UI Health Care seeks donations of cloth face masks as well as continued donations of personal protective equipment

Illustration showing a cloth face mask

University of Iowa Health Care will now accept homemade cloth masks from individuals or manufacturers. This comes after guidance UI Health Care issued to its employees today who do not have face-to-face contact with patients that they can choose to wear their own cloth masks in addition to their mandatory face shield to help prevent asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.

UI Health Care employees with face-to-face patient contact will wear medical-grade face masks underneath their mandatory face shields starting today, as masks are available.

“The community continues to step up with donations and support, and we couldn’t be more thankful,” says Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, chief executive officer of UI Hospitals & Clinics and associate vice president of UI Health Care. “We know some people who sew have been eager to help, so we’re now taking donations of face masks that follow the guidance and patterns identified by our leadership.”

Items needed

Cloth face masks

UI Health Care is accepting donations of purchased or homemade cloth masks. Here are few things to keep in mind so that the items donated can be used:

Donated items must come from a smoke-free, dust-free, pet-free, and illness-free environment, and all fabric items must be made from new materials laundered in scent-free detergent.

Please use one of the two patterns for homemade cloth masks that can be downloaded for free from uihc.org/kind-donations:

All items must be stored in a non-scented, new plastic bag for delivery.

Other items that people who sew can make include a cap and hair covering, which provides comfort to staff when wearing their face shield.

Medical-grade masks

Employees working with patients are also asked to wear isolation/surgery masks under their face shields. Supplies of these medical-grade masks are limited and, as a result are for only those employees who have direct interaction with patients.

Protective face shields

Dozens of donors have already supported the call for protective face shields. UI Health Care has distributed thousands of face shields to its employees working on campus. The shields are used by staff to keep employees and patients safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by covering the eyes, nose, and mouth. More face shields are needed that fall into the following guidance:

The protective face shields should be lightweight and adjustable to fit securely to the user’s head, with a shield area that extends below the chin. Previously used face shields are acceptable; UI Health Care staff can clean and disinfect used shields.

Other items needed

The in-kind donations webpage is updated frequently with current needs and guidelines for all in-kind donations to UI Hospitals & Clinics. The hospital is directing those who wish to donate their time to the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties’ Emergency Volunteer Center, which maintains a match database for volunteer needs and opportunities.

How to donate these items

Please complete a donation form, found at uihc.org/kind-donations and bring a copy with your donation.

Donated items are accepted outside the UI Hospitals & Clinics Main Entrance from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Please call Concierge Services at 1-319-356-1900 or 1-319-678-5500 to schedule a donation drop-off. 

For your safety and the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff, you will be met you at your vehicle to accept donated items.

Please do not enter the Main Entrance with donated items.

Stay safe

Gunasekaran said that in addition to the donation of masks and protective face shields, the best thing everyone can do to help the hospital is to continue to follow the guidelines for social distancing and hand hygiene in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Get the latest on COVID-19 | Media Contacts