Common PPE Mistakes in Healthcare Settings

Cleaning patient rooms in hospitals can put environmental services personnel (EVS) at risk for infectious diseases. Good use of personal protective equipment (PPE) can help keep your workers safe, particularly when cleaning rooms for patients with risky infections. However, PPE only works well if properly used by staff.

Here are 5 tips for environmental services professionals

Always wear eye protection.

COVID-19, which is spread through airborne droplets, has again triggered eye protection.

Most employees mistakenly think that if they wear glasses they don't need face shields or safety glasses. YOUR ENTIRE FACE MUST BE COVERED.

Besides not wearing it, another common eye protection mistake is that users refuse to clean them continuously.

After taking it off, you need to make sure to disinfect it. People often take off face shields and just throw them away somewhere without cleaning them first. If they coughed into the face shield, now that surface has been contaminated.

It is recommended to clean the protective eyewear with disinfectant wipes and then store it in a clean area until its next use.

Cover your hands

Although disposable gloves are a commonly used form of PPE, many hospital workers do not follow proper procedures when wearing them. For example: many are not used to washing their hands before putting on gloves and after taking them off. Gloves have microscopic holes, and viruses can enter through them.

EVS staff should choose the correct size of disposable gloves so that they are not too loose or too short. Make sure your wrists are covered. The more skin that can be covered, the better.

When leaving a patient's room, gloves must be removed, hands washed, and disposed of properly, then put on a new pair for the next cleaning task. They MUST NOT STORE used gloves. Some people spread germs by wearing the same gloves at the grocery store.

The ties go on the back

Although they are not worn as often by EVS staff, gowns may be required when entering a quarantine area. These can be difficult to put on, especially when reaching the ties at the back. There are many workers who wear their coats the wrong way with their ties in the front.

They complain that they get hot when wearing the gowns the right way, or that it is easier to tie them with the ties in front, but wearing the gowns backwards can expose them to germs.

Masks go up ... not down

Face masks and respirators, such as N-95s, that hang from people's necks or ears have unfortunately become an everyday thing, at work and in public. You also see people lowering their masks to speak. NO! We know it can be difficult to understand people when they wear a mask, but constantly lowering them can lead to contamination, as can hanging a mask on the ears or around the neck instead of throwing it away.

We need to urge cleaning staff to forget about the methods they used when masks were hard to come by. No more putting it in your pocket and saving it for later.

EVS personnel must ensure that the mask or respirator covers your nose and mouth without leaving gaps. Check the fit by blowing to make sure they don't feel a lot of air coming out of the mask. They can perform this verification before entering a room. If they're constantly adjusting their masks when they're working, that means it doesn't fit properly.

Remove everything with care.

At the end of a cleaning task or workday, PPE should not be removed hastily or haphazardly. It must be removed slowly and carefully, remembering first to remove the dirtiest. The correct order is to remove the gloves first, then the gown, eye protection, and mask last. Proper removal of PPE will ensure that workers do not become contaminated, spread germs to surfaces, or carry infectious pathogens home and consequently to their families.

Source: CMM Onine