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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26217

Title: Behind the Mask: Determinants of Nurses' Adherence to Recommended Use of Facial Protective Equipment to Prevent Occupational Transmission of Communicable Respiratory Illness in Acute Care Hospitals
Authors: Nichol, Kathryn Anne
Advisor: Holness, Dorothy Linn
Department: Medical Science
Keywords: facial protective equipment
adherence
nurses
Issue Date: 17-Feb-2011
Abstract: Background - Communicable respiratory illness is a serious occupational threat to healthcare workers. A key reason for occupational transmission is failure to implement appropriate barrier precautions. Facial protective equipment, including surgical masks, respirators and eye/face protection, is the least adhered to type of personal protective equipment used by healthcare workers, yet it is an important barrier precaution against communicable respiratory illness. Objectives - To describe nurses’ adherence to recommended use of facial protective equipment and to identify the factors that influence adherence. Methods - A two-phased study was conducted. Phase 1 was a cross-sectional survey of nurses in selected units of six acute care hospitals in Toronto, Canada. Phase 2 was a direct observational study of critical care nurses. Results – Of the 1074 nurses who completed surveys (82% response rate), 44% reported adherence to recommended use of facial protective equipment. Multivariable analysis revealed four organizational predictors of adherence: ready availability of equipment, regular training and fit testing, organizational support for health and safety, and good communication. Following the survey, 112 observations in 14 intensive care units were conducted that showed a 44% competence rate with proper use of N95 respirators. Common gaps included failure to verify the seal and touching the face piece. Multivariable analysis revealed knowledge of recommended use of facial protective equipment as a significant predictor of competence. Discussion – Despite the SARS experience and the resulting investment in our public health system, nurses’ adherence to recommended use of facial protective equipment and competence in effective use of N95 respirators remains suboptimal. To improve adherence, organizational leaders should focus on equipment availability, training and fit testing, organizational support for health and safety, and positive communication. To improve competence in effective use of N95 respirators, strategies to increase knowledge should be implemented. These efforts should assist to reduce occupational transmission of communicable respiratory illness and foster a healthier and safer working environment for nurses.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26217
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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