• Cleaning and Disinfection Perceptions and Use Practices Among Elastomeric Respirator Users in Health care

      Hines, Stella E; Brown, Clayton H; Oliver, Marc; Gucer, Patricia; Frisch, Melissa; Hogan, Regina; Roth, Tracy; Chang, James; McDiarmid, Melissa (SAGE Publications Inc., 2020-08-19)
      Background: Reusable elastomeric respirator use in health care may represent one solution to address N95 respirator shortages experienced during infectious disease outbreaks, but cleaning and disinfection requirements may limit their utility. Evidence of respirator cleaning and disinfection behaviors and practices by health care workers may inform guidance on reusable respirator use. Methods: Medical system elastomeric respirator users were surveyed about respirator cleaning and disinfection practices and perceptions via an electronic survey. Respondents were subsequently classified based on reported compliance with their assigned respirator use. To explore whether respirator cleaning and disinfection issues affected compliance with assigned device use, responses were compared between user groups and adjusted for covariates. Results: A total of 432 of 2,024 (21%) eligible elastomeric respirator users completed the survey. Most (>90%) reported that their respirator was clean, but only 52% reported that they always disinfect their respirators after use according to the hospital’s expected practice. Only 40 respondents (9%) reported regularly cleaning the respirator with soap and water, in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Reporting of suboptimal decontamination practice was not associated with assigned device compliance, however, except among providers and respiratory therapists. Conclusion/Application to Practice: Although perceptions of cleanliness and adherence to expected decontamination practices during routine use did not appear to influence compliance with assigned respirator use overall, this did predict compliance among providers and respiratory therapists, both of whom have nonfixed workstations. Practical and effective strategies to assure easy access to and availability of clean reusable respiratory protective devices are needed to facilitate their use in health care respiratory protection programs.