In addition to established policies, our team has implemented additional precautions against COVID-19. The main objective is to minimize exposure to personnel and decrease traffic in and out of the shop.
- Upon arriving at work. Wash your hands and wipe down your work space (tools, telephone, cell phone, keyboard, exposed surfaces, etc.).
- When leaving the shop. Put on an outer garment over your uniform (white gown, scrub jacket, scrubs, etc.). Also wear gloves and eyeglasses/goggles.
- Limit access to the shop. Even environmental services personnel are temporarily not allowed inside the shop. We can clean and empty the trash ourselves.
- Establish a station at the entrance. There, we wipe down any piece of equipment, tools, carts, etc. prior to entering.
- Minimize equipment travelling in and out.
- Keep hands and clothing clean. Avoid touching surfaces, leaning against walls, or using fingers or hands to push elevator buttons (use a tool that can be wiped down).
- Stay healthy. Drink plenty of water, take vitamin C, and get some sun/fresh air during breaks.
- Change clothing and footwear prior to entering your home.
As part of our defense-in-depth strategy, we also found a secondary work space that is centrally located in our facility. This facility:
- Is centrally located, as it will decrease travel distance of equipment.
- Separates equipment service/repair room for equipment exposed to COVID-19.
- Will serve as our triage/forward-deployed station capable of providing emergent equipment support to get them back in service immediately.
- Provides alternate work spaces to help staff conform with their social distancing requirement.
To conserve personal protective equipment, we identified equipment that can be remotely monitored or controlled from outside the patient room, such as ventilators, infusion pumps, and patient monitoring equipment.
Time permitting, encourage cross-training of staff, particularly on respiratory equipment. Non-ventilator certified technicians can work side-by-side and under supervision of their shop’s expert thereby increasing support capabilities.
I hope that our examples are helpful. Do you have other practices that your colleagues should know about? Please share them below.
Jovito Gonzales, CBET, CHTM, is lead biomedical equipment technician at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center and AAMI’s 2019 BMET of the Year.