Ventilated headboard hood protects healthcare workers

A new study by Monash University provides evidence that a simple ventilated headboard hood can stop the spread of SARS-CoV2 between patients and healthcare workers in hospital wards.

The research published in The European Respiratory Journal, led by research fellows Dr Simon Joosten from Monash School of Clinical Sciences and Dr Shane Landry from Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, is the first study of its kind to track the flow of airborne virus particles in a sealed ‘phage dome’ testing room.

The study found that when a mask used to deliver oxygen/ventilation to a patient leaks, it actually causes healthcare workers to be exposed to virus particles. Even low amounts of leak greatly elevated the risk.

However, with the use of a ventilated headboard hood, combined with a HEPA air filter in place, the problem is eliminated, which could help healthcare workers stay safe.

“Our study showed that when a mask used to deliver non-invasive ventilation leaks, it can lead to viruses escaping and landing on basically every surface in a room, even up to 3.86 metres away.

This has major safety considerations for open wards and could explain the increased risk of infections in healthcare workers,” Dr Joosten says.

Dr Landry comments that the researchers were “surprised and pleased” by just how effective very cheaply constructed ventilated headboard worked.

“To test it we released 1 billion (1,000,000,000) viruses into the hood and not a single one escaped!”

With Victoria’s healthcare workers accounting for 10% of second wave cases and infections on the rise overseas, researchers are hoping this new evidence will give hospitals worldwide a cheap and simple intervention that doesn’t require major infrastructure changes and will improve quality of care and save lives.

Click here to access the research paper.