Written By Gurkirat Butter & Reviewed by Alisa Matsushita-Bomba
Hospital robes are basic garments that can be difficult to put on and take off. They are a common clothing item for hospital patients, yet few have mastered the art of wearing them properly. Before we go further in understanding the tips to put on a hospital gown easily, it is necessary to understand the reason behind the trickiness of putting on a hospital gown:
- Design: Hospital gowns are designed to provide easy access to a patient's body for medical procedures and treatments, which means they are often open in the back and have loose-fitting sleeves. While this design is functional for medical purposes, it can make the gown difficult to put on, particularly if you're trying to do it on your own.
- Size: Hospital gowns are often one-size-fits-all, which means they may not fit well on people who are particularly tall, short or have a larger or smaller build. This can make it difficult to get the gown on properly and may require some adjusting and rearranging.
- Mobility: Patients who are in the hospital may be dealing with mobility issues or injuries that make it difficult to move their arms and legs, making it harder to put on the gown.
Overall, the design and intended function of hospital gowns can make them a bit tricky to put on, but hospital staff are generally well-versed in helping patients get dressed and can assist with the process if needed.
Here are four tips to help you put on a hospital gown without getting tangled up in fabric:
- Identify the type of gown you have: Hospital gowns come in two primary styles:
- Straight up-and-down: If you have a straight up-and-down gown, it will have two panels that meet in the middle on one side. Most patients prefer to have this side at the back to avoid feeling exposed. However, in some cases, the doctor may ask you to wear it with the gap in the front for easier access.
- Wrap-style: The wrap-style gown features two fabric panels that overlap at an angle, offering more coverage for patients. However, it can reduce access for medical professionals and hinder quick action. Each style of hospital gown requires slightly different instructions for donning it, which is why it's important to know which one you have.
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- Take off only the necessary clothing: Before putting on a hospital gown, you need to undress. In many cases, you can keep your bra and/or underwear on, unless instructed otherwise by the doctor. If the medical examination only requires accessing a particular part of your body, such as the top or bottom half, you may be allowed to leave on your shirt or pants and then cover the rest of your body with the gown. Follow the staff's instructions on how much to undress before putting on the gown. Keep your clothes in the designated place so you can easily find them later when it's time to change back.
- Follow instructions carefully: Pay close attention to the staff's instructions for putting on the hospital gown. Make sure to tie or fasten all the ties or snaps to keep the gown securely in place. If you're unsure about anything, don't hesitate to ask for help.
At this point, you are ready to put on the hospital gown, and the process varies depending on the type of gown you are wearing.
How to wear a straight up-and-down style gown:
If it is a straight up-and-down style gown, start by taking hold of it and positioning it to cover your front, unless instructed otherwise by the doctor. Slide your arms into the sleeves and raise the gown up to your neck level. If you have a good range of motion in your upper body, you can tie the neck strings at the back of your head. However, if your arms are not mobile enough, you can tie the strings in front of your chest and then slip them over your head. You may opt to tie the waist strings at the back if you will be walking around. Nonetheless, some individuals prefer leaving the waist strings untied if they plan on lying down because the knot can cause discomfort in their lower back.
How to wear a wrap-style gown:
The method of donning a wrap-style hospital gown is different from the straight up-and-down style, as it does not feature a necktie but instead has two waist ties. To put on a wrap gown, it should be draped over the body with the gaps facing the front. The inner waist tie, located on the inside of either the left or right side, should be identified first. Next, take the tie on the edge of the opposite side of the gown and attach it to the inner waist tie. Repeat the process with the outer waist tie on the other side of the garment that is still hanging loose. If the wrap gown has only one long inner tie, it should be brought around and tied to the string on the opposite side. Afterward, adjust the overlapping fabric panels to ensure that they hang comfortably.
Now, one of the most important steps in this whole process is protecting your privacy before removing the hospital gown.
By taking these steps, you can ensure a comfortable and private transition out of your hospital gown:
- Check with your healthcare provider: If you are in the hospital and have been asked to wear a gown, check with your healthcare provider to see if there are any specific instructions you need to follow before removing it. They may want to check your vital signs or perform a medical procedure before you change.
- Prepare for privacy: Hospital gown can be revealing, so it's important to prepare for privacy before removing it. Make sure you have a blanket or robe nearby to cover yourself, and if you need assistance, ask your healthcare provider for a nurse or assistant to help you.
- Get dressed slowly: When you're ready to remove the gown, take your time and move slowly. If you have any mobility issues or injuries, ask for assistance to avoid any discomfort or injury.
- Dispose of the gown properly: Once you have removed the gown, dispose of it properly. Many hospitals have specific protocols for disposing of medical waste, so ask your healthcare provider for guidance.
After you have undergone your medical exams or treatments and no longer require the hospital gown, it is time to remove it. Hospital gowns may have quick release snaps located on the shoulders, eliminating the need to untie the gown. In this case, you can simply unfasten the snaps and slip out of the gown with ease. However, if the gown does not have snaps, you will need to undo the ties, which can be a bit challenging. Therefore, it is recommended to tie the gowns in loose bows and avoid double knotting them to make it easier to remove. You should discard the hospital gown in the designated dirty laundry receptacle as instructed by the staff. After removing the hospital gown, you can put back on your regular clothes.
Overall, the process of putting on a hospital gown can be challenging for many patients. The design of the gown and the one-size-fits-all nature can make it difficult to put on properly. However, by following the tips outlined above, patients can make the process easier and more comfortable. It's important to remember that hospital staff are there to help, and patients should never hesitate to ask for assistance if needed. With a little patience and practice, putting on a hospital gown can become a much more manageable task. By understanding the different types of gowns available and following the tips and techniques outlined above, patients can easily and confidently don a hospital gown and receive the care they need without unnecessary stress or discomfort.
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