In October 2020, the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) launched a Respiratory Protection Program, including mask fit testing.
Since then, the RMH has completed mask fit tests for 2,500 staff, which equates to about 14,000 individual masks that have been fit tested.
Mask fit testing is a 40 minute procedure that matches a N95 mask with the size and shape of a face, and measures the mask seal for maximum protection.
New to the health industry, the Respiratory Protection Program is state-wide and has been developed to ensure consistent and best practise implementation for all health care workers. Mask fit testing is mandatory for all staff who are required to wear N95 masks.
The RMH Respiratory Protection team has recently had to purchase new fit testing equipment and expand overall capacity by appointing additional staff to keep up with the recent demand.
“It is great to see the increasing number of staff participating in mask fit testing,” RMH Senior Safety Partner, Fiona Begg says. “We’re calling it a marathon and not a sprint because we have around 8,000 staff requiring fit testing each year.”
“It is important for staff who are patient and public facing to participate in mask fit testing. We’ve been working closely with high risk areas such as emergency, ICU, security, 9 East, HITH and the screening clinic – whose team has recently hit 100 percent in mask fit testing participation,” she adds.
The Respiratory Protection team have been operating six fit testing machines and have just secured an additional two. Not only are they working hard to fit test staff at the City Campus, but they’ve also taken testing on the road.
“We’ve been facilitating pop-up mask fit testing clinics for our staff at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and in Residential Aged Care facilities,” Fiona adds.