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Care home staff not always wearing masks

AnnaHal

Registered User
Feb 1, 2013
2
Is anyone else noticing (through videochats or garden visits) that their loved one's care home staff are not always wearing masks? On my first physical visit to my mother after six months, I sat in the doorway and she sat in her wheelchair a metre inside the home. Various carers came by during the hour, some masked, some not, and when I asked about it, the care manager said something quickly about always wearing them during personal care. Last week the chef came by and stopped to stroke my mother's hair and say hello, unmasked, ungloved.

I've looked at the Public Health England guidelines ('COVID-19 Personal protective equipment (PPE) – resource for care workers working in care homes during sustained COVID-19 transmission in England')
and if, I'm reading it correctly, it seems they advocate masks at all times but that each home can interpret the guidelines as they choose. My sister is livid about the staff not fully masking and wants to report it to the CQC, and I'm concerned but want to know if this is a widespread thing or just a problem in my mother's home. Also, is getting the CQC involved even going to make a difference? Surely they'd just slap some masks on if a CQC inspector showed up.

The manager is terrible about informing us of any rules or changes to them during this time...we have to contact her to get any information out of her. (Why can't families be kept well informed about measures being taken/not taken to prevent COVID-19?) But we have mentioned seeing carers unmasked and her email reply was that she would look into "this serious matter". No further communication.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,609
My sister is livid about the staff not fully masking and wants to report it to the CQC, and I'm concerned but want to know if this is a widespread thing or just a problem in my mother's home. Also, is getting the CQC involved even going to make a difference? Surely they'd just slap some masks on if a CQC inspector showed up.

@AnnaHal Care home staff should be wearing masks, and the manager of your mother's care home has advised you that the staff not wearing masks is a 'serious matter', so whether the same thing is going on in other homes or not isn't really relevant. There can be reasons for care staff to not wear a mask but the care home manager has made no mention of these to you, and it's difficult to see how a chef stroking your mum's hair would be deemed an appropriate situation for not wearing a mask. Have you reported what the chef did last week to the manager? For info, the CQC conduct unannounced visits and there have been several cases in the media where they have placed homes in special measures due to putting residents at risk, including staff not wearing masks.
 

AnnaHal

Registered User
Feb 1, 2013
2
@Louise7 Thanks so much for responding. You're right, of course...it is irrelevant what other homes are doing. Even 10+ years into my mother's Alzheimer's, I just sometimes feel like I'm in a vacuum when it comes to dealing with stuff concerning her - I don't know any of the other residents' family members and I don't have any friends dealing with this situation, so I sometimes think, Am I making sensible decisions?

I really appreciate your validation and the info about recent CQC visits. I have reported the chef's behaviour to the manager and, having just visited today and seen three carers unmasked, I'll keep pursuing this with the manager and maybe CQC.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,609
I have reported the chef's behaviour to the manager and, having just visited today and seen three carers unmasked, I'll keep pursuing this with the manager and maybe CQC.

It's sometimes difficult to know what to do for the best. My mum's in a home and although I spoke to a few other family members regularly prior to lockdown the current visiting position means that I don't see them anymore. Hopefully the manager of your mother's home will start to take notice of your concerns as they don't seem to be being very proactive at the moment........