PPE Inventory: Management and Challenges
The current pandemic scenario introduced many new products into our daily lifestyle. Face masks, hand sanitizers, thermal guns, and other personal protective equipment hit the markets.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment designed to wear as a protective garment under different circumstances especially medical situations.
The equipment comprises protective clothing, a helmet, goggles, boots, gloves, face masks, and other accessories that prevent exposure to external risk factors. The COVID-19 pandemic era witnessed extensive use of the equipment as it helps in reducing risks involved in volunteering for medical emergencies.
Now, the healthcare professionals wear the PPE while attending positive cases as well as usual patients to prevent themselves and others from virus infection. Though PPEs are available in major hospitals and other workplaces there is no proper PPE inventory management.
It is essential to manage the PPE inventory in each workplace to tackle the issues regarding its availability and to ensure the safety of medical professionals in this precarious situation. Here are a few things you should know about PPE and its management.
Why manage a PPE inventory?
As the COVID-19 positive cases are on a steady rise there is a situation where the supply of PPE does not meet the demand. But it is the need of the hour to ensure the availability of PPE to every health professional as the COVID-19 spreads easily through contact with respiratory droplets of the patients.
Often PPE falls short of the requirement due to the failure in managing the stock. In this situation establishing a proper PPE inventory management and tracking system is necessary.
Establishing an efficient management system aids in tracking the availability of PPE and distributing it to the employees. Only efficacious management of the medical resources ensures its availability to everyone in need and foresees future requirements.
How to manage a PPE inventory?
It is important to have a clear idea about what is in stock in PPE inventories. To not panicking in emergencies, keep a record of new arrivals as well as the used PPE. The best way to manage a PPE inventory in an institution is to get a PPE inventory management software. It helps to keep track of the stock and use of PPE. As the information is constantly updated it is able to deduce the requirement and get easy access to PPE without falling short in the stock. Also, it helps to check the status of particular equipment.
The trends in the use of different personal protective equipment can be monitored. The purchase of new stock can be done based on these statistics. Customized buying of the resources to particular workplaces can be made possible based on this data.
It is also important to ensure that the PPEs are not damaged or contaminated in storage.
What are the challenges?
The panic buying at the time of the break out of COVID -19 initially caused the unavailability of PPE as per the requirement. It took time for the medical world to cope up with the emergencies.
Later, due to the exponential increase in the number of cases many medical institutions face a shortage of PPE. The limited supply of PPE forces healthcare professionals to work without wearing one. The lack of PPE in working situations will put the life of frontline health workers at stake making them vulnerable to the disease.
Machines like medical ventilators also fall into the category of PPE. In the case of seriously ill people, Coronavirus deteriorates the lungs and makes respiration harder. A ventilator helps in making breathing easy. But, as the positive cases are on a rapid increase hospitals fail to provide this facility to the COVID-19 patients as well as
Theft cases are also reported from various PPE inventories. These issues should be solved as the medical and allied professionals are the people whom we put our trust upon. The proper management of inventory is the only way to tackle these issues.
How to deal with it?
The issue of shortage of PPE can be curbed to a limited extent if the health workers use the right amount of resources. Better reduce the wastage of resources to use it when they are really needed.
PPEs are of great significance and demand in the present COVID-19 scenario. Proper use and management of the equipment will help us to overcome this pandemic. Management criteria may differ for different equipment. But, it is very important to keep in mind that this is what determines our safety. So, use it wisely.