“The cookie monster muffler”: Perceptions and behaviours of hospital healthcare workers around the use of masks and respirators in the hospital setting.
AbstractTo ensure masks and respirators protect healthcare workers (HCWs) during respiratory virus outbreaks or a pandemic, individual, environmental, organizational and cultural issues associated with their use must be addressed. To explore the current knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the use of these products, we conducted interviews with HCWs from a major tertiary referral hospital in Sydney, Australia. A qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews was undertaken at a tertiary hospital in Sydney Australia. HCWs from wards in which risk from respiratory infections is considered to be high (i.e. ICU, ED and respiratory wards), were invited to participate. A broad spectrum of attitudes was expressed regarding the use of masks and respirators, with many participants expressing uncertainty surrounding their use and level of effectiveness. Most participants who stated that they had previous experience with using masks or respirators agreed that the latter provided more protection and should be the product used in a respiratory infection setting. A lack of training amongst the HCWs, uncertainty regarding hospital or health authority guidelines and the discomfort and difficulty associated with mask/respirator use, were highlighted to be the core issues resulting in poor implementation of masks and respirators in the setting. While HCWs should take personal responsibility for donning facial protection when needed, the legal responsibility for employee use, adherence and occupational health and safety falls to the employer. An institutional commitment to a culture of safety systems, policies and practices is required to ensure a higher rate of adherence.
Copyright conditions: Copyright on any research article in the International Journal of Infection Control (IJIC) is retained by the author(s). Authors grant IJIC permission to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher. Authors also grant any third party the right to use the article freely as long as its integrity is maintained and its original authors, citation details and publisher are identified. IJIC conforms to the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org) as terms and conditions of publishing research articles. In summary, anyone is free: • to copy, distribute, and display the work; • to make derivative works; • to make commercial use of the work; as long as: • the original author must be given credit; • for any reuse or distribution, it must be made clear to others what the license terms of this work are; • any of these conditions can be waived if the authors gives permission. Statutory fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above. Authors' certification: In submitting a manuscript to IJIC, authors are requested to certify that: • They are authorized by their co-authors to enter into these arrangements. • They warrant, on behalf of themselves and their co-authors, that: o the article is original, has not been formally published in any other peer-reviewed journal, is not under consideration by any other journal and does not infringe any existing copyright or any other third party rights; o they are the sole author(s) of the article and have full authority to enter into this agreement and in granting rights to IJIC are not in breach of any other obligation. If the law requires that the article be published in the public domain, they will notify IJIC at the time of submission; o the article contains nothing that is unlawful, libellous, or which would, if published, constitute a breach of contract or of confidence or of commitment given to secrecy; o they have taken due care to ensure the integrity of the article.