Baptist Health invests in staff uniforms and patient garments that protect against bacteria

Works with Vestagen Technical Textiles to enhance the safety of the healthcare environment

Baptist Health partners Vestagen Technical Textiles

Baptist Health, a healthcare organisation based in South Florida, US, is investing in staff uniforms and patient garments that repel fluids and minimise the risk of transmission of organisms.

As part of a continued commitment to patient safety, Baptist Health is partnering with Vestagen Technical Textiles of Orlando, a global innovator in the development of advanced textile technologies.

More than 30,000 pieces of staff uniforms, lab coats and scrub jackets are being distributed in phase one of the project, in an investment of US$1m. The garments feature Vestex textile technology, which has a durable fluid barrier, an antimicrobial and a special breathable material for wearer comfort. Baptist Health plans to roll out clothing for patients featuring the same technology in September.

The fabric’s fluid barrier binds to individual fibres, resulting in a material that is highly repellent to bodily fluids, water, oil and dirt. This repellency has been shown to work with Vestagen’s embedded antimicrobial technology to prevent organisms from being acquired and retained on the fabric. Soft surfaces, such as uniforms, can spread organisms in acute care settings.

The adoption of this technology combined with an enhanced emphasis on other infection prevention techniques will elevate our level of protection

More than 6,000 Baptist Health staff with frequent patient contact are converting to the new uniforms during the phase one distribution. Staff uniforms will also be colour-coded by function so that patients can more easily recognise who is caring for them.

Diane Raines, Baptist Health’s Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, said patients aged one-year and older will also receive newly-designed apparel made from Vestex protected fabric that 'provides them with dignity as well as
protection'.

'The technology is part of a broader safety strategy to reduce exposure to pathogens,' she said.

Raines added that hand washing remains the organisation's primary strategy, as well as rigorous cleaning of rooms and other surfaces, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, appropriate preparation of patients for surgery, and other measures.

'We know that this technology is not the ultimate answer to achieving zero infections,' she said. 'However, as with many patient safety ‘bundles,’ the adoption of this technology combined with an enhanced emphasis on other infection prevention techniques will elevate our level of protection for patients and staff and enhance the safety of the healthcare environment.'

Research on the Vestex uniforms published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology documented a greater than 99.99% reduction in the superbug MRSA on the Vestex uniforms compared with non-protective ones.

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