Contaminant-repelling uniforms that can help prevent the accumulation of dangerous microbes on the fabric are the new attire for staff at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park and North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.
Northwell Health is the first health care provider in the New York area to use the advanced- technology scrubs and lab coats, which are designed to act as a barrier to help protect patients and caregivers from dangerous microorganisms that could lead to infections. The super scrubs, created by Orlando, FL-based Vestagen Protective Technologies, are made with Vestex, an innovative fabric that has been shown in a hospital-based study to repel fluids and reduce the retention of microbes on the garments’ fabric. The apparel has been exclusively endorsed by the American Hospital Association after a rigorous, due-diligence review.
Medical professionals in the hematology-oncology unit at Cohen Children’s Medical Center were the first caregivers in Northwell Health to begin wearing the technology-driven uniforms in January. Seven months later, 60 percent of Cohen’s caregivers are in the scrubs and it’s expected that the entire staff there will be fitted for them by October.
“We engaged our healthcare workers in an educational process surrounding the role that uniforms play in staff and patient safety,” said Carolyn Quinn, RN, deputy executive director at Cohen. “We surveyed the team and listened to their overwhelming preference to move toward new `active barrier’ uniform technology and away from traditional uniforms. Investing in healthcare worker safety, infection prevention and patient safety is paramount to our organization and embedded in our culture of care.”
Peter Silver, MD, medical director at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said the introduction of the new protective apparel is part of the hospital’s overarching efforts to strengthen patient safety. “It is also a great benefit for worker safety,” he said. “We want our employees to feel safe in the hospital environment, and any effort we can undertake to reduce their exposure to body fluids or risk of contracting an illness is extremely important.”
“North Shore University Hospital embraced the new technology driven scrubs from the start, with patient care associates and registered nurses across the facility first wearing the new garments,” said Kerri Scanlon RN chief nursing officer North Shore University Hospital and deputy chief nurse executive Northwell Health. “The feedback we received from our team members was essential to the success and implementation of the new uniforms at North Shore. Partnering with frontline caregivers improved the design process, resulting in an enhanced professional image. It also provided an opportunity to emphasize the importance of patient and caregiver safety.”
“Innovations around infection control have been a central theme at North Shore University Hospital over the past few years and the rollout of these new fluid-repelling, antimicrobial uniforms is another example of our commitment to our employees and patients,” explained Jon Sendach, deputy executive director at North Shore University Hospital. “From our video monitoring of hand washing in our intensive care units to the invention of a cleanable hospital curtain that is being rolled out to a broader market, we continue to identify ways to keep our patients and staff safer.”
Given the high level of satisfaction with the new uniforms, Northwell Health is considering expanding their use to other hospitals across the health system.