Health care workers' views about respirator use and features that should be included in the next generation of respirators

Am J Infect Control. 2010 Feb;38(1):18-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2009.09.005. Epub 2009 Dec 29.


Background: Numerous studies have demonstrated that health care workers are, in general, poorly compliant with respiratory protection guidelines, especially when a N95 respirator is recommended. The purpose of this study was to assess health care workers' views about respirator use and the features they prefer to be included in the next generation of respirators.

Methods: A 63-item survey was distributed to health care workers in 27 units of 2 tertiary care medical centers.

Results: From a total of 559 surveys distributed at both hospitals, 159 responses were returned (response rate, 28%). Survey results indicated that health care workers seek respirators that are more comfortable, interfere less with breathing, diminish heat buildup, are disposable, and permit the user to have facial hair. Multivariate analyses suggest that emergency department staff had 12.3 greater odds of wanting a new respirator (P = .031) as compared with their referent group. Males were more likely to indicate that the N95 respirator was comfortable to wear versus females (P = .003).

Conclusion: To increase substantially the acceptance of respiratory protective equipment and improve compliance rates, respirators should be modified to meet the specific needs of health care workers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Personnel*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Inhalation Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult