Fire safety rules reduces independence of care home residents, owner says

    Safety checks of care homes by fire brigades are reducing
    resident’s ability to carry out everyday tasks and stifling
    their independence, one care home manager believes,
    writes Maggie Wood.

    Amanda Hepburn manager of Day Break House, a
    residential home for recovering mental health service users in
    Edinburgh, said recommendations made by the fire brigade in the
    wake of the Rosepark care home tragedy earlier in the year have had
    an impact upon residents’ abilities to regain control of
    their lives.

    She specifically criticised fire brigade recommendations to keep
    the kitchen, laundry room and store cupboards locked, which
    restricts residents in their daily living.

    A spokesperson from the Scottish executive – which ordered
    safety checks be carried out – said the “reassurance
    visits” by fire brigades were intended to draw attention to
    potential fire hazards and to provide advice on how to improve
    individual care homes. 

    “A balance needs to be struck between promoting fire safety
    and protecting quality of life for residents,” he said.

    A spokesperson from the Care Commission said while no new
    regulations had been put in place regarding fire safety the visits
    are recommended best practice to care providers.

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