The Impact of Footwear and Clothing on Client Comfort and Safety in Elderly Care

Discover how care worker uniforms and footwear can directly affect the comfort and safety of your clients, from health and safety to client confidence. 

What you wear at work as a carer can potentially impact the safety and comfort of your clients.

From inappropriate shoes without grip to tight-fitted clothes that restrict your mobility, having the correct care worker uniform and footwear is a necessity of the job that supports your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those elderly in your care.

So, after covering the ideal footwear and clothing to support posture and provide comfort in adult social care, today, we’re going to be looking at how these factors can impact patient comfort and safety.

How Clothing and Footwear Impact Client Comfort and Safety

Beyond personal safety and wellbeing, the main priority for care workers and healthcare assistants is the comfort and safety of their clients.

And it’s only natural that comfortable care workers make their clients feel comfortable, just as the safer they can operate in their working environment, the safer their clients will remain in their care.

One side supports the other. Because providing the best care for your clients also relies on care workers accounting for their own comfort and safety.

So, what are the potential safety issues you should know about with your footwear and clothing, and how do you avoid them?

Firstly, let us begin with care worker footwear and the potential pitfalls.

Client Comfort and Safety: Care Worker Footwear

Just because they’re your feet doesn’t mean they can’t potentially endanger an elderly client in your care. Whether you’re escorting a client from room to room or pushing them in a wheelchair on the pavement outside, a trip or fall can cause devastating consequences.

While accidents happen, some are avoidable, especially when they’re the result of carer workers in inappropriate or worn footwear. Plus, seeing as 37% of all UK workplace injuries result from a slip, trip or fall, it’s a common accident that just can’t be risked in the elderly care sector.

Protecting yourself from accidents and injury ultimately keeps your clients safe. Therefore, when investing in high-quality care worker footwear that ensures the comfort and safety of your clients, aim for the following features:

  • Slip resistance
  • Toe protection
  • Closed heel
  • Foot arch support

Investing in the correct footwear will also give you the best chance of supporting an elderly client prone to falling. With older people aged 80+ falling every ten seconds in the UK, care workers must be prepared and have the appropriate footwear for this eventual scenario.

If you’d like some recommendations, we have a selection of five shoes from a previous blog dedicated to the best footwear for care workers.

Client Comfort and Safety: Care Worker Uniforms

Not investing in the appropriate uniform can cause a potential injury and, in turn, endanger elderly clients.

As with the 2020 NHS uniforms and workwear guidance, healthcare assistants and care workers should follow a similar view, which centres on three main objectives:

Client Safety

Care worker uniforms should adhere to the relevant health and safety regulations in helping to prevent the spread of diseases and infections. These regulations will depend on the type of care you provide.

Most uniform providers have assessed the risk, prevention, detection and control of the spread of infections. However, care workers are also responsible for ensuring their uniform is clean and fit for purpose before working.

Another disease prevention measure is to be “bare below the elbow” to improve the effectiveness of hand hygiene with exposed forearms. This standard applies more to healthcare workers, but it’s still a good practice for care workers during certain situations on the job.

While effective hygiene and infection prevention are crucial, wearing any potentially harmful items, such as nail products or jewellery, should also be factored into your uniform.

Client confidence

The way you look will have a direct influence on the trust of your clients and their families. After all, the more professional you appear, the more trusting clients will be.

Therefore, clean uniforms fit for purpose are an absolute must in the care sector.

Staff comfort

More than just a luxury, comfortable uniforms will support the quality of care you provide. Essentially, the more comfortable staff feel in their uniform, the better equipped they are to do their job.

The daily tasks and challenges of care work often require activity and movement within a physically demanding environment. So, all care workers should wear loose-fitted trousers and tunics. These clothes allow them to move freely and remain comfortable throughout the day.

Wearing tight jeans or tops around the waist will restrict movement, forcing care workers to bend badly and apply unnecessary pressure on their spine.

The Psychological Impact of Care Worker Uniforms

Beyond protecting clients physically, uniforms can help promote a safer psychological environment at your workplace.

The main psychological benefit for your clients is the ability to recognise and trust you as a professional carer. A consistent and approachable care worker uniform can help your clients feel more comforted in your care.

For example, if your client struggles with their eyesight or hearing, at least by seeing the unmistakable colour of your uniform, they can recognise you and feel safe.

The consistency of your care worker uniforms can comfort your clients in immediately identifying your presence without having to be too near or have a conversation, especially for male care workers.

Choose a Career That Provides Comfort and Safety to the Elderly

Herefordshire Cares has numerous elderly care opportunities across Herefordshire for kind, caring and enthusiastic individuals looking to start a rewarding and progressive career.

Visit the vacancies page on our website and find various roles, such as Care Assistants, Home Carers and Support Workers.

Get in touch for more details about any of our positions, and visit our news and blog page to find more industry insights.