The drafty backside is finally gone, replaced with comfort, warmth and dignity in a newly designed hospital gown that blends style for the patient with clinical function for the health care team.
The new patient gown – resembling a wrap-around robe that completely closes in the back and front– is being rolled out on several inpatient floors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. It is among the first inventions to be made public by the Henry Ford Innovation Institute in collaboration with the College for Creative Studies.
The newly designed gown is:
Completely closed in the back, creating more privacy for patients
Made of a thicker, cotton/polyester blend material, which keeps patients warmer than the previous patient gowns
Double-breasted in the front, using three snaps, instead of ties, to close the gown
Intuitive in design, with different colored snaps and stitching along the left and right sides of the gown, making it easy for patients to put on
Accessible for IVs and other medical lines. The health care teams say it offers them uncompromised clinical access to the patient without needing to remove the gown
“Our No. 1 goal was to close the backside of the gown with our design,” says Michael Forbes, a product designer at the Henry Ford Innovation Institute and graduate of the College for Creative Studies (CCS). “A simple change can have a large impact on the patients’ stay at a hospital. By creating a hospital gown that is safe, stylish and comfortable, we’ve made the patient feel more at home, like they’re wearing their own garments.”
The gown, which began with a drawing two years ago from College for Creative Studies students working at the Innovation Institute, is now being tested by patients like Ismail Khalil, M.D., a vascular surgeon from Lebanon who traveled to Henry Ford Hospital for a liver transplant. Dr. Khalil has the unique perspective as both a physician and now a patient on the design of the new hospital gown versus the traditional hospital gown.
“The new gown is the ultimate in simplicity and sophistication,” he says. “The old gown was uncomfortable with the ties in the back; I did not like it. I’d much rather walk down the hall in the new gown; it fits well and you feel decent. It looks good too. What more could you want?”
The new gown is tailored to fit two patient populations. Using the snaps on either side of the gown, it can adjust from a size large to an extra large, allowing for it to fit more patients with a single design. The gown is navy and light blue, to coincide with the Henry Ford Hospital colors. The colors, however, can easily be modified for other hospitals to fit their brand.
"The goal," Forbes says, "is to license the design to an existing gown manufacturer, which would then produce and sell the gown nationally."
The cost to manufacture and purchase the new gown is very comparable to existing gowns, says Forbes. Laundering is exactly the same too; the new gown meets with current national hospital cleaning standards.