Tutorial on the safe use of personal protective equipment

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This tutorial aims to provide trainers with practical information on different options for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare settings in Europe. Infection control professionals, managers in hospital emergency planning or preparedness experts at regional or national level may also find it useful as it contains information on PPE procurement, principles in barrier nursing and occupational health and safety. It is only meant to support, but never replace, practical training and regular refresher courses held by experienced PPE instructors.

This tutorial aims to provide trainers with practical information on different options for the use of PPE in healthcare settings in Europe. Infection control professionals, managers in hospital emergency planning or preparedness experts at regional or national level may also find it useful as it contains information on PPE procurement, principles in barrier nursing and occupational health and safety. 

It also aims to improve the protection of staff dealing with infectious diseases of high consequence. It addresses both current risks from viral haemorrhagic fevers and strengthening preparedness for future health threats posed by novel pathogens with either an airborne or a viral haemorrhagic fever (contact/droplet) mode of transmission. Accordingly, different options for PPE components and processes are presented. These can be adapted to the specific disease pattern and healthcare setting.

The tutorial is meant to support, but never replace, practical training and regular refresher courses held by experienced PPE instructors.

 

Working principles for increasing staff safety

Minimisation of exposure risk. This can be achieved through:

  • Systematic qualitative fit-testing of respirators;
  • The principle of "no skin exposed"; 
  • Actively-assisted donning.

 
Minimisation of secondary contamination risk. This can be achieved through:

  • Fixed connections of gloves/boots to coverall enabling ‘one stroke’ doffing;
  • Actively-assisted doffing; 
  • Strict barrier nursing based on a model of three zones with high, low and no transmission risk. 

 

Visual tutorial and videos

This material is also available as an e-tutorial with photos that can be used in training and for self-learners to support further training activities.

ECDC has supported adaptation and translation of instructional videos that present national best practices from the Robert Koch Institute and Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance in Germany. These videos are now available for viewing and download in English, French, German, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish on the Personal Protective Equipment portfolio page.

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