Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

On Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Nebraska Health Care Association submitted a press release asking Nebraska businesses to consider donating supplies to their local assisted living or nursing facility.

DHHS Online Portal Requests for PPE

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) now has an online portal for providers to request PPE and related supplies, including disinfectant wipes, face shields, goggles, hand sanitizer, N95 respirator masks, gloves, gowns, masks, and thermometers. According to DHHS, submissions will be pulled daily at 12:00 p.m. CT. The DHHS team will review and respond to all requests within 72 hours, with the goal being a response within 24 hours. This online submission process replaces prior direction to submit your PPE request to your local health department.

CDC PPE Burn Rate Calculator

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a PPE burn rate calculator. This tool is a spreadsheet-based model that provides information for health care facilities to plan and optimize the use of PPE for response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 PPE: Donning and Doffing

The Nebraska Infection Control Assessment and Promotion Program (ICAP) has provided printable posters demonstrating donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE).

On July 9, 2020, ICAP hosted its weekly COVID-19 Webinar for Long-Term Care which included a live demonstration of PPE donning and doffing. The demonstration begins at 06:20 in the recording below.

Cloth Face Coverings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

AHCA/NCAL Guidance on Conserving and Extending Use of Current PPE

Dr. Gifford, Chief Medical Officer of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), recently said that, due to the limited amount of available PPE and the need far exceeding the supply, nursing facility and assisted living members need to realize the amount of PPE they have on hand right now and any additional items they are able to obtain will need to last the facility for the next four to six weeks.

As guidance, Dr. Gifford referred members to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of PPE. Specific guidance for facemasksgowns, and eye protection is available.

Local Health Departments

On Thursday, March 26, 2020, Governor Ricketts directed health care providers to immediately contact their local health department to request any needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Local health departments are currently assessing the need for PPE in their areas and will then be notifying the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), who will compile the statewide PPE need and submit a request to the federal government for PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile.

To find contact information for your local health department, visit the DHHS website.

Local Health Care Coalitions

The Nebraska Health Care Association has also heard that some local health care coalitions have a supply of PPE. Contact your local health care coalition and request any needed PPE.

To find contact information for your local health care coalition, click here.

Alert Local Emergency Manager of PPE Need

You may also want to contact your local emergency manager to alert him/her of your need for additional PPE.

To find contact information for your local emergency manager, click here.

NHCA also recommends documenting your efforts to obtain PPE, should surveyors have questions.