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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Tips

novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

PPE Tip of The Day

The daily series - PPE Tip of the Day – features quick and simple reminders you can take forward into your practice, from shift to shift.

If you have any questions about the tips, or suggestions for new tips, email ppe@ahs.ca. Check out the tip archive for more.

July 3, 2020

Masking at Work

There is an extremely high-risk for transmission of COVID-19 between co-workers in small, enclosed spaces such as break rooms, charting areas, and other common areas. When physical distancing of at least two metres is not possible in these spaces, all staff are reminded to wear a surgical/procedural mask continuously and perform frequent hand hygiene. Find tips and guidance to improve your comfort with continuous masking, here.

PPE Do's & Don'ts

Here’s a quick tip video, which provides you information on what to do and what not to do, related to high touch surfaces.

PPE Question of the Week

AHS' PPE Taskforce debuts a new short video every Friday that answers a question we’ve been hearing in our work with frontline health professionals. Each video will feature one question, and the answer, straight from one of our Taskforce members.


Tip of the Day Archive

July 2020

July 3, 2020

Masking at Work

There is an extremely high-risk for transmission of COVID-19 between co-workers in small, enclosed spaces such as break rooms, charting areas, and other common areas. When physical distancing of at least two metres is not possible in these spaces, all staff are reminded to wear a surgical/procedural mask continuously and perform frequent hand hygiene. Find tips and guidance to improve your comfort with continuous masking, here.

June 2020

June 26, 2020

Fit Testing Reminder: AHS continues to prioritize fit testing across all clinical areas to ensure staff are fit tested to alternative models of N95 respirators. This is specific to those staff who perform or assist in aerosol-generating medical procedures. Our current focus is to transition healthcare workers fit tested to the 1870+, 9105s and 9105 models. Workers fit tested to these respirators will be notified by Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) to arrange fit-testing at a WHS clinic or by a fit test designate. Visit the Respiratory Protection Insite page for more information on fit testing. Also, see ahs.ca/covidppe to learn more about when to use N95 respirators at work.

June 19, 2020

High Touch Personal Gear: Make a point to regularly clean personal equipment such as your pen or stethoscope with cleaning wipes and to disinfect mobile electronic devices and computers such as your phone or keyboard. Wear gloves while cleaning these items then properly remove the gloves and wash your hands.

June 12, 2020

Eye Protection: Eye protection is a key piece of personal protective equipment in the fight against COVID-19 and must be worn any time blood or body fluids are involved. Use approved reusable or single-use safety glasses, goggles or face shields for eye protection. Personal eye glasses do NOT provide adequate protection as they do NOT protect the top, sides and bottom of the eyes. Remove all PPE on your face by the arms, straps, and ties at the back of your head. In order to prevent contamination of your face, DO NOT grab the front of eye protection, masks or any other facial PPE. And remember to clean your hands at every stage of PPE removal.

June 3, 2020

Changing Your Mask (Continuous Masking): When wearing your mask continuously, be sure to change it when the mask becomes wet or dirty, and dispose of it when you go for meals. Wash your hands immediately, before and after, removing your mask. Remember to discard your mask, gloves and other disposable PPE in appropriate receptacles after use.

June 1, 2020

High Touch Surfaces: Protect yourself and others by handling mobile electronic devices and computers with clean hands. Clean and disinfect multi-use objects or surfaces such as desktops, keyboard or phones before and after each use, including when they are taken into a patient’s space or are visibly soiled. Review Infection Prevention and Control’s best practice guideline Bedside Computers and Electronic Devices for more information.

May 2020

May 27, 2020

Fit Testing Reminder: AHS continues to complete fit testing across all clinical areas, to ensure staff are fit-tested for alternate types of N95 respirators being procured for potential use in Alberta. This is specific to those staff who provide direct patient care that may result in exposure to an airborne communicable disease or who may perform aerosol-generating medical procedures (AGMPs) on patients with certain confirmed or suspected infections including COVID-19. You will be notified by Workplace Health and Safety when it is time to schedule fit-testing in your area. Please be sure to make this a priority in your schedule. To learn more about when to use N95 respirators in your frontline work, visit www.ahs.ca/covidppe.

May 25, 2020

Frequent Hand Hygiene: Practice frequent hand hygiene. Clean your hands at every stage of PPE removal or after leaving a patient’s room, as well as before and after using high touch objects such as a keyboard, mouse or phone.

May 21, 2020

N95 mask use: Follow the correct procedure to carefully doff PPE after performing an aerosol-generating medical procedure on a patient who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. Wash your hands, then remove the N95 mask by the straps and wash your hands again, immediately after taking it off. Some areas of acute care in some zones are recycling N95s and storing them to be used in the unlikely event they are needed. See ahs.ca/covidppe for more information on that initiative, and to learn if it applies to your area.

May 20, 2020

N95 mask use: A fit-tested and seal-checked N95 respirator should be worn when performing an aerosol-generating medical procedure on a patient who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, in addition to gloves, gown and eye protection. For more guidance on AGMPs, visit ahs.ca/agmp.

May 19, 2020

Observing Errors in PPE use: The incorrect use of PPE can put staff and patients at risk of catching an infection or illness, or passing it along to others. If you see a lapse in the proper use or removal of PPE, politely and privately provide guidance on how the staff member can correct his or her usage. Ensuring all staff use PPE correctly supports a just culture within AHS.

May 14, 2020

Faceshields: Faceshields are to be removed by the sides and back straps, do not touch the faceshield itself. Remember to clean your hands at every stage of PPE removal.

May 13, 2020

Cleaning hands before putting on PPE: Cleaning hands before putting on PPE is critical to prevent contamination of the equipment and the patient.

May 12, 2020

High-Touch Surfaces: After providing patient care, immediately clean your hands, remove your mask and wash your hands. Doing so reduces the risk of spreading the virus to others, or contaminating high-touch surfaces such as door handles and knobs, keyboards, computer mouses and personal or common-use phones.

May 11, 2020

Mask Use: Do not carry around soiled masks in your hands while engaged in other activities (speaking on the phone, talking with others, etc). Immediately dispose of soiled items and wash your hands for 30 seconds.

May 10, 2020

Mask Use: Your mask is either ON or OFF, not somewhere in between. Wash your hands after disposing of your mask.

May 9, 2020

Isolation Gowns: There are different ratings for isolation gowns, with several standards of performance, including fluid resistance. Level 1 rated gowns are moderately fluid resistant, while a level 2 or 3 gown provides increased fluid resistance. The reusable gowns being used in AHS are level 2 rated gowns, and are suitable for isolation precautions. You may start to see level 2 disposable isolation gowns on your carts. These are absolutely safe for use with COVID-19 positive patients or suspected cases, and for all types of interactions.

May 8, 2020

Mask Use: Do not wear the mask around your neck in between caring for patients. This could lead to contamination of your face, with the mouth, nose and eyes the greatest areas of concern for virus entry. Dispose of your mask and wash your hands.

May 7, 2020

Mask Removal: Do not remove your mask, and carry it around. Remove it, and immediately dispose of it and wash your hands.

May 6, 2020

N95 Recycling Project: Did you know that the N95 recycling project is expanding across more zones and units? AHS is not currently reusing N95s as we have adequate PPE supply thanks to the amazing work of our CPSM team. We are collecting used N95s for a process of decontamination and storing as a contingency plan, in the unlikely event that we require additional supplies in the months ahead. Learn more about the project, and where we are currently collecting used N95s, at www.ahs.ca/covidppe.

May 5, 2020

Facial PPE: Remove all PPE on your face, by the arms, straps, or ties at the back of your head. In order to prevent contamination of your face, do not grab the front of eye protection, masks or any other facial PPE.

May 4, 2020

High Touch Surfaces/Shared Objects: These include computer keyboards and mouse, as well as phones.

Protect yourself by cleaning multi-use objects/ multi-touch surfaces before use.

Protect others by cleaning multi-use objects/multi-touch surfaces after you use them.

May 3, 2020

Clean High-touch Personal Gear Often: Make a point of cleaning your personal equipment (such as pens, personal phones and stethoscopes) regularly with available cleaning wipes. Clean these items while wearing gloves, then remove the gloves and wash your hands.

May 2, 2020

Proper Removal of Soiled Gloves: Carefully lift up the base of one glove and pull it off your hand. Then use the ungloved hand to lift up the cuff of the remaining glove, pulling it forward and off your hand. Be careful to protect your exposed hands from the outside of your gloves. Place the inside out gloves into the garbage followed by hand washing for 30 seconds.

May 1, 2020

Careful Removal of Soiled Gloves: ALWAYS take off gloves and wash your hands before removing any other piece of PPE. Not doing this step first puts you at the highest risk of self-contamination during PPE removal.

April 2020

April 30, 2020

Doffing PPE: Remember, remove the dirtiest items first. Gloves, then gown, then face shield/goggles and mask, with 30 seconds of hand washing between steps.

April 29, 2020

Eye Protection: Personal eyeglasses are not adequate as they do not protect the top, sides and bottom of the eyes. Use approved goggles or faceshields for eye protection.

April 28, 2020

Plan Ahead For Your PPE Supply: Site leads can reach out to the Process Improvement team at aiw@ahs.ca for support with access and flow-planning, to optimize staff access to the appropriate PPE.

April 27, 2020

Even More About Gloves!

REMEMBER: Gloves are never a substitute for good hand hygiene, they are an additional protective measure to prevent contamination.

ALWAYS clean your hands for 30 seconds after removing gloves.

April 26, 2020

More About Gloves: Ripped, leaking or contaminated gloves should be removed as soon as possible followed by 30 seconds of handwashing.

April 25, 2020

Gloves: Do not reuse or wash gloves. Remove gloves after every patient encounter and immediately wash your hands.

April 24, 2020

Putting On Gloves: Make sure that your gloves cover the cuffs of your gown so your wrists are not exposed.

April 23, 2020

Donning Gowns: Gowns prevent contamination of your clothing and arms. Make sure that both upper and lower ties are securely tied to adequately cover your back so that you avoid contamination. Also make sure that the cuffs of the gown cover your wrists. Find out more about donning gowns on the donning poster and in the video.

April 22, 2020

The W Trick - Vanch Mask Donning & Doffing: AHS has worked with the suppliers of the new Vanch masks to have the nose pieces adjusted and length of the mask increased, and these changes will be in place for next shipment to AHS. Until then, our frontline teams have shown us a helpful tip to addressing fit issues - the W trick!

April 21, 2020

Putting On Your Surgical Mask: Place earloops/secure ties snugly to your head. Next, form the strip around the bridge of your nose. Finally, pull the bottom of the mask down below your chin.

April 20, 2020

Don't Touch Your Mask with Your Hands: If you do touch your mask with your hands, dispose of the mask and immediately wash your hands.

April 18, 2020

Cleaning Your Hands: Cleaning your hands is the most critical step in protecting yourself from COVID-19. Wash your hands with either alcohol hand sanitizer, or soap and water for 30 seconds. Please watch this video to find out more about proper handwashing technique.

April 17, 2020

Removing Your Surgical Mask: When removing your surgical mask (if soiled, or removing to eat), always remember to remove the mask by the straps/ties. Do not touch the mask itself. Dispose of the mask and immediately wash your hands.