2020 Quality

Hospital COVID Response Stories - Marshfield Clinic Health System

Marshfield Clinic Health System: Evolution of PPE needs, decision-making during COVID-19

Masks, gowns, gloves and eye protection—medical supplies many people did not give a second thought to until COVID-19 began, straining medical systems worldwide and where personal protective equipment (PPE) took center stage. 

PPE protects health care workers from potentially infectious patients and materials, toxic medications and potentially dangerous substances.

“Health care workers need to protect themselves so they can continue to provide care to our sick patients," said Michelle Kaiser, infection preventionist at Marshfield Clinic Health System.

A health system committee was formed to manage the PPE supply, provide recommendations for evolving guidelines and rapidly respond to PPE recommendation changes. This group brought departments from across the health system to evaluate PPE recommendations based on best practice guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and other health systems.

This committee included representatives from infection prevention and control; infectious disease providers; employee health; the Institute for Quality, Innovation & Patient Safety (IQIPS); supply chain; division of education; MCHS Foundation; nursing; respiratory therapy; and PPE officers from across the system. They collaborated, as appropriate, with other system COVID committees and regional incident commands as needed.

This group met several times a week to understand needs, listen to staff feedback and make recommendations to system incident command. The complete guide to PPE is listed on an internal SharePoint site with updates made daily.

“PPE policy changes ensure we have PPE today and for the entirety of the COVID-19 crisis," said Misty Fagan, IQIPS clinical quality nurse specialist. 

Changes are communicated daily with poster updates posted on location for staff, on the SharePoint site and through a daily COVID summary email to all staff.