaged or soiled
– If a mask is reused, fold it so the outer surface is inwards and store in a bag or box clearly marked with the user’s name
– A fit check should always be performed when reusing a mask
– Hand hygiene should be performed before and after use

Homemade masks and cloth masks should not be used in healthcare settings.

Eye Protection

A visor provides barrier protection for the full face including eyes, nose and mouth. It should cover the area from the forehead to below the chin and wrap around the face. They are available in reusable and disposable options.

A visor should always be used for AGPs

Goggles provide protection for the eyes from splashes or sprays and have an anti-fog coating. They should fit snugly around the eyes or over prescription lenses. Goggles are typically made from polycarbonate with adjustable elastic straps.

Goggles for use in a healthcare setting are reusable

Sessional use
– Goggles or visors should be removed when leaving a high risk area
– Practice hand hygiene when putting on and taking off eye protection

Unless the eye protection is labelled as single-use, then it is suitable for reuse. In the event of PPE shortages, single-use items may be reused.

Eye protection should be cleaned with detergent and a decontamination product. Goggles and visors should then be rinsed thoroughly and left to air dry.

Repeated cleaning will damage the anti-fog coating so frequent resupply will be required.

Gloves and Aprons

PPE gloves are available in a range of materials and are considered single-use items.

Double gloves should not be used for treating Covid-19 patients and reuse of gloves should be avoided.

Always practice hand hygiene when putting on and taking off gloves.

Aprons protect clothes from splashes and sprays and should be used with gowns that are not fluid-resistant or being used on a sessional basis.

Aprons should not be reused.

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