User experience of wearing comfort of reusable versus disposable surgical gowns and environmental perspectives

A cross-sectional survey

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Objective: To determine the user experience of wearing comfort of reusable sterile surgical gowns and compare these gowns with conventional disposable surgical gowns. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: An academic hospital in the Netherlands. Population: Gynaecologists, surgeons, residents and operating room assistants (n=80). Methods: Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained via a written questionnaire. Participants provided subjective comments and scored the reusable gown on each individual topic with a score from 1 to 5 (1 = unsatisfactory, 2 = moderate, 3 = good, 4 = very good, 5 = excellent) and compared the reusable gown with the conventional disposable alternative (better, equal or worse). Main outcome measures: Wearing comfort: ventilation and temperature regulation, fit and length, functionality, barrier function and ease of use. Results: The results of the overall scores of the reusable gown are scored as ‘very good’ (mean 4.3, SD ± 0.5) by its users. Regarding comparison of the gowns, more than 79% (lowest score 79%, highest score 95%) of the participants scored the reusable gown equal or higher on six of seven topics. The topic ‘ease of use’ was scored equal or higher by 59% of the participants. Subjective comments provided information on possible improvements. Conclusions: The findings of this study demonstrate that there is professional acceptance regarding the utilisation of reusable surgical gowns. To facilitate broader adoption, it is imperative to foster collaboration among suppliers and healthcare institutions. The reusable surgical gown is an environmentally sustainable, safe and comfortable alternative in the operating room.