PPE — Prepared for Prevention Every time

by Valerie J. Dimond

ast year, when Ebola made its way into the United States, serious concerns about personal protective equipment (PPE) landed front and center. Healthcare facilities scurried to stock up on what was available while healthcare workers (HCWs) complained of not having access to the right kind or that they lacked suffi cient training and knowledge on how to use it properly. “There were many lessons learned with Ebola about PPE and preparedness,” said Laura Buford, RN, BSN, CIC, APIC Communications Committee Chair. “Mainly, we learned we were not pre-

L Laura Buford

pared. Now, we know what to do but it has to be practiced. It is very diffi cult to get in and out of the suits without contaminat- ing yourself. If you don’t practice doing it, it’s pretty definite you’ll have an exposure.”

Poor compliance with donning and

doffi ng of all types of PPE is still a significant — and preventable — problem, as indicated in a study published last December in the American Journal of Infection Control. 1 Researchers found that even when HCWs wore gloves when handling patients with Clostridium diffi cile (C. diff.) they still had spores on their hands because of poor donning and/ or doffi ng. The upside is that after HCWs participated in an educational intervention on correct techniques and disinfection of gloves with bleach, they experienced zero contamination. Finding a more tolerable alternative to bleach would likely improve compliance as well, according to the authors. “The biggest obstacle to PPE compliance is attitude; healthcare workers have this idea that they’re bulletproof,” suggested Buford, also an Infection Preventionist/Employee Health Nurse at Lakeway Regional Medical Center, Lakeway, TX. “’I don’t need that stuff’ or ‘I’m just going in there for a min- ute’ or other things are heard frequently as reasons why they aren’t compliant with PPE. Education is done to explain what the PPE is for … but it’s still a battle. Doing compli- ance rounds on the patients on isolation

and watching to see if people are using PPE appropriately have helped to shift attitudes and improve practices.”

Promoting compliance

Finding tools and products that make wear- ing PPE less onerous might also help in the effort to improve compliance — whether it’s improving access, simplifying steps or providing important reminders. Healthmark Industries’ Cool Aids line now includes a single-use disposable vest to help manage core body temperature. “When worn under protective barrier at- tire, they are ideal for use by staff during surgery, reprocessing of devices and other activities because cooling is achieved with the reusable cooling packs rather than with a system of hoses and an external source,” explained Healthmark Marketing Manager Matt Smith. “This innovative design allows for greater freedom of move- ment without worrying how to get them laundered and returned.”

Single-use Cool Aids Vest by

Healthmark Industries

To encourage proper mask and respirator use, last year APIC released new educational fl iers based on current guidelines that describe the Do’s & Don’ts of using procedure masks and N95 respirators. “The tools were inspired from a conversa- tion our committee was having about people not wearing masks appropriately,” Buford recalled. “We thought it would be a good idea to make an easy-to-use tool for infection preventionists or any others in healthcare facilities of any kind to use for educating on proper usage.” (You can download and print the fl i- ers from the APIC website.2)

One of the more recent innovations in face/re- spiratory protection is the SpectraShield 9500 Surgical Mask by Nexera. The product contains sil- ver- and copper-based antimicrobial technol- ogy by Sciessent to

18 July 2016 • HEALTHCARE PURCHASING NEWS • Nexera's

SpectraShield 9500 Surgical Mask with Sciessent's antimicrobial technology

deliver what they say is the fi rst FDA-approved antimi- crobial surgical respiratory mask. According to a press release issued in April, the SpectraShield 9500 kills 99.99 percent of tested bacteria after one hour and will inac- tivate 99.99 percent of tested infl uenza viruses after fi ve minutes of contact. “Our SpectraShield 9500 Surgi- cal Mask has proven to be safe for fi rst responders and hospital workers and highly

effective in killing airborne pathogens,” said James Morrell, CEO, Nexera. “In fact, it was cleared for eight hours of use, which is more than double the time required by NIOSH and OSHA.”

Badge Buddies by is another helpful product line designed to keep HCWs mindful of the importance of compliance and assist them on the spot with tips on handling a variety of healthcare-relat- ed tasks, includ- ing PPE use. “Our badges, worn with their ID badges, serve as a ready reference to rapidly recall important in- formation health- care staff needs to know on a daily ba-

PPE Buddy Badge by

sis,” said John Sammons, Partner, Designer, “All of our badges are customized to fi t the varying needs of our customers. We’re the only badge buddy company out there that we know of that offers truly custom, eye- catching artwork at prices even the smallest facility can afford.

APIC Do’s & Don’ts fl iers

the smallest facility can afford. Our most popular badges include hospital Emergency Codes with RACE/PASS fi re safety procedures, Infection Control, PPE Don/ Doff in- structions, Annual Flu Shots, National Patient Safety Goals, and many more.”

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