Summer cautions


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Those who have been on TP a while will know that I have a very high opinion of the care home where my Jan has lived since 2001.

It may be instructive to know that even very good homes make mistakes.

This morning I had a phone call to let me know that Jan was receiving treatment for severe sunburn.

Apparently yesterday all residents were taken into the gardens of the home in the afternoon.

Jan was not properly looked after during that time and was left in the sun, unprotected.

This is hugely distressing because she cannot communicate to tell her carers that she is hot/cold/uncomfortable/anything.

Further, she can't move herself at all and relies on her carers to do that for her.

So, please be aware that residents of care homes may accidentally be over-exposed to the sun during the summer. It may be that they are initially placed in shade and then the sun moves and they are exposed that way.

The home manager and staff were mortified that this had happened and I have spoken to all of them to ensure that Jan and the other residents will never be put in such danger again.

I have also taken a photograph of Jan's face, which looks like she has gone 3 rounds with Mike Tyson as it is very swollen. I am giving the pictures to the home to be used for training purposes so that staff can see the effects of carelessness on their part.

Jan was always able to take massive exposure to the sun. It may be that her medications have made her susceptible to damage these days, or maybe her dementias have weakened her system in that regard as well as in every other.


Account Closed
Nov 23, 2007
Thank you for pointing that out

I am so sorry about Jan, I hope she is not in too much discomfort.
We should all look out for this problem. When Ron was in the garden the other day planting, I made him wear a hat.
The british summer is a suprise sometimes. We all can still get sunburnt.
Love Barb & Ron


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Dear Brucie,
I am so sorry to read about her severe sunburn.
As nice as it is to get residence some sunshine, it realy baffles me why they do not have the necessary sunscreen for them.
Children in Nursery, School and holiday playschemes have to have the sun screen plus suitable hat.
I do hope that you have some good news on Jan tomorrow.
Very best wishes

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
Bruce, I am so sorry to read of Jan's discomfort and your distress - typically, you have used your experience as a reminder to us all and a 'lesson' to the care home.
Best wishes!

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Because we live with a litigation culture, schoolteachers and support staff were not allowed to put sunscreen on children in case they had any allergic reaction, or in case it was not of sufficient strength to protect their skin.

Parents were asked to use their own sunscreen before they sent their children to school.

I cannot say whether or not this was Nationwide or just in the LA that employed me.

I accept residential care and nursing homes have different responsibilities.

But I would advise all relatives of residents to check with their individual care homes what their policies on sun protection is.

As has so sadly happened today with Jan, nothing can be presumed.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
I was the cause of Lionel's distress over the sun/heat this last weekend.

I positioned his chair so that his body was in the sun, taking great care to keep his head in the shade. (Lionel has always loved the sun, so I thought he would really enjoy this)

I was sitting alongside Lionel for all of the time we were enjoying the pleasant weather. Imagine my dismay when I helped the carers change his pad during the afternoon.

His clothes we alsolutely drenched with perspiration. He must have been uncomfortably hot......not burnt....just hot. He is unable to communicate that he is uncomfortable now.Of course he cannot change position in his chair either, I felt so ashamed.
Never the less it will not happen again.
We do have to be so careful to our loved ones who are so vulnerable.

Thank you Bruce for flagging this particular danger.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Jan was not properly looked after during that time and was left in the sun, unprotected.
Sorry but Now sounds cruel to me , I hope Jan gets lots of after tan cream for her face to cool it all down , they another type of cream for it sun brunt , but can't remember the name. have they brought her any creams ?


Registered User
Nov 26, 2006
I do hope Jan is OK.

Can I also suggest to everyone, what may seem very obvious things, but are quite often missed?

Invest in a fan. Sometimes, it can get ridiculously hot in care homes and the likelihood of there being a desk fan for each person is very small. Write the person’s name on the bottom of so that it’s less likely to vanish as well. :rolleyes:

Have a wardrobe sort-out. Again, this may sound daft - but wherever possible, have a complete sort through clothing and make sure there are plenty of loose, summer clothes. I know someone who dressed a resident in thick tights, a woollen dress and an oversized cardigan yesterday. :eek:

Ensure that there is some fruit juice / cordial in bedrooms, along with a jug of water and beaker / tumbler. If it is already there, staff are much more likely to offer and encourage it.


Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
Bruce, so sorry to hear about Jan. Hoping she recovers quickly. As you said, even the best make mistakes, but what an awful thing to happen.


Registered User
Apr 16, 2008
Devon, England
perhaps you are thinking of special creams with Aloe Vera in them that are supposed to be very good for burns. A few years ago friends of ours went to Turkey and got friendly with a young lad who worked in a kebab place. He'd had an accident and badly burnt his arm and she suggested the cream to him but he couldn't get any out there, so as we were going to the same place a couple of weeks later she asked me to take some to him. He found it very soothing.
I do hope Jan gets some relief from her sunburn quickly. I've been badly burnt before and can sympathise. But at least I was able to express my discomfort and I can't imagine how awful it must be to feel discomfort and not be able to communicate it to anyone. Let's hope the home puts new practices into force quickly to ensure such a thing never happens again.


Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
So sorry to hear about Jan. I'm extremely fair and burn very quickly so I try to be careful all the time. Even so, I get a little burn occasionally. And it's painful.

Is it possible for you to request that the home put sunscreen on Jan when going out, regardless of sun or clouds? A person can burn when it's cloudy also. My very worst burn was when I was 18 & the sky was totally overcast.

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
North Derbyshire
I'd reply to Bruce personally, but others might want to hear, teachers are not allowed to apply suncreen to children, they are basically not allowed to touch them at all. I don't know if this applies to care homes, hopefully not, as some residents have no-one else to care for them. I certainly can't be running up to Buxton to apply suncream just in case mum goes out in the sun (and probably doesn't, such is her care home at the moment). Nobody has ever asked me what is her susceptibility to the sun. Mum is fortunately not too averse to a bit of sun (and is still capable of complaining if she finds it too hot), but if it were me I would be burnt within 10 minutes. Funny, but she is quite fair skinned and her skin is very thin, but she enjoys the sun. Me, I am sweating like a pig within minutes, dehydrated and red raw and itchy. My husband can sit out for hours with no discomfort at all.

Surely (?) care homes are aware of this. It is not the first summer that the sun has shone.

Bruce, so sorry to hear of Jan's experience. Margerita is right, the After Sun treatment containing Aloe Vera is very soothing and cooling, as are tepid showers or bed baths. I hope Jan feels better soon.

I have a stand-by long-sleeved thin blouse that I always wear when the sun is out, and in the car (lost count of the times I have been burnt down one arm in the car. All residens of home should have one as standard issue. £10 per person for life.

Seems sad that the staff were trying to get the residents some enjoyment from the sun and didn't appreciate the dangers or discomfort.

I have complained a great deal about mum's care home, but last summer when they took them all out onto the garden, they all had wide-brimmed hats to wear, and no-one was out for more than an hour.

Love to everyone, let's enjoy some summer, today I saw three swallows, which means summer is here.



Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
I am sorry to hear that this has happened to Jan. Having very fair skin myself I know how painful sunburn is and the nasty consequence's.

Hear in Australia you'll know how hot it gets, well last summer as I pulled into the car park at the C/H I noticed a chap sitting in full sun asleep.... no shoes his feet resting on the cement pathway.... he had track pants on plus a flannelette shirt and wind jacket. Also, he was bald his head lay forward chin resting on his chest the sun was beating down on the back of his neck.

Especially in Australia the Awareness should be there. It all fell back on staffing levels he had slipped out unnoticed into the court yard. For those wondering why this chap was dressed as such.... the air conditioner was too cold and probably the reason he seeked the sun. Towards the end of summer the penny dropped that the elderly didn't feel the heat as bad as the staff and the settings were changed.

I hope that Jan is made comfortable and I am sorry that she has to go through this. Regards Taffy.


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006

Thanks for the warning.

You can buy an Alo Vera plant at any good garden centre. Cut off a leaf. Open it sideways to expose as much of the inside 'flesh' as you can and rub this onto the burns. You can also scoop out the 'goo' and apply directly to the burned skin. It is a slimy 'goo' but I have used it for the past 20 years and it is truely marvelous in the relief and healing properties it gives.

When I lived in Spain all the local Spanish people used the Alo Vera plant in this way and you never went into a Spanish garden without finding some old, gnarled and well cut plant by the back door, usually growing in an old bucket or suchlike.



Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
Thanks for sharing the warning Bruce and I hope Jan improves.
It must have been so distressing for you and can imagine how upset you feel.

Good care homes that make mistakes feel mortified and take responsibilty. More importantly they address the issue to ensure that it never happens again. I think many of us will be mentioning this incident to our care home managers as a warning this summer.

You take care of yourself !


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Terrible Brucie, and poor Jan. I know how it feels, its very worrying when you know your loved one cannot tell anyone when they are in discomfort.
Good idea to post it, so others can be more aware.
Best wishes,


Registered User
Feb 13, 2008
Oh Brucie

PLEASE go straight away to your local garden centre and buy as many aloe vera plants as you can possibley get. Jon and I have had lots of holidays in the sun mainly in the carribean, australia etc. etc. To ease your lovely wife you must put aloe vera on asap.. Break off a leaf and soften it as much as possible tin your hands then break it open and put it all over her even the parts that are not affected.
I am really aware of my dads situation because although he is still at home with mum he forgets that he is the garden and can be there for a long time. My local garden centre buys in extra for me because I'm always there buying aloe vera plants.
Superdrug alsgo sell it as an after sun cream but it really is not as good as the real thing.
Our sons have been brought up on it and they have never experienced any such thing as sunburn it really is worth the money amd you can indeed take cuttings and they will pot on easily so at least you can be in front of the carers if the need ever arises again.
Love Andrea