When New Zealand’s Ministry of Health approached Ryman Healthcare for assistance to produce an important video to help educate healthcare workers on the safe use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in a residential care setting, Ryman was more than happy to oblige.
Ryman’s Wellington village, Malvina Major, stepped up and offered the use of their village rest home as the filming location, and senior caregiver Jacque took on the starring role to show the importance of performing this vital step-by-step process correctly.
Anna Ramsey, Senior Communications Advisor for Ministry of Health (the Ministry) and member of their COVID Communications team, was leading the video production project.
Anna specifically supports the Ministry’s Infection Prevention and Control team (IPC Team) and PPE and Critical Medical Supply Chain team (PPE Supply Team).
She explains that the two teams work closely together. The IPC Team forms part of the broader IPC SUB-Technical Advisory Group (IPC sub-TAG) who have consistently provided trusted national policy and procedure guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to IPC Nurse specialists, the wider health and disability workforce, and frontline staff working at the border.
The PPE Supply team manages the Ministry’s COVID-19 PPE Central Supply which services the health care workers and border workers who contribute to New Zealand’s public health response to COVID-19, through distributing PPE items to these essential service providers according to IPC guidance for PPE.
The Ministry’s current IPC guidance for PPE selection recommends that all primary and community health and disability care workers complete a risk assessment before interacting with a patient, client or resident to determine their likelihood of exposure to COVID-19. The assessed level of risk then determines the type of PPE a worker should wear to protect themselves from infection.
Lorraine Hetaraka, Chief Nursing Officer for the Ministry says because Aged Care Health and Disability Support workers are spread out across the community and country, it can be difficult to have in-person IPC education and training accessed by everyone. Most online IPC educational videos are based and focused on a hospital setting, and the Ministry wanted to provide a tool that was relevant to this sector.
“The IPC sub-TAG wanted to specifically advise and support the residential and home care sectors by providing these healthcare workers with relevant visual resources to show the best approach to putting on, taking off and disposing of PPE in those particular workplace settings.
“Correct use of PPE is important for your safety to help you reduce your risk of contaminating yourself, your clothing or the environment you are working in.”
Adhering to infection prevention practices is always important to help protect New Zealanders against the spread of infections, but it’s been the COVID-19 pandemic that has shone a bright light on the true significance of infection prevention for us all.
“Written resources are great, but visual guidance is a particularly effective learning tool to show people what they need to do, especially with a technical process such as putting on and taking off PPE.”
The Ministry IPC team identified the importance of filming this resource in a real residential care setting to accurately represent exactly what happens for health care workers who work in that environment.
“To use PPE safely, health care workers must follow a process and the setting that you work in has an impact on what you need to do and when,” says Lorraine.
“We needed this video to show clear and relevant instructions that people can follow from start to finish.”
In the video Malvina Major’s Jacque shows the process right from the beginning, the first step being the important need to complete a risk assessment to determine what her risk of infection could be and what PPE she needs to wear before she provides care.
In this facility, the range of PPE items that might be required for resident care are available in a PPE station and Jacque collects all items together so she has them at hand. Following the risk assessment, Jacque then puts on the correct PPE in the right order outside the resident’s room.
We see Jacque put on both a medical mask and then a P2/N95 particulate respirator, and we see how she performs a seal/fit check to ensure the respirator is fitted correctly so no air escapes around the edges of it - a critical step in the process.
The other items of PPE shown in the video are a long-sleeved gown, eye protection (face shield or goggles) and gloves. We also see the important practice of performing hand hygiene.
“There is a lot of information for a health care worker to remember. Correctly putting on, taking off and disposing of used PPE items in the right order. Performing hand hygiene at key stages and ensuring they don’t touch the outside of their used PPE items after providing care to avoid contamination to themselves and the environment,” says Lorraine.
The Ministry has produced two PPE guidance videos for home and residential health care staff providing care in New Zealand in those settings. You can view both videos here:
Ministry of Health PPE guidance for Residential Care workers
Ministry of Health PPE guidance for Home Care workers
Lorraine says, “We were thrilled at how accommodating and kind Malvina Major’s Manager, Albie has been. He has been so willing and helpful, and we are very grateful to him.
“On behalf of the Ministry and the IPC team, we would like to thank Albie, Jacque and all the staff at the village. Without them, we couldn’t have completed this project and we are very pleased with the end result.”