COVID-19: PPE and testing
If you are living with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or think you may be exposed to it, please read the following information on what you can do to see if you are eligible for testing.
As an agency, we want our nurses to be working in the safest possible environment. Unfortunately, we do not have access to purchase testing for our nurses. Currently testing is managed centrally by the NHS and NHS Trusts have to identify who needs testing. We are working hard to liaise with NHS Trusts to establish their local criteria for testing and whether this will be extended to agency staff.
The general criteria for testing is if you are living with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or if you are in isolation due to exposure. However, If you have symptoms, you will not usually be tested. The NHS Trusts have been advised to prioritise their critical care areas until more testing become available.
If you think you require testing for any reason, you may be put forward to a testing unit if you call NHS 111 and explain why it is essential. Testing requires an allocated appointment and you cannot turn up to the new testing stations unannounced. Once given an allocated time for an appointment, please ensure you carry your ID with you.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) or training for PPE is not provided by Pulse as our clients are responsible for this.
Public Health England (PHE), states that all staff (whether they are from the bank, agency or local staff), should follow the same advice as permanent staff. PPE providers must ensure that all staff are trained adequately in safe systems of work and understand how to wear PPE, even for those who may need to wear respiratory protection.
PPE guidelines:inpatient clinical settings
PPE guidelines:outpatient care by settings
PPE - aerosol generating procedures (AGP's)
The filtering face-piece respirator is used during AGP's as they are capable of transmitting respiratory pathogens.
AGP's which are considered to be infectious for COVID-19 are:
• Intubation, extubation and related procedures, for example manual ventilation and open suctioning of the respiratory tract (including the upper respiratory tract)
• Tracheotomy or tracheostomy procedures (insertion or open suctioning or removal)
• Bronchoscopy and upper ENT airway procedures that involve suctioning
• Upper gastro-intestinal endoscopy where there is open suctioning of the upper respiratory tract
• Surgery and post mortem procedures involving high-speed devices
• Some dental procedures (for example, high-speed drilling)
• Non-invasive ventilation (NIV); Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure Ventilation (BiPAP) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Ventilation (CPAP)
• High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation (HFOV)
• Induction of sputum (cough)
• High flow nasal oxygen (HFNO)
These procedures must only be carried out by healthcare staff if it is essential to those who have been infected and have tested positive for COVID-19. These procedures should be carried out by limited numbers of healthcare workers in a single room with the doors shut, to avoid infecting others. There are other procedures or equipment including the administration of pressurised humidified oxygen, entonox or medication via nebulisation, which may generate an aerosol from material. However, these procedures and equipment do not represent a significant infectious risk.
Putting on (donning) PPE for AGPs
Removal of (doffing) PPE for AGPs
You can click here to see the Government guidance on PPE; all the information in detail, on how, when and which staff has access to use specific equipment in each patient's case of COVID-19.
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