HELI VÄHÄSILTA, HELSINKI HOSPITAL: YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LOOK GOOD IN A HOSPITALBy: Elmo Ropponen
“I love how Medanta is boldly introducing new themes and solutions for work clothing in the healthcare sector,” says Heli Vähäsilta, Partner at Helsinki Hospital. Helsinki Hospital has used Medanta’s work and patient clothing from the very beginning. Today, Medanta also provides the hospital with laundry services.
A stretched-out and worn gown with half of the buttons missing – dreary clothing will certainly not make you feel better when you are not feeling that good to begin with.
“Comfortable, nice-looking and well-fitting patient clothes are an important part of recovery and a positive care experience. You are allowed to look good in a hospital,” says Heli Vähäsilta, Partner at Helsinki Hospital.
She has experiences of both professional and patient clothes. She is the founder of a private hospital and decides on its purchases of clothing, but she also knows what patients are going through: she was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015.
“I was operated on here at Helsinki Hospital, meaning that I wore our patient clothes, which are supplied by Medanta. I went through the fear and uncertainty that all cancer patients experience, but I also know from experience how hospital clothes can make you feel better when the hospital has invested in their quality and appearance.”
When waiting to be operated on, Vähäsilta did not feel the need to hide from others’ eyes, which could be the case when wearing dreary, worn-out patient clothes.
“For patient clothes, it was important for us to choose a fabric that feels nice, but is also firm and sufficiently conceals the body. Hospital clothes also serve as a protective shield for patients.”
“We chose the Porsche of patient clothing”
At their best, modern patient clothes are beautiful and hang beautifully, in addition to being safe and functional. According to Vähäsilta, these were the qualities Helsinki Hospital was looking for in a provider of clothing after its establishment in 2014.
“We chose Medanta because we wanted the best quality, the Porsche of patient clothing. We had a clear vision for our surgeons’ clothes: we fine-tuned the colour with Medanta, and we also wanted the doctors’ names, their fields of specialisation and the Helsinki Hospital logo embroidered on their coats,” Vähäsilta explains.
“For our patient clothes, we wanted something different from the traditional colours: light blue and pink. We went for a stylish, peaceful greyish brown that suits everyone.”
In addition to its high-quality products, Vähäsilta was impressed with Medanta’s flexible customer service.
“When starting a hospital, you have to take hundreds of things into account. Our schedule was tight, and we didn’t have time to decide on our patient clothes until the last minute. Medanta’s representatives listened to us attentively and did an excellent job with the project. They meant business and promised that we would have patient clothes when the hospital opened.”
Helsinki Hospital opened on 3 March 2014, and the first patient was operated on that same day. They wore brand-new clothes from the first delivery.
“Medanta also provides us with laundry services”
The close cooperation between Helsinki Hospital and Medanta has expanded. Today, Medanta also provides the hospital with laundry services.
“All of our textiles are supplied by Medanta, meaning linens in addition to work and patient clothing. As well as being convenient, this ensures consistent style.”
The materials and technical solutions used in hospital clothes have progressed in leaps and bounds.
“The hospital clothes we acquired four years ago have kept their shape, despite having been washed many times, but they will reach the end of their life cycle at some point, of course.”
With regard to new clothes, Vähäsilta is interested in the fabrics developed by Medanta: their antimicrobial surface treatment eliminates microbes and keeps the clothes fresh.
The functionality of clothes is also important. They must be easy to put on if the patient has difficulty with moving their limbs, for example.
“We carry out a large number of back operations. The clothes must open at the back, so they are easy to take off and put back on.”
“We want to support Finnish work”
Finnish origin is also important to Helsinki Hospital.
“Medanta and Helsinki Hospital are Finnish companies that pay their taxes in Finland. We have wanted to support Finnish brands from the very beginning. Our furniture, tableware, work clothes, patient clothes and textiles represent Finnish design,” says Vähäsilta.
Helsinki Hospital provides a home-like atmosphere by means of wooden floors and pleasant and comfortable private rooms, among other aspects.
“Clothes are a significant part of hospital operations, and they also support the company’s brand. I believe that care facilities in general will increasingly pay attention to the appearance and quality of their work and patient clothes.”
“Medanta boldly introduces new solutions”
Innovation requires bold pioneers. Medanta’s most recent innovations are playful, empowering patient clothes themed around Catwoman and Batman. The superheroes for the clothes were created by painter Rauli Mård.
Made from an enjoyably light, silky soft fabric, these new pieces were showcased at the Cancer Foundation’s charity fashion show in Helsinki in May 2018, with Vähäsilta as Catwoman and professional cleaner Wellington Dos Santos as Batman.
According to Vähäsilta, the fabric felt extremely comfortable – like a second skin.
“I love how Medanta is boldly introducing new themes and solutions for work clothing in the healthcare sector. In my opinion, superheroes could well be introduced as a smaller collection within our line. We ask our patients about their dietary preferences. I don’t see why we couldn’t also ask about their clothing preferences and allow them to choose from two or more options.”
According to Vähäsilta, brainstorming with Medanta is inspiring, and new ideas have already emerged regarding Helsinki Hospital’s future patient clothes.
“As a hospital, we know our needs and work environment, and Medanta has expertise in fabrics and design. This is a perfect match. I believe that our partnership will generate something entirely new – something not seen before in Finland.”
Catwoman is powerful and energetic, and Batman fights crime using his intellect as a weapon – these superheroes bring energy to Medanta’s new line of patient clothing. The line has been designed by painter Rauli Mård (in the middle), with Heli Vähäsilta and Wellington Dos Santos as models.