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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