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University team wants nurses’ input on protective gown designs

A team from Nottingham Trent University is designing safer, more comfortable and sustainable PPE gowns that can be reused instead of thrown out after every wear  

A team from Nottingham Trent University is designing safer, more comfortable and sustainable PPE gowns that can be reused instead of thrown out after every wear

Ever thought your personal protective equipment (PPE) could be better designed? Nurses are being asked to share their opinions on how protective gowns should be designed.

A team from Nottingham Trent University is designing ‘safer, more comfortable and sustainable’ gowns that can be reused instead of thrown out after every wear.

Gown prototypes have been made in consultation with nurses

The gowns are designed using anti-static material that can be machine washed at temperatures of up to 65 o C.

A team from Nottingham Trent University is designing safer, more comfortable and sustainable PPE gowns that can be reused instead of thrown out after every wear

Photo of professor in fashion and textile practice Katherine Townsend with the prototype gowns
Professor in fashion and textile practice Katherine Townsend with the prototype gowns Picture: BAIRD

Ever thought your personal protective equipment (PPE) could be better designed? Nurses are being asked to share their opinions on how protective gowns should be designed.

A team from Nottingham Trent University is designing ‘safer, more comfortable and sustainable’ gowns that can be reused instead of thrown out after every wear.

Gown prototypes have been made in consultation with nurses

The gowns are designed using anti-static material that can be machine washed at temperatures of up to 65oC.

The gown designs have been based on feedback given by nurses and healthcare workers treating people with COVID-19, including nursing staff from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and chronic kidney disease clinic Diaverum UK.

Diaverum UK clinic manager Andrea Apuzzo called on nurses from different working backgrounds to have their say on how the gowns are designed.

‘The nurses know how important it is to wear comfortable PPE and how this can influence a shift, which sometimes can last 12 hours,’ she said.

‘Having a suitable and fit-for-purpose gown would allow nurses and other healthcare professionals to perform their duties with better comfort and confidence.’

There are three prototypes of the gowns, designed to ensure comfort for nurses during long shifts. These include ribbed necklines for comfort, dropped and raglan sleeves for easier arm movements, and deep cuffs with thumb holes that can be turned back to suit different arm lengths.

One design fastens at the back, similar to a traditional gown, while another fastens at the front left shoulder. They come in sizes XS to XXXL.

Nurses asked to contribute to next phase of gown design

Professor in fashion and textile practice Katherine Townsend, who is leading the design of the gowns, said they are intended to support nurses treating people in an acute care setting.

‘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,’ she said.

‘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.’

Nurses will be asked to trial the gowns during shifts as part of the next phase of design.

The researchers are calling for nurses to share their experiences and preferences of gowns they are wearing.


Find out more

Survey – Redesigning PPE: enhancing the comfort and safety of healthcare workers wearing isolation gowns to treat patients with COVID-19


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