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We created Key Signatures to future proof our registered providers at the onset of COVID-19, we strive to access suitable and affordable Personal Protective Equipment.

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How To Put On (Don) & Take Off (Doff) Full PPE

How To Put On (Don) & Take Off (Doff) Full PPE

One of the first things you need to complete before you even commence donning your PPE, is you must always wash your hands. Soap and water is a really good option, but if soap and water are not available and sometimes in community settings, there might not be the environment to actually access soap and water. Hand sanitiser is a really good option. And again, you must apply it liberally, very much in the same way as if you were actually washing your hands, covering all of the surfaces. It’s really helpful to be aware of where those areas are that you might just forget. I think we’ve all got a way that we’ve been washing our hands most of our lives. There might be just some of the areas that we just haven’t considered. So now that we’ve done that we can start donning. 

Putting On (Don) Isolation Gown

The first thing Bec that you’re going to put on is the gown. And often you’ll hear people say gowns are one size fits all, the reality is we’re not all the one size. So it’s important to make sure that whichever gown you are using fits you, whether you’ve got broader shoulders, whether you’re extra tall, really important to make sure that it actually is the right size. So Bec you pop it on, put your arms in, and make sure your arms go right down to the end of the sleeves. Tie it up at the top, in the middle, making sure it goes right round. Make sure it’s comfortable, and sometimes people might find it better to put the tie right around the front. Beck’s chosen to have it at the back, either or is fine. 

Putting On (Don) Face Mask

Next, we’re going to put on your mask. And we all know that there’s different types of masks, Bec is going to demonstrate a surgical mask. And in this case, it’s the white side to the face. Often there’s different colours. So Bec, when you pop it on, you’re going to actually put it on and pinch your nose, pinch to your nose and make sure it’s a good seal. I always know that there’s a good seal, I know lipstick sales are down, but I’ve actually got red lipstick on the inside of mine. So I know that I’ve got a good seal. And we’ve all seen people with masks when they’ve got them under their nose, under their chin, hanging off their ear, completely useless. It actually needs to have a good seal and cover your nose and under your chin. Masks should only be worn for four hours, if they get moist, you change them. If they’re damaged, you change them, and after you’re eating.

Putting On (Don) Face Shield

Next, we’re going to do the face shield or goggles, depending on what you have, in this case we’ve got a face shield. Face shields, they often have a plastic film on them, make sure you remove that, because the first time I didn’t. And again, you just pop it up over your head, the soft band above your eyebrows, and it’s quite comfortable. 

Putting On (Don) Gloves

So now, we’re going to put the gloves on Bec, and there’s different types of gloves for different use. So remembering that you will have washed your hands before you put on, you start to don your PPE. So now, you’re going to put your gloves on, and making sure that the gloves come up over the cuff of the gown. And one of the things that you’ll note while Bec is actually standing here and getting dressed in full PPE, if you are working with a person who may be a bit anxious or uncertain or someone who it’s really important to reassure them that you are who you are in amongst the PPE. The other side of that is that if you’re actually supporting someone who has a cognitive impairment or a communication difficulty, and they rely on body language, Bec’s body language is disguised, they can’t see her facial features, they can’t see her expressions, it is much harder to communicate through the mask. So if I’ve got a hearing impairment, those types of things. So just to be mindful that you need to really be careful about how you communicate to people when you are in full PPE. You’re set to go Bec. 

Taking Off PPE

Now we are going to talk about doffing or taking a PPE off. This is the part that I think is most challenging. It’s not a natural way to do it. It’s not an intuitive way to take your PPE off. And if you’ve been wearing PPE for a whole shift, or certainly a portion of the shift, you’re going to be tired. It takes a lot more effort to wear it on. So it’s really important to stop and think about what the process is and what the steps are before you actually proceed. 

Taking Off (Doff) Gloves

So we’re going to start with removing the gloves. So Bec, what you do is you pinch in the palm of your glove and you pull it and turn it inside out, yep, turn the glove inside out, scrunch it up in your left hand. Yep. And then with the fingers of your right hand, slide it under the cuff, and turn it inside out, and dispose and hygiene your hands. 

Taking Off (Doff) Isolation Gowns

Then you’re going to get your arms up and undo the back without touching, you need to be assuming that the front of the gown and the face shield is dirty, and undo the back, and then shrug it off and, yep, turn it inside out and avoid touching the front of the gown, turning it inside out. Yep, rolling it into one, perfect and fold it in on itself, and dispose of and hygiene your hands.

Taking Off (Doff) Face Shields

You’re going to remove the face shield by putting your hands on the side and tipping it up and away from your face, and avoid touching the front of the shield and hygiene your hands. If you are wearing goggles, you’d remove it using the side arms of the goggles.

Taking Off (Doff) Face Masks

And with the mask again, not touching the front, just put your hands under the strings on the side and take it away in the front. Dispose of it and hygiene your hands.


It’s often really helpful if you have someone who can observe you taking your gowns off, there are different orders, just to make sure, because if you are tired at the end of it, you might just forget, it is not an intuitive process. For someone like me who’s got a dicky left shoulder, for me, what I might do before I take my gloves off is rip the gown apart, like rip the thing, and then I might fold it in and of itself and taking my gloves off at the same time. So there are different ways and different methods, but often really helpful to have someone who can spot you while you’re taking them off and just to stop and always remember, wash your hands afterwards. 



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