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J Adv Nurs ; 78(8): 2383-2396, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685340


AIM: One of the greatest challenges in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is preventing staff exposure and infection by ensuring consistent and effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This study explored health care workers' experience of prolonged PPE use in clinical practice settings and their concerns regarding PPE supply, effectiveness and training needs. DESIGN: A descriptive cross-sectional design was adopted in this study. METHODS: Health care workers (N = 592) from an acute care hospital completed an online survey from July to September 2020 assessing: (i) usage frequencies, side effects and interference with patient care; and (ii) perceptions of access to PPE, likelihood of exposure to infection and adequacy of PPE training. RESULTS: PPE-related side effects were reported by 319 (53.8%) participants, the majority being nurses (88.4%) and those working in high-risk areas such as the emergency department (39.5%), respiratory wards (acute 22.3% and non-acute 23.8%) and COVID-19 isolation ward (13.8%). The average time wearing PPE per shift was 6.8 h (SD 0.39). The most commonly reported symptoms were from donning N95 masks and included: pressure injuries (45.5%), mask-induced acne (40.4%) and burning/pain (24.5%). Some 31.3% expressed that PPE-related side effects had negatively affected their work. The odds of having PPE-associated side effects was higher in women (OR 2.10, 95% CI [1.29-03.42], p = .003) and those working in high-risk wards (OR 3.12, 95% CI [2.17-4.60], p < .001]. Most (90.1%) agreed that PPE supplies were readily available, sufficient for all (86.1%) and there was sufficient training in correct PPE use (93.6%). Only 13.7% of participants reported being 'highly confident' of overall PPE protection. CONCLUSIONS: Prevention and management of PPE-related adverse effects is vital to: preserve the integrity of PPE, improve adherence and minimize viral transmission. IMPACT: The high incidence of PPE-associated pressure injuries and perception that PPE use can interfere with clinical care should inform future development of PPE products, and strategies to better equip health care workers to prevent and manage PPE-related side effects.

COVID-19 , Personal Protective Equipment , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment/adverse effects , Singapore/epidemiology
Am J Infect Control ; 49(4): 469-477, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-907189


BACKGROUND: In the current COVID-19 pandemic, aggressive Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures have been adopted to prevent health care-associated transmission of COVID-19. We evaluated the impact of a multimodal IPC strategy originally designed for the containment of COVID-19 on the rates of other hospital-acquired-infections (HAIs). METHODOLOGY: From February-August 2020, a multimodal IPC strategy was implemented across a large health care campus in Singapore, comprising improved segregation of patients with respiratory symptoms, universal masking and heightened adherence to Standard Precautions. The following rates of HAI were compared pre- and postpandemic: health care-associated respiratory-viral-infection (HA-RVI), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and CP-CRE acquisition rates, health care-facility-associated C difficile infections and device-associated HAIs. RESULTS: Enhanced IPC measures introduced to contain COVID-19 had the unintended positive consequence of containing HA-RVI. The cumulative incidence of HA-RVI decreased from 9.69 cases per 10,000 patient-days to 0.83 cases per 10,000 patient-days (incidence-rate-ratio = 0.08; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.05-0.13, P< .05). Hospital-wide MRSA acquisition rates declined significantly during the pandemic (incidence-rate-ratio = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.46-0.64, P< .05), together with central-line-associated-bloodstream infection rates (incidence-rate-ratio = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.07-0.57, P< .05); likely due to increased compliance with Standard Precautions. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, there was no increase in CP-CRE acquisition, and rates of other HAIs remained stable. CONCLUSIONS: Multimodal IPC strategies can be implemented at scale to successfully mitigate health care-associated transmission of RVIs. Good adherence to personal-protective-equipment and hand hygiene kept other HAI rates stable even during an ongoing pandemic where respiratory infections were prioritized for interventions.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Infection Control/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Catheter-Related Infections/prevention & control , Catheterization, Central Venous/adverse effects , Humans , Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , Staphylococcal Infections/microbiology , Staphylococcal Infections/prevention & control , United States