Buying isolation gowns for your company? Here’s what you should consider:
PPE. It’s an acronym many, outside of the healthcare world could not define before this past year. Now, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone not in the know. My own three-year-old knows how close a person can get to her before she pulls that mask up over her little nose.
The rise in demand, panic buying and sudden halt in overseas supply left us in a scary place amidst a global pandemic. We all saw the pictures of the nurses wearing trash bags. In response, citizens dusted off old sewing machines and established companies repurposed existing production.
Here we are, 10 months later. The noble effort of so many Americans to protect our healthcare workers and public servants and the race to protect our community was an important one but now that the options are greater than trash bags, it’s time to look a little closer. What is the most protective, sustainable and cost-effective choice for your business to protect you from Covid-19 and other contagions? Here is a list of topics to consider:
- Protective design features-
- Does the back fully close? Many gowns tie in the back, or are designed to be open in the back, leaving a large gap of protection.
- How high is the neck? If you are often leaning over a patient in bed or chair, the neck and chest are an important area to protect.
- What do the cuffs look like? Are they long enough? Are they too tight? Are they too loose? Do they stay in the gloves when pulled on?
- How is the fit?
- Reusable versus Disposable- Disposables are common, and reusables come with some logistics tasks like laundry, but a reusable system comes with some hefty benefits
- A higher production quality and provide more comfort and breathability.
- Save money. Big money in the long term. To compare the cost of a reusable to a disposable, divide the cost of the reusable by the number of times it can be washed to get the per use cost. The per use cost is usually a fraction of single-use disposables.
- A smaller environmental footprint. Your isolation gown should be changed between each patient and every time you leave the room. For even small practices, this produces a decent amount of waste just in one day – and the cost for removal is high. Plus, way less storage needed. (see image 1)
- can accommodate additional protective features such as Velcro closures versus ties
- Is there a minimum purchase requirement?
- Many isolation gown suppliers require minimum purchases – sometimes in the thousands or more. Do you have the room to store all the gowns you are required to purchase? (see graphic 1)
- Have the gowns been tested to meet FDA standards?
- Many companies sourced a pattern online and jumped at the opportunity to help which was needed early on but may have been rushed and isn’t sustainable. Look for gowns that have been tested for fluid resistance and durability. How many times can your gown be washed (if reusable)?
- Who made the gown and where? Where are the materials sourced?
- This is an important question as, prior to the pandemic, the majority of PPE was obtained from foreign facilities leading to supply shortages once we were in crisis. It can be less expensive to obtain materials and manufacturing outside the US, but this factor was largely to blame for the shortages once we entered a state of emergency and overseas shipping became a problem. If materials and manufacturing occur within the US, you are less likely to experience a disruption.
Here at CareAline, we consulted with infectious disease specialists and nurses – ones that wore isolation gowns daily. Our features were requested by wearers to give you better protection that will save money and waste. They were tested, improved, and re-tested until all standards were exceeded.
-Velcro closures in the back offer full protection and can be donned and doffed independently
-High neck collar
-Thumbhole allows the wearer to comfortably tuck the cuff of the gown into the glove, almost completely eliminating any gaps at the wrist.
-Made with Miliken fabric technology that meets ANSI/AAMI PB70 standards
-Has been tested to withstand 100 industrial washes and likely more before degradation bringing the per use cost to $0.35 for level 1 and $0.40 for level 2 gowns
-2 sizes available with an option for custom fitting
-no minimum purchase requirement. Try one out and give it a try before you buy 100.
-made and sourced in the US by an established medical supply company registered with the FDA
All the pros of reusables have piqued your interest, but you are still trying to figure out how many you actually need – we can help.
How many gowns you need can be figured out by calculating how many single use (disposable) gowns you use in a day (or week), and then deciding how many times per week you want to launder them.
Here’s an example:
If your facility uses 100 gowns per day, and you launder once per week, you need to have 700 gowns on hand, and those gowns will last you about 100 weeks (which is just about 2 years) Alternatively, if you want to wash twice per week, you can have 400 gowns on hand, and the gowns will last about 52 weeks, which is one year. To compare the costs – if you purchased disposables for two years, at 100 gowns a day, it would be about $175,000 (at $2.50 per gown) – compared to $28,000 for the CareAline Level 2 reusable ($40 per gown) – that’s an 80% cost savings (not including the lower waste cost as you are then producing 99% less waste).
Let us know how we can help you stay safe while saving with reusable isolation gowns.
You will see the term “cost per use” above – this is the average cost of the item per time it is used (versus cost per unit which is what an individual unit costs). This is an important metric to use when comparing the cost and budget between disposable gowns and reusable gowns.