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UC design innovation: New hope for the hated hospital gown

ot work."

Needs and challenges identified by the students include

  • Need to avoid pressure ulcers, skin lesions developed by patients due to wrinkles in or rubbing of material when patients are in a prone position for extended periods.

  • Need to accommodate braces and other medical items worn by patients.

  • Need for easy cleaning of gowns since they are laundered daily.

  • Need for ease in putting on and securing gowns with accessible closures. These closures must be able to withstand frequent washings and also accommodate medical devices.

  • Need for pockets, coverage and warmth.

  • Need to accommodate variations in body temperature.


According to Ann Welsh of UC's College of Business, the initial UC research demonstrated that "when it comes to the hospital gowns in use today, one size fits none."

And so, the solution eventually offered by the UC students is a "Progressive Recovery Collection." These are options for multiple gowns that can, importantly, all be created from one pattern a practice that would cut down on waste and inefficiency.

The options are

  • One gown for seriously ill bed ridden patients.

  • Another gown for the somewhat mobile patient.

  • A third gown for the fully ambulatory.

These final product ideas were the outcome of a demanding process that began with, literally, hundreds of ideas, according to Steve Engstrom, executive director of research and strategic innovation at Hill-Rom, who was one of the company executives who worked closely with the UC students.

"The students don't have preconceptions, and so they bring fresh ideas. They come up with a wide volume of ideas and creative solutions that we can then break down and say, 'What can we do with this in a comprehensive, holistic way?' They're very aware that we don't w

Contact: M.B. Reilly
University of Cincinnati

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