PPE – help or hindrance?

Much attention on the use (and misuse) of PPE over the past months. I have always thought it to be a good thing if used well but this paper seems to suggest that universal use of gloves and gowns could be a good thing, suggesting that the 25% of staff that contaminate their clothing by only using PPE for patients with known pathogen carriage could be reduced by universal use of PPE. Whilst I agree that those not known to be carrying organisms ‘of interest‘ are a significant issue (you only know what you know after all), I also worry about the over-use of PPE and the possible blase attitude that this brings. As we all know, PPE can be a hazard if not removed in a logical order that minimises contamination to the wearer (‘correct’order TBA..), however given that training is er.. often less than comprehensive, would universal use reduce the risk? Maybe of  contamination of uniforms, but would other risks increase? I’m not totally convinced that clothing contamination is a significant risk to anyone but the wearer at the moment.

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