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Occup Environ Med. 2005 Jul;62(7):473-7.

Appropriate use of personal protective equipment among healthcare workers in public sector hospitals and primary healthcare polyclinics during the SARS outbreak in Singapore.

Author information

1
Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore. cofcse@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Singapore was affected by an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from 25 February to 31 May 2003, with 238 probable cases and 33 deaths.

AIMS:

To study usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) among three groups of healthcare workers (HCWs: doctors, nurses, and administrative staff), to determine if the appropriate PPE were used by the different groups and to examine the factors that may determine inappropriate use.

METHODS:

A self-administered questionnaire survey of 14,554 HCWs in nine healthcare settings, which included tertiary care hospitals, community hospitals, and polyclinics, was carried out in May-July 2003. Only doctors, nurses, and clerical staff were selected for subsequent analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 10 236 valid questionnaires were returned (70.3% response); 873 doctors, 4404 nurses, and 921 clerical staff were studied. A total of 32.5% of doctors, 48.7% of nurses, and 77.1% of the administrative staff agreed that paper and/or surgical masks were "useful in protecting from contracting SARS". Among this group, 23.6% of doctors and 42.3% of nurses reported working with SARS patients. The view that a paper and/or surgical mask was adequate protection against SARS was held by 33.3% of doctors and 55.9% of nurses working at the A&E unit, 30.5% of doctors and 49.4% of nurses from medical wards, and 27.5% of doctors and 37.1% of nurses from intensive care units. Factors which predicted for agreement that paper and/or surgical masks were protective against SARS, included HCW's job title, reported contact with SARS patients, area of work, and Impact Events Scale scores.

CONCLUSION:

A variety of factors determine appropriate use of personal protective equipment by HCWs in the face of a major SARS outbreak.

PMID:
15961624
PMCID:
PMC1741057
DOI:
10.1136/oem.2004.015024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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