New revised guidelines from Public Health England advise on changes to PPE across primary, secondary and social care.
The guidance has been updated to reflect the evolution of the ongoing pandemic and the changing levels of risk that nurses and healthcare workers are facing as a result of exposure to the coronavirus.
The revised guidance intends to set out “clear and actionable” advice on the use of PPE for nurses and healthcare workers, allowing them to carry out their duties as part of a safe system of working corresponding to their daily work.
The guidance recommends the safest level of PPE to protect nurses and healthcare workers and specifies the type of PPE that should be worn in the various healthcare settings where patients are cared for.
For those nurses and healthcare workers deployed in hospitals, a surgical face mask should be worn at all times when working in an inpatient area with possible or confirmed COVID-19 cases. When a nurse or healthcare worker is required to be involved in any direct patient care, they should be wearing disposable gloves, aprons and eye protection if required.
For nurses and healthcare workers working in primary, community and social care settings, plastic aprons, surgical masks, and disposable gloves should be worn as a minimum for contact with any patient or household with confirmed or possible cases of COVID-19.
Respirators, fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical masks (FRSM), eye protection and long-sleeved disposable fluid repellent gowns can be subject to single sessional use, such as ward round, or taking observations of several patients in a cohort bay or ward.
It has also been advised by the Health and Safety Executive that there is no material difference between the N95 respirator and the FFP2 disposable respirator and that they provide comparable protection against coronavirus if FFP3 respirators are unavailable.
Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer said:
“It’s vital our staff are safe and ensure they feel safe and confident that they are being properly protected, as they look after increasing numbers of people during this global health pandemic, which will put health services across the world under pressure. This new guidance should give each and every member of staff the confidence that they are wearing the right level of equipment to keep them safe as they care for our loved ones.”
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