Questions over whether residents of care homes should be allowed to smoke

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Last October London Fire Brigade changed their view on smoking in care homes after no less than 120 care homes caught fire accidentally in London in 2016. They now recommend that smoking should not take place at all in care homes, whilst previously they advised smoking took place on premises ‘as safely as possible’.

The law states residential care homes are exempt from smoke-free legislation. It is an individual resident’s right to continue to smoke when in care because it is their home. Although it is not a legal requirement, designated indoor smoking rooms or bedrooms can be made available for use by those residents wishing to smoke indoors. As it stands, there is a ban on staff smoking in care homes, so an outdoor area can be designated for staff and visitors.

A spokesperson for CQC has said: –

‘As the regulator, it wouldn’t be in our remit” to enforce or recommend sprinkler systems or vaping in care homes. Nor is it CQC’s responsibility to improve fire safety in care homes.’

She said providers by law must “ensure they can demonstrate that premises and equipment are safe, properly maintained and used properly. “For example, evidence that a care home has fire safety risk assessments, that equipment has been properly tested and appropriate staff fire safety training is in place.”

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