/ by UK HealthCare
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increased need for personal protective equipment, or PPE – necessary equipment used every single day by hospital personnel to ensure the safety of our patients, families and staff.
The increased need for PPE has caused shortages in a number of places around the country, so Kim Blanton, enterprise director for infection prevention & control, explains how we’ve prepared to meet the increased demand for PPE and testing – and how we’re keeping our hospitals and clinics safe for everyone.
What is PPE?
PPE is personal protective equipment used to minimize exposure to hazards that cause workplace injuries or illnesses. PPE is everything from gloves, aprons, surgical masks, goggles and face masks to respirator masks, face shields and long-sleeved gowns.
How is UK HealthCare uniquely prepared with PPE?
UK Healthcare has an amazing supply chain management team who work daily and many times hourly to assure that the hospital has PPE on hand every day for every patient. They go through different vendors and supply options to help find PPE.
This supply team collaborates with infection control and the bedside clinicians to make sure the staff have what they need – when they need it. Their sense of urgency and quick actions have allowed UK Healthcare to stay ahead of national shortages.
How much PPE do we have? Is that standard?
We maintain a 14-day supply of PPE. Even before the pandemic, our supply chain team worked to keep 14 days or more of PPE on hand for standard daily healthcare functions.
During the pandemic we have also helped provide PPE to community partners. UK Healthcare always tries to reach out and support community partners and work collaboratively to help the people of Kentucky.
How do we coordinate with suppliers to ensure our doctors, staff and patients are safe?
Constant communication daily. The supply team is always reaching out to the vendors and on the lookout for any pending backorders and substitutions for supplies if needed.
What about testing? Do we have enough tests? Do we anticipate a shortage of tests?
We have a good supply of tests that produce results within 24-36 hours. There is always the possibility of shortages during a pandemic, but at this point UK Healthcare is working with suppliers and the laboratory administration team to assure that we stay ahead of any testing issues.