The Processes on How to Wear a Patient Gown

I have read many articles on how to wear the basic traditional patient gown, again, still requiring the assistance of nursing personnel to either tie or snap the back of the gown. I believe this accounts for approximately 74% of the patient population. So what about the remaining 26% of patients that are medically complex that still need to wear a patient gown? These patients have a right to privacy and dignity just the same as any other patient. Just because patients have complex needs such as multiple lines and tubes, etc. does not mean they need to be exposed unnecessarily, but unfortunately it has become accepted practice because the traditional patient gown does not easily allow for care and treatment to be delivered to patients. Hospitals throughout the nation unintentionally expose patients during their stays because of the use of the dreaded traditional patient gown, as currently there is no better alternative. Multiple disruptions through out the day lifting and tugging at a garment that has rendered itself to be problematic day after day. Does anyone realize the process for wearing a patient gown is much DIFFERENT for those patients that are medically complex, debilitated, or bedbound? These patients are dependent on the clinical team to “drape” the gown onto the patient. More times than not, I would say the traditional gown may or may not even get tied or snapped due to the complexity of care that needs to be delivered to the patient. And the ugly truth nobody want to talk about…lines and tubes sticking out of the gown leaving the patients usually partially if not almost fully exposed at times. It happens every day as the traditional patient gown continues to not meet the current demands of complex patient care needs. There are many chronic patients in hospitals, skilled nursing care, long term acute care hospitals, etc. that need a specialty gown to meet the needs of patients with specific catastrophic conditions. We NEED an alternative high performing patient garment to meet the every day needs of a changing, highly complex and challenging medical environment. An opportunity exists to deliver care to this niche market. The time has come to change how we think about how care can be delivered through an innovative, pioneering, and newly designed patient gown called CII-Catatrophic Illness & Injury. A gown uniquely reverse engineered to open easily for care and treatments, a gown with increased motility creating efficiency in the clinical workflow, in addition to reducing risk to the healthcare workers for back injuries. To build a better patient gown means listening to the demands of the PATIENT population being served, observation of the PROCESS as it is remarkably different in this niche market so that we may arrive at a final PRODUCT and “breathe new life into an old project.” cii the SOLUTION. ©2016 Tracey L. Kennedy  “All Rights Reserved.”

Snaps & Stitching

My new mantra is “a new day, a new way,” so let’s talk about the snaps and the stitching on the traditional patient gown. The snaps need to be slightly larger due to the aging patient population and their decrease in fine motor skills that accompany life. It is very difficult for patients to locate and snap these tiny eyelets together when they are not acutely ill, so you can just imagine the nightmare and dissatisfaction that is causes when someone is debilitated and in the hospital for a prolonged period of time and not even have control of snapping a basic patient gown. A gown that currently ties in the back or sometimes snaps which patients are not able to extend their arms and reach to tie or snap without the assistance of a nurse in most instances. I was not able to do this for myself after my breast cancer surgery either and I was under the age of 50 at the time, very frustrating, and I felt a sense of a loss of control which I expect other patients feel the same. Now the snaps…the GAPS between the snaps! Talk about your privacy being invaded and feeling like a “peep show.” These gaps between the snaps along with loose stitching make the gowns very drafty in my opinion. There are some cultures that simply do not want any exposure of the body at all and simply the traditional gown does not measure up. The insane piece of this puzzle is we continue to use the traditional patient gown which continues to be a major patient dissatisfier even with issues being identified with the traditional patient gown. CII can offer patients the ability of a quick slip on fit, the ability of the front panel to open easily for care, larger snaps on the sleeves so the gown can break-away from front to back if necessary, larger snaps symmetrically placed on the left side of the gown with tight stitching in between the snaps, and a fabric that wicks away moisture. CII is an opportunity to build a better patient gown to achieve optimal patient outcomes 🙂 © 2016 Tracey L. Kennedy “All Rights Reserved.”

Sizing-One Size Fits Most

During my breast cancer journey, I had the opportunity many times to wear the dreadful traditional patient gown. So let’s talk about size, as size does matter and the “one size fits most” approach needs to change or be adjusted to those of you that manufacture and distribute the patient gown. This was a major dissatisfier for me as I put on the crunchy, oversized, and drafty garment. Not to mention the oversized sleeves which need to be shortened so lines can be better visualized by clinical staff. Also, patients frequently complain of being warm or too hot in the traditional gown made of cotton and polyester. Wearing an oversized gown on a petite frame was more than annoying, I cannot imagine having to had worn the traditional patient gown for an extended period of time as it also seemed heavy to me. My advice as an experienced Director of Clinical Quality, CMS collects data on the current height and weight of all inpatient admissions through the Quality Reporting Programs (as well as other data), so do you not think it is time to readjust the length and sweep of the gown based on the average height and weight of the patients currently being seen across healthcare organizations if you are going to take this “one size fits most” approach? Why not consider how care is delivered to better meet the needs of patients as most do wear a patient gown all day long and would like to be comfortable in a garment that fits appropriately by offering sizes based on height and weight again as an option. This could be a workable solution for PATIENTS but we need to rethink how to breathe new life into an old project. Manufacturers and distributors of the patient gown, you need to view your pictures on your websites and on my website (video) the gowns sweep the calves and/or ankles, patients look and feel ridiculous… Patients want to be comfortable, to have privacy in a gown, and finally, NO HARM to come to them during their stay, I do not believe the current traditional gown accomplishes this and is in fact dangerous to the delivery of care (CMS fall data, pressure ulcers, dislodgments). Building a better patient gown needs to incorporate a fabric that is light weight and soft, fits according to size, opens easily for care, incorporates the elements of safety and privacy, and is easily laundered and safe for the environment. Can we finally fix this…:) © 2016 Tracey L. Kennedy “All Rights Reserved.”