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Creating a PPE Safety Officer Role

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Over the past few weeks I have become increasingly anxious about the donning and doffing process.
What we know from evidence is that fatigue and speed of doffing (specifically) can have an impact
on staff safety and potential exposure. There is good evidence from the Ebola outbreak of
healthcare staff contracting the disease because PPE donning and doffing was not completed in the
correct order or with sufficient care.

We have also had a lot of anxiety about PPE from staff who have never had to wear PPE.

Inspired by the Breathing Apparatus Entry Control Officer role used in the Fire Service, I came up
with the idea. We tested a few ideas amongst the infection control team - we also considered using
'doffing buddy' - but we wanted the role to be taken seriously, hence the 'PPE Safety Officer'.

There are two types of functions.

  1. Heightened presence across the organisation so that colleagues feel safe. The PPE Safety Officer will be able to answer questions and give reassurance. It also gives confidence to colleagues that their safety is now the highest priority.
  2. In clinical settings (red zones) the PPE Safety Officer will support the donning and doffing procedure - going through a stepwise checklist (like the Fire Service).

We started implementation on Friday last week, early indications are that it is welcomed by the
team, it is giving a sense of reassurance and security at a very uncertain time.

Steve Hams

Director of Quality and Chief Nurse Director of Infection Prevention and Control at
Gloucester Hospitals NHS Trust.

Do you have something similar set up at your local hospital?

Do you think it would help to have a PPE Safety Officer? 

Is staff protection being prioritised? 

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What a fantastic idea. ...I am amazed at the speed that innovations are coming out.  It just shows how adaptable our NHS staff can be.  Given the tools and the capability - they can do anything!

Are there any other  innovative ideas that you have seen to keep staff and patients safe during this pandemic?

We would love to know, as so would many other Trusts

Claire

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Great to hear the Brighton University Hospitals trust is buying the High viz suits today to get this role out on the wards ASAP.  

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