April 25, 2023 3 min read

Isolation gowns used in hospitals are an important piece of the personal protective equipment (PPE) that is worn in healthcare facilities to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases from one person to another (both patients and healthcare workers). Isolation gowns prevent wearers from coming into direct contact with potentially infectious materials such as blood, bodily fluids, and other substances. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where healthcare workers have been at the forefront of the fight against the virus, the use of isolation gowns has become even more critical.

In this article, we will take a more in-depth look at hospital isolation gowns, discussing their characteristics, different types, and various applications. In addition to that, some of the difficulties that have arisen throughout their production and supply chain will be discussed.

Isolation Gowns of Hospitals: Key Characteristics

Nonwoven materials, such as spunbond-meltblown-spunbond (SMS) fabric, are typically used in the manufacturing process of hospital isolation gowns. One layer of SMS fabric is composed of spunbond polypropylene, another layer of SMS fabric is composed of meltblown polypropylene, and the final layer of SMS fabric is composed of spunbond polypropylene. This material provides an exceptional degree of defense against the infiltration of fluids and the contamination caused by bacteria. In addition, the material is not heavy, it allows air to circulate, and it is pleasant to wear even for long periods of time.

The purpose for which an isolation gown is being used can also determine the level of protection offered by the garment. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has defined four different levels of protection for gowns, ranging from level 1 (which provides the least amount of protection) all the way up to level 4. (maximum protection). The extent of protection that will be necessary will be determined by the kind of procedure that is being carried out as well as the likelihood of being exposed to infectious materials.

Different Varieties of Isolation Gowns Used in Hospitals

In hospitals, patients typically wear one of two different kinds of isolation gowns: either a disposable gown or a reusable gown. The majority of disposable gowns are constructed from SMS material and are intended for a single use only. Because they are so simple to throw away after use, these gowns are not only practical but also very cost-effective. On the other hand, the widespread use of disposable gowns has contributed to a substantial amount of medical waste, which can have an adverse effect on the environment.

On the other hand, gowns that can be reused are typically constructed from more long-lasting materials such as polyester or polypropylene. These gowns are constructed to withstand multiple washings and can be used multiple times before finally needing to be thrown away. It is better for the environment to use reusable gowns rather than disposable gowns, but the process of cleaning and sterilizing reusable gowns takes more time and resources.

Functions of Isolation Gowns in Hospitals

Hospital isolation gowns are worn by medical personnel in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, amongst others. They are an essential component of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers who may come into contact with infectious materials or the bodily fluids of patients. The following are some common applications for isolation gowns:

Procedures that take place in the operating room Isolation gowns are worn in the operating room to prevent the spread of infections among patients, healthcare workers, and other people who are undergoing surgical procedures.

Isolation gowns are a standard component of infection control protocols, and their primary purpose is to contain the spread of contagious diseases. When caring for patients who have contagious illnesses such as COVID-19, Ebola, or tuberculosis, healthcare workers may choose to wear isolation gowns.

Patient care: Isolation gowns are worn in patient care settings to protect healthcare workers from being exposed to bodily fluids, blood, or other potentially infectious materials. This is done in order to maintain patient confidentiality. It is possible to wear them while providing patients with medication, carrying out medical procedures, or providing patients with assistance with daily activities.

Concerns Regarding the Production Process and the Supply Chain

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light some of the difficulties that are present in the manufacturing and distribution chain for hospital isolation gowns. The increased demand for personal protective equipment has put a lot of pressure on manufacturers to crank out more gowns as quickly as they can, which has resulted in some problems with quality control. Because of the high demand for these gowns, some manufacturers have resorted to using materials of a lower quality in order to keep up with production. This can cause the gowns to be less effective.