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To improve hospital patient satisfaction, switch out the gowns

Written by Diane Archer

A recent JAMA study looks at inpatient hospital attire as an element of patient satisfaction. Patients lose self-esteem and don’t feel that doctors treat them as people when they are forced to wear hospital open-backed gowns. The authors believed that leaving patients’ lower bodies exposed affects patients’ dignity and wanted to understand patient preference.

The authors found that only 14 of the 127 patients they studied in five Canadian hospitals were wearing lower body garments. But, their doctors thought that an additional 43 of them, 57 total, had conditions that would permit them to wear lower body garments. And, depending on location, doctors were more or less inclined to say that their patients were eligible for lower body garments.

More than three quarters of patients eligible for lower body garments wanted to wear them. And, the authors recommend that hospital patients eligible to wear lower body garments who cannot wear normal attire should be encouraged to do so in order to improve the patient experience. They further recommend that patients ineligible to wear lower body garments should be given something more dignified to wear than open-backed gowns.

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