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‘Care bundle’ helps health care workers avoid PPE-related facial pressure injuries: researchers

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Photo: Royal College of Surgeons

Dublin — Frontline health care workers treating COVID-19 patients can reduce their risk of developing a facial pressure injury caused by prolonged use of personal protective equipment by using the contents of a specially designed “care bundle,” claim researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The researchers surveyed around 300 frontline workers at a large acute hospital in Ireland, as well as conducted interviews with a sample of respondents, after providing them a care bundle that included face-cleansing material, moisturizing balm, protective tape and an informational pamphlet. The study took place over a two-month period in 2020.

Before receiving the bundle, 29% of the respondents said they had developed a facial pressure injury from wearing necessary PPE. After using the bundle, 8% reported developing such an injury. Additionally, the respondents indicated the bundle was easy to use and safe.

During the pandemic, health care workers have worn gloves, facemasks, goggles, faceshields and long-sleeved gowns. These various forms of PPE, according to the researchers, have created pressure injuries that indent the skin, most commonly on the bridge of the nose, cheeks, ears and forehead.

 

“The results tell us that when skin care is prioritized, and a systematic preventive care bundle approach is adopted, there are clear benefits for the frontline workers and the workplaces involved,” Zena Moore, lead study author and director of the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Skin Wounds and Trauma Research Center, said in a press release.

The study was published online March 17 in the Journal of Wound Care.

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