Union Health Ministry issues guidelines on rational use of PPEs in non-COVID hospitals

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May 02, 2020 10:07 AM

The guidelines stated that standard precautions should be followed at all times and PPEs are not alternative to basic preventive public health measures which must be followed regularly.

coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus lockdown, coronavirus guidelines india, coronavirus health ministry guidelinesThe ministry has recommended usage of all the components of PPE in high risk areas. (Representational image)

The Union Health Ministry on Friday issued additional guidelines on rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare personnel working in non-COVID hospitals.

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The ministry guides on the type of personal protective equipment to be used in mild, moderate, low and high-risk areas.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a combination of protective gears designed to safeguard the health of workers by minimising the exposure to a biological agent. Components of PPE are goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, coverall/gowns (with or without aprons), head cover and shoe cover.

Help desk/ registration counter, doctors’ chamber used for clinical management of patients and pharmacy counters among others have been marked in the mild-risk category and the ministry has recommended the use of triple layer medical mask and latex examination gloves, besides following social distancing guidelines and frequent use of hand sanitiser over gloves.

Chambers of dental/ENT doctors/ophthalmology doctors and pre- anesthetic check-up clinics have been categorised as moderate-risk areas where the usage of N-95 mask, goggles, latex examination gloves has been advised.

All hospitals should identify a separate triage and holding area for patients with influenza-like illness so that COVID-19 suspect cases are triaged and managed away from the main out-patient department.

As far as in-patients departments in non-COVID hospitals are concerned, the ministry has designated ward/individual rooms used for clinical management activity as mild-risk areas, while the ICU/critical care, labor room, operation theatres have been categorised as moderate-risk areas.

It has recommended the use of triple layer medical mask, face shield (- wherever feasible), sterile latex gloves and goggles. Patients should also wear masks in labor rooms, the guidelines stated.

The ministry has recommended wearing of triple layer medical mask and latex examination gloves while handling a body in wards or ICU.

According to the guidelines, areas where emergency cases are attended come in the mild risk category and areas in the Emergency department where severely ill patients are being attended to while performing aerosol generating procedure have been marked in the high risk category.

The ministry has recommended usage of all the components of PPE in high risk areas.

Besides, laboratories which are used for sample collection and transportation and testing of routine (non-respiratory) samples come under mild-risk category, while labs where respiratory samples are collected and tested fall in moderate-risk category, according to the guidelines.

Radiodiagnosis and blood bank, etc. fall in the mild-risk category, while kitchen areas have been marked in the low-risk category.

Ambulances transporting patients not on any assisted ventilation come under the low-risk category, while emergency vehicles carrying patients with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) come under the high-risk category.

The guidelines stated that standard precautions should be followed at all times and PPEs are not alternative to basic preventive public health measures which must be followed regularly.

“Always follow the laid down protocol for disposing off PPEs as detailed in infection prevention and control guidelines. In addition, patients and their attendants to be encouraged to put on face cover,” the guidelines stated.

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