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To explore the impact of environmental design on doffing personal protective equipment in a simulated healthcare environment.
A mixed-methods approach was used that included human-factors usability testing and qualitative questionnaire responses. A patient room and connecting anteroom were constructed for testing purposes. This experimental doffing area was designed to overcome the environmental failures identified in a previous study and was not constructed based on any generalizable hospital standard.
In total, 72 healthcare workers from Ontario, Canada, took part in the study and tested the simulated doffing area. The following environmental design changes were tested and were deemed effective: increasing prominence of color-coded zones; securing disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer; outlining disposal bins locations; providing mirrors to detect possible contamination; providing hand rails to assist with doffing; and restricting the space to doff. Further experimentation and iterative design are required with regard to several important features: positioning the disposal bins for safety, decreasing the risk of contamination and user accessibility; optimal positioning of mirrors for safety; communication within the team; and positioning the secondary team member for optimal awareness. Additional design suggestions also emerged during this study, and they require future investigation.
This study highlights the importance of the environment on doffing personal protective equipment in a healthcare setting. Iterative testing and modification of the design of the environment (doffing area) are important to enhancing healthcare worker safety.
To identify issues during donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) for infectious diseases and to inform PPE procurement criteria and design.
A mixed methods approach was used. Usability testing assessed the appropriateness, potential for errors, and ease of use of various combinations of PPE. A qualitative constructivist approach was used to analyze participant feedback.
Four academic health sciences centers: 2 adult hospitals, 1 trauma center, and 1 pediatric hospital, in Toronto, Canada.
Participants (n=82) were representative of the potential users of PPE within Western healthcare institutions.
None of the tested combinations provided a complete solution for PPE. Environmental factors, such as anteroom layout, and the design of protocols and instructional material were also found to impact safety. The study identified the need to design PPE as a complete system, rather than mixing and matching components.
Healthcare institutions are encouraged to use human factors methods to identify risk and failure points with the usage of their selected PPE, and to modify on the basis of iterative evaluations with representative end users. Manufacturers of PPE should consider usability when designing the next generation of PPE.
The hypothesis that at least a subgroup of familial cases of schizophrenia could be due to a genetic defect on the X chromosome is supported by the observation of an excess of X-chromosome aneuploidies (XXX and XXY) among populations of patients with psychosis. The distal long arm, Xq27–q28, is a candidate region where linkage has been claimed to manic-depressive disorder and a fragile site has been associated with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The present study excluded linkage to a large part of this region using four polymorphic probes and multipoint lod-score analysis in 10 families with multiple members with schizophrenia.
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