An important piece of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s become difficult to come by are isolation gowns. To help meet local demand for this critical piece of equipment, University of Nevada, Reno’s Department of Art Fabrication Lab, Miller’s Jackets and Printing Services of Nevada have teamed up to use their unique resources to produce isolation gowns at no cost to Renown Health.
How Isolation Gowns Are Made
The isolation gown production process starts at the “Fab Lab” with rolls of Kona Cotton fabric purchased by Renown. From there, Fab Lab manager Nicole Miller feeds the fabric into the Zünd G3 digital CNC machine to begin production.
Using a design software, Miller digitized Renown’s isolation gown template and created three sizes – small, medium and large. These digital blueprints serve as instructions for the machine to cut the fabric and it takes just 68 seconds to cut out one gown!
From there, the fabric is taken to Miller’s Jackets where it is sewn in accordance with Renown’s gown pattern. The company had previously sewn masks to help meet the demands of local hospitals towards the beginning of the pandemic.
Local Businesses Giving Back
“COVID-19 has affected us all in never-before-seen ways,” said Miller. “It means so much knowing that we can help our local healthcare workers who are working so hard for the community.
Jeff Richards, owner of Printing Services of Nevada and partner of Miller’s Jackets, saw how quickly Renown employees responded to the COVID-19 crisis and wanted to give back to area healthcare workers in any way he could.
“With less work coming in due to the shutdown, I wanted to offer my time and resources to assist the community,” said Richards. “I planned with my partner at Miller’s Jackets, Chris Robb, about what to do next. After discovering Renown’s need for isolation gowns, it was an easy decision for us to continue putting our staff and sewing machines to good use for our local hospitals.”
Community Support During Challenging Times
Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO of Renown Health states, “There is nothing more important to me than providing our caregivers at the front line with the resources they need to feel well-cared for, supported and confident in their practice. In my experience, as both a critical care physician and a registered nurse, there is special feeling when you wear a garment that was hand-made for you. I know our caregivers will feel the love and appreciation expressed by these talented craftspeople. We appreciate the innovative thinking and generosity of these local business leaders to support Renown Health caregivers and patients.”
RELATED: COVID-19 Updates from Renown Health
Printing Services of Nevada is committed to paying Miller’s Jackets employees and volunteers for their time, and covering the cost of any materials beyond the fabric supplied by Renown Health. Miller’s Jackets has opened up its industrial sewing machines for the isolation gown project and also called on volunteers to sew from their personal machines at home.
“Renown’s healthcare workers put their lives on the line for the public every day,” said Robb. “They don’t have the luxury of getting to stay out of harm’s way. They do so much for us. If there’s anything we can do to make their lives a little easier and less stressful, it’s worth it.”