WORN by patients up and down the country, the traditional hospital gown often leaves wearers quite literally exposed.

Now nurses from South West London have designed a new robe that promises to be less revealing.

The gown, which is similar in style to a Japanese kimono, is being piloted by 40 patients on two wards at St George’s Hospital and will be followed by a second trial at Kingston Hospital. Following evaluation by patients, relatives and nurses, the new gown will be rolled out to NHS Trusts across South West London.

The new gown is wider and longer than its predecessor and fastens together at the front rather than at the back. The design also enables clinical staff access to a patient’s arm or neck to place intravenous drips without the need to remove the garment.

“The old gowns have never been attractive or dignified,” explains Jayne Quigley, a senior nurse from St George’s Hospital and a member of the regional team that worked on the design.

“The fabric is unattractive and the words ‘Hospital property’ are stamped all over it. The washed-out yellow colour is not flattering to any skin tone, especially if you’re ill. It’s also difficult to tie up especially if you have recently had surgery.”

“There doesn’t appear to have been any clinical input into its design,” she adds.

In association with Sunlight Healthcare Service Group, the company which provides and launders gowns for several hospitals across the country including St George’s, the team of nurses designed a new gown which patients should find more comfortable and dignified to wear.

Jayne Quigley continues: “The fabric of the new gown looks and feels better.

“The cornflower blue colour suits all skin tones and makes everyone look better. We’ve provided access at the neck for patients who need drips and drains, and sleeves have been given poppers so that they can be opened for patients with large arms.”

The gown is already proving popular with patients. Linda Williams, 53, from West Sussex said: “The new gown is comfortable and the colour really gives you a lift. You don’t feel as though bits of you are on display. It’s nice to have a bit of dignity.”

Geraldine Walters, the hospital’s Director of Nursing, explains the origins of the project to revamp the gown:

“Alongside all of the changes in hospital care, one thing that has never changed is the hospital gown.

“The initiative to change the hospital gown began a few years ago in response to a Department of Health initiative to refocus on aspects of basic of care, and in particular, the privacy and dignity of patients.”

Notes to editors

  1. St George’s uses approximately 800 gowns every week.
  2. As is common with most hospitals in the UK, St George’s rents its gowns from a company called Sunlight, which also launders them.
  3. The cost of the new gown will be no greater than the old one.
  4. For a copy of the photograph that appeared in The Times on Saturday May 7, please call NI Syndication on 020 7711 7820 quoting ‘St George’s Hospital.’