As a healthcare worker, you already know you are at a disproportionate risk of contracting contagious illnesses. COVID-19 is one of these illnesses – you are on the front lines for both providing care and for possible exposure. Practicing Standard, Contact and Airborne precautions along with wearing PPE are the best ways to remain healthy and to enable you to care for those who need you. Here are the best practice suggestions from the CDC:
- Assess and triage these patients with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the patient and isolating them in an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR), if available
- Perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of PPE, including gloves and protective eye gear. Use soap and water if hands are visibly soiled
- Practice how to properly don, use and doff PPE in a manner to prevent self-contamination
- If you have an unprotected exposure (i.e., not wearing recommended PPE) to a confirmed or possible COVID-19 patient, contact your supervisor or occupational health immediately.
Facilities and patients need your skills and compassion now more than ever. Staying safe will help you be there for them.