While personal protective equipment (PPE) has been an important component of items that hospitals, Long Term Cares, Home Care Assistance, retirement residences, Home Health Care Services, and other Personal Care Services facilities carry as part of compliant with healthcare standards, it was only during the pandemic that this important piece of equipment for nurses, personal support workers, and others came into the limelight. So what exactly is personal protective equipment and why is it being talked about now more than before. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is equipment that is used to protect potential exposure in the workplace to deadly diseases (Health Canada, 2020).
Home Care Assistance
As discussed earlier, it became important to know how to properly use personal protective equipment (putting it on/taking it off) as part of ensuring Home Care Assistance and safety for all. Organizations such as Ask4Care Support Services Inc. take great pride in ensuring that their staff (RPN/RN/PSW) are all fully trained in how to do this. This is done in the following manner whether in a home healthcare setting; Long Term Care setting, retirement residence setting, or a hospital.
These items include gloves, gowns, masks and respirators, and eye protection (Health Canada, 2020). Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an important piece of equipment in preventing transmission viruses (Personal protective equipment. (n.d.) It was an important piece of equipment used during the ebola outbreak or Home Care Assistance and helped to protect frontline workers during the outbreak as pointed out by the World Health Organization (Personal protective equipment. (n.d.). This important health and safety equipment also gained prominence during the most recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Canada as multiple long-term cares, retirement residences, hospitals, etc. required that front-line workers have proper knowledge of how to put on and take off the personal protective equipment (PPE).
Personal Care Services
One of the biggest challenges faced by Canada in the pandemic was that it found itself with a shortage of personal protective equipment. The federal government conducted just under a hundred flights to Canada carrying Chinese personal protective equipment (PPE) and bringing supplies from the U.S. and Europe when the pandemic hit (Dyer 2020). The Canadian PPE stockpile was extremely low when the pandemic hit and the stockpile had to be built up gradually to help the nurses, PSW, RPN, and other frontline staff feel safe and secure in the workplace and protect the vulnerable as well (Dyer, 2020).
Putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
(Perform Hand Hygiene; Put on Gown; Put on Mask/N95 Respirator; Put on Protective Eyewear; Put on Gloves) (How to put on and take off personal protective, n.d.)
Taking Off Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
(Remove Gloves; Remove Gown; Perform Hand Hygiene; Remove Eye Protection; Remove Mask/ N95 Respirator; Perform Hand hygiene) (How to put on and take off personal protective, n.d.) Front-line workers must ensure they are familiar with how to use personal protective equipment whether they are new in the medical field or quite experienced. Health staffing agencies in collaboration with their clients also work hand in hand to ensure that this important training is something that the nurses, personal support workers, and other front-line workers are familiar with.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also has training for this in multiple languages on their official domain to highlight this to as many front-line workers as possible. Training videos on proper usage of the equipment is also readily available for those that want to see it online and can be easily accessed. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has really shown that being fully prepared in the workplace can save lives and personal protective equipment (PPE) and their proper usage can help to save lives while at the same time stopping the spread of deadly respiratory viruses.
Dyer, E., 2020. The Great PPE Panic: How The Pandemic Caught Canada With Its Stockpiles Down | CBC News. [online] CBC. Available at: <https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ppe-pandemic-covid-coronavirus-masks-1.5645120> [Accessed 16 July 2020].
Health Canada. (2020, July 2). Personal protective equipment (COVID-19): Overview. Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment/overview.html
Personal protective equipment. (n.d.). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/medical_devices/meddev_ppe/en/
Who.int. 2020. How To Put On And Take Off Personal Protective. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/PPE_EN_A1sl.pdf> [Accessed 16 July 2020].