Hospital staff to wear pyjama style scrubs to help dementia patients get a good night’s sleep

Night shift staff on wards at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, and Lincoln County Hospital are part of a trial to wear dementia-friendly, pyjama style scrubs to help make it easier for patients to fall asleep at night.

Posted on in News & Events

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) is working with volunteers at Horncastle Scrub Hub, which previously sewed extra scrubs for the Trust during the COVID-19 pandemic, to create scrubs for staff that resemble pyjamas to help the wards feel less clinical at night.

Many people with dementia can find certain strong patterns and colour combinations confusing due to how they are able to process information, so fabric designs have been chosen to minimise this, and look as close to regular pyjamas as possible.

Shelly Wills from Horncastle Scrub Hub, said: “It’s really exciting to be part of a project that could make someone’s stay in hospital a little bit better.

“We have the most amazing group of volunteers that came together at the start of the first lockdown and we’ve independently been raising funds and sewn scrubs and other essential items for the NHS and local community ever since.”

Work has also been completed on the wards to make a better environment for patients with dementia and their families, including using simple colours on the walls and pastel curtain colours, creating safe activity areas away from beds, and spaces to have difficult conversations with privacy to process emotions.

Abbi Eustace, Matron for Healthcare of the Older Person at ULHT, said: “We all know how hard it can be to fall asleep in a different setting, particularly in hospitals which can be noisy and bright despite the best efforts from staff to make wards as quiet and as dimmed as possible.

“We’re hoping that creating visual reminders of bedtime with staff wearing pyjama style scrubs, alongside our efforts to dim lights, reducing noise and introducing plain and dementia-friendly décor on wards, will help our patients feel more settled during their time in hospital to help them fall asleep easier at night.

“Healthcare of the older person is such a rewarding area of healthcare to work in and while these new scrubs might seem like a bit of fun, helping some of our most vulnerable patients feel more comfortable and safe in an unfamiliar environment is one of our biggest challenges, so our staff are happy to dress like we’re heading to bed if it helps our patients get a better night’s sleep.”

The scrubs are being made with fabric provided to the Horncastle Scrub Group by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity, with the trial expected to launch with a full collection of stylish slumber-scrubs in early 2024.

The trial will initially take place on Carlton Coleby at Lincoln County Hospital, and wards 6A and 6B at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, with plans to expand to more healthcare of older person wards if it has a positive impact on patients.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity Manager, Ben Petts, said: “We’re delighted to fund this innovative project that combines the creative skills of our community crafters with the clinical knowledge of our NHS workforce to help patients feel more at home in hospital and get a better night’s sleep.”

If you’re interested in volunteering with Horncastle Scrub Hub based at Horncastle Community Centre Church Room or at home to cut, overlock and sew, please contact 07753 866357 or [email protected]

To find out more about the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity visit: