Compliance and perception about personal protective equipment among health care workers involved in the surgery of COVID-19 negative cancer patients during the pandemic

J Surg Oncol. 2020 Nov;122(6):1013-1019. doi: 10.1002/jso.26151. Epub 2020 Aug 3.


Background: Health care workers (HCWs) are at risk of getting infected while at work, for example, operating room (OR), hence it is pertinent that they don all the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize the chance of getting infected.

Methods: A COVID-19 specific briefing and debriefing form was created and used in the OR along with the World Health Organization surgical safety checklist to reinforce the use of appropriate PPE. An audit was subsequently done to understand the compliance to PPE use, followed by a survey based on the findings of the audit to understand the issues related to noncompliance.

Results: The form was used in 183 out of the 238 (77%) surgeries performed during a months' time. The overall compliance for PPE usage was 96.3%. Noncompliance was seen most often for eye protection (45/567) (P = .01). The survey revealed that this was mostly among surgeons mainly due to discomfort, poor visibility, and frequent fogging.

Conclusions: Our HCW were adapting well to the new normal of donning appropriate PPE in the OR, except for the eye protection due to discomfort and visibility related issues. This is important to know so that necessary changes could be introduced to better the compliance.

Keywords: COVID-19 negative; PPE; cancer surgery; checklist; elective; pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / transmission*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Guideline Adherence / standards*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / organization & administration
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Operating Rooms
  • Perception
  • Personal Protective Equipment / supply & distribution*
  • Protective Clothing
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification*