Palliative patients at Peter Mac are now able to choose from a selection of bold colours and prints when it comes to wearing a hospital gown.

These patients are encouraged to wear their usual clothes in the ward so they feel more comfortable and at home, but there are times when a hospital gown is required.

Nurse Unit Manager Holly Pitt said the colourful gowns initiative – made possible with support from Peter Mac’s volunteers - was about making the transition to a gown an uplifting experience.

“Allowing people to choose a personalised gown instead of a basic hospital gown provides a sense of comfort and dignity to our patients in the face of their challenges,” Holly says.

She said patients could choose a gown that most aligned with their personality or sense of self.

Sewer Beverley has been working with a small group of fellow Peter Mac volunteers to make the gowns. So far they've made about 50 gowns and, ultimately, about 75 will be brought into circulation.

Palliative patient Brendan said his choice of a navy gown with stripes made him feel “treated as an individual”.

“Wearing white, you tend to fade into the hospital,” he said.

“Also seeing all the nurses in their colourful uniforms, this helps to breaks down the barriers.”

Palliative care wards at Peter Mac and neighbouring Royal Melbourne Hospital operate as a unified service under the banner of the Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service.

This is National Palliative Care week (May 22 – 28) and the theme “It’s your right” highlights that people with a life-limiting illness have the right to live as well as possible, for as long as possible.