How often is a TB Mask Fit Testing done?

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Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

OK, so who knows how often this REALLY has to be done?

My hospital recently instituted annual fit testing, which seems pointless unless you gain or lose a whole bunch of weight, grow a beard or otherwise change the size and shape of your face. I was last fit-tested in 1999, and to be honest, even the prospect of doing it even ONE more time sends me into orbit, as I am EXTREMELY claustrophobic and dang near lost it the last time they put that plastic hood over my head.......I don't have a problem wearing the respirator itself, just being tested for the right size. :uhoh21:

Assuming I can't get out of it (and that's a pretty good assumption), is there ANY other way to do fit-testing? I was ready to run for the Ativan this afternoon when I got the notice that I had to make an appointment for it, and I'm hyperventilating just thinking about it........it's embarrassing to be such a wuss, but if you put me in the middle of the Houston Astrodome and I couldn't get out, I'd panic!! So the plastic thingie over the head and face is not something I deal with very well......HELP!! :o

I don't know. Maybe you can talk to them one on one and explain you're clastrophobia.

Yearly testing seems a little too often to me, too. Good luck!

Yearly? We were told every 2 to 3 years. I guess with weight gain, loss , normal development..etc.

rnmi2004

Specializes in private duty/home health, med/surg. Has 10+ years experience.

Our facility has this same policy. Since the hospital has to pay for this testing, I am assuming it is mandated by one of the many organizations that come up with policies.

To the OP: when I was fit tested for my job, they didn't do the hood over the head thing. It was just the face mask hooked up to a tube. So maybe since you've last had fit testing, they've bought a new system? I had to do fit testing for my nursing program in the last semester, and that one had the hood, but apparently that isn't the only way to fit test. Good luck!

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

Thanks! I just talked to the employee health nurse's secretary, who didn't know if there was an alternative to the traditional fit-testing method, but said she'd tell him about my little 'problem', so maybe he'll find another way to do it.

Really, with all the important things going on out there in the world, I feel silly making a fuss about something so mundane, but I can't help it.........I'm not an overly anxious person, but present me with any type of closed-in situation and I freak out. You all should have seen me when I had the resting part of my heart scan a few weeks ago......they slid me under this huge camera, which wasn't over my face but right up close, and I fought the panic for four long minutes before I finally signaled to the techs to GET ME OUT OF THERE NOW!!! I had to have IV Ativan and a co-worker holding my hand through the whole procedure, which lasted all of 20 minutes.......gads, what a wimp. :o

TMPaul

Has 24 years experience.

mjlrn97 said:
OK, so who knows how often this REALLY has to be done?

My hospital recently instituted annual fit testing, which seems pointless unless you gain or lose a whole bunch of weight, grow a beard or otherwise change the size and shape of your face. I was last fit-tested in 1999, and to be honest, even the prospect of doing it even ONE more time sends me into orbit, as I am EXTREMELY claustrophobic and dang near lost it the last time they put that plastic hood over my head.......I don't have a problem wearing the respirator itself, just being tested for the right size. :uhoh21:

Assuming I can't get out of it (and that's a pretty good assumption), is there ANY other way to do fit-testing? I was ready to run for the Ativan this afternoon when I got the notice that I had to make an appointment for it, and I'm hyperventilating just thinking about it........it's embarrassing to be such a wuss, but if you put me in the middle of the Houston Astrodome and I couldn't get out, I'd panic!! So the plastic thingie over the head and face is not something I deal with very well......HELP!! :o

We've suspended our annual fit testing - OSHA has suspended the annual requirement until further notice.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

I have no idea what the required fit-testing is for our facility, but our dept. does them once a year.

rjflyn, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency. Has 23 years experience.

It was as the orignial poster stated that fit testing only occured once or if any changes occured. Recently however OSHA- a federal agency mandated that fit testing occur on a yearly basis. Truthfully the change occurred a couple years ago but it took that long for the rule to take effect.

As far as I know the only option is the hood over the head test. Beyond that the only other option would to not be fit tested then you could never care for any pateints that require the use of a N-95 mask.

rj:rolleyes:

LilRedRN1973

Specializes in ICU, psych, corrections. Has 8 years experience.

We have to get fitted once a year, but I am one of those lucky ones who don't fit the normal N95's we carry so I get to wear the papper...LOL. I feel like I'm in a sci-fi movie with that damn thing on.

Melanie = )

prmenrs, RN

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control. Has 42 years experience.

I've had it done twice. And I work in area that [hopefully] will never, ever require me to use one. :rolleyes:

rnmi2004 said:
Our facility has this same policy. Since the hospital has to pay for this testing, I am assuming it is mandated by one of the many organizations that come up with policies.

To the OP: when I was fit tested for my job, they didn't do the hood over the head thing. It was just the face mask hooked up to a tube. So maybe since you've last had fit testing, they've bought a new system? I had to do fit testing for my nursing program in the last semester, and that one had the hood, but apparently that isn't the only way to fit test. Good luck!

How can you check for odors coming in around the mask, if there is no hood? That is one of the main requirements now of FIT testing. This is the only way to do the FIT-testing...............One of the checks also involves how you do with breathing under the hood.

prmenrs said:
I've had it done twice. And I work in area that [hopefully] will never, ever require me to use one. :rolleyes:

I currently am working in PICU, and we have had several "little ones", only a few weeks old that were positive for TB. So, unfortunately, you can never say never anymore.