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Thread: Carers Uniforms

  1. #1
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    Carers Uniforms

    Afternoon All,

    This is perhaps an odd question, but I thought this might be an appropriate place to raise it!

    Recently i've been having discussions with various people trying to understand if it is beneficial for staff who are caring for those with dementia in a care home setting to wear uniform. Or if it might be more beneficial for staff to wear their own 'casual' clothing whilst providing care.

    I would just like to see if anyone has any thoughts, opinions or experiences that are relevant to this.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer.

    regards

    Robin

  2. #2
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    Hi Robin, this discussion came up on here last year sometime.

    My view is that a uniform creates a barrier.The carer can hide behind their uniform. A uniform also portrays I am in charge of you.

    My carers do not wear uniform. They attend to personal care needs wearing disposable aprons/ gloves if needed. They adhere to strict hand hygiene.

    The people we care for have mild memory problems to severe cognitive impairement,strangely they know the staff despite us not wearing uniforms.

    We are saying,whilst you are here,this is your home,why then do we need to wear a uniform.

    We are all here together to share our day, no them and us.

    And yes,it certainly works extremely well.Even the staff need their own identity too

    Best wishes, Angela.
    `As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same`

    NELSON MANDELA


  3. #3
    I think uniforms are probably best for a number of reasons
    1) Many many family carers report that their family member is much more likely to accept help from a "professional" in a uniform than from even some one they know.

    2) It allows family members confidence that the person handling their loved one is actually a staff member!

    3) I actually think a uniform can raise standards as it makes the person wearing them feel more professional.

    4) (Very personal as someone who has a family member working in a service industry) - why on earth should carers be expected to pay for casual clothing that will potentially be piddled on, thrown up over or worse? Most regular casual clothing won't stand up to the washing that a care workers clothing needs.

    In the final analysis, when the person being cared for may feel threatened because they don't know where they are, why they are there, why they feel the way they do, and who this person is trying to give them personal care, why would anyone choose to do something (i.e. take the carer out of uniform) that would make the person being cared for feel less secure?
    Jennifer

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    “A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”

    Abraham J. Heschel

  4. #4
    (cross posted with Angela) and as you can see - 2 diametrically opposed views.
    Jennifer

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    “A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”

    Abraham J. Heschel

  5. #5
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    Hi, i would say definately uniforms. My reason for this, is because one day as i went to visit my dad in his CH i walked in on an argument between my dad and a man i didnt know. There had been workmen in the home and i assumed this man was a workman. The stranger was shouting at my dad for moving a picture off the wall and i thought his behaviour was a bit extreme so i went over and told the man exactly what i thought of him, what i would do if i saw him doing it again and he'd be lucky if i just reported him rather than belt him myself. I was HORRIFIED to find out later that day the man was actually a resident. I have since spoken to this man (not about the incident) in an every day way and i am still stunned that he is suffering with dementia. I would never have been able to tell in a million years, he was very articulate in his manner, he spoke about things with accuracy and he told me a bit about his life. I was mortified that i spoken to him the way i did, and i spoke with the CH manager, who was very understanding and said not to worry about it as he was neither up nor down after my explosion. If all staff were wearing uniforms i would never have made this dreadful mistake. So i would say e definate yes to uniforms.

  6. #6
    my first thought when reading the initial post was...........

    carers need to be easily identified if an emergency of any kind occured. Although slightly different chucky's view would seem to echo this.

    Also jenniferpa comment about body fluids is very relevant

  7. #7
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    Uniforms also say to the person with dementia you are ill and different from me.

    The thing we need to do is look at this from the perspective of the person with dementia not our view.

    Good comments though from everyone and this debate will continue for many years to come no doubt.
    `As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same`

    NELSON MANDELA


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by danny View Post
    Uniforms also say to the person with dementia you are ill and different from me.

    The thing we need to do is look at this from the perspective of the person with dementia not our view.
    Uniforms can also make a person with dementia feel more secure. It's like asking a policeman. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

    My mother didn't seem to notice either way. Yet another point of view. But sometimes when she was unhappy about something, she would say she would speak to the nurse. So there was an awareness, to a certain extent.
    Joanne
    Carer and Volunteer Moderator
    When you've seen one person with Alzheimer's, you've seen one person with Alzheimer's

  9. #9
    See I can see Danny's point, but I have been wondering: does the size of the facility make a difference? I don't know the answer, but I think the "no uniform" thing might work better in a smaller facility.
    Jennifer

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    “A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”

    Abraham J. Heschel

  10. #10
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    I think that as we all know that if you have seen one dementia sufferer then you have seen one dementia sufferer - some may react to uniforms, some may not. Certainly, Mum isn't aware of anything of this kind. Mum having had carers for nearly 6 years, we have seen many different ones, mostly not good, the latest ones by far the best and, yes, they wear a uniform. (Just coincidence, I think!)

  11. #11
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    Jennifer we are a small place so I guess that it does make a difference.

    I would like to add that the carers who work in the community supporting people with and without dementia do wear uniforms.

    I also remember discussing last time the care home where the night staff wear dressing gowns and slippers to remind their residents it is bed time
    `As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same`

    NELSON MANDELA


  12. #12
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    Going slightly off tack, in my dad's CH the staff had to pay for their own uniforms, which I (and they) thought totally unacceptable. They wore tunics with stripes, and my understanding is that stripes are not dementia friendly.
    Sue

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by danny View Post
    ..... this is your home,why then do we need to wear a uniform.
    I go along with that point of view 100 per cent.

    This is your home, and we should go the extra mile to ensure that here, where you are now, and where you are living now, resembles your home, as far as possible. It may be your present and future home, but it's still your home. And the more comfortable we can make you, the better for you.

    Yes, every dementia sufferer is different, as is every dementia sufferer's family. There's always been the 'white coat syndrome' at work in the UK, and it really could do no harm but to challenge the white coat brigade.

    I'm on the side of the no-uniform-brigade.

    Followed by a personal anecdote: support worker arrived; came and did whatever support worker was supposed to do, hopefully, and then went; phone calls followed asking why 'these ambulance men in uniform are just walking into my home and diving into my fridge/kitchen/bathroom' wherever on the day. Panic followed. It turned out that these 'ambulance men in uniform' were one and the same female support worker, who happened to wear the same clothes (a black trouser suit) every single day and also .... a hat.

    Panic over. But message received!

    Just the point of view that came via my own dementia sufferer.

  14. #14
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    Hi I have dementia myself and its difficult enough getting information with being
    put into an even more difficult situation trying to decide who the official person is
    if everyone is wearing casual cloths for instance your at an airport seeking information about your flight, or in a store looking for an item and need and help, or in a bank need the police can be endless.
    I would be interested to know how a person without dementia identifies them or know which person to ask if they are all wearing casual cloths, and remember not all joe public wants to help a person with dementia sorry if I need help I want to be able to indentify the person who may give me that assistance Iwant a uniform or large identity badge.

    I go to a local memory café and all the volunteers wear identity badges and dementia suffers all wear name badges I should have thought its was the best way go

    tony
    Last edited by Tony; 20-04-2011 at 07:47 PM.

  15. #15
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    Hi Tony. You are very right in what you are saying.Uniforms play an important part in larger care organisations ie in our hospitals.

    Hope you are keeping well
    `As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same`

    NELSON MANDELA


 

 

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