Knowledge and practice of protective personal equipment (PPE) among health care providers in Saudi Arabia during the early stages of COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020


COVID-19; pandemic; protective personal equipment; donning; doffing; health care providers


Introduction. Health care providers are at high risk of becoming infected when taking care of patients who have COVID-19, especially while attending aerosol generating procedures. Protective personal equipment must be used in the correct manner to prevent transmission of the disease. Published protocols on protective personal equipment (PPE) donning and doffing have been issued by disease control agencies. Methods. A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was designed. An online anonymous questionnaire, which was validated and tested for reliability, focused on PPE related knowledge, donning and doffing practices of healthcare providers across the eastern region of Saudi Arabia. Results. A total of 312 healthcare providers across the eastern region of Saudi Arabia participated in the study, 208 physicians (66.7%) and 104 non-physicians (33.3%). Results indicate poor practice regarding PPE donning (13.8% reported the correct sequence) and PPE doffing (3.5% reported the correct sequence) among participants. In addition, practice and confidence scores regarding other issues with PPE were analyzed. Based on questionnaire responses, being male (T=2.825; p=0.008), being a non-physician (T=-2.120; p=0.014) and being an allied medical professional (F=5.379; p=0.003) were significantly associated with higher confidence levels. Also, being a consultant was significantly associated with higher practice scores (F=4.774; p=0.008). Conclusion. The study demonstrates deficiencies among healthcare providers in following the recommended practices for correctly using PPE during the pandemic. Poor practice in PPE donning and doffing necessitates additional educational and training programs focused on infection control practices.


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