DHS Identifies Emerging Survey Issues Related to PPE


WHCA/WiCAL discussed emerging trends in the FICS surveys with Vicky Griffin, Infection Preventionist and Nurse Consultant with the Division of Quality Assurance.

She identified two survey issues related to PPE, including:

  1. Providers are using the same gown for multiple residents on the observation/quarantine unit. This practice is not allowed per the WI Division of Public Health and the CDC Strategies to Optimize the Supply of Isolation Gowns which notes the following:
    1. Extended use of isolation gowns – Consideration can be made to extend the use of isolation gowns (disposable or cloth) such that the same gown is worn by the same HCP when interacting with more than one patient known to be infected with the same infectious disease when these patients housed in the same location (i.e., COVID-19 patients residing in an isolation cohort). This can be considered only if there are no additional co-infectious diagnoses transmitted by contact (such as Clostridioides difficile) among patients. If the gown becomes visibly soiled, it must be removed and discarded as per usual practices.”
      1. Wearing the same gown may only be used under the circumstance identified in the red text and does not apply to residents under observation / quarantine as we don’t know if these residents are infected with the same infectious disease which is why they are placed in observation / quarantine in the first place.
  2. Providers are not wearing recommended PPE because they want to conserve PPE. However, providers are not following the CDC guidance for Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment. The CDC guidance states “CDC’s optimization strategies for PPE offer a continuum of options for use when PPE supplies are stressed, running low, or absent. Contingency and then crisis capacity measures augment conventional capacity measures and are meant to be considered and implemented sequentially. As PPE availability returns to normal, healthcare facilities should promptly resume standard practices.”
    1. Many providers who have an inventory of adequate or low amount of PPE are implementing contingency and crisis capacity measures to “conserve / preserve” their PPE. This is not consistent with the guidance. Providers need to track their inventory and monitor their PPE burn rate so they can contact their normal or back up vendors for replenishment. If vendors cannot replenish their supply, they must contact their local public health department and their local emergency management manager about helping them with PPE before they run out and before proceeding to a crisis capacity strategy.
Posted in COVID-19, DHS, Regulatory