Although care homes are now allowing visitors to residents, many are reportedly advising against Christmas trees and festive decorations. Care home bosses are now also seeking additional funding in the run-up to Christmas, to help make homes safe.
Many of us want nothing more than Christmas cheer, but some local authorities have been accused of taking their infection control measures too far, by banning festive decorations and advising against Christmas trees.
Double the infection control fund
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, had pledged to make Christmas visiting possible in every care home, to ensure families can be together. But, the National Care Forum (NCF) have said care homes need their infection control fund doubling. This is despite it currently standing at £546-million.
So, why are they requesting so much? In simple terms, additional help with the infection control fund would prevent the need for stretching care teams between multiple homes, improve visiting facilities and guarantee enough PPE.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care has said the Government had already provided £1.1-billion for infection control and: “…continues to work closely within the social care sector to ensure they have all the need.”
In a bid to make the festive period easier for care home residents who wish to see their families, a pilot for rapid-result testing for relatives is being rolled out. 20-care homes and 16,000 other care facilities will be part of the pilot scheme, but many experts say Matt Hancock’s pledge may be unrealistic.
For those who can enable visiting for the festive period, homes may not feel very festive at all. Health authorities are fearful Christmas decorations could spread the rate of infection, and so are placing bans against them.
While some care homes in Scotland have been told not to have Christmas trees inside, others in Lancashire have been advised not to use decorations unless they’re are on a “cleaning schedule with an audit.”
This has raised many concerns amongst care home managers, who understand their residents rely so much on decorations to stimulate senses and memories – specifically in those living with dementia.
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