If you have ever visited a loved one in an aged care home, you have at some point crossed paths with the nurse or team engaged to care for them. Most likely, very little attention was paid to what they were wearing and how professional and put together they looked.
We are living through a time where infection control, the spread of germs and hygiene have never been so important.
For those visiting for the first time after an extended period, it can be daunting, especially knowing how vulnerable the elderly are to this virus.
Consequently, visitors, residents and frontline workers are looking at the work, tools and environment, including uniforms, through a COVID-19 lens, and it is critical that all actions are carried out with this front of mind.
Comfort and security are drawn from the visual cues and considerations that make you feel SAFE.
For those in aged care, it has never been more important to ensure your staff and brand are correctly represented and what your team wears at work is critical to that first impression.
As the team responsible for caring for loved ones, what they are wearing when on the job is critical. The uniform needs to not only look contemporary, trustworthy and appropriate for the task at hand, but it needs to evoke a feeling of security for those in its presence.
On average, a carer’s uniform is worn for 12 hours a day and has been through the rounds of breakfast service, linen changes and medicine runs. It is the one familiar item residents look for when in need of care.
Yet, how much time is put into such an important item? What are the considerations around design, colour and fabric? How many facilities provide their carers the correct allocation of uniforms to get them through a long working week?
When considering uniform design and implementation, it is imperative that it is well thought out and the following four ‘Ps’ taken into consideration:
Uniforms should always reflect a company’s brand and purpose to ensure a client can relate to what the company is about through what the staff are wearing. For aged care, your team needs to look polished and put together to evoke feelings of trust.
Depending on the client, we often find there is either too much of a focus on the look and not enough on practicality or vice versa! There is a significant difference between weekend wear and workwear. Whilst uniforms need to be fashion forward, they also have to be functional and fit for purpose.
3. Picture Perfect
Tell the whole story from top to toe. If you spend time creating a look, it needs to consider all factors. Will staff need a winter wear option? What trousers are they expected to wear? Is there a requirement for a cap or beanie? There is no point creating a fabulous shirt or polo only to have it covered up by a Hot Pink Jumper that is off brand and not communicating the consistent story of your facility or business.
The devil is in the detail. Ensure there is a company uniform policy outlining dress standards. Should the shirt be worn tucked in or out? What type and colour shoes are acceptable? What is the jewellery policy? Unfortunately, common sense isn’t always common and when taking the time to create your team image through uniform, it is even more important to follow that through with the detail of how it should or shouldn’t be worn.
The trend of hygiene and the importance of safety is here to stay and so too is the importance of what is worn when working in aged care. During these times it’s even more important to have a range that considers both the staff that wear them and the residents who see them every day.
Pamela Jabbour is the founder and CEO of Total Image Group – uniform designer and manufacturer to some of Australia’s leading brands. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and China, Total Image dresses over 300,000 Australians per day in their work wardrobe. Find out more at www.totalimagegroup.com.au