Facemask/PPE Do’s and Don’ts

Angie SzumlinskiCompliance

As we continue to navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic, many healthcare professionals are becoming numb when it comes to using facemasks. Many of us have been very successful at protecting our residents from the spread of the virus but now is not the time to lower our standards or relax infection control best practices.

Here are a few reminders for donning a facemask:

  • Clean your hands and put on your facemask so it fully covers your mouth and nose
  • When wearing a facemask, don’t:
    • Wear your facemask under your nose or mouth
    • Allow a strap to hang down
    • Cross the straps
    • Touch or adjust your facemask without cleaning your hands before and after
    • Wear your mask on your head
    • Wear your mask around your neck
    • Wear your mask around your arm

These are common mistakes observed and reported in many healthcare settings.

So, what can we do to prevent these mistakes from happening and assist in preventing the spread of infection?

  • Have step-by-step procedures for donning and doffing PPE (use CDC infographics)
  • Ongoing, interdisciplinary staff training
  • Provide more than one way to educate staff on PPE (pictures, videos, webinars, written documents, emails)
  • Observations throughout the day; during rounds, etc.
  • Perform audits including non-clinical staff on the use of PPE during their duties
  • Provide immediate feedback to ensure personnel are competent to perform their duties with appropriate PPE
  • Document audits and report to the QAPI committee
  • Develop corrective actions that are designed to effect change at the systems level
  • Develop plan to sustain interventions that improve PPE compliance
  • Implement preventive actions that include feedback and learning throughout the facility

Additional Thoughts:

  • Create picture name badges for team members to minimize challenges arising from residents not seeing the staff members’ face
  • Establish a plan for surge capacity and optimization of PPE when it is necessary and appropriate to do so
  • Develop a relationship with vendors (more than one is a good idea) and state health departments
  • Determine need based on acuity, changes in acuity and burn rate

Great Links from the CDC:

PPE Strategy

Tracking Burn Rate