STAFF at a care home have come up with a novel way to help residents feel settled to get a good night's sleep.

Workers at Sherdley Court, on Rainhill Road, a residential care home for 25 adults with functional mental health issues or organic brain conditions such as dementia, have been donning their pyjamas.

Manager Hayley Rowson de Vares hit upon the idea after studying ways to help ensure residents tell night from day and feel relaxed.

“When it comes to people with a diagnosis of dementia, sometimes the part of the brain that recognises speech can be affected, so simply saying ‘it’s bedtime’ may be meaningless," she said.

"If night staff are clearly up, dressed in day clothes and going about their work, it can be very confusing for the person with dementia."

Hayley says the home recently scrapped uniforms for all except ancillary staff in order to lessen ‘us and them’ barriers and she and her team decided that wearing pyjamas at night can help to gently encourage a stress-free bedtime.

“With dementia, people need a multi-sensory approach. They are more likely to recognise other people are wearing pyjamas or pyjama-like clothes even if they’re not able to hear or understand that it’s bedtime. "There is a massive amount of emerging evidence about how beneficial this is for people with dementia in orientating them to sleep and generally feel happier,” she added.

“It’s very important to everyone here at Sherdley Court that it’s first and foremost the residents’ home, and we are privileged to enter it.

“We fit in with the people who live here and don’t expect them to adapt to our routines. We try to be person centred in everything we do. We felt that a change in culture was required in order to further meet the emotional needs of the people living here.

Senior night support worker Shelley Dempsey added: “We were a little concerned initially because we thought we may not appear professional if we were in pyjamas - particularly if we had to call out emergency services.

"But it’s made a huge difference to the bedtime routine, and our residents find it much easier to recognise when it’s the end of the day and time to start winding down."

Sherdley Court is managed by social care charity Making Space.