Hospital Gown Intentions

I was part of the research group, “the discursive body” and in my initial research, I explored how communication is related to physical space, the visual, objects and the body.

I explored body language and the issue of comfort.

By observing patients’ behaviours in Accident & Emergency, I have identified key themes of trust, safety and anxiety, which are related to controlling nudity, relative comfort and communication.

My question is, how could we reduce feelings of anxiety and improve feelings of security in the public-private environment of emergencies?

I decided to work on a welcome kit for emergencies, which will contain a patient coat, something that can be used to store clothes and shoes (playing the role of the plastic bags currently used) and possibly other items and information.

I started by focusing on the patient’s gown and the emergency room clothing communication system.

The clothing system

In Accident & Emergency departments, much of the communication between caregivers and patients during wait times is done through body language, and one of the main forms of visual communication is through the different types of clothing people wear, with white coats for medical staff, blue coats for patients and ordinary clothing for their caregivers. In designing the gown, I will consider how it fits into this system.

I will design the entire blouse, including the shape, material and any pattern printed on the blouse. I am aware of the following key considerations: the dress must be comfortable, privacy-protecting, adaptable to all sizes, accessible to caregivers, easy to wear and economical to manufacture.

Here are some of the references I used as a starting point.

To answer the question of comfort, I consider similar clothes in the domestic environment, such as dressing gowns. To create a garment that fits several sizes, while protecting privacy, I think of drawstrings, kimonos and wrap dresses. For aesthetics, I consider the clothing brand, “cos”.

For caregiver access, I studied the appropriate clothing used by long-term hospitalized patients and new mothers. I am also working alongside a doctor to design access points.

It is in this spirit that I began to make sketch models, in small scale

The first ones explored the possibility of using perforations that would allow caregivers to tear parts of the dress and reattach them with tape, as well as cord pullers, clasps with tapes and side openings. They also explore possibilities of the blouse opening at the back or the side.

Since these fist models I have gone on to make full scale models, and I will develop the final form through iterating and testing full-scale models, as well as computer simulated 3d models.

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