This section contains information on correct PPE use, fit testing and how to order more PPE.
As of 18 January 2023 - as a result of the continual decline in COVID-19 cases in the community and within our hospitals, clinical staff can now change back to wearing a surgical mask in clinical areas (if they would like to rather than a N95 mask).
Staff providing care to patients with enhanced respiratory precautions (ERP) must continue to wear a N95 mask (please see examples of use below).
As of 30 January 2023, staff working in non-clinical areas (eg. office/blue space) no longer have to wear a mask if they don't want to. Physical distancing should still continue.
However, staff who are a close contact will still need to wear a mask in these areas as per the safe behaviour guidelines in the staff furlough table.
As of 22 May 2023, CALHN staff no longer need to wear a mask when in public areas of the hospital, including in food courts, lifts and main foyer areas. Members of the public no longer need to wear masks when visiting hospital sites, but are still encouraged to wear masks in clinical settings.
What PPE should I use? (18 January 2023)
As a result of the continual decline in COVID-19 cases in the community and within our hospitals, clinical staff can now change back to wearing a surgical mask in clinical areas (if they would like to rather than a N95 mask).
Staff providing care to patients with enhanced respiratory precautions (ERP) must continue to wear a N95 mask.
If there is a patient requiring ERP in a single room, the door should be shut and those staff caring for the patient to wear a N95 mask. Staff in other areas on the ward can wear surgical masks for direct patient care. If the door is unable to remain shut for any reason, all staff working in the area must continue to wear N95 masks.
If the ward is housing multiple COVID patients who are not in negative pressure rooms, all staff in that area are to wear N95s.
Staff caring for a patient with an acute respiratory illness should wear an N95 while awaiting a diagnosis.
Staff who are a close contact of a person with COVID must follow current worker health instructions (RAT testing and eating/drinking alone) and wear an N95 until day 14 after exposure.
All COVID Inpatient areas (Red zone) – e.g. ED Red zone, 6GG, 9GA, 8GA, etc
- in all COVID inpatient areas caring for COVID-19 patients, gowns and gloves are to be worn in addition to an N95 mask and protective eyewear for incidental COVID-19 patients or other patients who are on enhanced respiratory precautions. PPE to be changed on exiting the room (If cluster care is undertaken then extended mask and eye protection may occur as outlined in the COVID-19 procedure 5409).
- where an entire area is a designated red zone then gowns are also worn. Gloves are not required to be worn unless there is direct patient care.
PPE supplies – and ordering more
Imprest locations at RAH, TQEH, Hampstead and Glenside have PPE supplies.
SA Dental will communicate directly with their workforce on PPE supplies.
Masks and other PPE can be ordered through ORACLE. More information including ordering codes is available via this fact sheet.
Supporting organisations or partners (such as Spotless or ISS) and visitors are to be provided with masks should they need one.
Staff and visitors are welcome to take a clean mask to wear home should it be required, however are asked to only take one each.
Who needs to wear a mask?
Visitors and patients should continue to wear a mask in clinical settings.
Staff in clinical areas must wear a surgical mask. Staff providing care to patients with enhanced respiratory precautions (ERP) must continue to wear a N95 mask
Are there any exceptions?
There are some exceptions to these requirements:
- if a person has a relevant medical condition, including problems with their breathing, a serious condition of the face, a disability or a mental health condition (evidence must be shown, such as a letter from a general practitioner)
- a mask is not required for a patient, client or person providing care, if the mask will hinder care or impact safety
- a mask is not required where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
- a mask is not required when a person is eating or drinking
- children under the age of 12 are not required to wear a mask
What kind of mask do I need to wear?
Within clinical settings at our hospitals and health services, the CALHN Infectious Disease and Infection Prevention and Control teams recommend that visitors and patients wear single-use surgical masks. Staff in clinical areas must wear a surgical mask. Staff providing care to patients with enhanced respiratory precautions (ERP) must continue to wear a N95 mask
Visitors may be required to wear extra PPE such as a fit checked D95 and long sleeved gown under certain circumstances such as if an exemption is approved for compassionate visit for a patient with COVID-19. Please refer to visitor guidelines.
While cloth masks are popular within the community, staff are required to use health service supplied disposable surgical masks while on site. They may also need to wear eye protection where clinically indicated (as per OWI00811 Transmission Based Precautions).
Visitors to a CALHN site must be offered a health service supplied disposable surgical mask to wear.
Masks should be changed at least every four hours, or if it is compromised (for example damp, damaged or exiting a red zone).
Safe mask donning and doffing
Please follow the following steps for safe donning and doffing.
- Wash your hands before putting on the mask either with an alcohol hand rub or soap and water.
- Make sure it covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face. If an N95 mask is donned, perform a fit check.
- Do not touch the front of the mask while wearing it. If you do touch the mask, wash or sanitise your hands immediately.
- To remove the mask wash or sanitise your hands first.
- Carefully remove your mask by grasping the ear loops or untying the ties.
- Discard the mask straight into the waste bin. Do not pull the mask and leave it hanging around your neck or chin or on top of your head. It’s covered in germs!
- Wash or sanitise your hands after removing the mask.
- Doffing mask and eye protection when outside patient room information sheet
- How to safely wear a mask poster
- Detmold and SA Health how to video - Donning and doffing D95+ surgical respirator mask
- How to video - ERP Donning
- How to video - ERP Doffing
- How to video - ERP Donning and doffing process specific to Mental Health Services
- How to video - PPE doffing - Negative pressure room
Cleaning and caring for PPE
- How to video - Cleaning safety goggles and flexible goggles
- How to video - Cleaning safety goggles
- How to video - Goggles lense replacement
If you have been fit tested to a Detmold mask, it is imperative that you select a Detmold mask over another brand. Please remember the fit clip is required to be worn with the Detmold mask.
If you are not yet fit tested, please do this immediately. You can book a fit test at: https://calhn.maskfittest.sa.gov.au/
As a reminder, there is a need to be clean shaven wherever the respirator comes into contact with the face. Facial hair (even very short stubble) interferes with the seal of the respirator to your face, thereby reducing its efficiency to provide protection. A moustache that does not interfere with the seal of the respirator is acceptable.
General mask wearing information
Do I need to wear a mask if I can physically distance?
Yes if you are working in a clinical area you must wear a mask. Only staff in non-clinical areas ie office/blue spaces don't have to wear a mask.
When am I allowed to remove the mask?
You can remove your mask when
- eating and drinking, however please remember to consider those around you and physically distance
- blue space / non-clinical areas
- in public areas of the hospital, such as food courts, foyers, lifts etc
- outside our buildings, such as in a courtyard as long as you can physically distance.
Can I take my mask off to eat?
Yes, please ensure you maintain a physical distance of 1.5m from other people while doing this. Please eat away from others or outside where possible.
Do patients need to wear a mask?
Patients only need to wear a mask when they leave their room or cubicle, or when they are unable to maintain physical distancing. Patients in shared rooms only need to wear a mask if they cannot maintain physical distancing. Exceptions for health reasons will apply.
If a patient is alone in their inpatient room/cubicle, they are only required to wear a mask when someone enters the room.
Where possible, patients should also wear a mask when a visitor is present
For more information, view the patient and visitor mask advice fact sheet.
Can my patient remove their mask for a clinical need?
Yes. If the provider or carer’s professional opinion is that the wearing of a mask will hinder the provision of care, the patient, resident or client and / or person providing care can remove their mask.
How often should I replace the mask?
Disposable masks can be worn for no longer than four hours, as long as they remain intact, you haven’t touched your mask and it’s not damp. Masks can be discarded into general waste.
Face masks should be changed following meal breaks or if they are removed at any point.
Infection Prevention and Control Unit
- Royal Adelaide Hospital, telephone 7074 2810
- The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, telephone 8222 7588
Clinical Worker Health Service
- Royal Adelaide Hospital, telephone 7117 2306
- The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, telephone 8222 7642