Hospital Hacks is an exploration of the role that fashion could play in solving real-world problems.
Hospital Hacks is kit designed by a patient for patients to humanize the hospital experience. My sister and I were born with the chronic illness Cystic Fibrosis and have had countless first hand experience within the medical system. The kit is designed to intervene in the current medical system, focusing on personalized, functional garments and stimulating activities that empower patients to reclaim their medical experiences. his kit is anchored in the idea of personalization, with the contents allowing each user to customize their own garments and hospital experience in a unique way.
The kit comes in two sections: accessible garments and customization tools. Upon entering the hospital, the user would receive a backpack filled with these garments and tools for customization. The first section of the kit, the clothes, are designed by the realization that if regular garments provide the same access to the body as hospital gowns, patients could wear their own clothes. Patients are therefore given accessible ‘everyday’ garments, such as T-shirts and sweaters that are designed to accommodate the needs of the hospital while providing patient dignity. These garments can be worn in and out of the hospital setting, as many patients have medical needs that exist outside of the hospital. In addition, a redesigned patient gown is included to be worn for procedures. These garments are simple and are the foundation for the second section of the kit.
Section two is a system of techniques to customize these garments, inclusive of engaging and stimulating activities to do whilst bed-bound or resting. The kit includes manuals of how to stamp print, hand embroider, and to “hack” things already in the hospital to make the patient’s visit more comfortable and individual. These methods are encouraging patients to take pride in their medical experiences. Instead of an inhaler as a marker of being sick, it can be made into a patch and worn as a badge of honor. This project is about so much more than giving patients clothes and something to do in the hospital. It’s about handing back human dignity and allowing patients to get better on their own terms, not how the hospital says they should. Through Hospital Hacks, patients empower themselves and one another to be seen as more than patients and sick people, but human beings.