The clinical settings require a number of special medical equipment, accessories for performing any clinical examination or procedure. These have led to a significant improvement in the present health care services all around the world. These are manufactured in large quantities to meet the demand of the present time.
Among the different medical devices and attires used, clinical apparels have an important role especially in scenarios where invasive procedures like surgeries are performed. The surgical procedures require utmost sterility in the immediate surroundings and thus the gowns have to be germ free and sterile to minimize the risk of infecting any patient undergoing surgery. The disposable dresses were developed for fulfilling this purpose. The management of the used gowns is challenging.
The medical disposable gowns are usually made up of non woven materials like polypropylene which are both fluid resistant and stain resistant. But these when worn for long durations can also cause discomfort to the surgeons performing various procedures in the operation theatres. The disposable one’s are also linked with the heavy burden of solid waste. The energy and blue water usage for its production was also in excess due to the large amount of products being manufactured.
Classification Of This Protective Apparel Used In Healthcare Settings
As the pandemic continues, the use of OT gown is now becoming popular. They are part of PPE. In this time, the demand for gowns from the public is also increasing. These gowns can significantly help people to protect themselves.
Surgical Gown: Any level of risk can be covered with surgical gowns. It is a personal protective garment that can be worn by medical personnel during surgery to protect the patient and the personnel from any possible transmission of microorganisms. All gowns must be labeled.
Medical Isolation Gowns: These are used when there is a medium to more risk of contamination. There is a need for larger critical zones. All areas of the gown except (bindings, cuffs, and hems) are considered critical zones of protection. All seams must be protected as well.
Non-Surgical Gowns: They are used to protect the wearer from the transfer of microorganisms and body fluids in low or minimal risk situations. When there is a medium to very enhanced risk of contamination, they are not worn during surgical procedures, invasive procedures.
Points To Consider While Choosing This Medical Attire
One should consider three things when choosing gowns for healthcare settings. Purpose: Who will be wearing the gown, in what setting will they be working, what are the possible types of risks. Answers to those questions , determine what type of gowns one needs. Materials: What are isolation gowns made of, mostly these gowns are made from polyethylene. Reusable isolation gowns are made from synthetic materials, such as polyester. They can also be latex-free.
Selecting the correct level of gown depends on the protection needed for the circumstances. Patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, please use non-sterile gowns, which are used for routine patient care in healthcare settings. For medical professionals engaging in activities where the risk of bodily fluid exposure is minimal, gowns that claim minimal levels of barrier protection can be used. For situations where medium to high-risk levels of contamination and need for a large critical zone, these gowns that claim moderate to high barrier protection can be used.
The most important risk with using these gown is as already mentioned the spread of cross infection on reuse. To overcome this problem proper disinfection processes have to be performed on used OT dresses. The soiled dresses are first washed in laundry using water and detergent and then disinfected using disinfecting solutions. After that they are autoclaved at high temperature to kill any remnant germs or microbes present on it.
The sustainable gown is made up of special materials that are heat resistant to withstand the high temperatures of the autoclave process. After it has been used for a reasonable number of times, these gowns can be disposed of by burning them in an incinerator, sometimes these are disposed of in landfills. These gowns can also be used in other industries thus producing almost zero solid waste.
There has been research that shows that the use of these gowns in the health care sectors are associated with reduced amount of waste production in terms of mass and the emission of greenhouse gases from combustion has also reduced. The amounts of energy resources and water resources used for manufacturing has also significantly reduced when these sustainable apparels are used.
Thus the use of reusable sustainable dresses has proven to be environment friendly and also has reduced economic burden of its production in the long term. Although there are situations where still the reusable gowns are to be used for example in very high risk surgeries.