Advice from Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland states healthcare workers should not provide personal care without the protection of PPE, particularly in cases of suspected COVID-19.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an important element of infection prevention and control, when used alongside other strategies such as environmental control and hand and respiratory hygiene.
Here, we’ll guide you through the recommended use of PPE in acute healthcare, care homes and other care settings, as well as provide you with the best practice guidance for using this equipment.
PPE in intensive care and emergency departments
PPE for high-risk procedures is recommended for healthcare workers who may be delivering or assisting with aerosol generating procedures (i.e., tracheostomy, intubation and bronchoscopy).
This guidance is particularly relevant to those working in acute settings such as intensive care units or emergency department ‘hot zones’.
The recommended equipment includes:
- FFP3 respirator
- Long sleeved disposable gown
- Eye protection (disposable goggles or full-face visor)
PPE in care homes, community and other social care settings
Healthcare workers coming into contact with patients with possible or confirmed cases of COVID-19 are required to use appropriate PPE. This involves staff working in hospitals, primary care, ambulance trusts and care homes.
Face masks must be worn in care homes at all times, whether there are suspected cases of coronavirus or not.
The recommended PPE in social care settings includes:
- Fluid repellent facemask
- Eye protection if there is a risk of splashing or exposure to respiratory droplets (plastic eye protector reusable goggles may be suitable)
Public Health England have released guidance on the correct application of the above equipment, which can be accessed here.
What if PPE isn’t provided by a care home?
If you are asked to care for a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient without PPE during your work at a care home, please let Florence know by informing your account manager. See more about this in our guidelines for what to do if you discover a case while on shift here.
Disposing of PPE
All equipment that is used when encountering confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 is single-use only.
This should be changed immediately after each patient interaction or following the completion of a procedure or task. For more information on how to correctly remove this equipment, refer to Public Health England’s advice.
After each use, PPE should be disposed of into the correct waste stream; clinical or domestic waste (disposal via orange or yellow bag waste). Reusable equipment, such as non-disposable goggles, face shields and visors must be decontaminated after each use.
You can view the most recent guidance issued by the NHS and Public Health England around the use of PPE during COVID-19 here.
We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for all healthcare workers. We appreciate the incredible work you’re doing every day on the frontline of this crisis.
Florence is working to keep you, residents and care homes protected from the spread of infection. If you are unsure, please see our guidelines on what we are doing to help all Florence users, as well as see our policy for nurses and carers to follow during this time.