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16 Feb 2023 - 18 Feb 2023

Protective Clothing Benefits Mental Health Care

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Jun 2021
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Image: BitePRO Version 4 bite resistant armguards worn by a nurse (Photo courtesy of BitePRO)
Image: BitePRO Version 4 bite resistant armguards worn by a nurse (Photo courtesy of BitePRO)
Specially designed clothing that protects health care professionals from bite wounds helps to reduce the use of force and restraints within mental institutions.

The BitePRO (Wetherby, United Kingdom) bite resistant protective clothing is designed to assist in reducing instances of restraint and force when undergoing manual handling of individuals within hospital care, special needs, and mental health units that exhibit behaviours that challenge healthcare staff. The full range of cut, tear, and abrasion resistant products includes bite resistant arm guards, turtleneck jackets with thumbholes, arm guards, pants, and sleeves.

All garments are made from proprietary Cut-TexPRO, a high performance cut resistant fabric made from a combination of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and other technical fibres that are weaved together by special high-density circular knitting machines, resulting in a tube of material measuring 80 cm flat width (160 cm cut open). The fabric can be cut and sewn into clothing using special tools. Cut-TexPRO is available in standard Grey Marl, with some products also available in black.

“To allow staff to feel safer de-escalating, reducing the need for the use of force and restraint, they should be given access to personal protection as a matter of priority,” said BitePRO senior product consultant Rachel Riding. “We hope that they will be able to confidently diffuse a situation where they, or the patient, are at risk of injury and trauma before reaching crisis point.”

“In my field of helping people with disabilities, we often face daily challenges, but with the peace of mind that our staff are well protected, we are able to attend to the needs of the clients without having to worry about becoming injured,” said Sterling Barbosa, of Valley Achievement Center (Bakersfield, CA, USA). “So far through daily use of bite resistant arm guards, my staff have not been injured on their arms while wearing the sleeve guards, and are completely satisfied with the high quality products.”

Bite related injuries can become infected and contaminated with pathogens, including transmission of potentially life-threatening viruses, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV. More than 42 different species of bacteria have been isolated in the healthy human mouth, and up to 190 when gingivitis or periodontitis are present. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), human bite wounds cause about one-third of all hand infections, with some requiring stitches, and even surgery, if there is damage to a tendon or joint.

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