Lack of availability reduces use of face protection

New data published in the American Journal of Infection Control suggest that common
reasons health care providers did not routinely use face protection include a lack of supplies
available at the point of care and a perceived lack of need.

“It is important for hospital infection prevention programs to recognize that if face
protection supplies are not available at every bedspace or room, a substantial proportion
of providers may choose to omit using face protection in situations in which it is indicated,”
researchers wrote.

Joanne Kinlay, RN, BSN, MMSc, CIC, of Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues
administered a survey to staff members after learning that providers were exposed to
Neisseria meningitidis after performing open suctioning on a patient without wearing face
protection before the diagnosis was considered. The survey included 10 questions on how
often face protection was used and barriers to using face protection.

The survey was sent to 606 staff and 221 responded, primarily registered nurses (81%).
Few respondents reported always wearing masks or eye protection while suctioning
patients. Forty-eight percent of the respondents said face protection is not a priority in an
emergency. Of the respondents, 35% said face protection is not available in patient
rooms, and 15% said they had to walk too far to obtain it. Other reasons for not wearing
face protection included not thinking it was necessary (25%), not needing it because of
wearing eyeglasses (14%), feeling it impeded vision (8%) and feeling it was uncomfortable
to wear (7%).

The locations for face protection included clean supply room (43%), precaution carts
outside a patient’s room (31%) and inside the patient’s room (26%). Fifty-two percent of
respondents thought it should be kept inside the patient’s room to be more accessible.

“The role of the infection prevention program should be to ensure that reasonable options are easily accessible and that providers fully understand the potential risk of transmission of infection at the time they make their decision,” the researchers wrote.

Article source: Healio.com

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