Healthcare design to improve safe doffing of personal protective equipment for care of patients with COVID-19
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Understand how the built environment can affect safety and efficiency outcomes during doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient care.
We conducted (1) field observations and surveys administered to healthcare workers (HCWs) performing PPE doffing, (2) focus groups with HCWs and infection prevention experts, and (3) a with healthcare design experts.
This study was conducted in 4 inpatient units treating patients with COVID-19, in 3 hospitals of a single healthcare system.
The study included 24 nurses, 2 physicians, 1 respiratory therapist, and 2 infection preventionists.
The doffing task sequence and the layout of doffing spaces varied considerably across sites, with field observations showing most doffing tasks occurring around the patient room door and PPE support stations. Behaviors perceived as most risky included touching contaminated items and inadequate hand hygiene. Doffing space layout and types of PPE storage and work surfaces were often associated with inadequate cleaning and improper storage of PPE. Focus groups and the design charrette provided insights on how design affording standardization, accessibility, and flexibility can support PPE doffing safety and efficiency in this context.
There is a need to define, organize and standardize PPE doffing spaces in healthcare settings and to understand the environmental implications of COVID-19–specific issues related to supply shortage and staff workload. Low-effort and low-cost design adaptations of the layout and design of PPE doffing spaces may improve HCW safety and efficiency in existing healthcare facilities.
Keywords: COVID-19, PPE, doffing, infectious diseases, healthcare design, built environment