Clear Mask Use in Clinical Settings
August 24, 2020
There is a clinical need for clear masks within MedStar Health to facilitate appropriate care delivery in certain populations where traditionally, level 1 or level 3 surgical/procedure masks would be required. Currently, there are 2 FDA approved clear masks. The Safe N’Clear is rated level 1 and The Clear Mask is rated level 3. Unfortunately, as of Monday, 8/24 both are on backorder.
If a clear mask isn’t available, consider whether you can use written communication, use closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a mask that blocks your lips.
When clear masks become available, follow the guidelines below:
Settings/situations/populations where clear masks may be indicated include but are not limited to:
- Populations with cognitive needs requiring lip reading or facial expression for comprehension
- Speech Language & Pathology
- Stroke patients
- Patients with Dementia
- Patients or associates with hearing impairments
- Interpreter Services
Healthcare Worker Use of Clear Masks:
- Healthcare workers would use clear masks ONLY with patients who are Asymptomatic and not on COVID precautions.
- Healthcare workers would NOT use clear masks with Symptomatic patients. For Symptomatic patients, healthcare workers must maintain all required PPE and use alternative methods of communication.
Patient Use of Clear Masks:
- Patients would use clear masks because the provider or associate is hearing impaired and needs to read lips.
- If a patient is asymptomatic, we are currently exploring options to source non-rated clear masks.
- If a patient is symptomatic, a level 1 or level 3 clear mask must be used.