Leading medical supplier Medline Industries, Inc. is now making it possible for them to minimize discomfort and anxiety during a hospital stay with a new pediatric patient gown featuring children’s favorite Disney characters. With Mickey for boys and Minnie for girls, these gowns are colorful, designed for comfort and feature soft napped knit fabric that feels gentle and smooth against the skin. In addition, the plastic snaps make it safe to wear during MRI scans, eliminating the need for patients to change in and out of gowns. The durable snaps also have exceptional impact resistance.
“When children enter the hospital, their biggest fear is the unknown,” said Kristen Johnson, a child life manager at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, the first hospital in the nation to offer the gowns to patients. “They may have misconceptions about procedures or their diagnosis, fear of medical equipment, as well as fears of a new place and new people. Play and familiar reminders of home can provide comfort and empower children during difficult situations.”
Experts agree, the less stress and anxiety a child has, the better their recovery. In today’s changing healthcare landscape, improving patient experience is a top priority for healthcare systems large and small.
“Patient apparel has been an expertise of ours for 50 years,” said Tim Abate, textiles division president, Medline. “We’re committed to innovation and this gown sets a new standard on the pediatric patient’s genuine needs – comfort and safety – giving hospitals the ability to provide children not just the best treatment, but also the most comforting care during their stay.”
Medline’s latest line also features completely opaque fabric to support the child’s modesty and ties that fall lower on the back for added comfort and safety.
Initial feedback has been positive, with some noting that the gowns are definitely bringing a smile to many patients’ faces. Nurses report that the children love the bright colors, fun characters and soft, pajama-like feel. The gowns also are serving as a conversation starter and common bond between clinician and patient.
“Talking about the gowns and characters provide clinicians with a way to build rapport, ease anxiety and interact with the patients in a positive manner,” Johnson said. “Children will feel more confident and trusting when they’ve had a successful or positive overall experience.”
From the parent perspective, one of the toughest challenges is easing a child’s anxiety in what can be a cold, sterile and disruptive environment.
“For any parent, it’s difficult to see your child in pain or afraid,” said Melissa Zaro, parent. “When our son was admitted into the hospital for a rare kidney condition, we brought him his favorite pillow and stuffed animal to comfort him. I think familiar characters on a gown could also make a difference in helping children relax and feel comforted.”
The child patient journey can be overwhelming on many levels. Offering normalcy and a home-like experience are keys to a child’s overall progress.
“Children need to be as close to themselves as possible while they are with us,” said Amanda Andrew, patient care technician, Children’s Medical Center Dallas. “They need to feel loved, appreciated and beautiful. And especially when they are away from home, children need to feel safe.”
With millions of dollars at risk for health systems due to healthcare reform and the new value-based purchasing rules, hospital leaders are looking for practical, affordable solutions for improving patient experience and raising HCAHPS survey scores. Medline recognizes this as a growing concern among its customers and remains committed to discovering new ways to improve the patient experience.
Posted August 3, 2014