OBJECTIVE: To assess impact of personal protective equipment (PPE) on healthcare providers (HCPs) in caring for COVID-19 patients .
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted over 50 hospitals in China . Descriptive analyses and Chi-square tests were performed on the collected data .
RESULTS: All 104 frontline HCPs report negative impacts of PPE on their clinical performance , 97% of them experienced discomfort and injuries caused by wearing PPE for long hours . Frontline HCPs provided suggestions to alleviate the negative impacts and to enhance communication between healthcare staff and patients . Two hundred eighty two non-frontline HCPs also revealed similar problems; however, we recorded a few discrepancies between answers given by frontline and non-frontline HCPs .
CONCLUSIONS: Wearing PPE for long hours degrades health performance . Measures were suggested to improve the design of PPE for protecting HCPs and enhancing their services to COVID patients.