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Evaluation of a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) support programme (‘PPE Helpers’) for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in London

Castro-Sanchez, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3351-9496, Alexander, C. M., Atchison, C. , Patel, D., Leung, W., Calamita, M. D., Meno Garcia, D., Cimpeanu, C., Mumbwatasai, J. M., Ramid, D., Doherty, K., Grewal, H. S., Otter, J. A. & Wells, M. (2020). Evaluation of a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) support programme (‘PPE Helpers’) for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in London. Journal of Hospital Infection, 109, pp. 68-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2020.12.004


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented one of the biggest challenges to healthcare providers worldwide. The appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been essential to ensuring staff and patient safety. To counteract sub-optimal PPE practice, a PPE helper programme was developed at a large London hospital group. Based on a behaviour change model of Capability, Opportunity and Motivation (COM-B), the programme provided PPE support, advice and education to ward staff.

Evaluation of the PPE Helper Programme.

Clinical and non-clinical ward staff completed a questionnaire informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework and COM-B. The questionnaire was available in paper and electronic versions. Quantitative responses were analysed using descriptive and non-parametric statistics, free-text responses were analysed thematically.

Over a six-week period, PPE helpers made 268 ward visits. Overall, 261 questionnaires were available for analysis. Across the Trust, 68% of respondents reported having had contact with a PPE helper. Staff who had encountered a PPE helper responded significantly more positively to a range of statements about using PPE than those who had not. Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff were significantly more anxious in relation to the adequacy of PPE. Non-clinical and redeployed staff (e.g. domestic staff) were most positive about the impact of PPE helpers. Free-text comments showed that staff found the programme supportive and would have liked it earlier in the pandemic.

A PPE Helper programme is a feasible and beneficial intervention for providing support, advice and education to ward staff during infectious disease outbreaks.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Infection prevention control; PPE; COVID-19; staff survey
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of JHI-D-20-02166_R1_CRO.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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