When Do You Step In and Assist?
When donning, as you are both still “clean”, you may step in and assist with the equipment as needed.
During doffing, however, remember to keep any needed physical contact to a minimum. Plan ahead for when you will need a doffing assistant and when and where that assistance is needed. There may be certain steps or pieces of equipment that are extremely difficult to do without help. If you assistance is necessary, you must protect yourself and the healthcare worker you are assisting. Remember that once you step in and assist in the doffing process, you are now contaminated and must follow the proper protocols.
It is best to think ahead of what those times will be when your assistance is needed, and pre-plan them along with the healthcare provider you are directing. Let them know what you will be doing to help and any movements you will be making to avoid any unnecessary errors. As you observe, you must get comfortable with recognizing when a healthcare provider is in need of assistance to prevent panic or anxiety. The red flag words and hand signals may help in communicating those moments.