A new survey conducted by care home reviews site, carehome.co.uk, has found nearly two-thirds (59%) of staff working in care homes think it is a good idea to wear pyjamas at night, so people living with dementia know it is bedtime.
The poll of 2,611 care home owners, managers and staff, also revealed that one in ten (11%) care home staff already wear pyjamas in their care home at night-time.
In addition the survey revealed that nearly a fifth (18%) of care home staff don’t think care workers should wear uniforms due to the belief it makes the home more relaxed and uniforms can give care homes an institutional feel and create a ‘them’ and ‘us’ environment. Fourteen per cent of care staff don’t wear uniforms while caring for residents, while 86% of staff currently do.
Sue Learner, editor of carehome.co.uk, said: “It is good care home staff are thinking outside the box and trying out innovative initiatives in a bid to make life better for people with dementia.
“We need to adapt to people with dementia instead of expecting them to adapt to our way of life. We need to try and think how they think and imagine walking in their shoes when we are giving care to people living with dementia.
“It is interesting some care homes have trialled this and found it only confuses residents and so have ditched the initiative. But this is also encouraging as it shows care homes are tailoring the care around their residents and creating a model of care that is right for particular residents.”
Care homes that have found the pyjama wearing initiative to be successful say it helps promote sleep at night and reduces pacing and disorientation as well as leading to a reduction in night-time falls as less residents are awake at night.
The Old Vicarage care home in Cumbria introduced the pyjamas for staff initiative earlier this year, to remind residents with dementia, who get disorientated, that it is bedtime.
The care home has a non-uniform policy as it believes residents will feel more at home if staff wear their own clothes.
Charlotte Gregson, home manager at The Old Vicarage, said: “None of our care staff, including myself, wear uniforms. We feel that uniforms separate us, they are a symbol of power and control, and represent ‘doing a job’, whereas we want our residents to feel special, loved, and at home. “Many of our residents are living with dementia and when they wake during the night it can be confusing to see lots of activity. By going about their work in pyjamas and dressing gowns, our night staff are helping to remind residents that it’s time for bed.” Simonsfield Care Home in Runcorn has also introduced pyjama-style scrubs for care workers who are on night-time shifts.