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RR1147 - Evaluation of existing PPE worn by NHS staff for assessment of a patient with a suspected high consequence infectious disease

This research evaluation is not specifically about Coronavirus. Health care professionals should follow Public Health England’s COVID-19 guidance for health professionals on GOV.UK

As part of the UK’s preparedness to manage patients with suspected high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) such as Ebola Virus, healthcare workers in surge hospitals adopted variations in personal protective equipment (PPE) to suit the equipment and facilities that were available at the time. There was a lack of evidence to demonstrate that existing PPE ensembles were wholly effective.

HSE specialists, in collaboration with the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, developed the ‘VIOLET’ (Visualising Infection with Optimised Light for Education and Training) method to test PPE and train healthcare workers. Volunteers took part in a simulated care scenario with a manikin adapted to deliver surrogate bodily fluids with different coloured fluorescent markers. Results showed that infected bodily fluids from a patient could be transferred to the healthcare worker when wearing or removing HCID PPE currently in use.

Key stakeholders from the National Health Service, HSE and Public Health England developed and agreed a single ‘HCID assessment PPE’ model for use across the UK, together with procedures for safely putting it on and taking it off. This model combined the strengths of existing PPE and results showed that it would be protective if worn when assessing a patient with a suspected HCID, even with minimal training provided to the wearer.

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Updated 2020-02-20