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Moving back to disposables

Updated: Jun 13

Having had many discussions over the past few months with hospitals that have previously made the change to embroidered reusable theatre hats, we learned that some of them have had to revert back to using disposable theatre hats.  Delving into the reasons for this we discovered why this happens:

disposable theatre hats

1.    Staff leaving:


Some theatre departments have a high turnover of staff moving onto different hospitals, so each time a person leaves, they take their hats with them.  Their hats, (typically 4 for wash cycles) are then completely lost as an asset from the theatre department because no one else can wear a bespoke embroidered hat. An example is if 30 staff leave per year, 120 hats are lost. 

New starters wear disposables again and so this habit repeats and continues over the years and departments revert to single-use disposable hats, which then go to landfills.


2.    Ordering new hats:


If there is a champion in the department who has the time and dedication to continue to place small regular orders for new starters, then the embroidered hats can successfully continue and be gradually replaced.   


A fantastic example of this is Anaesthetist, Dr Mruga Diwan, from the Liverpool Royal University Hospital who has consistently been ordering embroidered hats for new starters in her department since 2022 when she led the implementation and change from disposables to our reusable personalised theatre hats. 


Dr Diwan also wrote a case study on the benefits of making this change which can be found on this link: Case study.


In our experience, this is an exception rather than the rule and hospitals inevitably end up reverting to disposables again but what about Net Zero?


3.     Those who don’t get allocated embroidered hats to start with:


Student nurses, student ODPs, student doctors, visitors, birthing partners, and company representatives don’t have the option of ordering embroidered hats.  Reasons for this include staff moving on quickly so embroidered hats are considered not worth the investment. There are other obstacles as well.  Who would wash the hats for visitors, birthing partners, and reps when staff take their personalised hats home to launder?  

There are also difficulties in knowing the required sizes, and colours, plus the storage of the hats is also a consideration.  Therefore, all these individuals continue wearing disposable theatre hats despite the department implementing reusable hats to reduce waste.


4.     Infection control:


Various IPC hospital teams allow hats to be laundered at home by the individuals but many do not and each hospital's infection prevention team has a different view, therefore recommendations and guidance for laundering are varied.  


We believe that our theatre badge hat range can overcome all the above challenges and be fully sustainable as they can be worn by everyone and washed like scrubs, removing the issues from an infection control perspective.


All staff members along with visitors, students, company representatives and birthing partners can be clearly identified with our high-visibility name badges, thus creating a safer environment.


If you have any questions, please do contact us.


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