ThedaCare works with local companies to produce PPE
With a concern about the ability to obtain some personal protective equipment, or PPE, ThedaCare has teamed up with local businesses to make sure the supply in Northeast Wisconsin doesn't run out.
ThedaCare employees, treating patients with respiratory issues, are all wearing protective equipment called a CAPR. The mechanical respirators protect against germs and other harmful airborne particles, but they also come with some parts that are supposed to be disposed of after each use.
"Right now we are reusing a lot of things that are reusable, but technically defined as single use. We've been able to sanitize them and reuse those things," says Dale Gisi, President of ThedaCare Regional Medical Centers-Appleton and Neenah.
With the health and safety of its employees a top priority, ThedaCare reached out to local companies like Presto Products, which makes plastic wraps, and SYLFAB, which does laser engraving for help in making the replacement CAPR pieces. It's also working with ATS and Absolute Supply on the project. Following a couple weeks of designs and discussions, production on the disposable CAPR parts is currently underway
According to Gisi, "Really what it means, a couple things. Number one, greater peace of mind for our caregivers because certainly they're concerned about their personal protection and potentially being exposed and maybe bringing this back to their home, their families, those types of things. But more than anything it's allowed us to be able to lessen our conservation measures a little bit."
With the replacement pieces coming out of production already, ThedaCare employees are assembling the disposable parts which will be put to use immediately.
"We were able to secure enough raw supply initially for 7,000 and we will continue to build from there," says Gisi. He adds, "We also want to share this with other healthcare providers in the valley who may be needing the same supply."
And by teaming up locally, ThedaCare and most likely others won't have to rely on an out of the area supplier to provide this needed equipment.