Horncastle ‘scrubbers' create dementia-friendly, pyjama style scrubs for ​United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

​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 made by Horncastle ‘scrubbers’ to help make it easier for patients to fall asleep at night.
Rachel Lee, Ellie Guilfoyle, Tracy Leyland and Shelley Wills from Horncastle Scrub Hub.Rachel Lee, Ellie Guilfoyle, Tracy Leyland and Shelley Wills from Horncastle Scrub Hub.
Rachel Lee, Ellie Guilfoyle, Tracy Leyland and Shelley Wills from Horncastle Scrub Hub.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) is working with volunteers at Horncastle Scrub Hub 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.

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 ‘Scrubbers’ previously sewed extra scrubs for the Trust during the COVID-19 pandemic, and spokesman Shelly Wills 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.”

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.

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.”