Healthcare workers’ views on the utility and impact on patient wellbeing of wearing the hospital gown

Nicola Cogan, Liza Morton, Johanna Johnstone, Victoria Fleck, Haneen Mansouri, Manos Georgiadis

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Patients are often required to wear hospital clothing, commonly a backless gown, during medical procedures and surgeries. Previous research has reported on the negative impact of wearing the hospital gown on patient self-reported wellbeing, however, the views of healthcare workers have been widely overlooked.

Aim: The current study aimed to explore the utility of the hospital gown from healthcare workers’ perspectives, and its perceived impact on patient wellbeing.

Method: The study consisted of a cross-sectional online survey exploring healthcare workers’ views (n= 3371) and experiences of utilising the gown and its perceived impact on patient wellbeing. The survey consisted of closed and open-ended questions. Both quantitative and content analysis of the online survey data was conducted.

Findings: The majority of healthcare workers reported that patients were often asked to wear the hospital gown, despite a lack of medical necessity. Its design was considered to be not fit for purpose and lacking in patient dignity. Healthcare workers reported that patients wearing the gown often feel exposed, uncomfortable, vulnerable, self-conscious, annoyed and cold. Both modifications and alternatives to the hospital gown were suggested.

Conclusions and implications: Our findings highlight several areas for improvement in the design of the gown, including a tie at the side without open back, a design that is easier for patients to put on by themselves, less revealing, more comfortable, and able to accommodate medical equipment. Further, the use of the gown should be limited to medical necessity with patients changing back into normal clothing as soon as possible whilst avoiding having to wear it in public areas. The importance of healthcare workers being able to challenge cultural norms in health care is emphasised, since dehumanising aspects of care, as symbolically represented by the hospital gown, may adversely impact on patient well‐being.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2021
EventTrinity Health and Education International Research Conference 2021 : 'Transforming Healthcare in a Changing World: New Ways of Thinking and Working' - Online , Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 9 Mar 202111 Mar 2021
Conference number: ID 51


ConferenceTrinity Health and Education International Research Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleTHEconf2021
Internet address


  • hospital gown
  • mental health
  • multi-method


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