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coronavirus, COVID-19, enabler, facial injury, friction, medical device-related pressure injury, N95 mask, oxygen saturation, personal protective equipment, silicone dressing, skin



  1. Smart, Hiske RN, MA (Nur), PG Dip WHTR, IIWCC
  2. Opinion, Francis Byron RN, MAN (UP), ADON
  3. Darwich, Issam RN, BSc
  4. Elnawasany, Manal Aly RN, BSc
  5. Kodange, Chaitanya MBBS, MD(Psy), DMM, DHA, IIWCC


OBJECTIVE: To determine if a repurposed silicone-based dressing used underneath an N95 mask is a safe and beneficial option for facial skin injury prevention without compromising the mask's seal.


METHODS: Since February 21, 2020, staff in high-risk areas such as the ED and ICU of King Hamad University Hospital have worn N95 masks when performing aerosol-generating procedures to protect against the novel coronavirus 2019. At that time, without education enablers or resources that could be directly translated into practice, the hospital's Pressure Injury Prevention Committee explored, created, and tested a stepwise process to protect the skin under these masks while ensuring that it did not interfere with the effectiveness of the N95 mask seal.


RESULTS: Skin protection was achieved by repurposing a readily available silicone border dressing cut into strips. This was tested on 10 volunteer staff members of various skin types and both sexes. Oxygen saturation values taken before and after the 4-hour wear test confirmed that well-fitted facial protection did not compromise the mask seal, but rather improved it. Staff also self-reported increased comfort with less friction. An educational enabler to prevent MDRPI from N95 mask wear was an important additional resource for the staff.


CONCLUSIONS: This creative and novel stepwise process of developing a safe skin protection method enabling staff to apply a repurposed silicone border dressing beneath an N95 mask was largely effective and aided by the creation of the enabler.