The health care personnel working in hospitals are at increased risk of acquiring the COVID-19 disease, if there is a breach in the personal protection while managing patients. The health-work force is a valuable and scarce resource. Large number of COVID-19 affected health personnel getting isolated for treatment and their close contacts undergoing quarantine affects the health/ hospital service delivery.
Institutional Mechanism for preventing and responding to Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) among HCWs
Hospitals shall activate its Hospital Infection Control Committee (HICC).The HICC in the health facility is responsible for implementing the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) activities and organizing regular trainings on IPC for HCWs.
A Nodal Officer (Infection Control Officer) shall be identified by each hospital to address all matters related to Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs). With reference to preventing such infection among healthcare workers, he/she will ensure that:
i. Healthcare workers in different settings of hospitals shall use PPEs appropriate to their risk profile as detailed in the guidelines issued by this Ministry (available at: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/GuidelinesonrationaluseofPersonalProtectiveEquipment.pdf and https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/UpdatedAdditionalguidelinesonrationaluseofPersonalProtectiveE quipmentsettingapproachforHealthfunctionariesworkinginnonCOVID19areas.pdf )
ii. All healthcare workers have undergone training on Infection Prevention and Control and they are aware of common signs and symptoms, need for self-health monitoring and need for prompt reporting of such symptoms.
iii. Provisions have been made for regular (thermal) screening of all hospital staff.
iv. All healthcare workers managing COVID-19 cases are being provided with chemo-prophylaxis under medical supervision.
v. Provisions have been made for prompt reporting of breach of PPE by the hospital staff and follow up action.
Action for Healthcare Workers
i. Ensure that all preventive measures like frequent washing of hands/use of alcohol based hand sanitizer, respiratory etiquettes (using tissue/handkerchief while coughing or sneezing), etc. are followed at all times.
ii. He/she shall use appropriate PPE at all times while on duty.
iii. A buddy system* to be followed to ensure that there is no breach in infection prevention control practices.
iv. Any breach in PPE and exposure is immediately informed to the nodal officer/HoD of the department
v. HCWs after leaving the patient care units (wards/OPDs/ICUs) at the doctor’s duty rooms/hostels/canteen or outside the HCF must follow social distancing and masking to prevent transmission to/acquiring infection from other HCWs who may be positive.
vi. Pregnant/lactating mothers and immuno – compromised healthcare workers shall inform their medical condition to the hospital authorities for them to get posted only in non-Covid areas.
*Buddy system: Under this approach, two or more-person team is formed amongst the deployed hospital staff who share responsibilities for his/her partner’s safety and well-being in the context of (i) Appropriately donning and doffing of PPEs, (ii) maintaining hand hygiene and (iii) taking requisite steps on observing breach of PPEs.
SOP for health work force deployment during COVID-19
SOP to be followed in case HCW reports exposure/breach of PPE
All the Healthcare workers must report every exposure to COVID-19 to the concerned nodal officer and HoD of the concerned department immediately.
The Nodal officer will get the exact details of exposure to ascertain whether the exposure constitutes a high risk or low risk exposure.
To read more details on the above, please follow the link below:
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Advisory dt. 18-06-2020