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How to choose the right PPE gown

a man wearing protective clothing in the clinic

Photo by Ivan Babydov on

A Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as the Kimberly Clark Gowns, acts as a personal layer of defence against infection and contact with any hazardous material. It also prevents the cross-transfer of microorganisms between a patient and a healthcare worker. It’s for this reason that protective gowns are the second most widely used PPE.

Find out more about this versatile safety equipment, and determine which ones suit your need.

Types based on End-user:

Over 180,000 patients in Australia suffer from healthcare associated illnesses (HAIs) annually. Wearing a PPE reduces the risk of infection significantly. The risk further dips if both the healthcare workers and patients wear medical gowns.

Surgical: Gowns meant to be used in long surgeries offer a high degree of comfort and protection. They come in fabrics ranging from non-reinforced to entirely impervious. Such gowns are usually flame resistant, resistant to fluid strikethrough and abrasion.

Patient: Gowns meant for patient use are designed with hassle-free fasteners that don’t interfere with any intravenous lines attached to the patient. They are made of comfortable fabric that can be repeatedly laundered.

Non-surgical: Such gowns are intended to protect the wearer in low-risk situations. The sleeves and front of such gowns are made from fabric that provides a high level of protection against fluid strikethrough.

Tip: Top gown manufacturers provide colour-coded neckbands on the gowns for easy identification of its offered protection and intended use.

Types based on risk level:

Gowns are a part of a larger family of protective equipment that includes Coveralls, Aprons and Drapes. The AAMI categorizes them into four types, based on the level of protection they offer. Level 1 type provides minimal protection against a spray of hazardous liquid, while level 4 type PPE acts as a robust barrier.

You can use Level 1 type of gowns during basic care, standard isolation, and as a cover gown for visitors. For example, Kimberly Clark Gowns use SMS fabric which is designed to protect the wearer from hazardous fluids and microbes.

A Level 2 type of gown can be used while drawing blood, at a pathology lab, and in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). High-quality gowns intended for this use are made of reinforced fabric that can withstand some fluid strikethrough.

You can use level 3 gowns while drawing arterial blood, inserting an Intravenous (IV) line, or trauma cases. 43% of medical gowns used in Australia fall under this category. Gowns meant to withstand a level 3 risk are made of a combination of polymer and fabric-reinforced material.

A Level 4 type of gown is used when you need pathogen resistance, or suspect non-airborne infectious diseases.

Types based on usability:

Non-disposable: These gowns can be cleaned and re-used. Isolation gowns are usually non-disposable.

Disposable: Nearly 73% of gowns used in Australian hospitals in 2020 were disposable. Top gown manufacturers offer a wide selection of sizes and types in this category of gowns. You can avail of pre-sterilized gowns in this category. Sterile gowns are usually necessary while performing invasive procedures.

Consider the risks associated with the patient and determine whether a clean gown will suffice or whether a new, sterile one is needed.

PPEs are a keystone in the safety-control arch that bridges healthcare worker service and patient needs. Providing your army of hospital staff with the right equipment ensures their well-being, and improves your productivity.

Written By: Ellen Hollington