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Decontamination & disposal of PPE equipment

This video was produced as a guide to PPE conservation strategies that may need to be employed should there be a concern for PPE shortage. It demonstrates the use of an N95 respirator, but the same conservation principles will apply to a mask used for droplet precautions.

Know your fit-tested N95 respirator

In the hallway outside of patient room perform hand hygiene for 15 seconds, making sure you get all surfaces of your hand, including fingertips, wrists and in between your fingers.

Put on yellow isolation gown with opening to the back make sure both ties are tied up behind neck and at waist.

Put on your fit-tested N95 respirator and do a seal check, or put on your droplet mask. Put on full-face shield or eye protection, put on gloves. Make sure gloves go over the cuffs already for patient care.

Going between patient rooms

There is no need to change your N95 droplet mask or face shield unless wet, visibly contaminated or after high risk aerosol eyes generating medical procedures such as intubation.

Move towards the exit door, slowly remove gloves using glove to glove technique for first glove, skin-to-skin for second glove.

Perform hand hygiene for 15 seconds, remove gown touching only inside of gown and rolling away from body. Discard in linen hamper. Hand hygiene for 15 seconds.

Exit room, ensure door is firmly closed. Hand hygiene for 15 seconds, proceed to next room and don new gown and gloves prior to entering the patient room.

Entering a new patient room

Remember when you are wearing your N95 and face shields or droplet mask and visor combination, do not touch your face as face shields in particular may be contaminated.

Vigilant hand hygiene is critical. If you are not sure, just clean your hands again.

Some people may find it difficult to tie their own gown without the face shield touching their hands or their chest, in that case use a buddy to help tie the gown.

When you are doffing your PPE and know you are not going to see another patient in the near future, you should doff your face shield at that time. You can consider taking off your mask if uncomfortable, or if you are planning to spend a long period in a non-clinical area. Remember as long as the N95 respirator or droplet mask was protected by a face shield or another means it is considered clean.

Removing PPE

Remember to remove your mask and sanitize hands when you are leaving the clinical area. Remove N95 respirator or droplet mask by straps in the back, discard down and away from face. Do not touch front of mask perform hand hygiene for 15 seconds.

Re-usability of N95 masks

N95 Mask decontamination: Source: IARS International Aenesthesia Research Society The Infographic is composed by Naveen Nathan, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (n-nathan@northwestern.edu). Illustration by Naveen Nathan, MD.
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