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Personal protective equipment

 

This section contains information on correct PPE use, fit testing and how to order more PPE.

All CALHN staff in clinical areas are required to wear an D95/N95 masks.

Staff working in non-clinical areas (eg. blue space) must wear a surgical mask.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Yes. Mask wearing remains mandatory for all healthcare services, high-risk settings and passenger transport services.

All staff should be wearing surgical masks. Staff at Roma Mitchell House are not required to wear a mask.

Please lead by example and ensure you wear your mask and PPE correctly.

What PPE should I use? (November 2022)

All staff in patient-facing areas are to return to wearing an N95 mask – this includes support staff when delivering meals/cleaning rooms/portering, and ward clerks and administration staff in patient-facing areas.

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/

The COVID-19 PPE decision matrix provides PPE advice and general infection control recommendations.

All staff in non-patient facing areas at our hospital sites must wear a surgical mask at all times – this does not apply to those at Roma Mitchell House.

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?

All people in healthcare settings must wear a mask.

A healthcare setting includes public hospitals and health services, allied health, community, dental, radiology, disability and rehabilitation services.

This mandatory requirement also extends to administration, catering, cleaning and ward staff based in a patient-facing/ clinical area.

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 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 patient-facing areas must wear an 9N5 mask. Staff in non-patient facing areas must wear a surgical 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).

Staff within clinical environments must wear PPE in accordance with their clinical exposure as defined in the SA Health PPE Matrix.

Safe mask donning and doffing

Please follow the following steps for safe donning and doffing.

Donning

  • 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.

Doffing

  • 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.

Extra resources

Cleaning and caring for PPE

Fit testing

CALHN’s Clinical Worker Health Service has moved N95 fit mask test bookings to an online platform.

Staff will be required to provide contact details and information regarding their position in order to secure a booking at either the Royal Adelaide Hospital or the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Staff will then receive an email or SMS confirmation of their booking along with a link that allows them to log in again at any time to cancel or change their booking details when convenient.

You can make your mask fit test booking here.

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 on one of the hospital and health service sites.

Do I need to wear a mask when I am working in a single office?

Technically no, however if anyone enters your office, you will both need to wear them.

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
  • 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

COVID-19 Information

Find out more about COVID-19, including visitor restrictions, changes to our operations and information on where you can get your COVID-19 vaccine.

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