The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s guidelines recommend eye protection for staff who enter the room of patients in the course of their work. The CDC notes that face shields are the preferred method of eye protection, as goggles or glasses may not protect the wearer from all splashes or droplets.
With the increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the Denver community, Denver Health now requires eye protection (face shield preferred) in addition to your mask for all patient-facing staff members in the inpatient and outpatient settings.
NOTE: Goggles offer less protection, are not preferred, and will NOT be supplied for this purpose. Our supply of goggles is extremely limited and must be reserved for other specific indications.
FAQs on the Use of Face Shields
What are the CDC recommendations for the use of face shields?
The city of Denver is now seeing substantial community transmission. Denver Health will now require eye protection (face shield preferred) for all patient encounters. This is in concordance with CDC recommendations.
Do I have to wear a face shield?
Eye protection is now required for anyone who has direct contact with patients. This requirement is for clinical and non-clinical staff. Face shields are preferred to goggles because they not only protect your eyes but also protect your mask from droplet contamination.
Should I wear a face shield all day, or only when I am in a patient room?
The requirement is to wear eye protection during all patient encounters. You are welcome to wear the face shield throughout common areas, or you can remove it after leaving a patient’s room.
Where do I get my face shield?
Face shields will be available at any Employee Screening Entrance. Pick up a face shield at any employee entrance when you need one.
Can I order face shields from Central Supply?
No, get a face shield at any Employee Screening Entrance. Face shields will also be stored in the basement hallway of Pavilion B where laundry linens are staged; staff are welcome to pick up face shields there.
Where should I store my face shield, and should I label it?
Work with your manager to determine an ideal storage solution. Solutions will differ by location; your area may already have a solution in place. Clean your face shield and store it in a clean, dry area. You may choose to label your face shield. Ask your manager if there will be a unit/location labeling requirement.
How long can I use my face shield?
Face shields may be used indefinitely so long as the integrity is maintained and it is good working order (elastic band and padding intact).
How and when should I clean my face shield?
Use a purple top wipe on your face shield every time you remove it. Wipe both sides of the face shield each time. Always wipe your face shield when it is visibly contaminated. Purple top wipes remain a limited availability product and we must be judicious in our use. Please help us maintain disinfectant wipe supply!
How can I prevent my face shield from getting cloudy?
Over time, residue from purple top wipes may make the plastic cloudy. Alcohol wipes clean off the residue but these are not stocked widely. For now, if your face shield becomes cloudy and impedes your vision rinse with soap and water and pat dry. Discard when face shield is no longer functional. Please do not use alcohol prep pads to clean your mask, as our supply of alcohol wipes is actually more tenuous than that of face shields. This guidance may change in the future if alcohol wipes become more plentiful.
What if my face shield isn’t comfortable? Can I wear goggles instead?
Goggles do not protect the wearer from all splashes or droplets. Goggles offer less protection, do not protect your mask, and will not be supplied for this purpose. If wearing a face shield disrupts your ability to properly function in your daily job, talk to your manager and call Infection Prevention at 2-BUGS (x22847). In such instance, staff may be approved to wear goggles from home. Eye glasses are not considered a substitute for goggles or a face shield.
What if I work behind a Plexiglas barrier?
If you work solely involves patient facing encounters while behind a suitable Plexiglas barrier a eye protection is not required.