PPE Fatigue and Human Factors: Call for Ideas/Help
General Problem: PPE fatigue, including that amongst healthcare workers (HCWs)
This includes HCWs and general public exhibiting more frequent lapses in proper mask use, ranging from no mask use to improper mask use (inadequate mask, or worn down under nose or even chin).
This is a call for those in this group with human factors expertise or just good ideas to address this issue. A great example of this category of work was presented by Jeremy Howard on July 14, his Masks4all project 'the science' section
Specific Problem in Hospitals: HCWs exhibiting lapses in PPE use, especially in break rooms, resulting in virus transmission amongst staff. One example being the recently publicized event at Baystate Medical Center (but can/does happen elsewhere). The outbreak affected at least 13 nurses in a non-covid unit, and per Baystate:
Based on a review by our hospital epidemiologists, we believe the group of cases on the unit resulted from several factors: travel to an area within the United States identified as a “hot spot” and staff who convened in a breakroom and removed their masks without observing proper social distancing protocols.
These simple lapses were able to happen in spite of our screening employees for fever and other symptoms before every shift, mandating mask usage and social distancing throughout the facility.
I tell my colleagues that you could wear your PPE diligently for 7 hours and 59 minutes of your shift but that one minute of lapse could risk your or your patients or colleagues safety.
Challenge to this greater CBA community:
- Ideas/suggestions to study/address PPE fatigue amongst HCWs and/or general public (some issues/interventions likely will overlap)
- PPE specific factors for lapses vs general human factor related (i.e. issues specific to the PPE product vs general compliance to 'rules')
- Are 8 hour shifts in full PPE reasonable?
- Are communal break rooms a thing of the past?
Any/all ideas, feedback and/or interest in collaboration welcome