Characteristics of personal protective equipment training programs in Australia and New Zealand hospitals: A survey.Infect Dis Health. 2020 11; 25(4):253-261.ID
Using personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of several fundamental measures to prevent the transmission of infection and infectious diseases and is particularly pertinent in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Appropriate use of PPE by healthcare workers is, however, often suboptimal. Training and monitoring of PPE competency are essential components of an infection prevention and control program but there is a paucity of research and data on the content of such training programs across Australasia. This paper reports the results of a survey that characterised the nature of PPE training in Australian and New Zealand hospitals.
A population-based online survey was distributed to members of three major Australasian colleges representing infection prevention and control.
Results indicate that, although training is frequently provided at orientation, many healthcare workers do not receive regular updates. Training programmes combine online and classroom sessions, but over a third do not include a practical component. The frequency of monitoring PPE competency is variable with one third of respondents indicating that no auditing occurs. PPE items used for high-level training are variable, with use of powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) uncommon.
The results of this study suggest that HCWs' confidence, competence and familiarity with PPE are a concern, which in the context of the current global COVID-19 pandemic is problematic. More research is needed into how PPE training programs could be better designed, to prepare HCWs for practice using PPE safely and confidently.