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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 110-115

‘Shifting from anxiety to the new normal’: A qualitative exploration on personal protective equipment use by otorhinolaryngology health-care professionals during COVID-19 pandemic

1 Department of ENT, JIPMER, Puducherry, India
2 Department of Diversity in Public Health, Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, United Kingdom
3 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Mahalakshmy Thulasingam
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_10_22

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Background: The novel coronavirus pandemic has influenced the working practice of health-care professionals who come across symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID patients in their day-to-day practice. Especially, among HCWs in otorhinolaryngology, with the risk of exposure being high, hence were mandated to use personal protective equipment (PPE). Materials and Methods: The change in perceptions and patterns of PPE use throughout the COVID-19 pandemic was studied in detail through interviews conducted among 15 key informants, and the data were analyzed using health belief model in our study. Results: A health belief model explains the trajectory of PPE use by otorhinolaryngology health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The course of usage of PPE by otorhinolaryngology health-care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic was explained through the health belief model. During the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic, intense perceived severity and susceptibility to COVID infection led to PPE use, and otorhinolaryngology HCWs resorted to higher grade PPEs which gave optimal protection; but in course of time with a better understanding of the natural course of illness, minimal PPEs without compromising HCW safety were used with minimal discomfort. Perceived severity of COVID infection on self and family, health knowledge, influence of peers, and support from the institution encouraged them in using PPEs. Conclusion: We found that various aspects of health belief model such as the perceived susceptibility, perceived severity of the disease, perceived barriers and benefits in PPE use, self-efficacy, health-related knowledge, and the cues to action influence PPE use among otorhinolaryngology HCWs. The key findings can be applied in behavior change models to promote the use of PPE in the hospitals, especially during the time of pandemic.

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