Staff working in care homes should wear a uniform, according to half of those questioned in a new poll.
Some 57% of more than 1,000 people surveyed were in favour of the idea, with 34% against and around 8% saying maybe.
Those in favour of uniforms believe they help people with dementia identify members of staff and help create a professional atmosphere.
Opponents think they act as “barriers” between staff and residents and people should be able to feel like they are at home.
Davina Ludlow, director of carehome.co.uk, which carried out the survey online, said: “The results are very interesting, with the majority clearly in favour of staff in care homes wearing uniforms.
“Many still tend to feel strongly about uniforms and how they indicate professionalism and help with identification.
“Nowadays, there are many variations of uniforms, which do not necessarily reflect ‘institutional’ wear that was once the norm.
“Many homes have adopted more relaxed work wear, so that residents can still recognise care staff but can also feel comfortable in their surroundings.
“Some however do feel strongly the other way - and find that uniform creates unnecessary barriers between staff and residents.”
Care staff at Sirona Care and Health wear brightly-coloured uniforms with rainbow collars.
Janet Rowse, chief executive at Sirona Care, said: “Uniforms present a consistent professional image for staff and the service.
“They also make it easy for service users and their families to pick out our trained dementia staff and they also contribute to the effective control of infection.
“Research into colour psychology shows that bright colours can have a positive effect on staff and service users.”
But Jeremy Garman, director of marketing at Sunrise Senior Living, said: “Our communities are not just care homes, they are our residents’ homes and we feel it is vital that we preserve this environment with a minimal clinical influence wherever possible.
“Our mission is to champion the quality of life for all seniors and the unnecessary imposition of uniforms on our staff goes against the very essence of the home environment which we strive to create for our residents.”
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