Valuable thoughts from an experience, industry veteran. These are Dr Cathryn Murphy’s Top 9 Tips for PPE as part of Pandemic Preperations.
- Organizations should regularly review their preparedness plans with a focus on worker protection.
- Respect the microbial world. Serious respiratory diseases can travel quickly and do not discriminate.
- Review new PPE and look at the cost effectiveness and advantages of reusable respirators.
- Invest in approved PPE with high protection and ease of use.
- Implement routine use and training to practise use, donning and doffing, correct disposal, cleaning and disinfection. Ensure staff are confident with their equipment when under pressure.
- Ensure respiratory equipment is kept close to patient care, is easily available and ready to go.
- Review protocols and planning for reusable equipment to incorporate savings in space, inventory, reduced waste and disposal, shortages and assured fit testing.
- Follow international and local guidelines to ensure use of respirators during procedures with a high risk of aerosols e.g. intubation.
- The use of tight fitting respirators, including N95s, require annual fit testing. Staff who gain or lose weight, grow or remove facial hair during this period require re-testing to check the face seal.
Dr Murphy has 30 years of experience in the global infection prevention and control community. Assoc. Prof. Murphy’s career highlights include working as a guest researcher in the Division of Healthcare Quality and Infection Prevention at the CDC, Georgia in 2000 and completing a short-term mission throughout Southeast Asia with the World Health Organization during the height of the 2003 SARS Outbreak. She managed the New South Wales State Government Infection Control Program from 1997 until December 2004 with programmatic responsibility for more than 200 hospitals.