Care home staff get into pyjamas to help dementia patients recognize it's bedtime

The survey noted that care homes that implemented the pyjamas method praised the idea, claiming that it contributes to preventing nighttime falls.

A recent British survey says that one out of ten care home workers change into pyjamas at nighttime, and have found that the method helps patients with dementia realize that it's time for bed.

Patients suffering with dementia, of which the most common form is Alzheimer's disease, often have difficulty perceiving time and space. The opposition between night and day is one common expression of this disconnect. To help patients, some care workers have begun putting on pyjamas to help patients realize that it's bedtime.

The survey was carried out by specialized platform Carehome among 2,600 owners, managers, and staff from care homes, and asked about the methods used by workers with patients suffering from dementia. The study revealed that one out of ten had already used the pyjamas technique, while almost two-thirds (59 percent) of care staff said they consider the technique to be a good idea.

"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," said carehome.co.uk editor Sue Learner.

Lower risks of nighttime falls

Care centers that have implemented the pyjama technique have been praising the success of the method, claiming that it not only promotes sleep at night, but also reduces the patients' disorientation, which often causes nighttime falls. 

"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," said Learner.

The survey also showed that almost a fifth (18 percent) of care home personnel thinks that staff should not wear uniforms at all. "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," said Charlotte Gregson, a manager at The Old Vicarage care home in Cumbria, England. Over 14 percent of staff surveyed have already implemented the practice.