North Yorkshire’s care leaders are encouraging care homes across the county to continue to use Christmas decorations this year to help to add cheer during the exceptional challenges of this winter – but to do so with safety in mind.
“This year more than ever it is important we brighten up the darkest days of winter, because our care home residents have had a really tough time, as have the staff that have supported them,” said Rachel Bowes, North Yorkshire County Council’s Director of Care and Support. “We want everybody to be able to celebrate the festive season. We just need to make sure that decorations don’t get in the way of the cleaning that needs to be done to make our homes Covid-safe.”
The NHS Infection, Prevention and Control Team, which gives advice and support to care homes, GP practices and other settings, has written to all care homes in North Yorkshire with advice about Covid-safe decorations.
“We are really encouraging our homes to be as festive as they are in normal times,” said Rachel Bowes. “They are so good at making the most of celebratory occasions like Christmas and there is no reason why they can’t pull out all the stops this year as well; while making their decorations Covid-safe.
“Decorations are always full of lovely memories and many are passed down from year to year between families and care home residents have their favourites as well. I always get out the
decorations that belonged to my grandad as they remind me of decorating his tree as a girl and every year we bring out the decorations made by my children when they were at playgroup, despite the fact they are both grown up.
“Decorations can help bring people together and lend a warm glow; they are more important than ever for our care homes in the middle of a pandemic in the middle of winter.”
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said: “People living in care homes, like many others, have had a difficult time since the start of the pandemic and it is especially important that they are able to enjoy some festive cheer in their homes with Christmas decorations.
“With the welcome news that a vaccine is on its way, we can see some a strong light at the end of the tunnel, but the virus is not beaten just yet. We must be particularly careful therefore in not letting up over infection control measures at this time with gifts being brought into the homes and a balanced and common sense approach to this and decorations is required. I am confident that my provider colleagues will be mindful of the helpful advice given and will do all they can to make sure everyone is safe, that gifts are received and the homes are decked out in a bright and cheerful way to lift everyone’s spirits.”