Gowns have many names, isolation gowns, surgical gowns, coverall gowns, and much more (but don’t push us to name them all). Even though they have more names than my memory has room for, they play a critical function in healthcare settings.
Their role is to prevent pathogens from penetrating the material thus protecting the wearer and preventing the spread to patients.
What Materials Make Up Gowns
Fibers are the smallest unit that make up the gown, thus the type and construction of them ultimately determine the safety of the gown. The most common materials are:
- Polypropylene (fabric-like)
- Polyethylene (plastic-like)
These materials can be combined to create a more secure and safe gown. For example by combining polyethylene (plastic) and polypropylene (fabric), you get an extra layer of protection to help with fluid.
What ANSI/AAMI PB70 Level
The goal of ANSI/AAMI PB70 is to establish a standard for usage of gowns based on their liquid barrier performance. Here is how I interpret it:
If it’s drizzling — wear a sweatshirt AKA Level 1 Gowns
If it’s raining — wear a rainjacket AKA Level 2 Gowns
If you’re jumping in the ocean — either don’t or wear a wetsuit AKA Level 3 Gowns
For detailed testing requirements, please visit the CDC.
What Makes a Good Patient Bib?
- Is it made from AAMI PB70 Level 2 tested material? This is important to protect against penetration of pathogens and fluid.
- Does it easily rip? If I bend over or reach up and it rips, think about a different one
- Does it comply with regulatory agencies? OSHA, CDC want to keep you safe, ensure that you are or else you might end up ….. like this
- How comfortable is it? If you feel like you’re working inside a plastic bag, maybe it’s time to change
- Was it designed to be easily removed? Make sure it’s easily removable so that you don’t spread the bacteria and pathogens after use.
- Is it medical? Probably should’ve put this first, but ensure that it’s a medical gown and not a civil-use t-shirt labeled as gown