A hospital gown designed for women who want to protect their modesty for religious reasons is now being offered at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals.
The new ‘multi-faith dignity gown’ includes sleeves ending at the wrist, two hair coverings, a face mask and a belt around the waist to ensure it doesn’t come open at the back. It is worn over loose trousers.
The gown was introduced by the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH) Patient Engagement Team following feedback from female Muslim patients, but is also suitable for ladies of Hindu, Orthodox Jewish and Rastafarian faiths.
Trust Patient Engagement Manager, Sue Mellor, said: “Our Trust is always seeking to improve the experiences of our patients and patient feedback is incredibly important to us. We work with as many minority and religious groups as possible to make sure we are catering for the needs of all our patients.
“When working with a focus group of Muslim ladies, we received very strong feedback that having to wear the usual hospital gown made them extremely uncomfortable, because it puts them in a position where they have to violate the rules of their faith. We wouldn’t want this for any patient, so we introduced the new ‘multi-faith dignity gown’.
Nada Fawal, a member of the patient focus group who helped to introduce the gown, explained: “We are absolutely delighted the Trust has introduced the new gowns. For Muslim women, to have any flesh exposed, other than their face and hands, is like having very private parts of the anatomy, such as the breasts, displayed.
“This means wearing the normal hospital gown is uncomfortable for us. At the same time, we are also very conscious that when we are in hospital, NHS staff are trying to help us, so don’t want to make life difficult for them. Now, thanks to the new gown, we won’t have to worry about it, we can just request one of those – it’s a great relief” she said.
Patients who would like to wear one of the multi-faith dignity gowns for their treatment in hospital are encouraged to advise staff of their requirements as soon as possible. For further information about multi-faith gowns or how the Trust works with minority and religious groups, please visit: www.rbch.nhs.uk.