By Mobb Medical
Observe people on any busy city street and you are sure to see all manner of dress, from business suits to jeans. But one item you won’t see people wearing on the street is a dressing gown, also known as a hospital gown, patient gown, johnny gown or johnny shirt. Whatever one calls it, this is one unfashionable but very necessary garment worn by patients spending time in hospitals and medical facilities.
The typical dressing gown is made from a very durable cotton-based fabric that can withstand many washes in hot water. Because the fabric is thinner and looser than street clothes, patients are less likely to overheat when wearing the dressing gown. Medical staff insist patients wear the thin dressing gowns because listening to the heart and lungs, giving injections, and connecting medical equipment and IV lines is much easier than when the patient wears street clothes.
Generally, the dressing gown is free of fasteners, as these can interfere with some types of diagnostic tests. Instead, the dressing gown ties at the back with twill tape. A more modern dressing gown style offers snaps along the tops of the shoulders and sleeves, allowing for the dressing gown to be removed without disrupting intravenous lines placed in the patient’s arms. As well, disposable hospital gowns are available, made from thin plastic or paper, with paper or plastic ties.
The UK’s Design Council, in conjunction with the Department of Health, has launched a new project titled The Design for Patient Dignity Programme, aimed at redesigning dressing gowns with a view to improving patient privacy. The hope is that the medical profession overall will embrace the new design so that all patients can benefit.
How does this dressing gown differ from older styles?
- The back portion –usually open and exposed — is being updated and covered. New style dressing gowns will open at the sides and are fastened by button clips.
- Taking into account concerns regarding IV lines and other medical equipment cables can be readily attached to the patient without exposing the skin thereby improving patient dignity.
- An internal waist cord fits comfortably on all body sizes.
- Reversible fabrics, available in round and v-neck styles, provide nurses with greater flexibility in patient care.
- Patients and their families will enjoy a greater respect for privacy.
Patient dressing gowns worn in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) are also undergoing redesign.
ICU patients need more room for the passage of IV lines, equipment cables, and other devices, so the new style ICU dressing gowns, available in one-size-fits-all, are equipped with internal and external pockets large enough to hold medical items, such as the urine catheter bag. Zippers and buttons are eliminated in favor of perforated lines offering easy access to vital organs. A belt tie serves as the primary fastener.
Enduring a stay in the hospital is stressful for almost every patient. With these advances in dressing gown design, more patients are assured of better patient care, and a promise of greater dignity.