Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 2
A study conducted by doctors of the PGIMER has found significant changes in the vital physiological parameters of healthcare workers after they wear the personal protective equipment (PPE).
Shifting patients a challenge
The other important factor is the inevitable need to transfer patients for diagnostic procedures, especially radiological imaging, that can be laborious for healthcare workers wearing PPEs. As the temperature crosses 40°C with humidity reaching up to 80 per cent in the northern states of India, the working conditions have become more hostile for HCWs wearing the PPE. This has resulted in frequent breaches often due to syncopal attacks that make them susceptible to infection.
As per the study, even in volunteers wearing the PPE and the ones performing usual OT work have significant changes in their vital physiological parameters, which might sometimes be alarming. This is more so in case of healthcare workers (HCWs), who have underlying compromised physiological conditions, but are presumed to be healthy due to lack of any proper health assessment before being recruited for donning the PPE, the study states.
The institute did a small observational study to assess the physiological parameters of five HCW volunteers while wearing PPE for six hours. The study was titled “Effects of personal protective equipment on the physiological parameters of healthcare workers”.
All physiological parameters, including heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation, were monitored every hour for six hours. One HCW had to remove the PPE prematurely as the oxygen saturation dipped from 99 per cent to 96 per cent within three hours of donning the PPE. It was also accompanied by tachycardia, while the blood pressure remained stable.
The study has suggested that a mechanism should be in place to have a thorough physiological assessment of HCWs to find out their capacity to work under these strenuous conditions.
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