K.KOH1, C.H.PEK1, Y.KONG1, G.F.CHIN1, D.X.ZHENG1, H.K.M.CHAN1, M.H.KHEMLANI1
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital1
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) struck the world and rapidly accelerated into a global pandemic since it first began at the start of 2020. In order to curb the spread of the virus and protect oneself from this infection, many healthcare workers (HCWs) suffered pressure injuries during their course of donning personal protective equipment (PPE) whilst serving at the frontlines of the pandemic. The aim of our study is to examine the prevalence of pressure-related injuries amongst healthcare workers as a result of N95 respirator masks in a tertiary healthcare institution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An online questionnaire was designed to survey all healthcare workers who were actively involved in patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was optional and voluntary in nature. Information was collected in an anonymized fashion and analyzed.
Eight hundred and fifty-one of approximately 2500 healthcare workers within the healthcare institution responded, giving us a response rate of 34%. Amongst them, 621 respondents routinely wore N95 masks daily at work, of which, 63.4% answered “yes” to having had any pressure related skin injuries. Other risk factors include higher total average time of wearing the N95 mask and higher average time of wearing the N95 mask before “taking a break”.
The prevalence of pressure-related skin injuries from N95 masks on HCWs during the COVID-19 pandemic was estimated at 63.4%. More follow-up studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of preventive strategies such as prophylactic dressings in reducing the prevalence of such pressure injuries.