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J Occup Environ Med ; 2022 Jun 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2018287


OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated healthcare workers' (HCW) knowledge and confidence in using elastomeric half-mask respirator (EHMR) attributes known to influence usage. METHODS: HCW were surveyed regarding their EHMR donning and doffing experience. Respondents were categorized into competency categories based on their scores. Category differences were analyzed using chi square and multiple logistic regression. RESULTS: 72% showed high levels of EHMR donning and doffing knowledge and confidence (mastery); however, 21% had greater confidence than knowledge (misinformed). Respiratory therapists had greater odds of mastery than other HCW (p < .05), while those working in medical/surgical and pediatric units had greater odds of doubt than other HCW (p < .01). CONCLUSION: While most HCW show high knowledge and confidence with EHMR use strategies to confirm respirator use competency may ensure greater HCW protection.

Ann Work Expo Health ; 66(2): 233-245, 2022 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443016


OBJECTIVES: Elastomeric half-mask respirator (EHMR) use in healthcare increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Concern for potential release of infectious aerosols from EHMR exhalation valves prompted recommendations to cover them with surgical masks (SMs), thereby improving source control. The physiological and subjective effects of wearing a SM over the exhalation valve of an EHMR, however, are unknown. METHODS: Twelve healthy healthcare worker volunteers completed a 30-min series of simulated healthcare-related tasks, including resting, talking, walking, and bending, proning and supinating a weighted manikin, and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This series recurred three times with different mask configurations-SM only, EHMR only, or EHMR with SM covering the exhalation valve. A transcutaneous sensor continuously measured carbon dioxide (tcPCO2), oxygen saturation (SpO2), and heart rate (HR) from each subject. Subjects scored their rates of perceived exertion (RPE) and levels of discomfort after each round. Physiological parameters and subjective scores were analyzed using mixed linear models with a fixed effect for mask type, activity, age, body mass index (BMI), and gender. Analysis also tested for interaction between mask type and activity. RESULTS: Physiological parameters remained within normal ranges for all mask configurations but varied by task. Statistically significant but small decreases in mean tcPCO2 (37.17 versus 37.88 mmHg, P < 0.001) and SpO2 (97.74 versus 97.94%, P < 0.001) were associated with wearing EHMR with SM over the exhalation valve compared with EHMR alone. Mean HR did not differ between these mask configurations. Wearing SM only was associated with lower RPE and level of discomfort compared with EHMR, but these subjective scores did not differ when comparing EHMR with SM to EHMR only. Age, BMI, and gender had no significant effect on any outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Wearing a SM over an EHMR did not produce clinically significant changes in tcPCO2, SpO2, or HR compared with uncovered EHMR during healthcare-related tasks. Covered EHMR use also did not affect perceived exertion or discomfort compared with uncovered EHMR use. Covering the exhalation valve of an EHMR with a SM for source control purposes can be done safely.

COVID-19 , Occupational Exposure , Exhalation , Health Personnel , Humans , Masks , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilators, Mechanical
Am J Infect Control ; 48(12): 1556-1558, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-661826


In a study of 1,152 health care workers surveyed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most disagreed that respiratory protective equipment use interferes with patient care but reported that it would affect respirator use compliance if it did. A patient's fear reaction variably influenced self-reported health care worker compliance with respirator use. Strategies to improve protective equipment design may remove potential barriers to respirator use and allow better health care worker-patient relationships.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Equipment Design/psychology , Health Personnel/psychology , Respiratory Protective Devices , Work/psychology , Adult , Ergonomics , Female , Focus Groups , Humans , Male , Masks , Middle Aged , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Self Report