Hospitals

Cleveland Clinic fashion show? Nah. Diane Von Furstenberg gowns

The three-year wait is over.

Select patients at the Cleveland Clinic and its regional hospitals have begun wearing a new, Diane Von Furstenberg-designed hospital gown. Intended to help patients stay comfortable while providing access to doctors and nurses, the new gown features elastic waistband, wrap-around closure and a wide V-neck. The gown comes with a signature Von Furstenberg element: a bold, graphic print that incorporates the Clinic’s logo.

The seed of the new gown was planted in 2007 when Von Furstenberg met Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove at a networking conference, Newsweek reported. The design was unveiled earlier this year at a Clinic patient summit.

All the fawning press over the Clinic’s new gown design makes one wonder why it didn’t happen sooner, considering the traditional open-backed “Johnny gown” has been a source of frustration for hospital patients for years. Cost may be the answer. Newsweek classifies the Johnny gown as “relatively cheap” to produce. The Clinic’s new gown costs about $9.

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So far patient reviews have been mostly positive, though there have been a couple minor hiccups along the way, the Plain Dealer reported. When the gown was first piloted on the colorectal floor of the Clinic’s main campus, patients found that its snaps didn’t fasten securely enough. The problem has since been corrected. Additionally, some male patients have complained that the gown is too feminine, so the Clinic is considering a new color scheme.

The most vexing part of the design process was choosing the right fabric. Patients often complain of being too warm during hospital stays, so the challenge was to find a fabric light enough to let patients stay cool but heavy enough to bounce back after frequent washings. In some cases, the fabric has shrunk after washing, so designers are considering making the gown slightly longer.

The Clinic recently began another trial of the gowns on general medical/surgical floors at its regional Fairview and Euclid hospitals, and in the vascular intensive care unit on its main campus, according to the Plain Dealer.

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