|News and media|
Better PJs make for a happy hospital
Ill-fitting nightwear has plagued hospital patients for years - now Thames Hospital staff are doing something about it.
Small adjustments can make big differences to patient comfort and staff time, said Thames Hospital occupational therapist Sue Howes.
“Basically, the staff here had made noises about the fact that a lot of patients’ nightwear didn’t fit very well, were often incorrectly labelled and had faulty fixtures, but nothing had ever been done about it,” said Mrs Howes.
“It came to our attention that the problem was causing a lot of wasted staff time with having to hunt for appropriate garments and it was causing patients a degree of stress as well.”
So Thames’ ‘patient nightwear group’ was established and their first meeting held late last year.
From there, the group held a brainstorm session around what they perceived to be the main problems with the nightwear, hindering patient comfort and costing staff time.
They also conducted a patient survey and received staff feedback from those directly involved.
The group found that having ill-fitting nightwear was causing dignity issues for some patients as many would not go to the toilet because they were afraid their garments might slip, resulting in incontinence.
One comment the group received from elderly patients in particular, suffering from arthritis and other medical conditions, was that they required assistance.
The next step the group made was to contact other district health boards to find out whether they were experiencing any of the same problems.
From their research some minor but significant changes were made.
“It sounds simple, but we created a sizing chart which was typical of our patient community and set up a system for returning faulty garments and getting quality garments sent back,” said Mrs Howes.
“That had never happened before. Faulty garments would go back among the rest and staff were having to sift through to find what they wanted.
“Now we are filtering out the faulty garments until we have a full complement of good quality nightwear.”
She said these small changes alone, have made a big difference to providing quality care and decreasing staff time spent on the issue.
“So we are cleaning up our own backyard by putting new processes in place here at Thames and making the most of what we have here,” said Mrs Howes.
The ‘patient nightwear group’ are now in the process of forwarding their report further within the Waikato District Health Board to go through consultation for even more improvements to be made to their nightwear.
Mrs Howes said many people who took part in the patient survey said they preferred to wear hospital nightwear while in hospital due to the seemingly endless supply that are often required.
“Taking that on board, it is really important for us to ensure the nightwear we are providing is comfortable and offering peace of mind to our patients rather than a concern.
“We need to do anything we can to provide our patients with dignity, respect and more independence by supplying quality products and services - even pyjamas.”
Mary Anne Gill