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A Win for Spanish Healthcare Workers in Valencia

Compensation for Spanish healthcare workers will be given by the Valencian regional government. This is because the government did not provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to them when the COVID-19 pandemic started. The amount of compensation depends on whether the healthcare worker was infected by the COVID-19 virus or not. 

The court in Alicante decided that 49,000 euros will be given to Spanish healthcare workers who got sick with the COVID-19 virus while working without the appropriate personal protective equipment. There are 153 doctors eligible for such claims. Those who did not get sick are entitled to 5,000 euros. Spanish healthcare workers who were required to undergo isolation will receive 15,000 euros. Lastly, those who got COVID-19 but did not require hospitalization will be given 35,000 euros. 

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were challenges in providing enough personal protective equipment to the Spanish healthcare workers. This created a dangerous workplace for all those working at the hospitals. The court decided that the health administration of the regional government failed to fulfill its responsibility of providing adequate protection to Spanish healthcare workers ever since news of COVID-19 went around and even after declaring a national state of emergency. 

The current COVID-19 situation is still a challenge for the region’s healthcare system. There are an increasing number of cases where almost 25% of the capacity of critical care units is utilized by patients infected with COVID-19. Primary health care clinics must work overtime to provide healthcare services to those coming in. 

What is Personal Protective Equipment? 

Personal protective equipment recommended for healthcare workers during this COVID-19 pandemic includes face shields or goggles, clean and non-sterile gloves, an N95 respirator, and an isolation gown. In situations where an N95 respirator is unavailable, a face mask can be used instead. Using the aforementioned items will allow healthcare workers to minimize their risk of exposure and possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus when dealing with patients that have the said disease.

How should Healthcare Workers Don their Personal Protective Equipment? 

Healthcare workers should don their personal protective equipment properly to avoid contamination prior to use. Proper hand hygiene must be practiced before wearing the isolation gown. The gown size should be appropriate for the individual intending to wear it. All the ties on the isolation gown should be tied. Individuals can ask for help in doing so. 

Then, a NIOSH-approved N95 respirator or facemask should be worn. If available, the nosepiece on the respirator should not be bent or tented. Rather, it should appropriately fit the nose of the wearer. The mask should also cover the wearer’s chin. This should be done with the use of both hands. After this, a face shield or goggles should be utilized. Gloves should then be worn and should cover the wrists of the gown. With these, the healthcare worker can interact with the patient. 

Is there a Proper Way to take off the Personal Protective Equipment? 

The gloves should be removed, but care should be taken in order to prevent further contamination of the hands. Remove all the ties from the isolation gown by breaking or untying them. The gown should be gently pulled down and disposed of in the appropriate waste bin. After this, the healthcare worker can leave the patient’s room. 

Once outside, hand hygiene must be performed, and the face shield or goggles should be taken off. The respirator or facemask used should be removed without touching its front portion. Only the straps should come into contact with the wearer’s hands. Lastly, hand hygiene should be performed again to remove possible contagious particles acquired from the facemask. 

Spanish Healthcare Workers should be Protected

With this, the personal protective equipment mentioned above provides the necessary armor for healthcare workers who come into contact with patients of COVID-19. When the pandemic started, there was a lot of uncertainty about how serious the virus was, what could be done to manage patients, and how individuals could protect themselves. Healthcare workers continued to perform their responsibilities even without adequate support. However, this placed them at an increased risk.

This challenged the government to respond quickly and obtain the supplies needed so that the healthcare system could cope with the disease. There were a lot of limitations in the supply chain of such necessities, especially at the start of the pandemic. Healthcare workers should be compensated for the services that they have been continuously providing so that they can continue saving the lives of others and, at the same time, save their own lives.

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