A new care bundle can reduce the incidence of facial pressure injuries among frontline healthcare workers caused by the prolonged wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE), according to researchers at the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences Skin Wounds and Trauma (SWaT) Research Centre.
The research took place over a two-month period among healthcare workers in a large acute hospital in Ireland. Approximately 300 frontline staff received a care bundle designed in line with international best practice including face cleansing material (WaterWipes baby wipes), moisturizing balm (Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm), and protective tape (Mepitac Tape).
Before using the care bundle, 29% of respondents developed a facial pressure injury. After using the care bundle, only 8% of respondents developed such as injury. Analysis revealed that when using the care bundle, staff were almost five times less likely to develop a facial pressure injury. In a secondary findings, respondents reported the bundle easy to use, safe, and effective.
“We are acutely aware of the facial injuries, such as pressure ulcers, bruises, and skin tears, that healthcare workers are experiencing due to the prolonged wearing of protective equipment during the pandemic and especially the wearing of medical face masks,” said lead researcher and professor Zena Moore, director of the SWaT Research Center and head of the RCSI School of Nursing and Midwifery.
“These injuries can be painful for staff and injuries in some cases can put them at increased risk of infection. This study is the first of its kind carried out at the height of the pandemic in an effort to help mitigate the occurrence of facial pressure injuries,” said Moore.
“The results tell us that when skin care is prioritized, and a systematic preventive care bundle approach is adopted, there are clear benefits for the frontline workers and the workplaces involved,” said Moore.
The study, “Facial Pressure Injuries and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Skin Protection Care to Enhance Staff Safety in an Acute Hospital Setting,” was published by the Journal of Wound Care.