The gowns have been designed with comfort in mind and are made from an antiviral material.
Gowns which protect nurses from viruses like COVID-19 could be safer, more comfortable and sustainable thanks to research by Nottingham Trent University.
A team led by Professor Katherine Townsend, of the Nottingham School of Art & Design, is working in collaboration with Dr Sonja Sterman from the University of Maribor, to redesign the isolation gown to be reusable while enhancing fit and protection.
The new gown prototypes are being sampled in a polyester and carbon textile specially developed in the UK, which has antiviral properties and can be washed in temperatures high enough to kill off all viruses and bacteria.
This fabrication would allow for the gowns to be safely reused after washing, helping reduce the impact on the environment, as most existing isolation gowns are disposed of after a single use.
The gown designs have been based on feedback given by healthcare workers who are treating people with COVID-19, including nursing staff from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Diaverum UK.
A key development – based on user feedback – is the improved comfort for the wearer, to allow nurses to perform their roles with greater ease.
The current PPE is uncomfortable.
Professor Townsend added: “Our designs are in response to COVID-19 and beyond – they are intended to support health workers who are treating people in any acute care context.
“Most nurses told us that while existing PPE makes them feel protected, it can often be uncomfortable to wear, due to poor fit and fabric quality, which were the common problems presented to us.
“Comfort is key in this context, as somebody could be wearing one of these gowns for a very long shift and performing their role under a lot of stress.
“By improving comfort we can help prevent nurses from being distracted by their clothing and allow them greater peace of mind, giving them more space to concentrate on the care they are providing to patients.”
The gowns are being created in three different grouped sizes – Small, Medium and Large – to accommodate sizes XS – XXXL, making them more appropriate for individuals, as existing gowns are generally one-size-fits-all.
If you are a nurse and would like to help inform the designs, please respond to the anonymous survey which is available at: https://ntusurvey.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/grading-gowns-redesigning-one-size-ppe-to-fit-and-protect