Single-Use Gowns: The Superior Choice for Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare Settings

Single-Use Gowns: The Superior Choice for Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare Settings

Infection prevention and control in healthcare settings is of utmost importance and selecting the appropriate protective apparel plays a crucial role in ensuring patient and staff safety. Single-use gowns are the preferred choice for many healthcare facilities, offering numerous advantages over traditional reusable gowns. A single-use gown program provides many benefits in terms of infection prevention and control, environmental impact, cost, and supply chain efficiency, which is why PRIMED is proud to promote our single-use gown program.

Infection Prevention and Control: The Primary Goal

Consistent Protection with Single-Use Gowns

One of the main reasons healthcare professionals opt for single-use gowns is their reliable and consistent protection. Unlike reusable gowns, which may have varying levels of protection due to inconsistent laundering practices or wear and tear, single-use gowns provide the same level of protection every time. Wash counts can also be challenging to track and, as a result, the true life cycle of reusable gowns is difficult to capture. The consistency in protection of single-use gowns can significantly reduce the risk of infection transmission and helps maintain a safe environment for both patients and staff.

Reduced Risk of Cross-Contamination

Single-use gowns are designed to be worn once and then discarded. This practice minimizes the risk of cross-contamination, as there is no need for laundering or handling of contaminated gowns. In contrast, reusable gowns must be carefully laundered and stored to ensure they remain uncontaminated and do not spread infection. This process can be challenging to manage, particularly in busy healthcare settings where multiple staff members may be responsible for the handling and storage of gowns. With single-use gowns, there is no questioning whether it has been previously used or not.

Improved Barrier Performance

Reusable fabrics may allow bacteria to penetrate the material as they age, whereas single-use nonwovens will not. Studies have shown that laundered reusable fabrics can have diminished barrier capabilities compared to single-use nonwovens1. While this study was performed on drapes, the same risk applies to reusable gowns via wear and tear. This inconsistency can lead to an increased risk of infection transmission, making single-use gowns a more reliable option for infection prevention and control. PRIMED’s AAMI-rated single-use gowns are tested according to the AAMIPB70 Standards, the recognized standard in North America for liquid barrier performance, so users know exactly what type of protection they’ll be getting with their gowns every time they wear one.

Environmental Impact: A Sustainable Choice

Lightweight Materials

PRIMED's single-use gowns are made from lightweight materials, which not only ensures clinician comfort but also has a positive environmental impact. The reduced weight of PRIMED gowns means that less fuel is required for transportation, contributing to a lower carbon footprint.

Recycled Materials and Reduced Waste

In owning our own manufacturing facilities, PRIMED is able to prioritize sustainability by recycling scrap materials during the production process. This practice not only reduces waste but also contributes to a more environmentally friendly product. Additionally, PRIMED gowns come vacuum-packed in sealed polyethylene (PE) bags, which helps to minimize packaging waste and shipping volume.

No Paper Tags and Smaller Case Sizes

PRIMED has taken steps to reduce waste by switching from paper tags and opting for chest stamps instead. As a result of this switch, PRIMED expects to save almost 85,000 sqm in paper waste over the next five years – that’s the size of over 50 NHL rinks! Furthermore, smaller case sizes for packaging of single-use gowns result in less waste and further reductions in fuel required for transportation.

Cost-Effectiveness: Minimizing Supply Chain Costs

Supply Chain Efficiency

PRIMED's single-use gown program offers several benefits in terms of supply chain efficiency. As the demand for protective apparel skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, PRIMED proved our ability to consistently deliver products to healthcare facilities, even when other suppliers struggled. PRIMED was Canada's #1 non-contracted gown supplier throughout the pandemic. A pandemic stockpile program is also available to further mitigate against future supply disruptions. This reliability is essential in ensuring that healthcare workers have access to the necessary protective equipment at all times.

Inventory Management and Storage

Managing inventory and storage forreusable gowns can be a challenge, particularly in busy or smaller healthcare settings. Single-use gowns simplify inventory management, as they are used once and then discarded, alleviating the need for additional storage space and processing.

Reduced Laundry and Replacement Costs

While the initial cost of single-use gowns may be higher than reusable gowns, the long-term savings can be significant. Reusable gowns require laundering, which can be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, these gowns often need to be replaced due to wear and tear or loss, further increasing costs. In contrast, single-use gowns eliminate the need for laundering and replacement, resulting in overall cost savings.

Clinician Comfort: A Customizable Solution

Lighter and More Comfortable

As mentioned earlier, PRIMED's single-use gowns are made from lightweight materials, making them more comfortable for healthcare workers to wear. In fact, reusable gowns can be over400% heavier than single-use gowns, which can lead to discomfort and fatigue during long shifts.

Customizable Options

PRIMED offers a range of customization options to optimize the balance of protection and breathability. These options include various cuff designs, neck closures, open back versus full back designs, gown lengths, and AAMI Levels 1, 2, and 3. This flexibility allows healthcare facilities to choose the best gown for their specific needs, ensuring both safety and comfort.

A Clear Choice: Embracing Single-Use Gowns

When considering the advantages of single-use gowns in terms of infection prevention and control, environmental impact, cost-effectiveness, and clinician comfort, it is easy to see why they are the preferred choice for healthcare settings. By embracing single-use gowns, healthcare facilities can provide a safer environment for both their staff and patients while also contributing to a more sustainable and cost-effective future.

1Ashley Blom, Catalina Estela, Karen Bowker, Alasdair MacGowan,John RW Hardy. The passage of bacteria through surgical drapes. The RoyalCollege of Surgeons of England. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2000; 82: 405-407

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