“Our company was founded on the promise to improve the patient experience...we knew that we could create a better version of what’s available so that patients are protected and have a sense of dignity while they undergo treatment.”
—Chaitenya Razdan, Co-Founder and CEO of Care+Wear
In January 2018, Care+Wear launched a re-imagined version of the current patient gown to help provide the 589 million patients admitted into a hospital annually with coverage while still providing access to the body for clinicians. Researched and envisioned during a course at the Parsons School of Design at The New School in Spring 2017, the gown was designed by Parsons students and Care+Wear in conjunction with patients, fashion designers, nurses, doctors, hospital leaders and laundering experts to improve the patient experience by ensuring the comfort and dignity of patients in the hospital.
The students were charged with designing one patient gown that would be developed, mass-produced and on the backs of patients in just 6 months. Motivated by personal stories and experiences in hospitals, the students knew that they had to create the best design possible in a very short time frame. Taught by fashion designers Lucy Jones and Brittany Dickinson, the course focused on studying and creating a design that considered the entire lifecycle of the patient gown, from production to transport, storage, user experience, laundering and disposal, with a goal of introducing the most successful prototype developed in this class into the marketplace so that it not only provided coverage, but was also cost effective for hospitals.
As the students went through multiple iterations of gown prototypes, Care+Wear brought in doctors, nurses, patients, laundering experts and more to provide advice and feedback to the students during all stages of the class. Hospital and laundry visiting experts came from such noted institutions as NYU Langone Health, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Catholic Medical Center, Sentara Healthcare, and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami. Design advice was given by professors, as well as legendary designers Kay Unger and Donna Karan, who made a surprise appearance at the last class where they helped with details for the final gown.
Following the completion of the course, Care+Wear worked with a Parsons intern from the class to finalize the gown design. While oftentimes hospitals provide patients with two gowns in order to provide sufficient coverage, the final gown design replaces the five types of gowns, combining them into one. In addition to coverage of the body, the gown has features such as IV access, pockets for personal items and thumb tab tie strings for confident robe closure to help provide patients with a much more positive experience. You can learn more about the different elements of the gown here.
The gown is now in use at hospitals in the United States and is also available for individual purchase online here.
Check out our video about the class below as well as our story about the project in The New York Times here!
Additional support for this course was provided by AARP, Zappos.com and A.T. Kearney. AARP provided funding for the course, donating a cash prize to the participating students and Zappos.com provided additional course funding and sponsored a Parsons student to intern at Care+Wear to finalize the gown and help put it into production. Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney also provided critical consulting services to ensure a seamless production and supply chain for the patient gowns.