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ALM Provides Interim Guidance for Processing Single-Use Gowns in Response to Product Shortages

Friday, April 17, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nicole Morris
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Richmond, Ky., April 17, 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a significant weakness in our healthcare system that has captivated the spotlight:  the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically protective gowns. Despite efforts to resolve this situation, healthcare facilities continue to face PPE shortages to the point where some healthcare professionals (HCP) report there are no gowns available to them for use.

ALM has collaborated with three of our esteemed vendor members, Medline Industries, Inc.; UNX, Inc.; and Environmental Infection Prevention, LLC, to examine and test the feasibility of reprocessing disposable PPE gowns as a possible solution to the temporary nationwide shortage.

The Interim Guidance for Processing Single-Use Gowns in Response to Product Shortages during COVID-19 is a stop-gap measure designed to supplement the provision of gowns to provide an alternative to the absence of any cover apparel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The wash formula and process is basic guidance for laundries to provide their customers with a clean product of previously worn, single-use gowns manufactured initially as ANSI/AAMI Level 1, 2, 3, and/or 4 gowns.

The guidance does not produce a gown that meets the required barrier standards for which it was initially manufactured and may be labeled, and no gown provided under the guidance should be used in a surgical procedure, per recommendation from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Any laundry intending to use this interim guidance is strongly encouraged to review the Considerations for Laundries Implementing document prior to undertaking this guidance.

The guidance document, as well as other COVID-19 textile information, is available on ALM’s COVID-19 Resources page, available at ALMnet.org/COVID-19. If any laundry has any questions of best practices for their situation, regardless of their laundry size or current ALM membership status, we welcome them. We are all in this together and we will get through it.

Disclaimer -- ALM is not a governmental agency and is not by publishing this interim guidance in any respect representing that this guidance has been approved by any state or federal agency, nor is ALM recommending that any healthcare provider, ALM member or other reader ignore applicable federal or state health and safety regulations or guidance. ALM is sharing this interim guidance on provisional strategies for addressing the shortage of disposable PPE gowns in this rapidly changing public health crisis for informational purposes only. This guidance does not represent “best practices” which would require more extensive testing over a longer period of time than the COVID-19 crisis has allowed. ALM disclaims any and all liability and damages related to this guidance, whether based on contract, tort or statute, and makes no warranties of any kind or nature, express or implied, to any person or entity that elects to implement any or all of the processes or practices described herein, or to any persons who wear reprocessed disposable PPE gowns or to those individuals with whom the wearers of reprocessed disposable PPE gowns come in contact. ALM strongly recommends that healthcare providers and other readers consult their own medical, scientific and legal advisors before implementing the use of reprocessed disposable PPE gowns based on this interim guidance or otherwise.

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About ALM

The Association for Linen Management (ALM) is a non-profit trade association dedicated to the operational excellence and professional development of personnel involved in the textile care industry. Our members are owners, general managers, laundry directors, managers, and technicians providing textile care services, as well as the equipment and supply companies who provide materials and consulting services for the textile care industry. ALM advances excellence in the textile care industry for healthcare, hospitality, correctional facilities, and long-term care providers through guidance in textile processing, management, and utilization, and is the only source for laundry processing benchmarking data through the revolutionary LaundryMarksTM platform. Visit ALM’s website to learn more about the organization, its members, and the importance of the laundry industry.