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Should care home staff wear uniforms?

Pic of someone in a care home uniformCare home uniforms continue to be a hot topic in the sector, particularly whether you should wear a care uniform or not? Here at AWB we have always appreciated that there are two distinct schools of thought.

Carehome.co.uk’s 2013 survey really started to highlight the topic. According to half of those questioned in the poll, staff working in care homes should wear a uniform. The results showed that some 57% of more than 1,000 people surveyed were in favour of the idea, with 34% against and around 8% saying maybe.

In the Carehome.co.uk  survey, those in favour of uniforms stated that having standard clothing can help people with dementia identify members of staff, and also helps to create a more professional atmosphere.

Opponents feel that uniforms can put up 'barriers' between care home staff and residents, and people should be able to feel like they are at home.

Davina Ludlow, director of carehome.co.uk, which carried out the survey online, said: “The results are very interesting, with the majority clearly in favour of staff in care homes wearing uniforms."

Two schools of thought regarding care home uniforms

One school is that a uniform of any kind can institutionalise residents – the thinking being that a non-uniform approach gives the home a more relaxed and homelike atmosphere. Homes in this camp tend to have their carers in regular, casual clothing.

While the other school of thought is that uniforms clearly differentiate between staff and residents, contributing many benefits to a care home.

As a supplier of care uniforms we inevitably work closely with homes from this latter school of thought, as they are the homes that want to purchase uniforms and supply them to their staff. They will actively encourage uniforms, and for these reasons:

1. Choice of care uniforms available to staff

There is a huge range of choice available. Some homes and care workers prefer more formal nursing tunics and dresses, but a large and growing faction prefer scrub suit type uniforms - simply because they are medical/clinically orientated without being overtly ‘doctorish’.

Some of our latest styles and fabrics such as Xtreme Stretch also allow the carers to look stylish and feel comfortable at work without the starched, clinical look sometimes associated with a care home environment.

2. Communicates a more professional image

Not only are available styles and fabrics comfortable and easy to care for – and above all very reasonably priced – they also take embroidery very well, which makes it easy to add a corporate look to a uniform.

3. Makes identification of care staff easier

Care uniforms now come in a huge range of colours, which makes it easy to use colour to identify each carer’s specialism (such as a dementia specialist) and/or level of seniority. This can help both residents and visitors identify specific people.

4. Promotes good infection control

Many homes will insist on their care staff wearing specialist uniforms as they help to promote a positive message about good practice in terms of infection control.

5. Care clothing colours have a positive effect on residents

Many care homes talk about the positive effect that colourful environments can have on residents. Having staff in bright uniforms only contributes positively to this.

The above blog was originally written for the UK Care and Dementia Show and posted in October 2015. It has been updated to reflect the on-going debate.

The original blog can still be viewed - 5 reason why carers will wear care home uniforms.

Shop our range of care home uniforms.

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