Care home uniforms: exploring stakeholders’ views on clothing options for staff
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Care home uniforms: exploring stakeholders’ views on clothing options for staff

Jennifer Bray Research assistant, Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, Worcester, England
Dawn Brooker Director, Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, Worcester, England
Faith Frost Research associate, Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, Worcester, England
Suzanne Mumford Head of nursing, care and dementia, Care UK, Colchester, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the arguments in favour of staff wearing or not wearing uniforms

  • To learn about the views of staff, residents, relatives and visiting professionals in two care homes on staff uniforms

  • To recognise the areas to consider when proposing to make changes to staff uniform policies

Background Views in the care home community are divided regarding whether or not staff should wear a uniform. There is little research on the topic and the views of care home residents and their relatives are rarely sought.

Aim To capture the views of staff, residents, relatives and visiting professionals in two care homes on the use of uniforms.

Methods This small-scale exploratory study used photographs showing three clothing options: a formal option, a polo shirt option and an ‘own clothes’ option. Each option was modelled in two different poses, one ‘approachable’ and the other ‘unapproachable’. Staff, relatives, the wider care home team and visiting professionals expressed their preferences by replying to a short survey. Residents, all of whom had dementia, expressed their preferences through a table-top activity.

Findings Overall, the formal clothing option was preferred for formal care activities and the ‘own clothes’ option was preferred for social activities. The polo shirt option often obtained the second-highest number of preferences. The photographs featuring the ‘unapproachable’ pose were rarely selected.

Conclusion The approachability of staff is just as important as the clothes they wear. An alternative to formal uniforms could be for staff to wear polo shirts, possibly as an interim measure to explore the effects of changing the care home’s staff uniform policy.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2022.e1379

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@DementiaStudies

Correspondence

j.bray@worc.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

Suzanne Mumford works for Care UK, which funded this exploratory study

Bray J, Brooker D, Frost F et al (2022) Care home uniforms: exploring stakeholders’ views on clothing options for staff. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2022.e1379

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Care UK for funding this exploratory study and staff and residents for participating in the study

Published online: 07 April 2022

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