Safety

Proper PPE selection for healthcare workers

Hospital Safety Insider, December 29, 2016

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Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from HCPro’s The PPE Handbook for Healthcare Workers by author Marjorie Quint-Bouzid, MPA, RN, vice president of nursing at Parkland Hospital and Health System in Dallas. The 50-page book, now available, is a training tool to help healthcare workers wade through the many confusing choices they have when it comes to protecting themselves from infectious diseases, and how and when they should wear each of them. Visit http://hcmarketplace.com/ppe-handbook-healthcare-facilities for more information.

According to the CDC, standard precautions combine universal precautions and body-substance precautions for all patients regardless of diagnosis or possible infectious status. All contact with body fluids and secretions, except sweat, are to be avoided by healthcare workers. Also according to the CDC, transmission of infection within a hospital requires three elements: a source of infecting microorganisms, a susceptible host, and a means of transmission for the microorganism. So it stands to reason that protecting oneself from contact with the microorganism is the best possible defense in protecting the healthcare worker. A risk assessment is critical. Quick and simple risk assessments must be conducted by healthcare workers of all healthcare activities they will be participating in to determine the personal protection that is indicated.

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