U.Va. alumnus’s startup reveals new hospital gown design

Chaitenya Razdan of Care+Wear creates accessible gown to enhance patient care

ns_uvahealth_courtesy uvahealth

The University Health System currently has various types of gowns for unique purposes. 

Courtesy U.Va. Health System

Founded in 2014 by McIntire School of Commerce alumnus Chaitenya Razdan, Care+Wear is a company that strives to create healthwear that is both comfortable and accessible. The startup has since successfully created peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line covers and chest access shirts for patients who regularly receive chemotherapy or transfusions. 

Razdan was inspired to construct new garments for patients after seeing his loved ones wear tube socks to cover their PICC line, a semi-permanent tube that that is inserted into a vein to deliver medication. After initially working with clinicians and patients to create PICC line covers, Razdan expanded his interests into improving other forms of patient wear, such as the hospital gown. 

“While we were primarily focused on fixing the exposed backside that’s an issue with most gowns, our biggest concern was how can we create a product that improves the overall patient experience,” Razdan said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. 

With help from the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Care+Wear designed hospital gowns with a closed backside. These gowns were then tested by patients and clinicians, who gave feedback on the various design options. 

“Clinicians emphasized the importance of chest access, which is why our design is made like a robe, with the internal panel piece tied back far enough that you aren’t exposed if you open up half the gown,” Razdan said. 

The gown includes several features such as a telemetry pocket that allows wires to pass through a hole in the pocket, snaps on the sleeves to aid patients who have IV lines and gives access to the back for patients who are bedridden. Usually, patients would need multiple gowns to accommodate all of these needs. 

The University Health System currently has various types of gowns for unique purposes. 

“We have several different gowns at the U.Va. Health System to accommodate several different patient needs,” Michelle Longley, a geriatric nurse practitioner in the Health System, said in an email. Longley said there are different gowns for patients who need MRI compatibility and varied colors to differentiate suicide and high fall-risk patients. 

The University Health System provides gowns that have front pockets, telemetry devices and drains, as well as front slits for drains and lines. However, some gowns do not hold all of these features simultaneously — a circumstance that Razdan hopes to change. 

Longley also said that the Health System prioritizes the fit and pattern of the gowns, such as being able to tell difference in the size of standard gowns and bariatric gowns, which are for overweight patients. In addition, clinicians look for non-transparency, pockets, slits, ties, snaps and proper fabric weight — qualities that Razdan has included in his new Care+Wear gown. 

MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area, is testing Care+Wear’s gown for qualities such as ease of use, clinician access as well as patient comfort, experience and modesty. The gowns will begin to be distributed to MedStar Montgomery Medical Center after assessing effectiveness of the gown. Some of Razdan’s future plans include launching mobility gloves for people in wheelchairs or with crutches to continue to improve patient healthwear.

“Our ultimate goal as a company is to help all patients with all conditions,” Razdan said. “Whether you’re suffering from cancer or tennis elbow, we want to have a solution for you.”

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