Christmas is always a special time in care homes, full of festive fun – a time of joy, light and sparkle. Up and down the country, managers and care workers are digging out the Christmas decorations, untangling the tinsel and dusting off the baubles. While COVID has limited so many things in care homes, surely we can still ‘deck the halls’!
This year, more than any other, the hope and joy of Christmas is needed… But it seems the spectre of infection prevention control overkill lurks. We are seeing examples of local Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) advice to care homes warning them about the ‘dangers’ of Christmas decorations. Advice has included:
- ‘Wipeable (laminated) impervious single use decorations only to allow for cleaning,
- No wood, straw or live trees, only artificial trees;
- Cards and decorations to be quarantined for 3 days in advance of opening, and those in residents rooms to be limited to avoid contamination,
- Presents to be delivered unwrapped, and wrapped by the home, and finally
- ‘There should be no Christmas decorations during an outbreak, or near isolation areas.’
We have yet to find any evidence to underpin this latest flurry of bah humbug advice.
Quite frankly, IPC advice on Christmas decs is the icing on the (Christmas) cake. Christmas decorations can be used safely and sensibly and are a key part of the festive cheer that we all need so badly. Baublegate must not happen!
Liz Jones, Policy Director at the National Care Forum, the leading member association for not-for-profit social care providers.