Home Health & Wellness Woman Transforms Patient Experience with Revolutionary Hospital Gown

Woman Transforms Patient Experience with Revolutionary Hospital Gown

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Olivia Burns is committed to revolutionising the way healthcare organisations provide patient wear, aiming for a blend of dignity, sustainability, and efficiency.

Founder of the innovative patient wear company Hypoplas, Olivia’s inspiration stemmed from her own experiences. She was born with a rare congenital heart condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome and is one of only 13 patients globally to have survived the necessary lifesaving surgeries – three open-heart procedures before the age of 10.

These experiences left Olivia feeling vulnerable, particularly due to the discomfort and impracticality of traditional hospital gowns, which also interfered with essential medical equipment like drains and IVs. This led to her undergoing an additional procedure, exacerbated by the gown’s design.

Determined to improve this aspect of patient care, Olivia set about redesigning the hospital gown. Hypoplas patient wear, designed by patients for patients, is now working alongside the NHS and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). Their goal is to enhance the recovery process by creating sustainable, functional, and fashionable hospital wear.

Despite being dubbed “dignity gowns”, traditional hospital wear fails to respect dignity, offering little coverage, inadequate sizing, and poor accessibility for medical examinations. Olivia’s response has been to design gowns that are more respectful and practical. These new gowns simplify the process of wearing and provide better access for medical practitioners, featuring velcro instead of ties, reducing waste and inconvenience in NHS operations.

Olivia’s efforts were recognised when she brought the room to tears with her acceptance speech at the Medilink Healthcare Business Awards in the ‘One to Watch’ category, which acknowledges the synergy between industry, academia, and the NHS.

Further bolstering her credentials, Olivia conducted research with the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, uncovering inefficiencies with traditional gowns, such as “double gowning” to maintain modesty, which doubles laundry needs and carbon usage. Hypoplas’ new design, the Inversus gown, addresses these issues head-on. It offers a wraparound design that is reversible, with a deep V-neck for easy access, reducing waste and promoting patient modesty.

“Hypoplas is steering healthcare organisations towards a more dignified, sustainable, and cost-effective solution for hospital gowns,” Olivia explains. “With increasing pressures from green legislation, rising costs, and patients demanding better products, the traditional hospital gown is no longer viable.”

Hypoplas has garnered approval from NHS clinicians and is part of the NHS clinical entrepreneur programme. It also enjoys support and funding from Innovate UK, distinguishing itself as one of 110 winners from an initial pool of 10,000 applicants.

Olivia’s journey from patient to innovator is not just reshaping hospital gowns but is also setting a new standard in patient care and sustainability.

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