Coronavirus: PPE and personal mask guidelines

Update: April 1

Recommended PPE configuration

There is a perception that if some of something is good, more of it would be better.  

This is not the case when it comes to PPE. Please follow our recommended PPE configuration that is based on the most current CDC guidelines. Additional PPE can put the wearer at risk as it increases the likelihood of inadvertent self-contamination. Please note that bouffant caps, shoe covers and double gloves are not indicated unless extensive blood or body fluid exposure is anticipated, i.e., “standard precautions.”

The following guidelines have been sent on behalf of the corporate Emergency Operations Center.

Please note: This information might change as the situation develops.

We heard you! There have been many requests from Beaumont Health staff and providers to wear masks they bring in to our facilities. For purposes of this communication and guidelines, masks brought in from home for personal use (e.g., NOT hospital supply issued from Beaumont) are called “personal masks.”

Beaumont recognizes this unprecedented situation continues to evolve quickly as patient volumes and needs change, as well as the availability of PPE.

At this time, Beaumont’s Infection Prevention leadership has issued the following guidelines based on CDC recommendations.

  • PPE is intended to be worn while having direct patient contact and/or potential contact with the patient’s secretions or bodily fluids – a surgical mask is not intended to be worn in non-patient care areas, except for using a mask as source control for a patient or health care worker who may have signs or symptoms of a respiratory illness.
  • FDA-cleared surgical masks are designed to protect against splashes and sprays and are prioritized for use when such exposures are anticipated, including surgical procedures – except in times of crisis/critical shortage when surgical masks are not available.
  • Facilities are conserving PPE by maximizing their efforts to reduce in-person encounters with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients through the following means:

Personal mask use guidelines
For employees and providers who still want to wear a personal mask understanding the guidelines issued above, Beaumont will support their request with the following caveats:

  • Beaumont-issued PPE must be worn when having direct patient contact and/or potential contact with the patient’s secretions or bodily fluids.
  • Personal masks are NOT a substitute for Beaumont-issued PPE in patient care situations that require PPE per protocols.
  • Be aware, personal masks are not ideal and might not meet isolation guidelines or the quality standards required by the CDC.
  • Prolonged use of a personal mask renders the mask less effective as a barrier; furthermore, touching the mask to adjust it increases the risk of contamination and possible autoinoculation.
  • Hand hygiene and proper donning/doffing need to be diligently performed to ensure self-contamination does not occur.
Personal masks must look significantly different than Beaumont-issued PPE or be marked to signify they are a personal mask to avoid confusion between hospital-issued PPE and personal masks.

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