A recent investigation conducted by The University of Southampton and The University Hospital of Southampton has demonstrated that a newly developed respirator hood is a safe form of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers and support staff.
A partnership between University and Hospital staff and industry partners, at the start of the pandemic, developed a reusable battery-powered respirators prototype (PeRSo) as alternative PPE to standard disposable facemasks. This is how it works: respirators have a waist-mounted rechargeable battery powered unit, which filters air extremely effectively and then blows clean air into a loose-fitting hood, with a clear visor.
In the first wave, over 1500 PeRSos were used, and over 3500 were used during the second wave. According to this study, staff significantly preferred the respirators, as they felt safer and more comfortable. In addition, patients prefer to see their carers’ faces in full, because it makes communication much easier. These respirators also provide cost saving opportunities for the NHS and did not face the supply chain issues experienced for single-use PPE early in the pandemic.
According to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at University Hospital Southampton, Trevor Smith, “this is a prime example of the local hospital, university and industry working together to come up with a solution to the crisis, which has benefited patients and staff alike” and “help the wider NHS to improve its PPE provision as we enter a difficult winter”.