The adequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers has come under considerable scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to evaluate staff awareness of PPE guidance, perceptions of PPE measures, and concerns regarding PPE use while caring for COVID-19 patients. In addition, responses of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals (OHCPs) were compared.
The inclusion criteria were all staff working in clinical areas of the hospital. Staff were invited to take part using a link to an online questionnaire advertised by email, posters displayed in clinical areas, and social media. Questions grouped into the three key themes – staff awareness, perceptions, and concerns – were answered using a five-point Likert scale. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare results across all three groups of staff.
Overall, 315 staff took part in our study. There was a high awareness of PPE guidance at 84.4%, but only 52.4% of staff reported adequate PPE provision. 67.9% were still keen to come to work, despite very high levels of anxiety relating to contracting COVID-19 despite wearing PPE. Doctors had significantly higher ratings for questions relating to PPE awareness compared to other staff groups, while nursing staff and OHCPs had significantly higher levels of anxiety compared to doctors in relation to PPE and contracting COVID-19 (p < 0.05 using a Kruskal-Wallis test).
We believe four recommendations are key to improve PPE measures and decrease anxiety: 1) nominated ward/department PPE champions; 2) anonymized reporting for PPE concerns; 3) formal PPE education sessions, and 4) drop-in counselling sessions for staff. We hope the insight and recommendations from this study can improve the PPE situation and maintain the health and wellbeing of the clinical workforce, in order to care for COVID-19 patients safely and effectively.
- This evaluation provides an insight into staff awareness of PPE guidance, perceptions of PPE measures, and anxiety regarding PPE use whilst caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- These timely and relevant recommendations may help hospitals improve the PPE situation and decrease anxiety amongst clinical staff, helping them care for patients safely at this challenging time.
You can read the full article here: