BlogThe Wash Cyclepersonal protective equipment

Workers on the frontlines in the medical industry know the dangers associated with the job and the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in all situations. The following are some helpful PPE guidelines your healthcare staff should be following:

How Much PPE Should Be Used? 

The level of PPE to use is determined by the medical situation and what treatments or procedures are being done. For example, drawing blood for routine testing on a patient with no outward signs of illness require only gloves. When performing surgery, the potential for sprays require more protective equipment, like gloves, gowns, and masks.

Who is Responsible for PPE?

While the risk and incentive for following proper procedure is with the worker, the responsibility for providing workers training and access to PPE falls on the employer. 

As a result, employers must be prepared for any need or sensitivity their employees might have. For example, allergies to latex are common and an alternative glove material should be available for employees who might have them. 

Is There Any Wiggle Room with PPE? 

Generally, no. Under very rare and extraordinary circumstances, a healthcare worker may forego PPE protocol if they think it will interfere with or jeopardize the delivery of healthcare or public safety services. When this happens, the employer is required to investigate and document the circumstances that lead to the employee’s decision and determine if there is a way to avoid the situation in the future. 

When to Use More Than Gloves

Bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and prions are all potential infections. When they are present, the PPE requirements expand to include coats, gowns, smocks, uniforms, or some other form of protective clothing. Protective wear must be decontaminated before being laundered

How To Remove PPE When Done

Employees are required to remove all PPE before leaving work area. If PPE is penetrated or contaminated by blood, it must be removed immediately and placed in a designated area. Hands must be washed immediately after PPE removal.  

Forms of Transmission

The most common mode of contaminant transmission is contact, both direct and indirect:

  • Direct Contact: When microorganisms are transferred via contaminated object or person.
  • Indirect Contact: Transfer of microorganism through an intermediate object or person
    • Contaminated hands of healthcare personnel, patient care devices, shared toys, and instruments that have not been thoroughly cleaned are common sources or transmission. 

Forms of Protection

  • Gloves
    • Used when blood or bodily fluids present or in when contact with patient. 
    • Protects both patient and healthcare provider.
    • Vinyl gloves are known for high failure rates in preventing transmission. Latex or nitrile gloves are always preferable for this reason. 
    • Last piece of PPE to be put on.
  • Isolation Gowns
    • Many gown types. The one used dependent upon patient and form of interaction necessary.
    • Worn if blood/bodily fluid contact anticipated
    • First piece of PPE to be put on.
  • Masks
    • Used to protect workers from possible respiratory secretions, blood, and bodily fluids.
    • Used when engaged in procedures requiring sterile technique.
    • Placed on coughing patients to contain contaminating particulate.
  • Goggle / Face Shields
    • Protects eyes, face, mouth from exposure to spray.
    • Must be comfortable, allow sufficient peripheral vision, and adjustability to ensure good fit. 
    • Removed after gloves have been removed and hands have been washed. Ties, ear pieces, and headbands are safe to touch with bare hands. The front of the shield is not. 

Get the Personal Protective Equipment You Need From Unitex

A profession in the medical industry is as dangerous as it is rewarding. Thankfully, much of that danger can be limited with proper awareness, procedure, and quality attire. With Unitex supplying your medical apparel, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is the health of your patient. Call us today at (914) 840 3200.