Coronavirus (COVID-19) wearing personal protective equipment for acute care video
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Hello, I'm Professor Alison McMillan, the Australian Government's Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer.

We start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands where we are meeting today and pay our respects to elders past and present.

Today I'm going to discuss the principles of wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the acute health sector and how it should be put on and taken off. The appropriate use of PPE is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 but it is only one part of the hierarchy of standards and transmission based infection prevention and control measures you must be familiar with.

So all PPE should be used in line with the principles in the Australian Guidelines for prevention and control of infection in healthcare.

PPE includes face mask, eye protection, face shields, surgical gloves and gowns. I know and understand wearing of PPE is uncomfortable, particularly if wearing it for extended periods of time but it is now more important than ever that we all look after each other.

If you can work with a buddy when donning and doffing PPE and if you see someone breach their PPE by touching their face or mask with a gloved hand then that is the time to draw this to their attention so they can rectify this immediately. It's quite likely the person you're caring for at this time will have some concerns so please take the time to explain the right use of PPE to them and their families.

I'll now show you how to put on and remove PPE safely.

Before putting on PPE you must hygiene your hands with alcohol-based sanitiser or soap and water. First put on your gown fully cover your torso from neck to knee arms to the end of the wrists and wrap around your back. Fasten at the back of your neck and waste.

Next put on a mask, secure the ties at the middle of the back of your head and neck. Fit the flexible band to the bridge of your nose and fit snugly to your face and below your chin.

Eye protection comes next. Glasses are easy to put on. Face shields or goggles should fit securely to your face.

Finally you need to pull on gloves. When you put on gloves extend them to cover the wrists of the gown.

When removing or doffing PPE the principle is to avoid contaminating your clothes, skin or mucous membranes with potentially contaminated PPE. Do not touch the front of the gown, eye protection or mask and most importantly make sure you're very thorough when performing hand hygiene.

If you do accidentally contaminate yourself this will help prevent infection and remember the hand hygiene process takes 20 to 30 seconds if it's done properly.

Start to remove PPE when you're still in the patient's room.

When removing gloves the principles are demonstrated here. Do not let the outside of the gloves touch your exposed skin. Once removed, discard the gloves immediately into a waste container and again thoroughly hygiene your hands.

To remove the gown, unfasten the gown ties and take care that the sleeves do not contact your body when reaching for the ties. Pull the gown away from your neck and shoulders. Try to make sure you only touch the inside of the gown. Turn the gown inside out and then fold or roll into a bundle and discard in a waste container. And hygiene your hands then step out of the patient's room.

Remove protective eyewear by holding the arms. Once removed, clean reusable eye protection or discard disposable items in a waste container and hygiene your hands.

To remove the mask undo the ties or elastics. Do not touch the front of the mask and discard immediately into a waste container. Immediately after removing all PPE hygiene your hands again using soap and water or alcohol-based sanitiser.

PPE can be safely removed in other orders but always gloves first and mask last.

If you have any questions about when and how to wear PPE go to

By following the steps I've outlined in this video you are minimizing the impact of COVID-19 and preventing its spread. If we continue to work together we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

Thank you for all of the work you are doing, it is so important to all Australians.

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Watch this video to find out how and when to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in an acute care setting.