Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/nclexion/public_html/wp-content/themes/jnews/class/ContentTag.php on line 47
Fresh guidance has been issued by infection prevention and control specialists on the use of personal protective equipment in critical care settings during the coronavirus pandemic.
It focuses on areas such as safe glove and gown use, as well as hair covers, and the potential contamination of central work stations and the risk from accidental disconnection of ventilators.
“Although PPE is important for protecting staff, inappropriate use transmits infections between patients”
The move follows concerns that using PPE for long periods and a drop in standards by staff on infection control protocol had contributed to a rise in reports of healthcare-associated infections.
As a result, the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) has released a questions and answer document – titled Using PPE for Covid-19 in Intensive Care Settings – and an accompanying video.
The Q&A document focus on the importance of standard infection control precautions and describes how to apply the national guidance whilst protecting both patients and staff.
Meanwhile, in the film, two senior members of the IPS discuss how to safely use PPE in ICU to protect both patients and staff during the Covid-19 crisis.
The IPS said it aimed to explain how national guidance on PPE should be applied to ensure the risk of cross infection was minimised while at the same time providing protection for staff and patients.
It noted that high standards of infection prevention and control needed to be applied when PPE was used in clinical care to ensure that patients were protected from healthcare-associated infections.
“We hope these Q&As will help staff make sense of using PPE to protect themselves from Covid-19 whilst also protecting their patients”
It was essential, the IPS said, that these standards were not compromised when PPE was used over prolonged periods to protect staff from Covid-19.
It warned that many critical care settings were “identifying increased transmission of hospital pathogens, such as highly antibiotic resistant bacteria, in the context of continuous use of PPE and poor adherence to standard infection control precautions”.
“We need to ensure that established infection prevention and control practices continue to be performed at a high standard in critical care settings to protect patients and prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections,” it said.
The seven questions answered in the document include whether gowns are needed to protect staff, if hair covers add any benefit in protecting staff, and if ICU is a “high-risk area”.
Other questions focus on whether accidental ventilator tubing disconnections aerosol generating procedures, when do staff have to put gloves on and take them off, and why alcohol gel cannot be used to decontaminate them.
The Q&A and video have been developed by Professor Jennie Wilson, from the University of West London, and Professor Hugh Montgomery, from University College London and Whittington Health NHS Trust.
The pair explain how Covid-19 guidance on the use of PPE needs to be applied to minimise the risk of cross infection between patients while still providing appropriate protection for staff.
IPS vice-president and nurse Professor Wilson said: “Healthcare-associated infections can be devastating for patients and, although PPE is important for protecting staff, inappropriate use transmits infections between patients.
“We hope these Q&As will help staff make sense of using PPE to protect themselves from Covid-19 whilst also protecting their patients from acquiring infection.”
Professor Montgomery added: “Protecting our patient from infection is of paramount importance to us so it’s great to have some practical, common sense advise on how we should PPE to safeguard both our patients and staff.”