They're thin, hard to tie up and sometimes unintentionally revealing.
The basic design of the standard hospital gown hasn't changed in years.
But a new pilot project at three Montreal hospitals and several CHSLDs is updating the much-maligned garment to cover patients' entire bodies — including parts that sometimes show in a traditional hospital gown.
"As far as dignity and comfort are concerned, [the traditional gown] leaves a lot to be desired," said Raymond Morel, general manager of Montreal Central Laundry, the company that made the new gowns. "It doesn't also leave a lot to the imagination sometimes."
Starting today, 1,200 of the new gowns will be put into circulation in the city, through Montreal Central Laundry, which handles linens for 60 per cent of local hospitals.
The company has developed a new polyester, micro-fibre gown which is now in its fifth prototype.
Instead of having ties on the back, there are plastic push buttons in the front.
"You can just snap [them] together so the gown fits snugly," Morel said. "It has multiple adjustments so it can fit a very small person [or a larger person]."
They cost more than the traditional garment, but Morel says they last longer.
With the new garment, patients will be able to walk around in hospital corridors and get in and out of bed without part of their body showing to the world, Morel said.
Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital will be distributing the gowns to patients starting Wednesday. Patients at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) and McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) will also get the new threads.