Should patients be able to wear their own clothing in the hospital? A new study says yes. Do you agree?
A small study conducted in five Canadian hospitals found that while many patients could be wearing their own clothing from the waist down during their hospital stay, many don’t, even though they would like to. The study suggests that allowing patients to wear their own clothing can improve the patient experience.
Patients wearing their own clothing might “maintain their self-esteem and orientation and also remind their care professionals to recognize them as people,” said the research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study also found that wearing the traditional, open-backed hospital gown can be associated with a loss of dignity for the patient.
Speaking to Reuters, researcher Dr. Todd C. Lee said he began the research after seeing a patient wear a suit to leave the hospital briefly and then resume wearing a hospital gown when he returned.
“Clearly he was capable of wearing normal clothes—it was our system and its expectations (and perhaps his preconceived notion of them) that led to him awkwardly strutting down the hall in that fashion,” Lee said. “Since then, I have always believed that patients should be encouraged to wear their own clothing if it is appropriate.”
The study acknowledges that there are many situations that would not be appropriate for civilian clothing, including patients with frequent incontinence.
What do you think—is it a good idea for patients to wear their own clothes in the hospital? Would it interfere with your work? Do you think it could have a negative effect on infection control? Let us know in the comments below!