Title:
Self-donning surgical gown
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a nonwoven gown made of a gown body terminating in two edges at a back of the gown. The gown contains a closure member that extends around the gown body and terminates at each edge. Manipulation of the closure member moves at least one of the edges toward the other thereby closing the back of the gown. A fastener located along at least a portion of at least one of the edges may be provided. Some suitable fasteners include tape, hook and loop type fasteners, and/or snaps. Such a gown enables a wearer to close and secure the gown by himself while keeping his hands sterile.



Inventors:
Ambrose, Julia (Marietta, GA, US)
Kathumbi-jackson, Deanna (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/651126
Publication Date:
03/03/2005
Filing Date:
08/28/2003
Assignee:
Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/12; A41F17/00; (IPC1-7): A41B9/00; A41D10/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060195969Glove construction and method of making sameSeptember, 2006Ragan et al.
20090293177Cylinder hair maintenance garmentDecember, 2009Adkins
20050125878Pom-pom pocket scarfJune, 2005Bjelland
20080313785PROTECTIVE GLOVE WITH ANGULAR ARTICULATED LOCKING THUMBDecember, 2008Rudd et al.
20040060094Ski neck tieApril, 2004Kaczmarek
20070101473Free hanging garment with image on interior surfaceMay, 2007Henderson
20070277279FINGER MOUNTED ROCK CLIMBING IMPLEMENTDecember, 2007Battat
20010044948Hospital gownNovember, 2001Tolson
20090308108KNITWEAR HAVING OPEN PART IN BODY TUBULAR PART, AND METHOD OF KNITTING THE SAMEDecember, 2009Okamoto
20090229037POCKET PLUSSeptember, 2009Bugni
20050278831Garment for enhancing male sexual performanceDecember, 2005Dahlquist



Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC. (Neenah, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A nonwoven gown comprising: a gown body terminating in two edges at a back of the gown; a fastener located along at a least portion of one of the edges; and a closure member extending around the gown body and terminating at each edge proximal to the fastener; wherein manipulation of the closure member moves at least one of the edges toward the other thereby engaging the fastener and closing the back of the gown.

2. The gown of claim 1 comprising a casing extending around the gown body terminating at each edge for at least partially containing the closure member within.

3. The gown of claim 2 comprising an opening within the casing for an external portion of the closure member to extend therefrom.

4. The gown of claim 3 wherein the external portion comprises a loop.

5. The gown of claim 3 wherein the external portion comprises a bend extending outward from the opening.

6. The gown of claim 1 wherein the fastener comprises a hook and loop fastener.

7. The gown of claim 1 wherein the fastener comprises a clip mechanism.

8. The gown of claim 1 wherein the gown body comprises a plurality of nonwoven pieces adjoined together.

9. The gown of claim 1 wherein the closure member comprises a metal strip.

10. The gown of claim 1 wherein the closure member is malleable.

11. The gown of claim 1 wherein the closure member comprises a molded plastic.

12. The gown of claim 1 wherein the closure member is curved to conform to a wearer's body.

13. The gown of claim 1 comprising two closure members each having a spiral coiled external member.

14. The gown of claim 1 comprising a plurality of spaced apart casings extending around the gown body terminating at each edge for at least partially containing at least one closure member within.

15. The gown of claim 1 wherein the edges are substantially vertical extending from a neck portion of the gown to a bottommost portion of the gown.

16. A nonwoven gown comprising: a gown body terminating in two edges at a back of the gown; and a closure member extending around the gown body, and terminating at each edge; wherein manipulation of the closure member moves at least one of the edges toward the other thereby closing the back of the gown.

17. The gown of claim 16 comprising a fastener located along at least a portion of at least one of the edges.

18. The gown of claim 17 wherein the fastener comprises tape.

19. The gown of claim 17 wherein the fastener comprises a hook and loop type fastener.

20. The gown of claim 17 wherein the fastener comprises snaps.

21. The gown of claim 16 comprising a casing extending around the gown body terminating at each edge.

22. The gown of claim 21 wherein the closure member is at least partially encased within the casing.

23. The gown of claim 21 comprising an opening within the casing for an external portion of the closure member to extend therefrom.

24. The gown of claim 23 wherein pushing the external portion of the closure member into the opening pushes the at least one of the edges toward the other.

25. The gown of claim 24 comprising a fastener for securing the edges.

26. The gown of claim 16 comprising a plurality of closure members, each closure member extending around the gown body, and terminating at each edge.

27. The gown of claim 26 comprising a plurality of spaced apart casings extending around the gown body terminating at each edge for at least partially containing an individual closure member within.

28. The gown of claim 27 wherein at least one of the casings is located between a sleeve portion of the gown and a bottommost portion of the gown.

29. The gown of claim 16 wherein the edges are substantially vertical extending from a neck portion of the gown to a bottommost portion of the gown.

30. The gown of claim 16 comprising a hook and loop fastener located along each edge for securing the gown in a closed position.

31. The gown of claim 16 wherein the gown body comprises a front panel, a right side panel, a left side panel, a first back panel, and a second back panel, each panel having first and second edges respectively, the first edge of the front panel attached to the first edge of the left side panel, the second edge of the front panel attached to the first edge of the right side panel, the first edge of the first back panel attached to the second edge of the left side panel, the first edge of the second back panel attached to the second edge of the right side panel, wherein the closure member terminates at the second edges of each of the first and second back panels.

32. The gown of claim 16 wherein the gown body comprises a closed front panel, two side panels, and an open back panel, each side panel attached to opposing edges of the front panel, the back panel attached to one of the side panels at an edge opposite the edge to which the front panel is attached, one edge of the back panel and one edge of the side panel comprising fastening edges, wherein the closure member terminates at the fastening edges.

33. The gown of claim 16 wherein the closure member comprises a metal strip.

34. The gown of claim 16 wherein the closure member is malleable.

35. The gown of claim 16 wherein the closure member comprises a molded plastic.

36. The gown of claim 16 wherein the closure member is curved to conform to a wearer's body.

37. The gown of claim 16 wherein the closure member comprises two parts, each part being partially contained within the gown body and having an external portion extending from the gown body.

38. The gown of claim 37 wherein the external portion is spiral-coiled.

39. The gown of claim 16 wherein the closure member is partially contained within the gown body and comprises an external loop extending from the gown body.

40. The gown of claim 16 wherein manipulation of the closure member comprises pushing upon the closure member.

41. The gown of claim 16 wherein manipulation of the closure member comprises pulling the closure member.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to gowns and other garments and particularly to surgical gowns. More particularly, this invention relates to improved gown closure mechanisms that enable a gown wearer to close the back of a gown without moving his hands outside a region commonly referred to as the “sterile zone” thus minimizing the risk of hand contamination prior to a surgical procedure.

As is generally known, sterile surgical gowns are designed to greatly reduce, if not prevent, the transmission through the gown of liquids and biological contaminants that may become entrained therein. In surgical procedure environments, such liquid sources include the gown wearer's perspiration, and patient liquids including blood and life support liquids such as plasma and saline.

Surgical gowns were originally made of cotton or linen and were sterilized prior to use in the operating room. These gowns, however, permitted transmission or “strike-through” of various liquids encountered in surgical procedures. In these instances, a path was established for transmission of bacteria and other contaminants to and from the wearer of the gown. Furthermore, these gowns were costly and required laundering and sterilization procedures prior to reuse.

Disposable surgical gowns have largely replaced linen surgical gowns. Because many surgical procedures require total liquid repellency to prevent strike-through, disposable gowns for use under these conditions are made entirely from liquid repellent or impervious fabrics. However, there are many surgical procedures that permit the use of surgical gowns that are not totally liquid impervious. In these instances, disposable gowns that are not totally liquid impervious are made with such liquid repellent or impervious fabrics selectively positioned so as to provide the wearer with strike-through protection in the areas of the gown most likely to contact or be contacted by liquids. Such partial liquid impervious gowns provide greater breathability and wearer comfort.

Whether the surgical procedure dictates the use of a surgical gown that is totally liquid impervious or a surgical gown that is not totally liquid impervious, it is generally preferred that gown closure about the wearer's body occur at the wearer's back and not the wearer's front. In this way, the portion of the gown that overlies the wearer's chest and abdomen may be formed from an uninterrupted sheet of material, albeit that the sheet of material may itself be formed from a plurality of pieces of material stitched or seamed together.

While a continuous gown front provides improved barrier protection in the areas of the gown most likely to contact or be contacted by liquids when compared to gown fronts which are gapped or interrupted by a closure means, the barrier protection provided by the back of the gown is also a concern for health care providers, gown manufacturers and patients alike. This is because traditional closure means used in disposable surgical gowns, for example, buttons, hooks, tape, and ties, may create gaps in the back of the gown. In some instances these gaps occur around the union of or adjacent to the back panels. The presence of such gaps around the union of the back panels of back closure gowns provide direct and/or unrestricted avenues of passage to and from the wearer for contaminants, such as those described above.

Moreover, the gown wearer typically requires assistance in closing the back of the gown for at least two reasons. First, the gown wearer often cannot reach the closure means on his own due to its location and second, even if he could, his hands would be placed outside the sterile zone thus necessitating further hand washing.

Whether the surgical gown is disposable, reusable, liquid impervious, or partially liquid impervious, there exists a need for a back closure gown that enables a wearer, without assistance, to close the back of the gown without moving his hands outside the sterile zone.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

As such, one aspect of the present invention discloses a back-opening gown of a nonwoven material consisting of a gown body terminating in two edges at a back of the gown, a fastener may be located along at a least portion of one of the edges and a closure member that extends around the gown body is provided that terminates at each edge proximal to the fastener. Manipulation of the closure member moves at least one of the edges toward the other. This causes the fastener to engage thereby closing the back of the gown. In some embodiments a casing that extends around the gown body from the front to the back, located below the sleeves may be provided. The casing would be provided with an opening at the front for the insertion of the closure member. The closure member would be provided with an external portion protruding from the opening so that pushing the external portion into the opening causes the back of the gown to close until such time as the external portion is withdrawn.

Another aspect of the present invention provides a nonwoven gown made of a gown body terminating in two edges at a back of the gown. The gown also contains a closure member that extends around the gown body and terminates at each edge. Manipulation of the closure member moves at least one of the edges toward the other thereby closing the back of the gown. A fastener located along at least a portion of at least one of the edges may be provided. Some suitable fasteners include tape, hook and loop type fasteners, and/or snaps.

Brief Description of the Drawings

FIG. 1 is a bottom view of a gown of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the FIG. 1 gown.

FIG. 3 is a front view of another embodiment of a gown of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of a fastener for use with the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention and its advantages are best understood by referring to the drawings, like numerals being used for like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

Several terms may be used herein to refer to various parts of the gown as the gown is worn. Thus, “front” refers to that part of the gown which overlays the chest or anterior plane of the wearer; “back” refers to that part of the gown which overlays the back or posterior plane of the wearer, “side” or “sides” refer to that part of the gown which overlays the side or lateral portion(s) of the wearer and which may extend to and overlap the back or front portions of the wearer and are generally located between the front and the back. The term “outer” or “outside” describes that surface of the gown which faces away from the wearer when the gown is being worn; “inner” or “inside” refers to the surface of the gown, or part thereof which faces either the clothes or body of the wearer, while “right” and “left” respectively refer to portions of the gown corresponding to the right and left hand sides of the gown, respectively, as the gown is being worn. The term “continuous sheet” or “continuous sheet of material” describes a sheet or a sheet of material which is formed from a single piece of material and not formed by affixing, such as by sewing or gluing so as to form a seam, two or more pieces of material.

Additionally, several terms may be used herein to refer to affixing one part of the gown to another part. These terms include “join”, “adjoin”, “secure”, “attach” and derivatives and synonyms thereof. The affixing of these pieces of gown parts to one another may be accomplished by any of several conventional methods. By way of example and not limitation, these methods include stitching, gluing, heat sealing, zipping, snapping, sonic or thermal bonding or using a hook and loop fastening system and other methods familiar to those skilled in the art.

The term “sterile zone” is generally understood by those in the field to refer to the region generally in front of a gown wearer's body substantially from the neckline to substantially the waist line and extending laterally outward to the sides of the wearer's body.

The gown may be formed from a single sheet of material and more particularly a continuous single sheet of material. Alternatively, the gown may be formed from a plurality of such sheets of material adjoined together. In order to provide a greater degree of detail by way of explanation, the gown embodiment described below is one comprising a plurality of sheets joined together. As such, turning now to the drawings and referring first to FIG. 1, the gown 10 includes a body 12 and left and right sleeves 14 and 16, respectively. Both the left and right sleeves, 14 and 16, respectively, may be provided with form fitting cuff sections 18. The left sleeve 14 is secured to the body 12 at a left edge 20 and the right sleeve 16 is secured to the body 12 at a right edge 22.

The body 12 has a closed front section 24 and an open back section 26. In one embodiment, the back section 26 is provided with a pair of opposed panels, i.e., a right back panel 28 and a left back panel 30 which open and close about the wearer's body. It will be understood that while the sections 24 and 26 are described above as front and back sections, respectively, the gown of the present invention may be worn such that the opposed panels, 28 and 30, of the section 26 open and close about the wearer's chest and the closed front section 24 is located about the wearer's back.

The right back panel 28 may generally be defined by a right upper edge 32, a right back panel edge 34, a bottom edge 36, and a right side edge 38. The left back panel 30 may generally be defined by a left upper edge 40, a left back panel edge 42, a left side edge 44, and a bottom edge 46. As depicted in FIG. 1, the right back panel edge 34 and the left back panel edge 42 may be arranged so that the edges 34 and 42 are non-parallel when the surgical gown 10 is in use. In this configuration, a portion of the left back panel 30 around the left back panel edge 42 and a portion of the right back panel 28 around the right back panel edge 34 may overlie one another when the gown is in use and form an area of overlap 48. It should be understood that the left back panel 30 and the right back panel 28 also need not be equal in size thus placing the edges 34 and 42 closer to one side of the gown or the other.

The front section 24 is defined by the upper edges 32 and 40, a bottom edge 52, the left side edge 44, and the right side edge 38. With the exception of that area that exists between the wearer's waist and the bottom edge 52, the front section 24 corresponds to the “sterile zone”. A neck opening 54, defined by a neck edge 56, may be formed generally between the right upper edge 32 and the left upper edge 40.

The left back panel 30 is secured to the front section 24 along the left side edge 44. The right back panel 34 is secured to the front section 24 along the right side edge 38. The left side edge 44 extends from the bottom edge 52 and terminates around the base of the left edge 20. The right side edge 38 extends from the bottom edge 52 and terminates around the base of the right edge 22. In other multi-panel gown embodiments, separate side panels (not shown) may be situated between the front section 24 and each back panel 30 and 34. The side panels, if present, would be located at edges 38 and 44 as the case may be.

Notwithstanding the gown construction, i.e., whether it is a continuous sheet or made up of multiple panels joined to one another, a gown closure member 50 is made to extend generally laterally across the entire gown body 12. As best seen in the FIG. 3 embodiment, the closure member 50 is a two-part construction wherein each part or piece 63 begins at one panel edge 34 and 42 and crosses the respective back panel 28 and 30, and each part terminates at the front section 24 in close proximity to one another. Ends 64 of the closure member 50 should be captured in some fashion in close proximity to each respective panel edge 34 and 42. Looking back to FIG. 1, a pocket 66 may be provided for this purpose. Other capturing techniques are contemplated as well, an example being, the use of an adhesive or a mechanical fastener (not shown) to fasten each end 64 proximate to its respective edge 34 and 42.

With respect to materials, the closure member 50 comprises a rigid or semi-rigid material such as a malleable strip or a wire made of plastic or metal to enable it to deform plastically or elastically as desired. Each part of the closure member 50 could easily be curved in shape so as to better conform the gown 10 to the user's body when donned without requiring excessive shaping or deformation of the closure member 50.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 2, the closure member 50 may comprise a single piece of material similar in physical properties to the two-part embodiment described above. The closure member 50 may be inserted through dedicated loops 68, such as those shown on FIG. 1, placed or otherwise formed on the gown body 12. Alternatively, as in FIG. 2, the closure member 50 may be contained at least partially within a casing 58. In a manner similar to the closure member 50, the casing 58 could also extend across the front section 24, the right and left back panels 28 and 30, and terminate at the right and left back panel edges 34 and 42.

In those embodiments having a casing, an external portion 60 of the closure member 50 protrudes from the casing 58 at opening 62. The FIG. 2 embodiment depicts the external portion 60 as a loop. It should be understood that the closure member 50 may instead comprise the two independent pieces 63 such as shown in FIG. 3, where each independent piece 63 has an end protruding from the casing 58. In any event, manipulation by the wearer of the closure member 50 at the front of the gown causes the right and left back panel edges 34 and 42 to move toward one another thereby closing the back of the gown. This can be accomplished by the wearer without necessitating that the wearer's hands leave the sterile zone.

In some embodiments, such as that shown in FIG. 4, a fastener or fasteners 70 may be provided to secure the panel edges 34 and 42 together thereby preventing the back of the gown from inadvertently opening in the event that the closure member 50 were to be moved accidentally. One type of fastener 70 may be a hook and loop type fastener as shown. Other forms of suitable fasteners, not shown, may include snaps, tape, adhesive, and clips.

In use, the wearer dons the gown 10 by inserting his arms into the sleeves 14 and 16 so that the front section 24 is situated against the wearer's chest. By pushing on the external portion 60 (or pieces 63 in the FIG. 3 embodiment) of the closure member 50, the external portion is caused to deform. Since the ends 64 are in close proximity to the panel edges 34 and 42, the panel edges 34 and 42 are caused to move toward one another so that they contact or even overlap. Fasteners 70 if provided are made to engage with one another causing the gown to remain closed during use.

It is noted that the present invention may be made from a multitude of materials including nonwoven materials suitable for disposable uses. For examples the gown may be made of stretchable nonwoven material so that the gown is less likely to tear during the donning or wearing of the gown. A material well-suited for use with the present invention is a three-layer nonwoven polypropylene material known as SMS. SMS is an acronym for Spunbond, Meltblown, Spunbond, the process by which the three layers are constructed and then laminated together. See for examples U.S. Pat. No. 4,041,203 to Brock et al. One particular advantage is that the SMS material exhibits enhanced fluid barrier characteristics. It should be noted, however, that other nonwovens as well as other materials including wovens, films, foam/film laminates and combinations thereof may be used to construct the gown of the present invention. It is also contemplated that the gown may be coated with a liquid impervious coating to prevent fluid absorption into the gown material.

Although the present invention and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions, and alterations can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.