Tags: hospital | gown | exam | soft

Building a Better Hospital Gown

Friday, 07 Sep 2012 10:36 AM


Cures for cancer and the common cold remain elusive. But a Rhode Island woman is being credited with a medical achievement that could earn her a footnote in healthcare history books and the gratitude of millions of clinical patients: She has created a better, softer, and more dignified hospital gown.
Sharon Linder, a 30-year computer industry worker, said she was “driven” to design an alternative to the standard examination gown (called a “Johnnie”) by her extensive experience with them as a patient and while spending time with her mother and two sisters – all of whom have had breast cancer.
This fall, the Breast Health Center of Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island will debut the new gowns – which Linder has dubbed “Janes” – and they are expected to roll out at other facilities nationwide over the next year.
"Johnnies are uncomfortable, immodest patient gowns with a rear opening that leaves you exposed and feeling vulnerable,” Linder said. “The flimsy, ill-fitting gowns I was given during office visits left me freezing and scrambling to clutch the garment closed.
"For self-preservation, I needed to find a better way."
Linder’s newfangled gown is "a comfortable, dignified patient gown with a front wrap opening that leaves women feeling protected and secure," she said. It was developed over the past two years with input from patients at the Breast Health Center, her sisters, a radiologist with 30 years’ experience in woman's imaging, and officials at Purity Linen, the laundry company that services Women & Infants.
The off-white gowns with peach trim are made of a waffle-weave jersey fabric designed to trap body heat, are soft enough to be non-irritating to surgical wounds, and can be used in outpatient settings such as during examinations or chemotherapy treatments. Janes look more like robes that offer complete coverage and even a pocket.
Linder said Janes can also be used in other healthcare settings like orthopedic centers, hospital stays and at home during recuperation periods. Women could even buy their own Janes to bring to appointments.
"This is a statement of care and commitment by the hospital to its patients," said Linder. "Things as small as a patient robe can contribute to a sense of caring for the patient and Women & Infants is showing tremendous leadership in acknowledging this change as significant."
Dr. Robert D. Legare, director of the Breast Health Center, said the facility is “thrilled” to offer patients “the latest design in patient gowns. We have always acknowledged the inherent dignity of each patient and believe the Janes will help us further preserve this dignity during all patient encounters."
A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Janes will be donated to programs for women who cannot afford mammograms, Linder said.
For more information and to view images of the new gowns, visit www.getjanes.com.


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Coming soon to a hospital near you: Softer and more dignified examination gowns.
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2012-36-07
Friday, 07 Sep 2012 10:36 AM
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