Which Gown, When?

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Understanding the categories of protection afforded by UniGown’s range of products

In the scramble to access high-quality and regulated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), it can be confusing to know what the current governmental guidance is on the deployment of different categories of products. To make this easier, we’ve created a simple set of guidelines which draws upon the latest best practice regulations for deploying PPE in different healthcare and medical settings. 

As providers of gowns to frontline workers across the NHS and Private sectors, SDS Protection has accrued significant insight into how each of our specialist products work within the UniGown range. Current recommendations on deployment of gowns in healthcare sectors suggests that there is a clear need for gowns in a number of settings, to maximise protection for frontline staff in hospital, dentistry and care environments.

This is the combined result of experts in infection control working with front line clinicians to provide the best guidance on the protection and safety of all healthcare staff, in any circumstances, based on scientific evidence; while taking into account the real-life clinical circumstances faced by staff and the concerns they have raised about their own, and their patients’, safety”.

Professor Carrie MacEwen, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

Navigating the mixed messages relating to use of gowns

Over recent weeks, the government has issued contradictory advice pertaining to how and when gowns should be deployed, which has been promoted by increasing demand and subsequent shortages experienced by many of our fellow gown providers. Public Health England have indicated that ‘some compromise is needed to optimise the supply of PPE in terms of extreme shortages’, and suggested that gowns be reserved for surgical operations and procedures which are likely to transmit respiratory pathogens.

However, this recommendation has been made purely in response to shortages, and not as a result of revisions to the scientific evidence – which indicates gowns are required in any healthcare setting where there is a risk of onward transmission through respiratory droplets. In response to the revised recommendations, a spokesperson from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said surgeons should not risk their health if fluid repellent gowns or coveralls were not available, indicating that he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the new guidance. 

We will continue to provide our products to clinical and healthcare staff across the UK, working to overcome the procurement challenges faced by many frontline workers. In the meantime, the following summarises which of our products are recommended for various clinical settings:

Recognising which of our products are recommended for specific healthcare settings

Currently, government guidance indicates that gowns are not required for working in community healthcare settings, such as care homes. The recommendation is that any clinical or care professional working within two metres of a confirmed, or suspected, patient with the Coronavirus should deploy an apron, gloves, a surgical mask and eye protection. 

For those clinicians responsible for undertaking tasks that could generate airborne droplets, it is recommended that gowns are a key element of the wider PPE portfolio.

Standard Surgical Gown

Our Standard Surgical Gowns are intended to be worn by a healthcare professional, during surgical procedures. They are effective in protecting both the wearer and the patient from the potential transfer of micro-organisms, particulate matter and bodily fluids. They protect the ‘critical zones’ of the wearer, from the front of the body (from the top of the shoulders) to the knees, and the arms from the cuff of the wrist to above the elbow. When used in conjunction with appropriate gloves, masks, and visors, they are suitable to be deployed by healthcare practitioners when attending to the care requirements of individuals infected with the Covid-19 virus or other respiratory pathogens.

Reinforced Surgical Gown

Our Reinforced Surgical Gowns are intended to minimise the transfer of infective agents between patient and healthcare staff during surgical and other invasive procedures. The use of surgical gowns with resistance to the penetration of fluids can also reduce the risk to healthcare staff from infective agents carried in blood or body fluids. In some cases, these gowns may be supplied non-sterile (labelled as such) and therefore should be used accordingly. As Covid-19 is thought to be spread predominantly through airborne particles, this product provides suitable and appropriate protection against infection risks, when used in conjunction with appropriate gloves, visors and face masks.

Isolation Gown

Surgical isolation gowns are used when there is a medium to high risk of contamination and a need for larger critical zones than traditional surgical gowns.  All areas of the surgical isolation gownexcept bindings, cuffs, and hems are considered ‘critical zones’ of protection and must meet the highest liquid barrier protection level for which the gown is rated. All seams must have the same liquid barrier protection as the rest of the own. Additionally, the fabric of the surgical isolation gown should cover as much of the body as is appropriate for the intended use.

Choosing products that are fully compliant with UK regulations governing Personal Protective Equipment

Gowns, like other forms of Personal Protective Equipment, are required to comply with an established suite of standards to ensure that they are durable, appropriate and fit for purpose in safeguarding the wearer – and patients – against the risks associated with splashes and airborne pathogens. 

All of our products are fully compliant and tested in accordance of the regulatory requirements specified within: BS EN13795:2019; EN ISO 13485:2016 and Medical Devices MDD/93/42/ECC Annex IX. This means you can rely on SDS Protection to uphold your safety, when working on the frontline of the Healthcare sector.