Attending the hospital can be a frightening experience whether this is for surgery, an admission, chemotherapy, infusions or radiology investigations. You wait anxiously among strangers with little information and often instructed to undress into a hospital gown that can undermine your dignity and leave you feeling partially exposed.
Whenever I have to visit the hospital I always dread the hospital gown. Not only do they open at the back but they are uncomfortable and as soon as I put it on I feel like I have lost an element of ‘me’. I am no longer ‘Rachel’ but a patient and a number!
I have had extensive experience in the hospital with regular admissions for sepsis as well as all my surgery which now must be close to the 30 mark. Due to my rare condition my bladder and bowel failed, so in 2012 I had an ileostomy and for 7 years I had a long-term catheter. In 2015, at 28 a routine cystectomy revealed that the cells in my bladder had mutated and within 2 weeks my bladder and lymph nodes were removed and I received a second stoma called a urostomy. During all my surgeries to fix numerous complications and all my admissions, I had always wished that the gowns would change. I have noticed that I had become less compliant in the hospital and as soon as I could I will take the gown off and put my pyjamas on. However, if you have drains, cannulas, stoma bags, catheters, ports, wounds and parenteral nutrition, wearing normal pyjamas can be difficult to get to that area and to allow the tubing to be free.
So this brings me on nicely to announce that finally there is an answer to the awful gowns prays. A company called INGA Wellbeing design luxuriously soft and unashamedly stylish men and women’s wear for ill health in a hospital setting. They believe that you are more than a patient – you are a person and their clothing helps you keep your dignity, stay in control, be confident and feel like you. Their motto is ‘Dress well, look good, feel better, be empowered and keep moving!
I was really excited to receive my 'Woman's Cross Over Top' in a Dusty Pink! The item arrived extremely quickly and when I opened the packaging I knew the material would be really soft. I find with hospital gowns my stomas can look bigger than they are so that is why I decided to pick a crossover top with a tie to see if this helps with discretion.
As soon as I put the top on a huge smile came to my face and I realised this would be my go-to item every time I go into the hospital. Not only is it extremely comfortable and so soft on the skin but I felt stylish, I didn’t feel ill or exposed and the design has been carefully thought out. Also, you could not see my stoma bags underneath.
The arms have poppers on so if you have a cannula, PICC line or when you have your blood pressure taken the Healthcare Professionals can easily access this area without rolling your sleeves up or taking your top off. I think my favourite aspect is the inward pocket design for example if you have a drain you could feed this through the hole and place it in the pocket of your top and move around easily! Groundbreaking…I used to have to carry my drain around when I walked around the ward and my vac machine for my incision that wouldn’t heal. If I had this item then I know this would have helped immensely.
With my urostomy at night, I have to attach a night drainage bag to it. Trialling out this clothing I found It can go through the hole to the pocket and out without there being any kinks in the tubing, my bag is not on show and this keeps it very discrete.
This company and the clothing excites me because I truly believe this will transform my hospital stays. I am not sure if you have seen but there is a huge campaign that has been started in the NHS recently called #EndPJParalysis I believe these items can help with this campaign because you feel smart and they don’t feel like pyjamas which encourages you to get up and move around which is paramount for recovery.
With the amount of careful thinking and engineering that has gone into the designs the items are not cheap and do cost more than regular pyjamas. However, I feel this little investment is so worth it to get my dignity and comfort back when I am in the hospital which is hard enough at times. I am even going to buy the 'Woman's back-opening nightdress' so I have this ready for my next admission.
I truly believe these items will transform my life in hospital and when recovering at home from surgery or admissions. I will always take my INGA clothing with me from now on every time and I believe they will help me feel like I still have a part of ‘me’ during my admissions.
Also, there is a competition on INGA Wellbeing Twitter page for a chance to win some items by joining in with #IFeelBetterWhenI and retweeting the tweet!
I have been gifted this item in return for an honest review.