Evaluation of a personal protective equipment support programme for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in London

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8 December 2020

Published journal: The Journal of Hospital Infection

Abstract

Background

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has presented an enormous challenge to healthcare providers worldwide. The appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been essential to ensure staff and patient safety. The ‘PPE Helper Programme’ was developed at a large London hospital group to counteract suboptimal PPE practice. Based on a behaviour change model of capability, opportunity and motivation (COM-B), the programme provided PPE support, advice and education to ward staff.

Aim

Evaluation of the PPE Helper Programme.

Methods

Clinical and non-clinical ward staff completed a questionnaire informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework and COM-B model. The questionnaire was available in paper and electronic versions. Quantitative responses were analysed using descriptive and non-parametric statistics, and free-text responses were analysed thematically.

Findings

Over a 6-week period, PPE helpers made 268 ward visits. Overall, 261 questionnaires were available for analysis. Across the Trust, 68% of respondents reported having had contact with a PPE helper. Staff who had encountered a PPE helper responded significantly more positively to a range of statements about using PPE than staff who had not encountered a PPE helper. Black and minority ethnic staff were significantly more anxious regarding the adequacy of PPE. Non-clinical and redeployed staff (e.g. domestic staff) were most positive about the impact of PPE helpers. Free-text comments showed that staff found the PPE Helper Programme supportive and would have liked it earlier in the pandemic.

Conclusion

The PPE Helper Programme is a feasible and beneficial intervention for providing support, advice and education to ward staff during infectious disease outbreaks.

Citation

D.Patel et al. (2020), Evaluation of a personal protective equipment support programme for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in London, Journal of Hospital Infection,  VOLUME 109, P68-77

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