Patient experience extends beyond the actual medical procedure or how much time a hospitalist spends in the room. The term encompasses a patient’s entire experience from the time they walk into your facility until they leave. Every touchpoint while they’re under your roof can impact how they rate their level of satisfaction with care.
One component of their stay that is constantly with them is patient apparel. What your patient is wearing can impact how they feel about your facility, but in many hospitals today apparel is one of the most old-fashioned products in the med-surg arena.
Rarely does a patient arrive at a hospital fully confident in the patient onboarding process. A common part of this process includes being instructed to strip their clothing, remove personal belongings, and dress in a less-than-flattering and hardly comforting hospital gown. By offering comfortable, full coverage gowns, you can take advantage of one easy way to improve the patient experience.
Enhancing The Patient Experience
Patients are all different sizes, heights, and body shapes. It is unrealistic to think that a “one size fits all” gown approach is possible. For smaller individuals, a gown that is too long could drag on the ground and put a patient at risk for falling.
Modesty is a large factor of the patient experience, and having sizes that accommodate patients who are very tall, overweight, or obese could be key to elevating their comfort level. By offering a variety of sizes, you can better accommodate all patients, from petite to plus-size and ensure that no patient feels singled-out.
Also look for gowns that have full-coverage backs with generous overlap. The best will tie at the patient’s side for ease of donning instead of in the back.
Patients also need apparel that is comfortable, durable, and non-transparent. Gowns that have faded due to excessive laundering cycles can appear thin and worn and do not instill confidence that they will protect the patient’s modesty. Modern patient apparel is designed with higher-performance synthetic fabrics for colorfastness and durability against becoming threadbare.
The healthcare apparel products of today are unlike the uncomfortable, modesty-lacking relics of the past. Today, hospitals have the option to choose from many different products, in varying sizes and colors. Patient satisfaction is a core concern among providers, and healthcare manufacturers offer a wide variety of apparel that fits a specific unit’s need, such as behavioral health, radiology, and clinics.
When a hospital maintains a supply of patient apparel in sizes and textures that match the varying needs of the patient population, there is less waste in terms of time, products, and laundering services, all while protecting patient modesty. Gone are the days of doubling up on gowns or tracking down extra robes when each patient can be accommodated with one simple garment designed to fit their body.
If using reusable apparel, it is equally important to select apparel that is durable enough to withstand the commercial laundering process required to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities guidelines. This helps keep the laundry management process efficient and cost-effective.
As patient comfort continues to be an integral part of a patient’s overall experience, many healthcare facilities are seeking new ways to improve the sense of comfort and safety patients feel while within their halls. If you are looking for opportunities to improve patient satisfaction, consider the details; review what products your patients interact with most often and begin updating those first.