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New Hospital Gowns to combat MRSA

The fight against the MRSA bug will take a step forward this week when a new-style hospital gown goes on trial at a London hospital.

The patient gown combines a new and innovative design with an anti-microbial finish that controls the growth of bacteria.

The gown’s unique design aims to reduce the spread of infection by minimising patient handling. It facilitates access to the patient’s body for examination and makes it easier to change than regular gowns. Less patient handling means less contact with nurse’s uniforms which reduces the chance of cross-contamination.

The gown was designed by DCS Designs, a graduate start-up company emerging from the University of Portsmouth. Fatima BA-Alawi invented the design while she was still a student and working in a hospital as a health care assistant where she noticed improvements could be made to the conventional patient gown.

She has teamed up with Carrington Career & Workwear Ltd whose product, Permagard, provides the bug-busting ingredient.

“I’m thrilled that my design is being used for the trial. I designed the gown to promote patient dignity, comfort and safety but I’m delighted that it might help prevent the spread of diseases like MRSA,” Fatima said.

Recently, due to overuse of antibiotics, strains of MRSA have evolved to become resistant to certain drugs but Permagard destroys bacteria by physical rather than chemical means so bacteria cannot adapt and become resistant to it. Permagard works on all bacteria, not just the MRSA bug.

The trial will take place at University College London Hospital (UCLH) in a ward, in the intensive care unit and in an operating theatre. Approximately 30 patients will wear the gowns and the trial is expected to take eight weeks.

Afterwards both patients and staff will be surveyed to assess the gown’s benefits and laboratory tests will analyse how successful they have been in cutting the number of bugs.

Mike Rollins, Projects Manager, Environmental Hygiene Research at UCLH is supervising the trial in conjunction the Infection Control Nurses team. He said: "I'm delighted that Fatima identified the need and applied her prior experience as a health care worker to create a practical, effective solution to one of the worries facing healthcare professionals every day. Her innovative design concept increases the efficiency of providing patient care, improves patient safety and comfort and may well contribute to a reduction in hospital infections."

Fatima said: "Having the support of the University to start my business has made all the difference. The Centre for Enterprise didn’t just given me the start up funds, it gave me the confidence and support I needed to take my idea off the ground and make it happen."

Press contact Lisa Egan, University of Portsmouth on (023) 9284 3748.

Lisa Egan | alfa
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