Reprocessing N95 Masks
This is an important message for all inpatient unit staff as well as those assigned to inpatient units. As everyone is aware, due to the lack in supply of many styles of N95 masks, we have run out of 1870’s and have a limited supply of 1860’s. We have been fortunate to have other styles of N95 masks available that staff is undergoing fit tests in order to have an alternative mask (8210).
As a measure of mask conservation and ability to provide supply, we have been reprocessing N95 masks. We are asking staff to write their name, unit, and hospital code “EYY” on their clean mask at the beginning of their shift and deposit it in the designated bin for reprocessing at the end of their shift. If your mask was visibly soiled (lipstick, make-up, blood) or damaged during your shift, please discard it and DO NOT send it for reprocessing. Two deliveries of these masks have been completed and distributed with a third pending. This does take time as they are separated and bagged per individual user.
The Batelle Company, which conducts the reprocessing, allows 20 “cleanings” per mask however, our institution has accepted the standard of 10 reprocesses. The number of times a mask is reprocessed is handled by the company and the number of instances is written on each individual mask.
A new consideration has been brought forward. We have many masks that were reprocessed but were not individually labeled. These masks have been checked for cleanliness and acceptable integrity by the reprocessing company.
We have investigated and learned that distribution of unnamed masks have been reprocessed and redistributed to staff of large reputable institutions. After deliberation and great consideration by senior leadership, it was decided to make these masks available to staff who choose to wear them. If managers have staff they believe are interested in utilizing reprocessed, unnamed 1860 and 1870 masks, we are requesting the following:
- To request a reprocessed, unnamed N95 mask from Infection Control, email Nancy Dupont, email@example.com.
- Infection Control will deliver bundled masks to your unit.
- Staff is required to sign out “reprocessed/unnamed” mask on the log attached. Managers please manage logs daily.
- Staff must write name , unit and our hospital code ‘EYY’ on reprocessed mask (in order to return to the same user after future reprocessing).
- When participating in the reprocessing, either with an unnamed mask or your own, you must sign the reprocessed log each time you participate.
The Infection Control team will provide two informational sheets to staff explaining the decontamination process and informing them that they are using a reprocessed mask with an unknown original user as requested by the company.