According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, personal protective equipment is a shield that protects both patients and healthcare workers. This equipment prevents the transmission of common infections around a healthcare facility. Workers should also perform hand hygiene alongside the appropriate donning and doffing of all PPE.
So what’s donning and doffing PPE?
Donning involves putting on the required apparel before contact with a patient or other potentially hazardous environment; while doffing is the removal of this apparel once complete. If the proper donning and doffing procedure is not followed, there is the potential for contamination and exposure to infectious materials that could be detrimental for employees and patients in a care environment.
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How to Put on Personal Protective Equipment
1. Perform hand hygiene
There’s nothing more important than working with clean hands. Remember, dirty hands are a breeding ground for bacteria and may be a way to contaminate your personal protective equipment.
2. Put on shoe covers if applicable
Shoe covers are a common part of personal protective equipment. As shoes pick up dirt and germs, they can cause contamination. When wearing covers, make sure all areas of your shoes are covered and try not to touch other areas with your hands while putting the covers on. Disinfect your hands after.
3. Put on gown
When donning personal protective equipment PPE, ensure you fully cover your torso, from your neck to your knees. Thereafter, wrap the medical gown around the back and fasten in the back of your neck and wrists.
4. Put on a mask or respirator
Secure the elastic bands or ties of the face mask or respirator at the middle of the head and neck. Don’t forget to fit the flexible band to the bridge of the nose and snug it below the chin.
5. Wear a face shield and goggles
Place the face shield and goggles over the face and eyes then adjust to fit.
6. Wear gloves
Carefully insert your hand into the first glove and don. Do this when holding the top edge of the cuff. Use the folded fingers of the gloved hand to ease your other hand into the glove. Extend both gloves to cover your wrists.
How to Remove Personal Protective Equipment
1. Remove shoe covers if applicable
If wearing shoe covers, remove and dispose of them in the appropriate waste bin.
2. Remove gloves
Grasp the outside of the glove with the opposite glove hand then peel off. Hold the glove that you’ve removed in your hand so you can remove the glove from your other hand.and discard both of them.
3. Perform hand hygiene
Wash your hands with soap and water to get rid of germs.
4. Remove the face shield or goggles
Use your hands to remove either of these items. Handle the face shield or goggles by headband or earpieces and place them in a waste container or designated space.
5. Remove gown
Unfasten ties and pull them away from your neck and shoulders. Do this by touching the inside of the gown only. Pull to turn the medical gown inside out. Fold and roll into a bundle and discard in a waste container.
6. Remove the mask or respirator
The front of the mask should not be touched as it’s contaminated. Grasp the bottom and top ties or elastics of the mask for removal, fold, and roll into a bundle and discard in a waste container. Perform hand hygiene again.
Important Tips to Remember when Donning & Doffing
When donning and doffing PPE, always employ these tips:
- Don PPE before contact with the patient or before hazardour environment
- Once your PPE is on, use it carefully to avoid contamination
- Limit your contact with surfaces
- Keep your hands away from your face
- Discard your PPE when it’s torn and contaminated
Complying with donning and doffing PPE practices will combat the spread of infection, keeping health workers and patients safe.
If you’re unsure whether your employees know about donning and doffing or other skills that they need, consider implementing a skills matrix. With the help of Cloud Assess, you can easily identify skill gaps in the workplace and implement training to rectify them.