Isolation gowns top N95 masks as top hospital shortage concern in Premier survey

Isolation gowns surpassed N95 masks as hospitals' top shortage concern in an April 17 survey conducted by group purchasing organization Premier. 

The survey respondents included 700 hospitals in 42 states surveyed April 11-15.

Seventy-four percent of respondents cited isolation gowns as their top shortage concern, up from 56 percent last month. Sixty-seven percent of respondents cited N95 masks as their top concern, compared to 73 percent last month. 

The increased manufacturing of N95 masks had unintended consequences for isolation gowns, which are made using the same materials as N95 masks. As manufacturers prioritized N95 masks, supplies for isolation gowns fell. 

Providers have used coveralls, Tyvek suits, ponchos and other alternatives to isolation gowns in attempts to conserve supplies, according to the survey. 

The CDC has issued conservation protocols for isolation gowns, many of which are similar to methods being used to conserve N95 masks, such as shifting to reusable gowns and extending the use of existing gowns. 

Premier also called upon the CDC to issue guidance on acceptable reprocessing and decontamination methods to allow reuse of isolation gowns.

Read the full survey here.


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