In the medical field, the significance of medical gowns cannot be overstated. These versatile garments serve as the first line of defence for healthcare professionals, shielding them and patients from potential contaminants.
However, when it comes to medical gowns, it’s crucial to understand the distinction between “clean” and “sterile”. While the terms may seem interchangeable, they encompass two distinct levels of protection.
This article explores the differences between clean and sterile medical gowns to highlight the essential nuances that ensure the utmost safety in healthcare settings. Let’s delve deeper into this topic so you understand the role played by these garments.
Types of Medical Gowns
Medical gowns come in various types, each designed to meet specific requirements in different healthcare settings. Here are some common types of medical gowns:
These gowns are typically used when there is a medium to high risk of contamination. Made from fluid-repellent materials, they provide a barrier against bodily fluids, particulate matter, and other contaminants. Their primary function is to protect healthcare workers and patients from the spread of infections.
These gowns are specially designed to be worn during surgical procedures, as they offer a higher level of protection than isolation gowns. Made from waterproof material, they prevent the penetration of liquids and microorganisms. Surgical gowns are sterile and provide a sterile field around the surgical site, minimising the risk of surgical site infections.
These gowns are used in controlled environments, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities and research laboratories. They are designed to prevent the release of particles and minimise contamination within the cleanroom. These gowns are typically made from lint-free, low-particulate material and undergo rigorous cleaning and sterilisation.
These gowns are designed to protect healthcare professionals who handle chemotherapy drugs or administer chemotherapy treatments. They are made from impermeable materials to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals and protect against spills or splashes. These gowns are typically disposable to ensure safe handling.
What are Sterile Medical Gowns?
Sterile medical gowns are specially designed garments that undergo rigorous sterilisation to ensure they’re entirely microorganisms-free. They are typically used in surgical and invasive procedures where it’s crucial to maintain a sterile environment.
Sterile medical gowns are typically made from materials resistant to fluid penetration, such as non-woven fabrics or laminated materials. They feature long sleeves with elastic cuffs, a high neckline, and a tie or snap closure at the back to provide complete coverage and a secure fit.
Healthcare professionals, especially surgeons and operating room staff, wear sterile gowns in the operating theatre. By using sterile gowns, healthcare providers create a barrier between themselves and the patient, helping to prevent the transmission of potentially harmful microorganisms and reducing the likelihood of surgical site infections.
What are Clean Medical Gowns?
Unlike sterile medical gowns, clean medical gowns have undergone a thorough cleaning process to remove visible dirt, debris, and contaminants. These gowns are designed to be worn in non-sterile environments where the risk of infection is relatively low, such as outpatient clinics, general patient care, and non-surgical procedures.
The cleaning process typically involves laundering with detergent and water at specified temperatures to ensure the effective removal of dirt and stains. Once cleaned, the gowns are inspected for any remaining stains or damage before they are deemed suitable for reuse.
Unlike sterile medical gowns, clean gowns provide a basic level of protection between the wearer and potential contaminants, such as bodily fluids, dust, or other particulate matter. They are typically made from durable, fluid-resistant materials that can withstand routine cleaning and offer moderate protection against fluid splashes and minor spills.
It’s important to note that while clean gowns are considered relatively low-risk in terms of infection prevention, they still play a crucial role in maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in healthcare settings. They help minimise the transmission of pathogens and promote a safer environment for healthcare providers and patients.
How Do Clean and Sterile Medical Gowns Differ?
Sterile and clean medical gowns differ primarily in the level of microbial protection they provide and the processes involved in their preparation. Let’s explore these differences in more detail:
Sterile medical gowns undergo a rigorous sterilisation process to eliminate all microorganisms so they can be used in sterile environments such as operating rooms, during invasive procedures, or when there is a high risk of infection transmission.
Meanwhile, clean medical gowns are not subjected to the same level of sterilisation. While they undergo thorough cleaning and decontamination procedures, they may still contain some microorganisms that are considered non-pathogenic or at lower levels.
Sterile medical gowns are usually packaged individually and undergo sterilisation methods to effectively eradicate microorganisms and ensure that the gowns are free from contamination before use.
Meanwhile, clean medical gowns undergo a cleaning process that involves washing, disinfecting, and sometimes using antimicrobial agents to reduce the microbial load. While these gowns are thoroughly cleaned, they don’t undergo the same level of sterilisation.
Now that you can distinguish between sterile and clean medical gowns, healthcare professionals like you can make informed decisions when selecting the most suitable gown for each situation, thereby reducing the risk of infections and maintaining a safe healthcare environment.
Looking for medical gowns in Malaysia? Contact MEDICOS today!
We all want the best for our medical professionals and protect them from anything that could harm them and their patients. MEDICOS is here to ensure everyone who wears our medical gowns returns home safely to their families. Continue to stay safe with MEDICOS gowns. Contact us for more information.