Introduction Risk of infections due to communicable pathogens among health care workers is very high. Though many counter measures have been implemented, respiratory protective devices (RPD) are very common in use for prevention of the inhalation of pathogens. Nevertheless, proper education and training of RPDs are lacking for health care workers. This study is focused on the actual RPDs use and the fit tests so as to establishing effective training programs.
Methods A total of 393 female health care workers were recruited for quantitative fit testing (QNFT), with at least 2 RPDs out of 4 different types of RPDs provided. The U.S. OSHA Fit Test protocol was used to conduct the fit test exercises along with the pass criteria (FF >100). The QNFT results were analysed by division and occupation using STATA.
Results Among participants, all occupations showed relatively high pass percentages except doctors who showed about 40% of failure with the Folder shaped mask. For almost all divisions, the cup shaped and the cup shaped small size mask showed the highest fail rate, but the folder shaped mask showed lower failure rates. Within the hospital, different failure rates were observed between divisions; emergency room=13.5%, MICU=3.6%, SICU=8.8%, BMTICU=15.4%, isolation ward=6.7%, respiratory/infection control division=3.7%, PICU=0.0%, and CCU=4.3%, respectively. While no association between types of occupation and QNFT result were observed, QNFT results were statistically significantly different between divisions (χ2=17.122, p=0.017).
Discussion The results of this study showed that some RPDs perform better in terms of respiratory protection providedaccording to the subjects’facial shapes. And health care professionalsneed formal educationand training for the use of RPDs, regardless of their occupations. Properdonning experiences of RPDs arehighly recommended and annual QNFT are recommended for checking the effectiveness of RPDs.
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