When the pandemic broke out, medical personnel needed to be provided with personal protective equipment very quickly. Many hospitals chose to use disposable isolation gowns, also known as “disposables”. These gowns provide the necessary protection for first responders on the COVID-19 front line. Still, they are not as necessary outside of this group. The gowns do not only offer an unnecessarily high degree of protection for those people; they are also uncomfortable with long-term use. We now have a shortage on the frontlines, where these disposable isolation gowns are really needed because they are now often the standard for every single person that works in a hospital. We can solve this problem in Dutch hospitals by not only using disposables but by also using reusable isolation gowns for employees that do not come into direct contact with COVID-19 patients. The disposable gowns are made from plastic, and therefore do not let anything through. TenCate Protective Fabric’s reusable one is made of fabric. It is therefore breathable and much more comfortable, but it only offers a high degree of protection; not a complete one.
Development agency Oost NL, which functions as a bridge between the government, companies, and knowledge institutions, and Health Innovation Park, an accelerator of innovations in healthcare, have contacted TenCate Protective Fabrics. “Oost NL and Health Innovation Park wanted to make use of our expertise, to solve the current shortage of medical isolation gowns in the Netherlands. They asked us this question: “How can we work together so that we can offer Dutch hospitals a safer solution, in both the short and the long term?” Other European hospitals had also expressed the same need to us. Still, the fact that Oost NL and Health Innovation Park now also came to us has been the deciding factor in enhancing and accelerating the process.”
TenCate Protective Fabrics addressed four major Dutch garment makers that all operate in the field of workwear for healthcare. Their joint expertise has proved to be invaluable. They have developed a reusable isolation gown together, and it can be produced in the Netherlands. That means the supply is secured immediately. The gown has been created in one standard size, to make it an accessible solution for a variety of healthcare personnel. “There has been a great demand ever since we released this news”, says Katrien Klein, Marketing & Communication manager at TenCate Protective Fabrics. “I think it is a very nice initiative since it is a sustainable product.”
“We are honoured to serve the overburdened Dutch healthcare by offering them new, more reliable, more sustainable and regionally produced protective workwear solutions, as they navigate us through the COVID-19 pandemic.”