Care home says room door must be shut so dad's in prison

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by andrean, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. andrean

    andrean Registered User

    Jul 5, 2011
    Dad has just moved into a nursing home. I should have noticed, but didn't, when we were shown round, that all the room doors were shut. Now he's there, and they say fire regulations mean he can't have his door open. He's a double amputee, and although he can wheel himself around in his wheelchair, he doesn't have the strength to open a door - so if he's in his room, he can't get out, and if he's out, he can't get back in (nor can he recognise from a closed door which is his room, whereas if the door were open he could look in and see that it was his).

    I'm not convinced by this fire regs argument. Seems to me that they're creating a dangerous situation: if a fire started in his room, he'd be trapped. It's also dangerous: he has in the past taken off his seatbelt and slid out of his chair, and if he did that in his room, he could be on the floor for hours (he has 2 hourly checks) before anyone noticed. Given that he's paying £1k/week, you'd think they could run to a few fire door closers (assuming the bedroom doors are fire doors, which I don't think they are) at approx £100 each.

    I'm going to go in and tackle this with them but would like as much ammunition as possible. I suspect they're in breach of Deprivation of liberty safeguards, not to mention fire regulations and the Equality Act.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem, and does anyone have any advice on how to tackle it? I'm really worried that dad is going to feel like he's in prison, and be utterly cut off from the world when he's in his room, which is not going to do his already shaky mental health any good at all.
  2. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    Does he have the choice to come out?

    Granted everyone perhaps needs some time and space on their own in their own space, but usually the doors do have to be shut.

    problem is, if they make an exception for one, they have to do so for everyone- and that could lead to fire safety issues.

    Presumably he has a bell he can call for assistance? Does he use it?
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Is he not brought out of his room during the day?
    Mum was only in her room at night and the rest of the time she was in the lounge, the TV room or the garden.
    If she wanted to get something from her room, she had to be escorted back because she couldnt remember where her room was, but I didnt see this as a problem.
  4. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
  5. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    In dad's NH when he was there, granted a fairly new build, the room doors and corridor doors were activated to shut when the alarm went off so doors were open if the resident wanted. During fire drills I saw this working well, the system gave min 30 mins isolation. The alarm was linked to the fire brigade for instant response which I gathered was pretty much standard in the town where the NH is located and maybe nationwide.

    I would speak to the manager and find a compromise, he should not be marooned in his room ... for his safety and wellbeing he needs to be seen by staff and he needs to see and if he can or be encouraged to engage in life going on in the NH...his home. The bed bound residents
    in dad's NH had their doors open so they could see and hear and staff popped in often.
  6. andrean

    andrean Registered User

    Jul 5, 2011
    thanks for replies. I'm going to see them tomorrow but I'm sure they'll say it's fire regs, he can use his call bell if he wants to come out etc. Problem is he can't consistently use his call bell as he often doesn't remember what it's for. He's also not a particularly social person and hates TV so doesn't want to spend all day in the lounge - I think he'd like to be able to wheel himself around easily, drop in to the lounge, go back to his room etc, but as long as the door has to be shut he can't do this. It's really frustrating: the place is all newly refurbished but apparently they couldn't spend the small bit of extra money to get self-closing doors.
  7. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    All the bedroom doors in my mother's CH are kept closed. They have door closers on them which are fairly 'strict' and take a little effort to open and close, so I am not sure a door closer would help your dad? (If that is what you mean by a self closing door.) My mother is always downstairs during the day, as are most residents - as well as the main lounge and conservatory, there is a quiet lounge with no TV. She roams around within the CH but never uses her bedroom except to sleep in. It's unlikely she would use a call bell, but they use alert mats on her bed/chair so they know if she gets up in the night and needs help. To me it's a benefit the doors are kept closed, it means other residents don't go in her room so her stuff has never gone missing.
  8. kindred

    kindred Registered User

    Apr 8, 2018
    Just another aspect of it. When my beloved husband was dying and in his room a lot of the time, I asked them, please leave his door open so he doesn't feel alone. And they happily complied. warmest, Kindred
  9. andrean

    andrean Registered User

    Jul 5, 2011
    Thanks, kindred: yes, I'm really worried that dad will feel alone. He doesn't want to be in the home at all (and doesn't understand that his needs are so great that it's not practical for him to be at home) and I'm worried that if he's in his room with the door shut, he'll feel as if we've put him in prison. He may at times want to have the door shut, but it should be his choice.
  10. Banjomansmate

    Banjomansmate Registered User

    Jan 13, 2019
    The Banjoman’s bedroom door was kept open towards the end when he was bedbound so the carers could just look in and check on him without disturbing him by keep opening the door. It did have an alarm on it so they were aware that it had been opened when he was mobile. Quite a few of the residents left their bedroom doors open during the day time.
  11. Nigel_2172

    Nigel_2172 Registered User

    Aug 8, 2017
    The only nursing home I have any real knowledge of is the one where my wife is. Every bedroom door is a fire door and they are are kept open and are held by a magnetic catch linked to the fire alarm system. Corridor doors have a similar arrangement so that each floor is divided into fire zones. All the doors shut automatically when the alarm is triggered.
    In the current Building Regulations section on provision of fire safety in Residential Homes, it states (anongst lots of other things) that "Each bedroom should be enclosed in fire-resiting construction with fire-resisting doors and every corridor serving bedrooms should be a protected corridor" and that "The specification of door-closing devices for fire doors should take account of the needs of residents" If a sprinkler system is used "fire doors to bedrooms need not be fitted with self-closing devices".
    So, provided the fire precautions comply with the Building Regulations, there is no reason why bedroom doors can not be left open.
    Hope this helps!

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.