COVID-19 places a strong emphasis on personal protective equipment (PPE), and infection control in Senior Living communities. Senior Living communities want to ensure the safety of residents, staff, and visitors. When PPE is scarce, it can be difficult to choose PPE gowns or isolation gowns. The decision to choose PPE gowns or isolation gowns can be difficult during crisis times when there are many of them per day, and even per shift. These are key questions and considerations.
What are Isolation Gowns?
The isolation gown is designed to protect frontline staff and caregivers from fluid penetration, infectious droplets, and solids. It also helps prevent the transmission of microorganisms to residents.
Two main types of isolation gowns are available for healthcare purposes: non-surgical and surgical.
- A surgical gown A personal protective garment that is worn by healthcare personnel during surgery to protect the patient and the personnel against the transmission of microorganisms, fluids, and particulate matter.
- Isolation or non-surgical gowns These are Class I devices that are exempted from premarket review and are designed to protect the wearer against the transmission of microorganisms or body fluids in low- or minimal risk patient isolation settings. Non-surgical gowns should not be worn during invasive procedures or surgical procedures.
Find out the Protection Standards Level
There are four levels below the standard
- Level 1 – Minimum risk. To be used in basic care, standard isolation or cover gowns for visitors.
- Level 2 – Low Risk, to be used for a blood draw, suturing in the Intensive Care Unit, or a pathology laboratory.
- Level 3 – Moderate Risk. To be used in an emergency room or for trauma cases, such as arterial blood draw or inserting an intravenous line (IV), or during arterial blood drawing
- Level 4 – High Risk, to be used when pathogen resistance or suspected infectious diseases (non-airborne).
To combat the spread of COVID-19, senior living facilities should have a Level 1 basic fluid resistance. A gown with a higher rating is not necessary as there is no risk of blood, or other bodily fluids being transmitted. A surgical gown with a higher level rating is recommended for fluid-resistance requirements.
The Product Name is less important than the product label
We use the term isolation gown for these purposes. However, you should not pay too much attention to the product name (e.g. nursing gown, isolation gown, or procedural gown). You should pay more attention to the function, intended use, and protection level. This information will be clearly displayed on the label or packaging.
The primary goals of the COVID-19 pandemic are to protect senior living staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. A non-surgical isolation gown with a level 1 basic fluid resistance is sufficient. A surgical gown with a higher rating is not necessary as there is no risk of blood or other bodily fluids being transmitted.
Consider the purpose, material and clean vs. sterile when choosing isolation gowns for healthcare settings
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you consider these three factors when selecting gowns for healthcare settings.
The primary goals of the COVID-19 pandemic are to protect senior living staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. Sometimes, a level 1 basic fluid resistance is sufficient.
What materials are used to make isolation gowns or medical gowns? The most common material for isolation gowns is cotton (or a synthetic material such as polyester) (reusable gowns), or polyethylene (disposable gowns). They can also be made without latex. Synthetic materials block fluids better than cotton and are therefore preferred to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Sterile vs. Clean
For isolation, clean isolation gowns can be used. Sterile gowns can be used for more invasive procedures such as inserting a central line. A clean isolation gown is ideal for COVID-19.
How easy is it to put on and take off an isolation gown?
A gown can be contaminated by the ease or difficulty of its removal and insertion.
What size and what fit do you need?
Each staff member in a non-COVID-19 society would have a perfectly fitting gown. In the current PPE shortage, this may not be possible in many areas of the country. A universal size may be the best option. It is critical to ensure that the gown provides enough movement for the wearer to complete their tasks, while also covering as much of their skin as possible.
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