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Understand how the built environment can affect safety and efficiency outcomes during doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient care.
We conducted (1) field observations and surveys administered to healthcare workers (HCWs) performing PPE doffing, (2) focus groups with HCWs and infection prevention experts, and (3) a with healthcare design experts.
This study was conducted in 4 inpatient units treating patients with COVID-19, in 3 hospitals of a single healthcare system.
The study included 24 nurses, 2 physicians, 1 respiratory therapist, and 2 infection preventionists.
The doffing task sequence and the layout of doffing spaces varied considerably across sites, with field observations showing most doffing tasks occurring around the patient room door and PPE support stations. Behaviors perceived as most risky included touching contaminated items and inadequate hand hygiene. Doffing space layout and types of PPE storage and work surfaces were often associated with inadequate cleaning and improper storage of PPE. Focus groups and the design charrette provided insights on how design affording standardization, accessibility, and flexibility can support PPE doffing safety and efficiency in this context.
There is a need to define, organize and standardize PPE doffing spaces in healthcare settings and to understand the environmental implications of COVID-19–specific issues related to supply shortage and staff workload. Low-effort and low-cost design adaptations of the layout and design of PPE doffing spaces may improve HCW safety and efficiency in existing healthcare facilities.
Boarding admitted patients decreases emergency department (ED) capacity to accommodate daily patient surge. Boarding in regional hospitals may decrease the ability to meet community needs during a public health emergency. This study examined differences in regional patient boarding times across the United States and in regions at risk for public health emergencies.
A retrospective cross-sectional analysis was performed by using 2012 ED visit data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) database and 2012 hospital ED boarding data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare database. Hospitals were grouped into hospital referral regions (HRRs). The primary outcome was mean ED boarding time per HRR. Spatial hot spot analysis examined boarding time spatial clustering.
A total of 3317 of 4671 (71%) hospitals were included in the study cohort. A total of 45 high-boarding-time HRRs clustered along the East/West coasts and 67 low-boarding-time HRRs clustered in the Midwest/Northern Plains regions. A total of 86% of HRRs at risk for a terrorist event had high boarding times and 36% of HRRs with frequent natural disasters had high boarding times.
Urban, coastal areas have the longest boarding times and are clustered with other high-boarding-time HRRs. Longer boarding times suggest a heightened level of vulnerability and a need to enhance surge capacity because these regions have difficulty meeting daily emergency care demands and are at increased risk for disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:576–582)