A FACEBOOK post of care home night staff in their pyjamas reached 13 million people in just seven days.

The Old Vicarage, in Allithwaite village, posted the pictures to show how care assistants go about their work in dressing gowns and slippers, to help remind residents with dementia it is bedtime when they wake in the night.

The photos of staff members Janet Cartwright and Brenda Kerr carrying out their duties sparked an amazing reaction on social media, with the post "going viral" by being shared almost 240,000 times, with 400,000 "liking" the snaps.

“We never dreamt the post would be so popular,” said Charlotte Gregson, who manages the family-owned home for 19 residents and is responsible for the bedtime initiative.

“None of our care staff, including myself, wear uniforms. We feel uniforms separate us; they are a symbol of power and control, and represent 'doing a job', whereas we want our residents to feel special, loved, and at home.

“Many of our residents are living with dementia and when they wake during the night it can be confusing to see lots of activity. By going about their work in pyjamas and dressing gowns, our night staff are helping to remind residents that it’s time for bed.

“It’s an idea that seems to have captured everyone’s hearts."

Charlotte said many of the thousands of comments and messages received were from people whose loved ones have dementia, saying how the simple idea of staff wearing PJs could make "a huge difference".

She added: “Other comments are from care workers who want to adopt the idea in their place of work. It would be marvellous to think a post about our pyjama-wearing team might actually spark a change in how care homes across the UK support their dementia residents.”

The pictures were posted on Facebook during Dementia Action Week, with The Old Vicarage's owner, Kamal Siddiqi, offering to donate 50p towards a music project for people with dementia every time the post was shared, up to a limit of £200.

“We never dreamt it would fire the imagination of so many people,” said Kamal. "We were completely blown away by how quickly the post went viral."

Since the care home encouraged its Facebook followers to give money towards the orchestra being set up by Dignity in Dementia, the Arnside-based charity has received almost £1,500.

Director Lesley Gill said: "We’ve been taken aback by people’s generosity, with donations ranging from 50p to £200. We can’t thank Kamal and The Old Vicarage enough for helping us turn our idea into a reality.

To make a donation, see www.dignityindementia.org/donate/