By creating a mechanical barrier between the user and their environment, personal protective equipment (PPE) protects both healthcare workers and patients. From an occupational health and safety perspective, the focus is on protecting staff. However, due to its barrier function, PPE also prevents or reduces the further spread of pathogens and thus serves to protect from infection.
Gloves for surgeries and examinations
Surgical gloves serve as a protective barrier to prevent possible transmission of microorganisms from healthcare professionals to patients during surgical procedures. Examination gloves are intended to protect the hands of staff during procedures that do not require sterile conditions and where direct contact with blood, secretions, excretions, mucous membranes, or non-intact skin is expected – e. g. when taking blood, administering medication via peripheral venous catheters, or changing a dressing.
Aprons and protective gowns
The work clothing not only includes scrub suits but also aprons (sleeveless and open at the back) that are used per patient or protective gowns (with back section and long sleeves with cuffs) that are used depending on the situation. Aprons or protective gowns that meet the requirements for medical devices and protective equipment are selected according to the activity, the expected moisture penetration, and the risk of contamination.
Face and eye protection
During certain aseptic activities, it is necessary to protect patients from escaping microorganisms from the mouth and nose of the healthcare personnel. On the other hand, face masks and eye protection also form a barrier to prevent pathogens from entering the eyes, mouth, and nose of healthcare professionals — during close patient contact, they protect against blood and body secretions, but also against contamination through hand-face contact with the own gloved hands.