We are all struggling with acquiring enough PPE to meet the needs of our residents/staff. It is not a problem that will go away anytime soon, but there are ways to conserve PPE while maintaining appropriate infection control practices. Here are a few ideas:
- Gloves – should be worn for any contact with a resident or their environment
- Gowns – should be prioritize for activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated or high-contact resident-care activities such as dressing, bathing/showering, transferring, providing hygiene, changing linens, changing briefs or assisting with toileting, device care or use, wound care.
- Extended use of eye protection, N95 respirators and facemasks – Extended use means these items are worn for the care of multiple residents without removing them; prioritize N95 use during shortages for high-risk activities such as aerosol-generating procedures
- Personnel who do not interact with residents (do not come within 6 feet of them) or do not clean resident environments or equipment, do not need to wear PPE except as part of a universal masking protocol
This is intended to be a quick update and reminder of some of the ways we can manage the use of PPE appropriately and safely. Remember, in a perfect world, conserving PPE wouldn’t be a problem however seeing that it is, keep some of these ideas in mind. Stay safe, stay well and stay tuned!