SOMC finds innovative ways to secure PPE for staffPosted on 03/28/2020

Plastic laminate, seat cushions and double- sided tape.

Ordinarily, their uses are specific and limited. For the last few weeks, though, nothing has been ordinary.

As the worldwide coronavirus pandemic continues to spread within the state, Southern Ohio Medical Center has been working to prepare for the possibility a patient with COVID-19 presents at the hospital. Much of that preparation has centered around strategies to protect its employees and conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields.

“It’s very important to us that we provide the necessary PPE for those who are on the front- lines of this pandemic,” Director of Facilities Justin Clark said. “We’re always looking for ways to make sure our team has the equipment they need.”

That’s where the plastic laminate, seat cushions and double-sided tape come into play.

“Teresa Bryan came to my office after our daily COVID call,” Clark said. “She told me her daughter was working at a hospital in Cincinnati, and they were making their own face shields.”

After deciphering some YouTube tutorials, the team went to work on developing prototypes. Their first renditions used styrofoam as a foam headband, but replacing that with strips of replacement seat cushions made them more viable.

“The shields themselves are just the laminate we use to laminate signs,” Clark explained. “We attach the foam with double-sided tape, and the head strap is a piece of coflex banding.”

In three days, they were able to produce nearly 3,000 face shields from these recycled materials, all of which were in surplus at the warehouse or readily available at Wal-Mart.

“It’s an innovative solution, and a testament to the organization,” Clark said. “Creative thinking and problem solving are hallmarks of the culture at SOMC. This is a reminder of that, and another example of, how our team is doing everything possible to make it through this crisis.”

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