Researchers have developed custom, reusable isolation gowns they say could help ensure that gowns are available during shortages, such as those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and help reduce waste.
They described the gown at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology conference.
According to a press release, the five-hospital Inova Health System based in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., used 3.1 million single-use, disposable gowns each year before the COVID-19 pandemic, amounting to about 213 tons of waste. Once the pandemic hit, these items were in short supply.
“During the pandemic when supplies were scarce, we used any gowns that we were able to procure that met infection prevention standards, regardless of the brand,” Michelle Peninger, BSMT, CIC, assistant vice president of infection prevention at Inova, said in the press release. “Our infection prevention team realised we had an opportunity to create a better gown that would protect our frontline workers and reduce waste.”
According to the study, the researchers tried several varieties of disposable and reusable gowns, and gathered “a substantial amount” of feedback from users, infection prevention specialists and members of the supply chain, which helped them resolve problems in protection, comfort, fit, and ease of donning and doffing. They worked with a sports apparel manufacturer to produce the gowns, which can be laundered up to 100 times.
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Date: 22 June