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1.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-306374

ABSTRACT

Background: The current COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential, to prevent the acquisition and transmission of infectious diseases, yet its use is often sub-optimal in the clinical setting. Training and education are important to ensure and sustain the safe and effective use of PPE by medical interns, but current methods are often inadequate in providing the relevant knowledge and skills. The purpose of this study was to explore medical graduates’ experiences of the use of PPE and identify opportunities for improvement in education and training programmes, to improve occupational and patient safety. Methods: This study was undertaken in 2018 in a large tertiary-care teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia, to explore medical interns’ self-reported experiences of PPE use, at the beginning of their internship. Reflexive groups were conducted immediately after theoretical and practical PPE training, during hospital orientation. Transcripts of recorded discussions were analysed, using a thematic approach that drew on the COM-B (capability, opportunity, motivation - behaviour) framework for behaviour. Results: 80% of 90 eligible graduates participated. Many interns had not previously received formal training in the specific skills required for optimal PPE use and had developed potentially unsafe habits. Their experiences as medical students in clinical areas contrasted sharply with recommended practice taught at hospital orientation and impacted on their ability to cultivate correct PPE use. Conclusions: Undergraduate teaching should be consistent with best practice PPE use, and include practical training that embeds correct and safe practices.

2.
Infect Dis Health ; 27(2): 71-80, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531344

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has challenged health systems globally. A key controversy has been how to protect healthcare workers (HCWs) using personal protective equipment (PPE). METHODS: Interviews were performed with 63 HCWs across two states in Australia to explore their experiences of PPE during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Thematic analysis was performed. RESULTS: Four themes were identified with respect to HCWs' experience of pandemic PPE: 1. Risk, fear and uncertainty: HCWs experienced considerable fear and heightened personal and professional risk, reporting anxiety about the adequacy of PPE and the resultant risk to themselves and their families. 2. Evidence and the ambiguities of evolving guidelines: forms of evidence, its interpretation, and the perception of rapidly changing guidelines heightened distress amongst HCWs. 3. Trust and care: Access to PPE signified organisational support and care, and restrictions on PPE use were considered a breach of trust. 4. Non-compliant practice in the context of social upheaval: despite communication of evidence-based guidelines, an environment of mistrust, personal risk, and organisational uncertainty resulted in variable compliance. CONCLUSION: PPE preferences and usage offer a material signifier of the broader, evolving pandemic context, reflecting HCWs' fear, mistrust, sense of inequity and social solidarity (or breakdown). PPE therefore represents the affective (emotional) demands of professional care, as well as a technical challenge of infection prevention and control. If rationing of PPE is necessary, policymakers need to take account of how HCWs will perceive restrictions or conflicting recommendations and build trust through effective communication (including of uncertainty).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Personal Protective Equipment , Australia , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Intern Med J ; 51(1): 42-51, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-944728

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization recognised clusters of pneumonia-like cases due to a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 became a pandemic 71 days later. AIM: To report the clinical and epidemiological features, laboratory data and outcomes of the first group of 11 returned travellers with COVID-19 in Australia. METHODS: This is a retrospective, multi-centre case series. All patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection were admitted to tertiary referral hospitals in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. RESULTS: The median age of the patient cohort was 42 years (interquartile range (IQR), 24-53 years) with six men and five women. Eight (72.7%) patients had returned from Wuhan, one from Shenzhen, one from Japan and one from Europe. Possible human-to-human transmission from close family contacts in gatherings overseas occurred in two cases. Symptoms on admission were fever, cough and sore throat (n = 9, 81.8%). Co-morbidities included hypertension (n = 3, 27.3%) and hypercholesterolaemia (n = 2, 18.2%). No patients developed severe acute respiratory distress nor required intensive care unit admission or mechanical ventilation. After a median hospital stay of 14.5 days (IQR, 6.75-21), all patients were discharged. CONCLUSIONS: This is a historical record of the first COVID-19 cases in Australia during the early biocontainment phase of the national response. These findings were invaluable for establishing early inpatient and outpatient COVID-19 models of care and informing the management of COVID-19 over time as the outbreak evolved. Future research should extend this Australian case series to examine global epidemiological variation of this novel infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Discharge , Retrospective Studies , Tertiary Care Centers , Young Adult
4.
Infect Dis Health ; 25(4): 253-261, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-618670

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Using personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of several fundamental measures to prevent the transmission of infection and infectious diseases and is particularly pertinent in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Appropriate use of PPE by healthcare workers is, however, often suboptimal. Training and monitoring of PPE competency are essential components of an infection prevention and control program but there is a paucity of research and data on the content of such training programs across Australasia. This paper reports the results of a survey that characterised the nature of PPE training in Australian and New Zealand hospitals. METHODS: A population-based online survey was distributed to members of three major Australasian colleges representing infection prevention and control. RESULTS: Results indicate that, although training is frequently provided at orientation, many healthcare workers do not receive regular updates. Training programmes combine online and classroom sessions, but over a third do not include a practical component. The frequency of monitoring PPE competency is variable with one third of respondents indicating that no auditing occurs. PPE items used for high-level training are variable, with use of powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) uncommon. CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that HCWs' confidence, competence and familiarity with PPE are a concern, which in the context of the current global COVID-19 pandemic is problematic. More research is needed into how PPE training programs could be better designed, to prepare HCWs for practice using PPE safely and confidently.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Health Personnel/education , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Australasia , Australia , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Cross-Sectional Studies , Hospitals , Humans , Infection Control/methods , New Zealand , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Respiratory Protective Devices , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
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