It’s a designer gown that will never make it to the runway but is a big hit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London. Inspired by patients and staff, the fine details are dignity, comfort and versatility, making this one-of-a kind hospital gown haute couture in the Breast Care Centre.
The new hospital gown, made specifically for breast care patients, was a collaborative effort of St. Joseph’s Health Care London and London Hospital Linen Service (LHLS).
After looking at existing products and finding they didn’t fit the needs of both patients and the hospital, the two organizations sat down at the drawing board.
The goal was a one-size-fits-all gown that was comfortable, respectful and user friendly for patients, functional for both surgery consults and breast imaging, and could hold up to repeated laundering without increasing the hospital’s laundering costs.
After months of testing various prototypes and gathering feedback from staff and patients, the final concept went into production. Designed to be worn two different ways to accommodate both mammography and ultrasound scans as well as exams by surgeons, the new gowns are now in use and receiving rave reviews, says Howard Hansford, Site Leader, Diagnostic Imaging Centre at St. Joseph’s.
LHLS, which donated much time and expertise on the project and worked with Lac-Mac Ltd. in London to manufacture the gown, “was exceptionally attentive and responsive to our patient needs,” adds Hansford. “There were many tweaks over several months.” The bathrobe-style gowns are thicker than the usual hospital garb, explains Pauline Bessegato, Coordinator, breast surgery. “Denim blue in colour with a pink trim, they are also much more attractive and add a spa-like touch for patients who may be feeling stressed and anxious.”
“St. Joseph’s has always been a key partner of LHLS and we want to help the hospital in its mission of care,” says Brendan O’Neill, Manager, Corporate Development, LHLS. “It was such a great opportunity for us to work with patients and staff and produce something that we could potentially bring to all our customers.”
About 560 gowns are used at the Breast Care Centre each week. LHLS is hoping to add the innovative design to its product line so that it’s available to hospitals across Southwestern Ontario. Adorned with patient-centred care, the custom gowns may well become a classic.