What is the proper way of putting on and taking off PPE?
The purpose of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is to protect wearers from
potentially hazardous particulates that can carry infectious diseases. Learning the
proper way to don and doff PPE ensures that effective protection is provided at all
times. In the medical field, healthcare workers are often trained in the proper techniques
for putting on and taking off PPE safely. The order and detail of each specific step
ensure the safety of both the wearer and their equipment.
Before PPE can be donned, hands have be washed and sanitized properly using hand
soap or an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Next, the isolation gown is donned and the
straps behind the neck and waist are tied. The gown should fit securely and
comfortably, covering the arms and body from the neck all the way down to the thighs.
The next item to be worn is the mask. Masks are secured by ties or elastic bands at the
back of the head and an elastic metal band secures the mask in place on the nose
bridge. When worn properly, the mask should cover the nose, mouth and chin. Surgical
masks have a loose fit while with respirators it is important to ensure that a seal has
formed around the nose and mouth. Goggles and face shields are to be donned next for
eye protection. Adjustments can be made to ensure that the fit is snug and vision is
clear. Finally, the last items to be donned are the gloves. Gloves should be worn
carefully to prevent tears and should be long enough so that the cuffs of the gloves
cover the cuffs of the gown below the wrist ensuring that no skin is being exposed.
Once PPE is donned, it is important to avoid touching or adjusting the equipment to
prevent unnecessary contamination.
Just as with donning, doffing involves specific steps that prevent contaminants from
reaching the wearer. The first items to be removed are the gloves. With one gloved
hand the other glove is peeled off from the edge close to the wrist until it is completely
inside out. The removed gloved in held in the remaining gloved hand and then the
remaining glove is removed by sliding a finger of the un-gloved underneath the glove
and peeling it off until it fully covers the first glove. The gown is removed next by first
unfastening the neck and waist ties and then rolling off the gown starting from the back
of the shoulders, ensuring that only the inner surface of the gown is touched. The
goggles and face shields are the next items to be removed. They are lifted up from the
back using the headbands or earpieces that secured them in place. Masks are removed
last by untying the ties or elastic bands the fastened the mask in place and using them
to pull the mask away from the face. All disposable items should be properly thrown
away and reusable items should be taken to their designated containers. Hand washing
is an important last step but hands should also be washed or sanitized after each step
to further prevent contamination, especially since the outer parts of these items are