June Infection Prevention Question of the Month

Melanie Ronda, RN, MSN, host of our weekly IP3 Office Hours gets many questions each week. Here’s one that may resonate with you:

Q: We started using N95 masks during the start of the pandemic for the first time. Are there any guidelines a healthcare organization needs to follow to use this type of mask?

A: Good question! Yes, there is specific guidance and process to protect the staff wearing the respirator type masks from respiratory distress or possible transmission to an infectious disease. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, whenever respirators are required, employers must implement a written worksite-specific respiratory protection program (RPP).

This includes several steps:

  1. Medical evaluation
  2. Fit testing
  3. Training
  4. More steps here.

OSHA released Respiratory Protection Guidance for Employers of Those Working in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Other Long-Term Care Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic to assist facilities in the development of a RPP.

And here’s a link to the OSHA-Accepted Fit Test Protocols to ensure the organization is using the identified techniques with fit testing.

Have a question for Melanie? Email her: mronda@ipro.org