What sounds incredibly unconventional, but makes a lot of common sense? Wearing pyjamas to work, of course!
Wearing pyjamas to work is not a gimmick or a money-raising strategy for night staff caring for people living with dementia in our Home in Solihull, West Midlands. It is a practical approach to assist residents in being more aware of the time of day or night and to encourage the comforting evening preparations for bed we usually associate with the end of the day.
For some people, their dementia leads to a level of confusion about the boundaries between day and night and this can lead to sleeplessness and disorientation. Staff who work in the evenings and at night wear nightclothes, which helps to prompt and encourage people to prepare for bed so that normal sleep/rest and wake patterns are maintained. If residents wake in the night, they are supported by people wearing dressing gowns and slippers which is far more reassuring than uniforms or day clothes. It just seems to make sense!
I must confess it has felt like a brave step forward for Sue, the Solihull Home Manager, and I to go ahead with this strategy. We were a little unsure how staff would react, however they have of course been wonderful and embraced this new idea with customary passion and enthusiasm.
It’s not a new concept and although not main stream, there are a number of other high quality, specialist dementia care centres who have also successfully adopted this approach.
It’s early days – or should I say nights – and we are monitoring the effect on the people living with us; early feedback from all involved is that it’s OK to PJ.
Director of Care & Service Development