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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Christmas care home advice

Festive season in care home settings 2020-21. Infection control recommendations.


The festive season is an important time for many people and these recommendations are designed to allow homes to be able to celebrate as much as possible, as safely as possible. Although the season may look different this year, these recommendations should help to give homes more clarity on what should and should not be done, from an infection control perspective.

This guidance is for homes which are not in an active COVID-19 outbreak.
Care homes in an active outbreak are advised not to put up decorations and any decorations they have may need to be taken down to enable deep cleaning and reduce transmission risk.

Guidance on decorations

Overarching guidance:

  • Decorations should not clutter surfaces so that the surfaces cannot be cleaned properly; consider reducing elements like garlands which will collect dust and be hard to clean around
  • Decorations should be put up and taken down by individuals rather than as a communal effort. This minimises people coming close to one another with items being touched by multiple people
  • Decorations should be chosen and placed so they are less likely to be touched by residents. An example of this is nativity sets that previously people might have enjoyed rearranging. These could still be used but in alternate locations.
  • If decorations are within an area needing a terminal clean they should either be cleaned (if possible), quarantined for 72 hours or disposed of.
  • Please do not use ornaments which have sentimental value as in the event of an outbreak these may need to be disposed of if non-cleanable.

Specific recommendations:

Christmas trees

  • Christmas trees in entrances should have clear markings on the ground below them to discourage residents from touching them.
  • They should be regularly inspected by facilities teams to ensure that they are not visibly dirty.
  • Christmas trees are to be kept to day rooms and no decorations are to be on evacuation routes.

Nativity displays / cribs

  • Nativity display / crib can be displayed. There should be clear markings on the ground below them to discourage residents from touching them.

Christmas jumpers & headwear

  • Christmas jumpers are permitted provided they are clean and freshly laundered between each wear and the member of staff is bare below the elbow.
  • Hairbands and accessories are permitted but must be disposed of at the end of each day / shift or can be cleaned or wiped down.

Ceiling decorations

  • Ceiling decorations can be used in atriums.
  • Ceiling decorations can be used in any area that is identified as not high risk, however they must be disposed of in the event of an outbreak of COVID or any other infection outbreak.

Guidance on resident / staff festivities

Overarching guidance:

The guiding principle is to reduce high touch points, reduce clustering of staff or residents and reduce food sharing. All of these elements carry increased risk and should be avoided as much as possible.

Specific recommendations:


  • Raffles can continue but must be run virtually.
  • Any prizes on display must be sealed in plastic so as cleanable.

Charitable gifts

  • Any gifts provided through charitable donations should be quarantined for 72 hours in a clean and dry space prior to distribution.
  • Homes can ask that rather than donating gifts, such as confectionery or toys, they make a donation to their charity instead.

Personal gifts

  • People wishing to give personal gifts are encouraged to consider giving gifts that can be easily cleaned (shrinkwrapped, for example).

Visitors (VIP’s, bands, displays)

  • Virtual visiting is permitted (for example, footballers are planning to record virtual / video messages for hospital patients).
  • Musicians and band displays (including carol singers) are recommended as virtually only.

Buffets and Christmas gatherings

  • Staff gatherings and buffets are not recommended.

National guidance

There is no specific national Christmas guidance at this point in time.


If you have specific queries about anything in this guidance, please contact the CCG care home and home care cell on

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