SBC: Information for Social Care staff | Coronavirus | Revised national PPE guidance


  • Urgent work has been under way to review the existing UK-wide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidance and revised guidance has now been published.
  • The guidance can be accessed via the HPE website. It outlines what PPE frontline and social care workers should be wearing in different settings and scenarios.
  • This update reflects the fact that COVID-19 is now widespread in the community, meaning care workers are more likely to see people with the virus, some of who will not have symptoms yet.
  • Within the guidance there are now tables which clearly explain the PPE required for different common clinical and care scenarios. The tables have been summarised and the ones applicable to you are included below.


  • The guidance states that in certain circumstances some PPE, particularly masks and eye protection, can be worn for a full session and doesn’t need to be changed between patients. This approach is supported by the Health and Safety Executive.
  • The guidance advises that for delivery of care to any individual meeting criteria for shielding (vulnerable groups) in any setting, as a minimum, single use disposable plastic aprons, gloves and a surgical mask must be worn for the protection of the patient.


  • The attached table provide a summary breakdown of the PPE required to protect you. Full tables can be found online.
Setting Context Disposable Gloves     MUST WEAR Disposable Plastic Aprons   MUST WEAR Surgical  mask   Fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical mask   Eye/face protection1  
Individuals own home (current place of residence)   Direct care to any member of the household where any member of the household is a possible or confirmed case (see 3,7 below)     Single use (4)   Single use (4)     Single or sessional use (4,5)   Risk assess single or sessional use (4,5,8)  
Direct care or visit to any individuals in the extremely vulnerable group or where a member of the household is within the extremely vulnerable group undergoing shielding (9)   Single use (4)     Single use (4)   Single use (4)      
Residential or direct patient care Direct patient/resident care assessing an individual that is not currently a possible or confirmed case (2) (within 2 metres) Single use (4)   Single use (4)     Risk Assess single /sessional use (4, 5) Risk Assess single / sessional use (4, 5)
Community-care home, mental health inpatients and other overnight care facilities e.g. learning disability, hospices, prison healthcare   Facility with possible or confirmed case(s) (3) – and direct resident care (within 2 metres)   Single use (4)   Single use (4)     Sessional use (5) Risk assess single or sessional use (4,5,8)  

1. This may be single or reusable face/eye protection/full face visor or goggles.

2.  The full list of aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) is within the IPC guidance [note APGs are undergoing a further review at present].

3.  A case is any individual meeting case definition for a possible or confirmed case:

4.  Single use refers to disposal of PPE or decontamination of reusable items e.g. eye protection or respirator, after each patient and/or following completion of a procedure, task, or session; dispose or decontaminate reusable items after each patient contact as per Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs).

5.  A single session refers to a period of time where a health care worker is undertaking duties in a specific care setting/exposure environment e.g. on a ward round; providing ongoing care for inpatients. A session ends when the health care worker leaves the care setting/exposure environment. Sessional use should always be risk assessed and considered where there are high rates of hospital cases. PPE should be disposed of after each session or earlier if damaged, soiled, or uncomfortable.

6.  Non clinical staff should maintain 2m social distancing, through marking out a controlled distance; sessional use should always be risk assessed and considered where there are high rates of community cases.

7.  Initial risk assessment should take place by phone prior to entering the premises or at 2 metres social distance on entering; where the health or social care worker assesses that an individual is symptomatic with suspected/confirmed cases appropriate PPE should be put on prior to providing care.

8. Risk assessed use refers to utilising PPE when there is an anticipated/likely risk of contamination with splashes, droplets or blood or body fluids.

9. For explanation of shielding and definition of extremely vulnerable groups see guidance:

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