Consistent, Effective & Suitable RPE
Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is a crucial component of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare workers in hospitals. For many people the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of RPE in protecting people from airborne infections; but RPE has been essential for protecting frontline healthcare workers for many years.
While the heights of the pandemic may be behind us, it is vitally important that hospitals remain vigilant in protecting their staff from respiratory viruses to maintain infection control and combat cross contamination. Not just through the provision of RPE, but through the provision of a consistent supply of suitable RPE, that works.
What is RPE
RPE refers to a range of equipment designed to protect the wearer’s lungs and airways from exposure to harmful particulates, such as particles in the air that contain infectious agents like viruses or bacteria. RPE in healthcare primarily consists of FFP3 respirators – like the FSM18. The use of RPE is particularly important when undertaking AGPs (aerosol generating procedures) or in situations where healthcare workers are in close proximity to patients with suspected or confirmed airborne infections such as TB.
One of the most significant challenges facing hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic has been ensuring a sufficient supply of RPE. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were widespread shortages of respirators, and many hospitals were forced to ration their supplies. This created significant challenges for healthcare workers, as well as patients, who were at increased risk of infection due to the shortage of RPE.
To address this challenge, the government created a centralised pool of RPE for hospitals to work their way through, free of charge, consisting of a wide variety of respirators from many different suppliers.
While a great idea in principle, not all RPE is created equal – with some not being as good a fit, or as good quality as others.
Adequate, effective and suitable
For RPE to work effectively, it must fit the user correctly – creating a seal around the users face so that they do not inhale harmful particulates in the air. Secondly, in the sterile environments – or where cross-contamination from the wearer is possible (as with coronavirus), an unvalved respirator should be used.
With the central pool of RPE, hospitals couldn’t guarantee what brand/make/model they would receive.
As a result, many hospitals have struggled to provide adequate and suitable protection for their staff.
Full Support Healthcare’s flagship FFP3 respirator – the FSM18 Custom Fit Easimask – is the gold standard of single-use filtering facepiece RPE. Boasting a 90% + fit test pass rate in healthcare using the quantitative fit testing method, the FSM18 is suitable for a wide range of face shapes and sizes.
Through standardising to a single respirator type, healthcare providers can ensure the correct respirator is to hand, so that their staff can feel safe and protected in a respirator they know fits.
Not only this, but standardising to a quality respirator – such as the FSM18 – could save you time, space and money. Fewer failed fit tests means fewer wasted masks and less time off the wards.
Having a consistent supply of the right RPE is vitally important in maintaining the safety of healthcare workers and the patients they care for.
Available now / Coming back to Supply Chain soon
The FSM18 is available for immediate dispatch from our UK supply when ordering direct.
For more information about ordering direct – please get in touch here.