The Patient Gown and Adverse Events

Adverse events occur every day in healthcare that are attributed, in my opinion, to the use of the traditional patient gown. My redesigned patient gown-CII (Catastrophic Illness & Injury) can assist with this process in many ways through its unique design elements, and its ability to assist in improving quality of care and safety for patients. Currently, the traditional patient gown extends far below the knees and is a safety hazard, and quite possibly contributes to patient falls due to the current weight, length, and sweep of the gown. The ill-fitted garment literally just “hangs on” the patient’s frail bodies at times. Does anybody really notice this but me? Secondly, the traditional patient gown conceals lines, tubes, and drains, and does not allow for quick visualization and reconciliation of these items for the clinical team and can contribute to tubing misconnections or dislodgements (peg tubes, PICC lines, etc.). The sleeves on the gown which need to be much shorter can also impede care at times making it difficult when dealing with intravenous lines and BP cuffs, etc. Next, the fabric selection is currently not well matched to assist in temperature control or in helping to prevent infections or pressure ulcers (reducing friction or shear). Frequently, pressure ulcers develop in common areas such as the shoulders, buttocks, lower back, inner aspect of the knees, and hips, etc. The traditional gown does not lend itself to any wicking properties by helping to control moisture or body temperature which is problematic for patients with various disease states. The traditional gown certainly was not created as a skin barrier or preventative therapy with its original design when reviewing its history. Then, we have the issue of the exposed back-side area which remains a constant complaint among those that have had the opportunity to wear the iconic garment. CII is different from the traditional gown as it has a unique design! It opens easily (from the side) for care and treatment, and the back side remains closed. Debilitating injuries should decrease secondary to manual patient handling as the gown “breaks away” to provide the needed care for the patient. Quite often gowns are cut away due to emergencies; CII eliminates this issue, as well as, the issue of a drafty backside. Ease of use of the gown for both the patient and the clinical team is an added bonus to CII’s design. Safety considerations were incorporated into the dimensions of the light weight gown with the addition of the ports and pockets to provide care and treatment. An eyelet was also added to CII to anchor or stabilize a g-tube which is something new to the marketplace. Finally, fabric selection and the ability to provide temperature control and wicking properties to help in the prevention of pressure ulcers and infection was added to further reduce risk to the patient. The patient gown will always be worn in most healthcare settings and remain the constant factor in the delivery of care, as it has DIRECT contact with the patient’s skin in most instances. Changing the properties and the design of the patient gown in the foreseeable future can only challenge us to change the things we have not been able to accept in the present and finally give patients what they have been asking for! #BuildaBetterPatientGown #ChooseCII.                                                     Copyright © 2017 Tracey L. Kennedy