Confused about PPE?

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14 August 2020

When is PPE necessary for care providers in the home? 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital to ensure the safety of the genetic, rare and undiagnosed community during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people however are finding it difficult to source or understand what they need

The national guidance on PPE is agreed on by all four governments in the UK.

This guidance includes the recommended PPE for use in primary, outpatient, community and social care by setting, NHS and independent sector

MOST RELEVANT ROWS

The table above shows the types of PPE needed depending on the setting and context. For care in the home, the most relevant rows are:

Row one – In any setting: Performing an aerosol-generating procedure (AGP) on someone who have have or is confirmed as having Covid-19.

AGPs include tracheotomy or tracheostomy procedures (insertion or removal), upper ENT airway procedures that involve suctioning, high flow nasal oxygen (HFNO) and non-invasive ventilation (NIV); Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure Ventilation (BiPAP) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Ventilation (CPAP). See the guidance section 8.1 for a full list of AGPs. 

 PPE recommended: 

  • Single-use disposable gloves
  • Single-use disposable fluid-repellent coverall/gown
  • Single-use filtering face piece respirator
  • Single-use eye/face protection

Factsheets and videos are available to demonstrate how to safely put on and take off PPE with gowns or coveralls.

 

Row four – Individual’s own home: Direct care to any member of the household where any member of the household may have or is confirmed as having Covid-19.

PPE recommended:

    • Single-use disposable gloves
    • Single-use disposable plastic apron
    • Single-or sessional- use fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical mask
    • Risk assess single- or sessional- use eye/face protection

 

Row five – Individual’s own home: Direct care or visit to any individuals in the extremely vulnerable group of where a member of the household is within the extremely vulnerable group undergoing shielding.

 PPE recommended: 

  • Single-use disposable gloves
  • Single-use disposable plastic apron
  • Single-use surgical masks.

 

FACE MASKS

The three types of face mask mentioned above are: 

  • Filtering face piece respirator (FFP)
  • Fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical mask
  • Surgical mask (Type II or Type I)

The British Standards Institute has guidance on who the PPE is designed to protect (see tables below). Keep in mind that the purpose of these masks is to protect the wearer, rather than to protect people they are coming into contact with. This is important to consider when a carer is wearing an FFP mask with a valve on the front, which does not filter exhaled air. In these cases you should ask them to wear a surgical mask over the top, to ensure there is some protection for those they come into contact with.

 

This is an image of a table showing who the PPE is designed to protect.

Source: BSI guide to masks and face coverings for use in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GETTING HOLD OF PPE

The short answer is that the care provider should be provided with PPE by the NHS or local government. Where this is not happening, some of our members have been able to access PPE through the following approaches:

 

Have you sourced your PPR through a different route? Let us know by emailing covid-19@geneticalliance.org.uk.