Personal protective equipment in the hospital helps form a barrier against germs and other infectious substances and materials thereby protecting health professionals, patients, visitors in the hospital. It reduces the chance of being exposed to infectious diseases in the hospital.
The barrier has the potential to block transmission of contaminants from blood, body fluids, or respiratory secretions. PPE may also protect patients who are at high risk for contracting infections through a surgical procedure or who have a medical condition, such as, an immunodeficiency, from being exposed to substances or potentially infectious material brought in by visitors and healthcare workers.
It is expected that all hospital staff, patients, and visitors should use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when they are to be in contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
Read Also: Everything you should know about PPE
Examples of Personal protective equipment in the hospital
- Gloves: Protects your hands from germs and helps reduce the spread of germs.
- Aprons: These are often used during surgery to protect you and the patient.
- Long sleeved gowns: These are often used during surgery to protect you and the patient.
- Surgical masks: This mask helps stop germs in your nose and mouth from spreading. It can also keep you from breathing in some germs.
- Eye goggles/Face shield: These protect the mucous membranes in your eyes from blood and other bodily fluids.
- Respirator masks: It protect the wearer from inhaling particulate matter, including airborne microorganisms, fumes, vapours and gases.
The choice of PPE should be based on a risk assessment of potential exposure to blood / body fluids / infectious agents.
The initial risk assessment of whether or not PPE is required is based on the level of risk of transmission to and from the patient. Standard IPC (Infection, Prevention and Control) precautions are required to be implemented by all healthcare workers for the care of all patients and their environment’s. When these measures alone are insufficient to interrupt transmission, additional transmission based precautions appropriate to the mode of spread are indicated.
Legislative requirement on the use of personal protective equipment in the hospital
- Employers must provide the appropriate PPE to protect employees against the risk of infection associated with their work. Employees are responsible for ensuring that they wear the appropriate PPE to protect themselves from possible exposure to infectious agents (refer to local COSHH guidelines).
- Employers should provide, and maintain accurate records of training on the appropriate use of PPE. Employees should attend mandatory IPC training and know how to use PPE.
Read Also: PPE Requirements by OSHA
PPE should be remove and disposed safely after use to protect others from being exposed to germs, this should be done before leaving the work area. Before leaving your work area, remove all PPE and put it in the right place. This may include:
- Special laundry containers that can be reused after cleaning
- Special waste containers that are different from other waste containers
- Specially marked bags for cytotoxic PPE
For additional information on this topic, feel free to contact us.
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