Another fierce debate on Mumsnet. Those on the 'No' side made some good arguments about the safety of lone workers, however, those arguing for 'Yes' made some good points too. I liked this comment:
"If a family are living with a disease like cancer they are likely to be very anxious and feel pretty powerless in the face of it.
Respecting their need to feel in control of the cleanliness of their environment would be a nice thing to do.
I guarantee most of them know that taking your shoes off won't prevent infections but if it helps them feel safer, why not do it?
Why not use anti bac if it helps?
People are not automatically stupid and demanding because they are in need of in-home care. We visit them at the worst times of their lives. Putting up with a few illogical requests is not difficult. It doesn't impinge on your professional status.
I don't understand why people get so offended. You walk away from that household at the end of your visit. They are still there dealing with caring 24 hours a day for their child or facing the death of a loved one.
Why not let them feel listened to?"
People do not choose to need healthcare workers. There need for respect in their home environment is as important as the healthcare workers' need for safety.
The 'No' side in this rightly point out that healthcare workers will visit many homes which are very dirty and whose residents may present a physical threat necessitating a quick exit. However, those living in clean homes who would never dream of assaulting a nurse or social worker may be deeply affronted by being treated in the same manner. Simply citing trust policy or health and safety does not remove the sense of invasion and disrespect some may feel when healthcare workers decline to remove their shoes. This is not at all an easy topic.