There are all kinds of risks and dangers for those who work in the medical field. Because of this, there are many protective measures and sanitation protocols that need to be strictly followed. Janitorial work is especially tricky, but if in doubt, they’re always encouraged to overclean.
But, keeping the environment hygienic isn’t only the responsibility of cleaners. Each person working in a medical facility is expected to maintain an extreme level of cleanliness to make sure that infections don’t spread. One way they do this is by using specific protective gear such as scrub suits, gloves, and masks.
Medical gowns are another necessary protective gear because these help protect both the wearer and patients who might have weak immune systems. But, for most people who aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of what medical personnel wears, it can be confusing.
Before you put yourself down for not knowing more about it, there are many types of medical gowns to be worn, and it all depends on the situation. There are also disposable and reusable medical gowns, and the question is when should each gown be worn? You could also be wondering if one medical gown is better than the other.
For better understanding, it’s important to differentiate each type and to know its purpose. Read on below, and you can be better informed on both kinds of gowns.
- Different Levels of Medical Gowns
Knowing the risks that you encounter in a medical environment, it’s essential to wear the proper protective gear depending on the levels of risks. In this case, medical gowns are categorized according to 4 levels. The first level is the lowest level, and the fourth is the highest. Each medical gown has its level of precaution, as explained below.
- Level 1 CPE – These are disposable gowns used for primary care, visitors, and standard isolation.
- Level 2 – This medical gown comes in sterile and non-sterile options, as well as PP/PE or SMS materials. It’s still used for low-risk exposure and is commonly used by medical personnel who work in the ICU or undertake suturing or drawing blood.
- Level 3 – This category is used for moderate-risk environments and comes in sterile and non-sterile types. You’ll typically see these used by personnel working in the ER, those performing arterial blood and working in trauma cases.
- Level 4 – This type of medical gown is used for high-risk environments, so it’s commonly worn for surgery. It’s also worn during lengthy procedures and situations that are fluid-intense. It’s also worn when there are non-airborne infectious pathogens.
- Level 4 Coveralls – This gives the wearer high-level protection, especially from fluids. It comes in sterile and non-sterile options. Either way, it allows the wearer to move more quickly.
- Pros and Cons of Disposable Medical Gowns
Disposable medical gowns are great because they can simply be thrown away. There can be many visitors who’ll need a medical gown, and it’s going to be difficult to wash all of these. Having single-use medical gowns are more practical for this purpose. It has also been mentioned that disposable ones are more comfortable.
However, as mentioned, disposable ones don’t give the wearer as much protection. It wouldn’t be a good choice for high-risk environments. But, remember that it wasn’t made for that purpose, so it wouldn’t be good to compare it with gowns for high risk-protection.
- Pros and Cons of Reusable Medical Gowns
Reusable medical gowns provide more protection and are used for high-risk environments. This means that it can help the user prevent themselves from spreading infectious diseases. Other clothes worn in a medical setting, such as scrub suits, spread germs, especially the sleeves and pockets. Therefore, higher-level medical gowns would be needed to prevent this from happening.
Unlike disposable gowns, medical gowns need to be washed thoroughly. All kinds of materials can be contaminated, such as blankets, bedsheets, drapes, towels, clothing, scrub suits, gowns, uniforms, and patient apparel. There are specific processes that need to be followed when collecting, transporting, and sorting fabrics. Laundry processes are also different from how you would do laundry at home. The products used are also chosen for their quality and ability to sanitize the textiles. So, you can imagine that it takes more work to use reusable medical gowns. Still, their ability to protect the wearer and those around and prevent the spread of infectious diseases is far superior to disposable ones.
All in all, it all depends on the purpose. If you’re looking for protection, using reusable ones would be the optimum choice. But, if you’re using it in low-risk areas and require several of them to be used at one time, disposable ones are more practical.