The Joint Commission today issued a statement supporting the use of standard face masks and/or respirators provided from home when health care organizations cannot provide access to protective equipment that is commensurate with the risk health care workers are exposed to amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In taking this position, The Joint Commission recognizes:
- Hospitals must conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) when these items are in short supply to protect staff who perform high-risk procedures.
- The degree to which privately-owned masks and respirators will increase the protection of health care workers is uncertain. However, the balance of evidence suggests that it is positive.
- No Joint Commission standards or other requirements prohibit staff from using PPE provided from home.
- Homemade masks are an extreme measure and should be used only when standard PPE of proven protective value is unavailable.