During the first semester of my freshman year of college, I remember going to the hospital and being given a hospital gown. I had H. Pylori, a bacterial infection in the stomach that causes rapid weight loss, ulcers and can even lead to stomach cancer. The doctors did not know this at first, and I was continuously being seen to find out what was wrong. When asked to do another series of tests, the nurse gave me another one of those horrible hospital gowns that leaves your butt out for the world to see. I decided after putting on the ugly gown that the makers either did not want to spend the money to finish the backside or they thought it would make a statement.
Ted Streuli, one of many hospital gown-wearers, told CNN, “You’re at the hospital because something’s wrong with you — you’re vulnerable — then you get to wear the most vulnerable garment ever invented to make the whole experience that much worse,” revealing how much more traumatizing the gown makes the experience of being in a hospital.
The gowns have been remodeled over the years, but being a patient admitted to the hospital myself, I have not seen the changes being made to gowns at every hospital. If there are going to be “facelifts” done to the style of the gowns, they should be applied at all emergency room locations.
Cleveland Clinic, one of the top hospitals in the United States, was the first to implement the changes to their gowns because of patient complaints in 2010. However, the positive feedback to the changes of the hospital gown motivated the hospital’s chief experience officer, Adrienne Boissy, to make the gowns even better.
None other than Diane von Furstenberg, the creator of the famous wrap dress, was called up to help create a more fashionable and comfortable hospital gown in order to improve the experience for hospital patients everywhere.
The DVF-inspired gowns are reversible and completely cover the lower region, which allows patients to be comfortable walking around without worrying about their behinds being seen. In my opinion, having a hospital gown that covers my behind is an improvement itself, but these new gowns do not stop there.
New gowns are being produced at hospitals all over the nation. Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey is one of many hospitals implementing alternatives to the belittling original gown style. The New Jersey medical center recently changed their patient wear to pajamas and gowns to improve the patient feedback and experience. However, they did mention that their costs have risen to an extra $70,000 per year in expenses because of the small change. I would argue that, while the small change in wardrobe does make the patient feel more tended to and humane, other hospital expenses are more important to cover.
Some feel the decision to change these gowns defies the culture of the hospital and the system within. Overall, the choice to change the gowns at every institution is also not up to one person, but a board of individuals. There are so many hospitals around the country, and I question if it is even possible for all of them to adopt a new style. The new gown design may improve patient satisfaction, but it may also take away from necessary expenses that are more significant. I can agree with anyone who has ever been to a hospital that a change in the gowns should definitely occur. However, a gown change has to be implemented in a large number of institutions and at a reasonable price.