This statement from the Joint Commission encourages healthcare facilities to allow staff to bring and use their own face masks or respirators throughout the day when the facility is unable to provide adequate access to protective equipment.
The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies over 22,000 U.S. health care organizations, issued the statement in response to multiple reports of hospitals prohibiting staff from using their own face masks or respirators. Masks, respirators, and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been subject to significant shortages at many facilities. However, some health care facilities have objected to staff use of private PPE based on existing hospital policy, the uncertain safety of unapproved equipment, potential increase in patient fear or stress, and inequality in staff PPE access. The Joint Commission statement acknowledges these concerns, but emphasizes both the need to protect staff and to conserve scarce PPE and other supplies for higher-risk procedures, such as intubation. The statement also notes that no Joint Commission standards or other requirements prohibit staff use of privately-owned PPE.