Despised hospital gowns get fashion makeovers

Story highlights

  • Hospital gowns have gotten a face-lift with help from fashion designers such as Diane von Furstenberg
  • What patients wear needs to be comfortable yet allow health professionals access during exams
  • Patient satisfaction is linked to the size of Medicare payments hospitals get

(CNN)Whether a patient is in the hospital for an organ transplant, an appendectomy or to have a baby, one complaint is common: the gown.

You know the one. It might as well have been stitched together with paper towels and duct tape, and it usually leaves the wearer's behind hanging out.
"You're at the hospital because something's wrong with you -- you're vulnerable -- then you get to wear the most vulnerable garment ever invented to make the whole experience that much worse," said Ted Streuli, who lives in Edmond, Okla., and has had to wear hospital gowns on multiple occasions.
    Put another way: "They are horrible. They are demeaning. They are belittling. They are disempowering," said Camilla McRory of Olney, Md.
    Hospital gowns have gotten a face-lift after some help from fashion designers like these from Patient Style and the Henry Ford Innovation Institute.