The unexpected surge in patient volume within our healthcare facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused PPE shortages around the country. Healthcare facilities are having difficulty accessing the needed PPE and are having to find alternative ways to provide patient care safely. Taking steps to conserve the PPE we have is important. Consider the following:
- Limit face to face encounters with patients when appropriate by bundling care tasks with each entrance into the resident room
- Use engineering controls (e.g. isolation rooms, ), administrative controls (e.g. cohorting patients and designated healthcare personnel), train staff and monitor infection control work practices (e.g. handwashing, proper use of PPE, disinfecting surfaces)
- Complete the PPE Burn Rate Calculator
- Communicate with state/local authorities, hospitals and surrounding facilities regarding available resources
- Document your efforts to obtain adequate PPE supplies
- Implement PPE contingency strategies based on state/local directives and the CDC guidance here :
- Carefully prioritize PPE. This could include reserving respirators for aerosol-generating procedures, and using intact facemasks for multiple patients.
- Extend use of intact PPE that is beyond the manufacturer-designated shelf life for patient care.
- If no commercial PPE is available, carefully consider alternative options approaches that will reduce the risk of exposure and allow patient care to be delivered safely.
- If at any time the integrity of the PPE is comprised, discard the PPE and get new.
- As PPE becomes available, promptly resume standard practices
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Optimize PPE Supply. 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html
Training Material/Fact Sheets Putting on/Taking Off PPE https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html#healthcare