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Hospital and Healthcare – 2021

COVID uniform trends and what the future looks like

Frontline healthcare workers not only support the most vulnerable members of our community, but play a key role in defending against transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. While office workers sat back at home in their activewear and slippers during pandemic lockdowns, hospital and healthcare workers have seen renewed focus on their attire. While PPE is the most obvious of these tools, uniforms play a central role in the pandemic-response arsenal, impacting everything from infection control to patient experience.

Understanding what has changed, and why, since COVID-19 entered our vernacular provides strong indicators as to what the future looks like.

Infection control

When it comes to linking infection control and mortality, the proof is well and truly in the pudding.

ABS data analysing excess mortality rates during the pandemic found that Australia’s death rate fell “significantly lower than expected” between 1 June and mid-July 2020, despite the winter months usually recording a spike in the national death rate.

“These decreases provide insights into how public health measures put in place to manage the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted on mortality,” the report noted.

Mask wearing is perhaps the most visible of these health measures. The use of medical and multi-layered fabric masks beyond the surgical environment has helped protect against not only COVID-19, but other illnesses too, including influenza.

Clothing fibres are important. They must be durable and able to withstand the more diligent and regular exposure to soaps and sanitisers. Organisations are also increasingly searching out antimicrobial options as another line of defence.

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