The Joint Commission issues statement supporting use of personal face masks provided from home amid COVID-19 pandemic

Tuesday, March 31 2020

Maureen Lyons
Corporate Communications

(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, March 31, 2020) – The Joint Commission today issued a statement supporting the use of standard face masks and/or respirators provided from home when health care organizations cannot provide access to protective equipment that is commensurate with the risk health care workers are exposed to amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In taking this position, The Joint Commission recognizes:

  1. Hospitals must conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) when these items are in short supply to protect staff who perform high-risk procedures.
  2. The degree to which privately-owned masks and respirators will increase the protection of health care workers is uncertain. However, the balance of evidence suggests that it is positive.
  3. No Joint Commission standards or other requirements prohibit staff from using PPE provided from home.
  4. Homemade masks are an extreme measure and should be used only when standard PPE of proven protective value is unavailable. 

The Joint Commission is painfully aware of the current shortages of PPE, ventilators, and swab kits at hospitals and other health care organizations across the nation. It recently issued a public statement on shortages of critical medical equipment that strongly 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. 

To access The Joint Commission’s free guidance and resources on COVID-19, please visit https://www.jointcommission.org/covid-19/.

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About The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 22,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

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