Joint Commission supports use of personal face masks from home amidst COVID-19

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The Joint Commission earlier today issued a statement supporting the use of standard face masks or respirators provided from home when healthcare organizations cannot provide access to protective equipment that is commensurate with the risk healthcare workers are exposed to amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In taking this position, The Joint Commission said it recognizes hospitals must conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) when these items are in short supply to protect staff who perform high-risk procedures. The degree to which privately-owned masks and respirators will increase the protection of healthcare workers is uncertain. However, the balance of evidence suggests that it is positive.

Homemade masks are an extreme measure and should be used only when standard PPE of proven protective value is unavailable, the agency said.

The Joint Commission noted it is aware of the current shortages of PPE, ventilators, and swab kits at hospitals and other healthcare organizations across the nation. It recently issued a public statement on shortages of critical medical equipment that supports emergency efforts at the federal level to dramatically increase the production and distribution of PPE and other necessary medical equipment and supplies, as well as the availability of telehealth services.

Editor's note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.