Closet offers patients more than just clothes

Clare Grover in The Closet at William Harvey Hospital
Clare Grover in The Closet at William Harvey Hospital

Published on 31 July 2019

A dedicated hospital worker has started a clothing collection to help patients feel themselves again.

Clare Grover launched The Closet at William Harvey Hospital after seeing people’s reactions to having to leave wards wearing hospital-issue pyjamas.

It has now grown from a few items to three separate, well-stocked, cupboards throughout the hospital in Ashford.

Clare, a therapy assistant practitioner, said: “Some patients have no family or close friends to bring them clothes, and others come in via the emergency departments and have had their clothes cut off after a trauma.

“For many people, pride in their appearance is important, so they don’t like being seen in their pyjamas.”

Clare selects the best items from clothes that are donated and launders then steam-cleans them to ensure they are as clean as possible.

Fundraising and donations from The Friends of William Harvey Hospital helped pay for new items such as underwear and socks, as well as the steam-cleaner.

Clare said: “It’s made a huge difference to our patients, as they feel better if they are able to get dressed. It’s important because it shows we care about them as people, as well as patients.

“They then start to feel more relaxed, and able to do more, or to get out and about a bit, because they are not embarrassed about what they are wearing.”

Staff throughout East Kent Hospitals are working to encourage patients to keep active while they are in hospital by empowering them to make small changes to stay independent. As well as getting dressed, people are encouraged to eat meals together at a table rather than in bed.

Clare uses social media to raise awareness of the closet, and for more information search The Closet #clothesforpatients on Facebook or Twitter, or the_closet_ekhuft on Instagram.