The selection of proper surgical apparel and how it is worn in the operating room are critical to creating a safe
operating room environment for
both hospital patients and staff.
Bloodborne pathogens and
are a constant presence and
threat in the OR. However,
despite myriad infection
control concerns, proper
surgical apparel purchasing
choices are not always made. To make matters works, even effective OR
apparel can be misused by staff due to lack of education and failure to
consider such factors as type of procedure, length of procedure, amount
of fluid exposure, or the role in surgical procedure, among others.
“Selecting surgical apparel and products is perhaps the most important
decision materials managers and purchasing executives have to make,”
says Laureen Clark, Senior Manager, Medical Science and Clinical
Education, Kimberly-Clark Health Care. “While many features and char-
acteristics go into the decision making process, we
find that protection, comfort, strength, and durabili-
ty are often top of mind.”
Because surgical apparel is used on a daily basis,
the level to which staff finds it comfortable and usable
goes a long way toward ensuring its effectiveness. For
example, surgical gowns must be constructed to offer
breathability and protect skin from irritation and allergic reactions.
Facial masks should have a comfortable breathability index. Compliance
with Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses guidelines and other
standards and best practice recommendations is threatened if staff members
feel uncomfortable while wearing certain surgical apparel.
A Barrier Of Protection
Keeping surgical staff and patients out of harm’s way is of utmost importance to hospitals. Simply stated, economic pressures have transformed
the issue of patient and staff safety from a key consideration to a constant
concern for many facilities over the course of the last decade or so.
As a result, customers are looking
for manufacturers to provide a selec-
tion of products that can provide both
value and quality solutions in meeting
recommended practices and protocols
within their facility, says Julie Gorog
RN, BSN, CNOR, Cardinal Health.
“One of the most important prop-
erties of surgical apparel is the level of
barrier protection it provides to the
end user,” Gorog adds.
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention recommends that the
sterile team members wear surgical
gowns that are effective barriers when
wet, resisting liquid penetration. Ideally,
gowns that are impermeable to liquids
and viruses are preferred. Furthermore,
AORN also recommends that selection
of surgical gowns and drapes be based
on the planned use and anticipated
exposure to blood and body fluids.
“Surgical apparel must protect
against bloodborne pathogens,” says
Clark. “Features such as cuffs that
FOCUS ON: Surgical Apparel
It's not just about what you put on prior to entering the OR. It's how you wear it.
by Mike Schmidt
10 November/December | 2013 | www.SurgicalProductsMag.com
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