Heroes Work Here: Elliot Nurse Designs & Manufactures Disposable and Washable Gowns for Frontline Workers
Across the country and here in New Hampshire, personal protective equipment (PPE) like gowns are in short supply. Now, registered nurse Heidi Kukla, who works in the ICU at Elliot Hospital, is dedicating her time outside of work to help produce gowns for other health care workers.
“I work with the most caring, conscientious, and supportive team anywhere in healthcare and I am willing to go to great lengths to keep them safe, and they would do the same for me, and more importantly for our patients,” says Kukla.
Kukla developed a pattern to make disposable gowns and recruited volunteers to produce prototypes of the gown. The team needed a facility to do this, so she asked fellow ICU nurse Stephanie Joyce, who owns the AR Workshop on Elm Street in Manchester, for help.
The facility has been closed because of the “Stay at Home” order, so it was transformed into a gown making facility. Kukla and her team of volunteers put together the prototypes.
Disposable gowns being created for frontline workers.
“I paid for the materials for prototypes and the first batch of $200 worth of gowns and I consider that money well spent to help keep my co-workers safe,” Kukla explained. She says the gowns are waterproof and hold up against patient care, but easily rip off to prevent contamination during removal.
They were inspected by Elliot Infection Prevention Team and met appropriate standards. Elliot Hospital has purchased the materials that Kukla and her team of volunteers needed to create the gowns that can be used across Elliot Health System & Southern New Hampshire Health
Heidi says the disposable gowns will cost less than $0.25 each and the washable gowns will cost about $10 each. She says volunteer labor was key to keeping costs down. The volunteers are almost all front line staff, wanting to keep each other safe.
Thank you to Heidi, Stephanie and the team of volunteers!
Elliot ICU LNA, Carole-Lynne Tadman models one of the disposable gowns.