Textiles Researchers Seek Closure for Hospital Gowns

May 11, 2009
By Chris Richter

Traci Lamar, an associate professor in the College of Textiles, is leading a team that's designing a better hospital gown.

Traci Lamar, an associate professor in the College of Textiles, has been leading a team that's designing a better hospital gown. (Photograph courtesy of NC State News Services)

With a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, College of Textiles researchers have been working to remake the dreaded hospital gown:

“The fact is, when patients are in a hospital they are already feeling vulnerable – the last thing they need to deal with is a garment that intensifies that feeling by leaving them uncovered and overexposed,” says Dr. Traci Lamar, associate professor of textile and apparel technology and management at NC State.

The Wall Street Journal featured the college’s efforts in an article today:

Prof. Lamar’s team is undeterred. The group, which includes a Ph.D. candidate who used to work for Victoria’s Secret and a professor specializing in textile design and product development, gathers to thrash out possible solutions. On a balmy April afternoon, the meeting gets off to a hopeful start. The team is brimming with ideas.

How about a gown with a handy pocket that could accommodate iPods and cellphones? Maybe raglan sleeves that would be loose and stylish? Should they try for a V-neckline instead of the banal scoop-neck? But that still doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. What sort of design would revolutionize the gown and what kind of fasteners should hold it together: Velcro? Snaps? The familiar cloth ties?

The accompanying video has only a brief mention of the College of Textiles.

The News & Observer wrote about the efforts of Lamar and her team a few weeks ago and talked with our own marketing and communications director, Jeannie Norris, about her recent stay in the hospital.

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