Today, our writer Bexie-who, unfortunately, has spent several months in hospital with complications of Crohn’s Disease tests INGA Wellbeing: the latest solution to practical, stylish hospital wear. INGA currently has a 25% sale on and also offers rental options.
About INGA Wellbeing
My review is on a product that I am so grateful and honoured to have trialled. INGA wellbeing is a clothing company for people who are in hospital. They provide a small range of garments being a short sleeve t-shirt top, a long sleeve t-shirt top, a crossover top, a back opening night dress, and trousers for both men and women. I was asked to review and trial the women’s short sleeve top and the back opening nightdress. Here’s how I got on with both garments.
Washing and caring for the garment
The first thing I would like to comment on is the quality and beauty of these garments. There is a selection of colours being a pastel pink, navy blue and grey. I chose the grey material (pictured) and the material is soft and of good quality and not thin, flimsy or see-through. T
he material mix is 50% cotton and 50% viscose. As I had a long stay in hospital, these garments were washed approximately 7 times by my husband. This garment was easy to launder as there was no need to iron it – just wash and hang to dry.
Although these garments should not be tumble-dried, my husband mistakenly did this on one occasion, however, I am pleased to report no harm or damage happened to the dress! (Thank goodness as this is my favourite garment.) I also found that with the procedures I was having, I would leak bodily fluids on the garment. However, all stains were removed in a normal wash without the need of using other products for stain removing agents.
One thing I hated about being in a hospital is feeling underdressed when your visitors come. Because I had cannulas and a PICC line in my upper arm, a drain, a vac pump drain and a catheter, it was very hard to get dressed in my own clothes during the day.
The clever thing about these garments are the poppers along both arms. This meant that I could get dressed independently without needing the nurses to disconnect and reconnect the drips in order to put my arms through clothing. There were also times where I was on 24 hour TPN feeds that could not be interrupted due to the risk of contracting infections.
But if this coincided with bed baths and getting dressed, the nurses would just cut the arms of the gowns off me as this was quicker than to get the experienced nurse to interrupt the feed to take off a gown. The garments were very handy during this time given the poppers could be snapped back into place around the arms and prevented the destruction of further gowns.
Confidence and freedom
The garments also gave me more confidence and comfort knowing I could “dress up” when family and friends came to visit. When I was bed bound, the T-shirt was my favourite as I could at least dress my top half by myself and still feel presentable for visitors.
The dress I was very impressed with as when I become more mobile and able to walk around, it gave me the freedom to get dressed independently. As there was a discreet opening at the back, internal pockets and pockets at the front, this meant I could thread my catheter bag and drain through the gap and hide the catheter bag in the front pockets or the internal pockets. It meant I could to cover my gadgets attached me and leave the ward to visit the shops and café with my family in the hospital grounds which were public areas without feeling conscious.
The opening at the back meant that during the morning rounds where I was examined or when my vac pump needed attending to, I could do this without exposing the whole of my bottom area. This enabled me to feel more comfortable during examinations and less embarrassed. As I have a stoma also, I was able to change this when bed bound on the ward, without exposing too much of myself.
The design of the dress is similar to the hospital gowns in that if you wanted to, you could wear this to theatre. I did not wear the dress to theatre mainly because after theatre, I would need a clean gown afterwards and I only had one dress, so it was better to keep this for the ward.
However, in speaking with the nurses and consultants in theatre, they commented they would have been happy for me to have worn this as the garment was generously loose enough around the front put the monitors on your chest and it opened at the back also and the material was not hazardous.
I’ve never had a long stay in hospital before, however, this year bought me challenges I never expected. These garments gave me more than what I bargained for. It improved my mood and feelings of wellness in being able to have the option to get dressed during the days and feeling presentable to visitors.
It enabled me to become independent quicker as I felt able to manage my drains, pumps lines and cannulas without support from staff and I gained my confidence back in being able to leave the ward and go into the public areas of the hospital. It also gave me comfort and preserved my dignity – a small yet valuable thing when you have to stay in an environment that is not your home and you have little control.
The garments even became a staple wardrobe item when I was finally allowed to go home, as I still had the vac pump and catheter for a number of weeks after my discharge from the hospital. Wearing the dress was practical at home also and gave mefreedom tom to be able to sit in my front room, have visitors, knowing all these attachments were hidden from view and safely secured to me. I didn’t have to remain in bed or covered up when sitting downstairs.
Setbacks on the garments
I found no major faults with the garments and personally, I would recommend these for any long-term patient. For myself, these will be the first garments in my hospital bag for future visits and stays. However, I found a few small points that I thought would be useful to mention;
Do you remember the dreaded summer of 2018? Well, I found due to the quality of the garments, they were too heavy to wear during the heatwave. However, to be fair, it was too hot to wear anything during the heatwave!
However, they were perfect in the cooler weather and I found the fabric was quite breathable and kept me cool. It was also brilliant for keeping me warmer when the cooler weather came so definitely helped me to regulate my temperature.
I also found the price of the garments are expensive therefore potentially makes it inaccessible for chronically unwell patients who do have financial constraints. Although these garments are valuable and practical and can be a necessity, it is a large investment to own them. I also felt for patients who would like comfort but don’t have many hospital admissions or invasive procedures, then buying these garments may not be a necessity. However, it is pleasing to see that the company does support a rental option and I would recommend and considering hiring these in the future and maybe offering a discounted option for those on a low income.
About INGAs rental option
Since INGAs garments are something we might not need every day, they’ve come up with a great rental option. for those who have a short-term hospital stay coming up (such as a planned op) or even as a gift for loved ones. You can select the number of tops and the length you want to rent them for. INGA will wash everything for you-you just order, wear and return! Failing that, there is currently a sale on many items so grab yourself a bargain!
Bexie was provided the garments to try during her time in hospital-in return for an honest write-up of her experiences!