The New Patient Gown

A couple of years ago, I posted on the blog – in 140 characters or less, as if I was live-tweeting from the hospital – about my experience as a patient undergoing an MRI.

You may recall a few of my “tweets” from that post: “Are any hospital gowns made for someone over 6 feet?” and “Need two gowns, you don’t want to see what’s behind #youtube.”

These are the same complaints we’ve heard for decades about the standard patient gown – it’s ill-fitting, uncomfortable and has a very drafty backside.

And now, we have a solution: A newly designed patient gown that’s comfortable, warm and keeps patient covered, yet still accessible to clinical staff.

Michael Forbes, a product designer at the Henry Ford Innovation Institute, talks with patient Ismail Khalil, M.D., a vascular surgeon from Lebanon who traveled to Henry Ford Hospital for a liver transplant. Dr. Khalil is wearing the new patient gown.

Michael Forbes, a product designer at the Henry Ford Innovation Institute, talks with patient Ismail Khalil, M.D., who traveled to Henry Ford Hospital from Lebanon for a liver transplant. Khalil is wearing the new gown.

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.

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

The goal 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. Laundering is exactly the same too; the new gown meets with current national hospital cleaning standards.

I actually like the gown a great deal, but prefer to not model it personally.

Trust me that even this gown doesn’t look good on me while wearing long black stockings and work shoes! 

Watch WDIV-TV4’s story about the new gown here.

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8 thoughts on “The New Patient Gown

  1. Brilliant idea to help out our patients when it comes to dignity. I hated the fact the all the gowns were so exposed and they felt violated. I love the IDEA!!!

  2. I am concerned about the snaps located in the front of the gown. I work in xray and the snaps on the current gowns show up on our images. Are the snaps on the new gowns radiolucent. If they are not radiolucent the gown would then have to be removed for certain xray exams.

  3. I can see the snaps being an issue with xrays or ct when they are going to have to open the gown up all the way.

  4. Thanks, this is a great question. I’ve asked Michael Forbes, product designer with the Innovation Institute, to respond. Here’s what he had to say:

    “Thanks, Tonya and our friends in Radiology. We are aware of the challenges that we need to address with the new patient gown in regard to Radiology and MRI patient scenarios. We have developed concepts that could solve this challenge. While those still require testing, we are confident we have a solution to incorporate into future versions of our gown design.

    “The challenge with translucent, ‘plastic snaps’ are that they are easily damaged/destroyed during the laundry process, and they can be confused as diseased tissue in X-rays. Whereas with metal snaps, it is more obvious in x-rays and ties are often torn, knotted, or cut prematurely.”

  5. I agree with the comment on metal snaps. BUT- perhaps in the areas where metal is prohibited, only, velcro can be used. It may be costlier (?) and as we know Velcro seems to collect lint and hair on it’s little feelers, but for special non-metal circumstanes, Velcro is your solution. I was sure that Velcro was the answer before I read snaps, hence that’s why I came up with this suggestion. Good luck!

  6. Very nice to hear on our Canadian National News via AM800, this P.M. unfortunately, they only said ” an American Hospital “. …enjoyed Dr. Mc George on The T.V. 04.08.13.
    I hope this becomes the gown of choice for alot of Health Care settings.

  7. Working in Radiology (Xray, MRI, CT, Nuc Med, PET, US) I think the best solution is to replace metal snaps and use velcro. This way the gowns will be okay to use while going to MRI, CT and general Xray. By using an imaging friendly gown, patient’s won’t be hasseled to change for an exam, and then re-change when they return to their room. New gowns are a great idea, but we need to look into having a gown that will be universal for ALL departments. Suggestions from every department should be made and discussed before implementing these deciscions. This way, we will be saving money in the long run by not having to redesign anything. Thank you for your time =)

  8. I think the wrap around gowns are a great idea, but with heavy duty ties instead of snaps because the snaps will be an issue for x-ray. The radiologists do not like to read films with snaps in the image. The patient is already feeling ill and cold. They come to x-ray lay on a cold table and now we have to tell them that were going to expose them due to the snaps.

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