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Pro Tips to Conserve PPE and Protect Health Care Workers against COVID-19

Healthcare workers providing treatments around the U.S. epicenters of COVID-19 pandemic have been instructed to use PPEs throughout their working hours to protect themselves from the infection. Surgical face masks and N95 respirators previously used once for a single patient encounter are now being used for at least a week to reduce the shortage of face masks. Meanwhile, several campaigns have arisen to distribute face masks directly to the front line healthcare workers. Many of these campaigns are the outcomes of public-spiritedness and mutual aid. However, even if the dire scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE) can be mitigated through state and civilian efforts, healthcare workers need to use of PPEs effectively and wisely to extend their life for at least a week.

To achieve this, there should be some kind of centralized planning and pragmatic standardizing that is best designed by organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite several revisions to the CDC’s PPE standards in the context of PPE shortage, the frontline healthcare workers have still faced problems with the acute shortages of PPEs, thus, becoming more vulnerable to the virus transmission. Therefore, both healthcare workers and policymakers have to urgently take application, allocation, and conservation of the limited supply of PPEs.

Besides, all personal protective equipment companies and bulk PPE suppliers should make sure they manufacture and supply high-quality PPEs and other medical supplies so that they can be used for a good number of days.

Essential Measures to Protect Healthcare Workers from COVID-19

Here’s what is recommended by the CDC for healthcare practitioners to protect themselves when treating COVID-19 patients:

1. Reduce Chances of Exposure

Make sure the healthcare facility policies and measures are in place to reduce exposure to respiratory pathogens including 2019-nCoV. These measures should be adopted prior to the patient’s admission, upon arrival, and throughout the infected patient’s time in the hospital.

2. Abide by the Stringent Precautions

Assume every person is potentially affected or colonized with a pathogen that can transmit in the healthcare space. It is important to follow standard precautions and pay attention to training on the correct usage, proper donning and doffing, and disposal of PPEs by healthcare professionals. All healthcare practitioners and doctors entering the room of an infected or suspected patient should strictly follow standard, contact, eye protection, and airborne precautions.

3. Control Visitor’s Access and Movement

Create policies and procedures for monitoring, managing, and training visitors. Healthcare professionals should restrict visitors from entering the rooms of infected or suspected patients. Visitors should be given alternative options for interacting with their patients such as video call apps on mobile and desktop platforms.

4. Design & Implement Engineering Controls

Hospitals and other healthcare centers should design, and implement engineering controls to minimize or eliminate exposures by shielding doctors, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals and patients from infected persons. For example, putting physical partitions or barriers can help to guide patients through prone areas.

5. Monitor & Manage Healthcare Professionals

For healthcare professionals who are sick or exposed to 2019-nCoV, movement and monitoring guidelines should be made in accordance with the public health authorities. When treating infected patients, healthcare personnel should implement sick leave policies that are flexible, non-punitive, and in compliance with public health guidance.

6. Educate and Train Healthcare Personnel

Healthcare organizations should consider providing healthcare staff with the job or task-specific education and training on the prevention of virus transmission from infectious individuals before starting with the care and treatment of patients. Whenever respirators are needed, all healthcare practitioners must be medically qualified, trained, and fit-tested for the use of respiratory protection devices.

7. Set Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control

Use high-quality and dedicated medical equipment and PPEs for patient treatment and care. Clean and disinfect all reusable and non-dedicated medical and personal protective equipment as per the manufacturer’s instructions and organization’s policies. You may find detailed information in the CDC’s guidelines for environmental infection control.

8. Effective Communication with Public Health Authorities

Create and implement procedures and policies that will help to promptly alert all appropriate team officials such as infection control and prevention or facility officials about an infected or suspected COVID-19 patient. Every healthcare organization should establish timely reporting to public health authorities. Dedicated individuals within the organization should be assigned for communicating with public health authorities and disseminating information to healthcare professionals within the organization.

Other useful tips for hospitals and healthcare centers include developing and implementing a strategy for patient volume and complexity such as provisions for geographical cohorting and PPE supplies conservation.

These guidelines designed by the CDC will continue to update as more information come into the light and as the response to needs changes in the U.S.

Tips to Conserve Personal Protective Equipment

To mitigate the shortage of PPE supplies and other hand hygiene materials, rational use of PPE and medical supplies for the protection and management of COVID-19 should be encouraged by healthcare organizations. Health organizations must buy high-quality PPEs from FDA-approved personal protective equipment companies and bulk PPE suppliers, and educate and train professionals on the use and disposal of PPEs.

PPE can be conserved by the following ways:

  • Reducing the need for PPE by using telemedicine, putting physical barriers such as glass or plastic windows to reduce unwanted exposure, restricting professionals’ entrance and presence in the rooms of infected patients, considering bundling activities, controlling visitor’s access to healthcare facilities, and providing clear instructions on using PPE and hand hygiene.
  • Ensuring proper and rational use of PPE. Guidelines should be made for staff using specific PPE for several types of care, efficient allocation of face masks, and optimal PPE supply chain management.

If there is insufficient PPE stock, healthcare staff should be designated to perform a procedure, or set of procedures in designated areas.

Wrapping Up

Besides adopting these preventive measures to mitigate PPE shortages, it is also important to purchase PPEs and medical supplies from verified personal protective equipment companies and bulk PPE suppliers to ensure that your products last long. Buying products from an authorized PPE seller ensures that the products are of high-quality and durable. Co-Defend is one of the most trusted platforms where you can be assured of 100% genuine and high-quality PPE and other medical supplies. Co-Defend has an exclusive network of trusted bulk PPE suppliers that sell only FDA-approved PPE and medical supplies.

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