T H E P U B L I C AT I O N F O R N U R S I N G A N D R E S I D E N T I A L C A R E H O M E S
W W W. T H E C A R E R U K . C O M
The Carer Digital
Social Care Workers Left “Risking Lives” to Provide Treatment and Care
The Department for Health and Social Care's decision to prioritise hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic meant social care providers were left exposed by lack of PPE, says the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in its first report on PPE procurement. The Committee highlights the appalling situation of staff having to care for people with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 without sufficient PPE to protect themselves from infection, citing: • Inadequate" pandemic plan - and equipment stockpile - left frontline workers "risking their own and their families' lives to provide treatment and care" • Lack of transparency in letting multi-million pound contracts "undermines public
trust in government procurement and the use of taxpayers' money" • DHSC "wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on PPE which is of poor quality and cannot be used for the intended purpose" The report which can be view at https://cutt.ly/LkYwSrS adds that the government's failure to be transparent about its buying decisions in the pandemic publish contracts in a timely manner, maintain proper records of key decisions has "left it open to accusations of poor value for money, conflicts of interest and preferential treatment of some suppliers".
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EDITOR'S VIEWPOINT Welcome to the latest edition of The Carer Digital! “There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” ROSALYN CARTER We were delighted this week to include the government’s new campaign to encourage the public to consider a career in adult social care. Launching this week the ‘Care for Others. Make a Difference’ campaign aims to drive awareness of the long-term opportunities the care sector provides. We were even more delighted when Care Minister Helen Whatley provided us with an exclusive opinion piece on the campaign. (See page 7). It comes as no surprise to anyone that the sector is experiencing severe staff shortages during the pandemic, the sector has suffered staff shortages for many years. A report in October last year revealed that the adult social care sector in England needs to fill around 112,000 job vacancies on any given day, and revealed that the percentage of days lost to sickness in adult social care across England during the pandemic increased to 7.5% between March and August 2020 compared to 2.7% pre-COVID19. In recent months, as the recruitment drive article states, absentee rates in the sector have doubled to Covid and isolation. I am hoping to interview employment Minister Mims Davies tomorrow (Thursday). I am just waiting for confirmation and have some rather interesting points to put forward, so would urge you to visit our website www.thecareruk.com for further details. Our front-page story makes concerning reading. It is not of course telling us anything we didn’t already know, but the reports from the public accounts committee makes official. It is to be fair and honest and open indictment at how wrong decisions were at the time. To prioritise the NHS over social care and at the same time release Covid patients from hospital back into social care proved to be catastrophic. What is more concerning in the report is the waste of taxpayers’ money that took place when the government was procuring PPE. The report states that between February and July 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spent over £12billion on 32 billion items of PPE. It has so far identified items worth hundreds of millions of pounds which are unusable for their intended purpose, at further risk to taxpayers’ money. When the pandemic broke, we here at THE CARER took the decision to increase the
frequency of our print run and introduce a weekly digital edition. We felt as I have often said that it was vital to maintain lines of communication between the sector and those who supply the sector, and we increased what we call “multiple routes to market”. Our weekly digital edition each Wednesday has proved so successful it is now an integral part of our operation. My point relating to this is that we deal on a daily basis with many long-standing, experienced, professional, and highly reputable suppliers to the sector and we are delighted to say we have done so for many years. Yet the government chose to waste taxpayers’ money newly formed companies, and people without any experience whatsoever, and the government has also been accused of “cronyism” with those consulted to provide the sector. This too was a catastrophic decision, and one frankly that beggars belief was no reason whatsoever why the government could not consult long-standing experienced companies all of whom were ready willing and able to supply the sector with quality products and services that have been tried and tested, as opposed to what the government’s own report states of PPE supplies “some was not fit for purpose - including reports of expired, substandard, deficient or even insect-infested supplies”, putting social care workers lives at risk. The government clearly wants to encourage the public to consider a career, given that the above shortcomings and neglect is in the public domain, with mainstream media confronting ministers on a daily basis, the report damning though it is may restore confidence in as much as the shortcomings have now been openly recognised, and hopefully will not be repeated. Once again we have called on some of the industry’s “leading lights” for insight, advice guidance and best practice, and are always delighted to print the many “uplifting stories” we receive from care homes and staff around the country so please do keep them coming! I can always be contacted at email@example.com
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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 3
Social Care Workers Left “Risking Lives” to Provide Treatment and Care
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The government made extensive use of emergency procurement regulations to procure more than £10 billion of goods and services without competition. While government had plans and a stockpile of PPE, these proved inadequate for the COVID-19 pandemic. Between February and July 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spent over £12billion on 32 billion items of PPE. It has so far identified items worth hundreds of millions of pounds which are unusable for their intended purpose, at further risk to taxpayers’ money. At each stage DHSC maintains that no setting actually ran out of PPE. But the Committee heard compelling evidence from organisations representing front-line workers that stocks ran perilously low; single use items were reused; some was not fit for purpose - including reports of expired, substandard, deficient or even insect-infested supplies - and staff were in fear that they would run out. • Surveys by staff representative organisations showed at least 30% of par-
ticipating care workers, doctors and nurses reported having insufficient PPE, even in high-risk settings. • The PPE from central government was sometimes not usable and providers told the Committee that emergency helplines referred them to suppliers which did not have PPE. • The "high-priority lane" for companies offering to fulfil covid contracts "was not designed well enough to be a wholly effective way of sifting credible leads to supply PPE". • Market price increases alone cost £10bn, as providers tried to buy PPE at short notice in an "overheated" international market, finding they "needed to pay hugely inflated prices to suppliers they were unfamiliar with". The government also had to procure a wide range of other goods and services quickly during this time. By 31 July 2020, the Government had awarded over 8,000 contracts in its Covid response, with a value of £18billion. The Committee says now DHSC has ordered an "enormous amount of
Mawdesley Care Home Pays Tribute To Captain Sir Tom Moore Staff and residents at Stocks Hall Mawdesley, part of the Stocks Hall Nursing & Care Group in Lancashire, have created a fitting tribute to the late Captain Sir Tom. The manager of the Home, Faye Cooper says, “Here at Stocks Hall Mawdesley, we wanted to pay tribute to Captain Sir Tom. He was an inspiration to us all and a light in dark times. Thank you for everything you did. We hope you enjoy our video.” You can view the video at https://youtu.be/5h0E93XMtP0
PPE", with no assurance it will be fit for future purpose but concerns that it might compromise government’s ambition to maintain a UK manufacturing base. Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Committee, said: "Government had permission to procure equipment at pace and without tendering under the law, but acting fast did not give it license to rip up record keeping on decisions. It did not publish contracts in time and kept poor records of why some companies won multi-million pound contracts. The cost of emergency procurement - £billions higher than the equivalent a year before - highlights how both its pandemic plan and supply of essential equipment were inadequate. Frontline workers were left without adequate supplies, risking their own and their families’ lives to provide treatment and care. We’re at a dangerous new phase of the pandemic, in our third national lockdown with no defined end in sight. The government needs to acknowledge the errors and be better prepared."
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Can Care Homes Make Staff Vaccination Mandatory? Paman Singh from Law at Work (www.lawatwork.co.uk) examines the challenges care homes could face as the COVID-19 vaccination rollout gathers pace.
After an incredibly challenging 2020, news of a vaccine is the light at the end of a very long tunnel for many care providers. While the initial distribution will be slow and steady, the distribution to many care homes is already well underway and we are told that a vaccine will eventually be widely available for the majority of the UK population. With so much still unknown, there has already been speculation that, as the vaccine roll out gathers pace in 2021, restrictions will be placed on those who don’t receive it. Some have even posited that international travel and entry to certain shops and restaurants will be reliant on proof of vaccination. For care homes, which are required by law to ensure all “reasonably practicable” steps are taken to reduce workplace risks, there will almost certainly be a positive obligation to strongly recommend that all employees get themselves vaccinated. An issue made all the more pertinent given the obviously vulnerable nature of care home residents.
However, even in care homes, and despite the obvious benefits, there remain those who, for reasons varying from religious beliefs to health concerns, don’t want to take the vaccine when it becomes available. This clash in stances could present a very challenging and complex issue for care home managers. The Government has made it clear there will be no mandatory vaccination scheme, and an employer cannot physically force an employee to take it up. However, they may have a responsibility to furnish employees with guidance and advice on the benefits the vaccine will bring. Active engagement in this process will be important as it may be necessary for employers to provide evidence of this to demonstrate compliance in line with their duty under the Health & Safety at Work Act. While mandatory vaccination will not be placed into law, employers will likely have some manoeuvrability. If a business can show that the requirement for an employee to take the vaccination is a reasonable management instruction, then any refusal which is unreasonable by the employee could justify disciplinary action, perhaps all the way up to dismissal. This would likely apply in circumstances where the employee’s role puts them in a position where close contact is unnavodable, such as delivering care. Although it may feel like an employer, especially one in the care sector, would be on firm ground requiring that its employees were vaccinated against a disease that has killed more than 1.6 million people worldwide, much of the legal argument will depend on the particular circumstances, including the employee’s reasons for refusal. For refusal to be deemed reasonable there would need to be significant justification. For example, a fear of needles wouldn’t cut it but, where someone suffers from trypanophobia – a fear of needles to such an extent that they could be defined as a disabled person under the Equality Act – they could be justified in refusing the vaccine. Similarly, certain religions may take exception to the use of animal
products in the vaccine. However, attempts by vegetarians, vegans or even anti-vaxxers to justify their stance on similar grounds is unlikely to be successful. A further consideration for businesses is that an employee might refuse on the basis that the contents of the vaccine are incompatible with their medication, or that their health condition otherwise renders them unable to have the vaccine. Where their health condition amounts to a disability, this introduces additional considerations for the employer, particularly as they have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. One thing is for sure, the situation is not as straightforward for employers as it may appear. It is going to be vital that employers initiate open and sensitive conversations with employees to avoid a situation where a genuine reason for an individual not taking the vaccine is overlooked or dismissed. The additional work around these conversations will be crucial too and businesses should consider engagement with any trade unions and employee representatives now if mandatory vaccination is a consideration. Likewise, having a robust vaccination policy in place, which clearly establishes what is required and by whom, as well as what the process is in the event of non-compliance, will be crucial and is something firms should be considering and seeking advice on now. Like so much of 2020, this area of employment law is thus far unprecedented, so it is crucial that businesses take appropriate and pre-emptive steps to put them in the strongest possible position. It is a high profile and extremely complex area which will almost certainly throw up difficult decisions. By seeking advice early, care home managers can enter into conversations with employees before the issue becomes even more urgent. Law At Work will continue to monitor the situation and is available to answer queries that businesses may have. For more information, please visit www.lawatwork.co.uk.
Thornton-Dale Primary Celebrate Poetry Week With Video From Local Care Home Residents
In celebration of Thornton-Dale Primary School’s poetry week, residents at a The Hall residential care home in Thornton-le-Dale have made a video reciting a variety of poems to send to the school children. Residents at The Hall have filmed themselves performing a range of children’s poems including ‘The Invisible Bridge,’ ‘The Lazy Roof’ and ‘Did you ever play tag with a tiger’ to send to the children during their poetry week. The video aims to recreate the sense of grandparents reading to their grandchildren. Residents at The Hall relish their connection with Thornton-Dale’s students, and the poetry video was sent to the children via email so that they can enjoy it as they continue to learn from home.
Nicky Beach, manager at The Hall, said: “Our residents love connecting with the children at Thornton-Dale Primary and always enjoy reading to them, even if it is virtually. Recording the poems to share with the children for their poetry week is a memory that residents will cherish.” Christina Stone, aged 69, resident at The Hall, said: “I loved reading to my granddaughter when she was little and having the opportunity to recite a poem for the children at Thornton Dale brought back this memory and was very special.” Gwen Andrews, aged 89, resident at The Hall, said: “I used to be a teacher and would read poems and stories to the children in my class and was delighted to be able to record my poem to send to the children at Thornton Dale.”
Professor Stephen H Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England and Matthew Gould, CEO, NHSX to Deliver Keynote Addresses at Health Plus Care Online
Health Plus Care Online, the UK’s leading virtual event for senior care and HCPs will take place on 24th & 25th February 2021. Organisers of the Health Plus Care Online are delighted to announce
Professor Stephen H Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England and Matthew Gould, CEO, NHSX are confirmed to deliver two keynote addresses on the 24th and 25th of February 2021. They will join an esteemed list of 50+ expert speakers from the health and care sectors already confirmed for the virtual show. Free for healthcare professionals, attendees can register online at: https://rfg.circdata.com/publish/HPC21/?source=TheCarerUKPR2 Health Plus Care Online will bring together the entire health and social care community virtually, to review the effects of the initial waves of the pandemic and look forward to progress being made in 2021 and beyond. The two-day programme will be broken up into 4 key content streams: • Healthcare: Reimagining Innovation and Delivery • Digital Transformation
• Residential and Homecare (social care) • Patient Safety & Infection Prevention Sessions will also be available after they have taken place, on demand for the duration of the show, so attendees will be able to watch back on any sessions that they may have missed. Health Plus Care Online is proudly supported by the NHSE&I, NHSX, CQC, AHSN, IHM, TSA, BCS, Chime, UKHCA, PRSB, Patient Safety Learning and many more leading organisations. These partners have helped us to shape and refine the event and will be delivering case studies, speaker sessions and holding networking events within the programme. View the full programme on our website – https://bit.ly/2LrzRvU Register here: https://rfg.circdata.com/publish/HPC21/?source=TheCarerUKPR2
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 5
Deadline For Action On Care Home Visiting Representatives within the care sector are calling for action to reopen care homes. In a joint statement Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, Nicci Gerrard & Julia Jones, Co- founders at John’s Campaign. Vic Rayner – Executive Director at National Care Forum, Helen Wildbore – Director at Relatives & Residents Association and Diane Mayhew – Joint Founder at Rights for Residents say: “As we see Coronavirus case numbers falling, we appeal for urgent and united action to re-open care homes. Getting back to a position where everyone can receive meaningful indoor visits is a matter of safety, common decency, and fundamental human rights. As a first step towards a wider process of ‘opening up’, we believe that this must be in place for all residents and their essential caregivers by the 1st March.” “If we delay any longer, many residents will have waited more than a year to see and touch their loved ones. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue. The absence of meaningful indoor visiting fails to recognise the fundamental role that relationships and love play in a resident’s wellbeing.” “Essential caregivers are more than just visitors. They should be recognised as central to the person’s care; enabled to provide the support crucial to the health and well-being of their loved one; and provided with relevant PPE and
testing in line with the safety measures applied to the staff. Through the use of individual assessments, care homes should balance the risk of harm from the virus with the risk of harm from isolation and lack of connection with those important to the resident. But from the beginning of March essential caregivers should no longer be kept away from their loved-one.” “Ultimately it is impossible to entirely eliminate risk. Providers, commissioners, relatives, friends, regulators and the wider public must recognise this as a shared priority – holding a collective responsibility for what we know is right for humanity.” “Many care homes have continued to offer visiting throughout the pandemic, balancing risks via individual assessments. Their leadership has been vitally important in showing what is possible. All care homes must now be better supported to enable meaningful visiting. At the same time, many relatives and friends have worked tirelessly to ensure that their loved ones in care homes are not forgotten by the outside world. They have eloquently articulated how grave the risks residents face as a result of the pandemic are to their wellbeing and sense of selfhood, as well as to their physical safety.” “Although this statement is limited to England we feel passionately about the restoration of meaningful relationships across all of the UK.”
Morpeth Care Home Resident’s Special Birthday Message To Granddaughter One Resident celebrated her Granddaughter’s 40th birthday with a heart-warming video message at HC-One’s Foxton Court care home in Northumberland. Due to stroke damage, Fay Nicholson, unfortunately struggles to verbally communicate. But this didn’t get in the way of her sparkle when she decided to film a beautiful birthday message for her Granddaughter Lindsey’s milestone birthday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fay was unable to wish Lindsey a happy birthday in person. However, with a little help from her daughter Elaine and Colleagues at the home, she still celebrated the day in style. Fay enjoyed a whole morning of being pampered before choosing her favourite outfit, paired with her fancy beads to look the part. One of Fay’s fondest memories is sharing midnight feasts with Lindsey when she slept over as a child. Colleagues helped Fay to make posters regaling this uplifting story. Colleagues then recorded a few different videos as Fay told her story with the
posters, all while giggling and sipping on a celebratory glass of prosecco. Elaine, Fay’s Daughter, said: “The videos are absolutely fantastic! I’ll choose one for the big day and then show her them all after her birthday. “Thank you so much to the staff.” Fay’s clip will be added to a video of Lindsey’s friends and family, all wishing her a happy birthday on her 40th. Filming the birthday message made the day special not only for Lindsey, but for Fay as well and her laughter could be heard all the way down the corridor. Foxton Court Wellbeing Coordinator, Stacey Hogg, commented: “I have a good rapport with Fay and it was a pleasure to be able to do this for her and her family. It was lovely to watch.” Stacey and her Colleagues received a big box of chocolates from Elaine, thanking them for all the effort they put into making the video with Fay.
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Public Urged To Consider Work In Adult Social Care The impact of the new COVID-19 variant is being felt across the country and additional staff are urgently needed now to support the adult social care workforce where absence rates have more than doubled in recent months due to self-isolation. The ‘Care for Others. Make a Difference.’ campaign has launched this week using television, digital and radio advertising to drive awareness of long-term career opportunities, highlighting the rewarding, varied and flexible roles available across the care sector to help build a sustainable workforce now and for the future. Almost 1.5 million people work in adult social care and there are many opportunities for those looking to make a difference, even if they have not considered a role in care before. Candidates don’t necessarily need previous experience as training is provided to help them become valued members of the social care workforce. The new campaign is designed to inspire people with the right values – including those with transferable skills from other sectors – to recognise the potential of a career in adult social care. People can find out more about a long-term career in social care and search for jobs in their area by visiting www.everydayisdifferent.com which also has directions to register their interest in short-term opportunities. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I want to thank carers for all they do to look after our loved ones. Throughout this pandemic, they have gone above and beyond to protect our parents and grandparents, and to provide them with the support and care they need and we would be truly lost without them. “This exceptional career choice is tough but rewarding, and I would urge anyone who is thinking of a career in care to come forward and join this heroic workforce.” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are doing everything we can to support the adult social care sector throughout this pandemic and our social care workforce have done an incredible job of helping the most vulnerable in society. “I am urging the public – whether you are on furlough, a job-seeker, or looking for a new career – to consider working in care. We need short term support while we face the pandemic and to continue to recruit the right people, with the right values, now and into the future.” “Great progress has been made on offering vaccines to all older care home residents and care home staff and this recruitment drive will help us continue to fight this terrible virus.” Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “The social care sector has tirelessly worked around the clock to protect those they support, but they are not invincible, and the effects of the new variant mean we urgently need short term help to continue to care for everyone who needs it.
“Working in adult social care can be challenging and rewarding, and there are many opportunities to make a real difference to people’s lives every day. We are looking for people with the right values to care for and support people who need it most and to increase the overall size of the workforce for the future. “I would ask anyone interested to visit www.everydayisdifferent.com to consider their options and how they might be able to help.” Tim Hearson, who already works in the adult social care sector as a Senior Autism Practitioner from Bedfordshire, said: “I’ve been working in care for four-and-a-half years. I originally trained to be a surveyor but I felt something was missing and it didn’t give me the social interaction I was after so I made the decision to go into adult social care and I’ve never looked back. “I wake up every morning and go to work knowing I’m going to be making a difference to someone’s life, and there’s nothing more rewarding than that. “Seeing the people I care for progress every day is such a wonderful feeling and I always leave work with a smile on my face. For anyone considering a role in adult social care, go for it.” Free-to-access expert advice and templates are available to support social care organisation’s recruitment efforts from the Every Day is Different website. Also available are campaign assets, a badging device to enable organisations to co-brand their materials. In order to maximise interaction, a special template has been created so that success stories can be shared. Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, said: “I know from my own experience how wonderful and rewarding a
career in social care can be. “I have worked with some incredible people and by joining the adult social care sector you will meet incredible people and improve lives – including your own. “We need people who care about others to come forward and seize these opportunities.” Sir David Pearson, Chair of the Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Task Force said: “Since starting as a social worker in Nottingham in the early 80s, I have been fortunate to work with great teams, services and leaders in healthcare. “Social care works as a crucial springboard for wellbeing and the commitment and care of the people who work within it are the most important ingredients for success. “Being part of this has been a privilege and a pleasure and the ‘Care for Others. Make a difference’ national campaign is a great chance for others to get as much out of a career in adult social care as I have.” Joint Chief Social Worker for Adults, Mark Harvey and Fran Leddra said: “We have both worked in social care all our lives. It is a fantastic profession and a career that we have never regretted being a part of. The pandemic has spotlighted the profession and shown how critical and important it is. We are in awe of the sheer dedication, commitment and professionalism that the workforce continues to show, making a difference to people’s lives every single day. We hope that this campaign inspires you to join our skilled and talented workforce and help to support the lives of people across the country now and far beyond the pandemic” For the short-term scheme, for individuals who have registered their interest online, DHSC will pass their registration details onto their local authority and local adult social care service providers. Care providers will then contact candidates directly. Further information on access to training, DBS checks and vaccines will be provided when candidates are contacted. Training, including in infection prevention controls and use of PPE, will be provided as well as vaccinations in line with key worker status and the priority vaccine scheme. The government has already provided £120million to help local authorities support care providers to fill staffing gaps caused by the pandemic, which was announced in January. The Department of Health and Social Care is encouraging people to visit everydayisdifferent.com which provides everything they will need to research a career in adult social care. Potential candidates can also search for social care jobs near them through DWP ‘Find a Job’.
Hunters Down Care Home in Huntingdon win Excelcare Holdings Dance Competition Excelcare Holdings announced a dance competition between their 33 Care Homes. The residents in Hunters Down Care Home in Huntingdon love music and dancing so the home quickly accepted the challenge. Kristine, Lifestyle Coordinator, had some pre-recorded videos and pictures of the residents so she could work on them to innovatively show off the residents’ and staff’s dance moves. Kristine searched for a suitable song and came across the music video for Lipps Inc’s Funky Town which was simple and fun. The green screen, lighting, and tripod were set up and the filming began to remake the music video. It was the first time the residents had seen the unusual set up, but it did not faze them. Some of them preferred dancing with another person while some were happy to dance alone as the others clapped them on. The staff and other residents were behind the camera applauding and encouraging those who were performing. It was a very nice opportunity to lift each other’s
spirits during this uncertain time.
After publishing the video on their Facebook page, the video has received so many positive comments from relatives and the community. Several feedbacks said the video have put a smile on their face. The video was shown to the residents in Kings Community. They enjoyed watching it especially as they recognised the faces of the people in the video. John and Molly enjoyed watching the finished product as they were one of the stars in the video. Molly was tapping her feet all throughout the video and John said after seeing himself, “That’s a handsome chap!” The room was filled with cheer and applause after. Hunters Down won First Place and the prize was three Amazon Alexa’s which will be used with great enthusiasm. Watch Hunters Down’s Care Home Remake of Funky Town here: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=709230779765012&id=2 17968482224580
Eddie and Rita are Fools in Love this Valentine’s Day An Invernesscouple who got married on April Fool’s Day have shared their top tips for staying together this Valentine’s Day - always have a good sense of humour. Andrew (Eddie) Mckenzie, 80, and wife Rita Mckenzie (née Downes), 79, believe they can give couples of all ages some sound advice from their almost 60 years together and say laughter is the best medicine for a long and happy matrimony. Eddie and Rita first set eyes on each other in Edinburgh where Rita was on hol-
camp. Rita bailed him out and the rest is history. Eddie and Rita have two children together, Carol and Anne, and two grandchildren, Steven and Victoria. Eddie and Rita will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary this April. This year, the doting pair are celebrating Valentine’s Day at Culduthel Care Home, where they have both lived together since May 2019. Denise Scott care home manager of Culduthel Care Home said: “It’s lovely to have Eddie and Rita live with us in Culduthel and see how they are still so devot-
iday visiting from Hinckley, England and Eddie was on a night off from training for
ed to each other. They really look after each other - Rita always makes sure
the British Army. The two of them bumped into each other as Eddie, who is origi-
Eddie has enough sweeties and Eddie’s sense of humour is wonderful. He always
nally from Inverness, was leaving a bar. Eddie, thought Rita was gorgeous and
makes sure that Rita, as well as all other residents and staff, are happy and enter-
didn’t hold back from telling her so. But Rita wasn’t impressed and walked away.
It wasn’t until later that evening after coincidently ending up at the same dance
“It’s lovely to have such a real example of true love with us at the home on
together that the lovebirds were able to get to know each other. After the dance,
Valentine’s Day so to help them celebrate we are organising a special meal for
Eddie realised he didn’t have enough money for his bus fare back to the army
Eddie and Rita to enjoy together.”
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 7
Carer Exclusive: "Care for Others Make a Difference Campaign" Launches
With absentee rates within the care sector having doubled in recent months due to the pandemic and self-isolation, the Department of Health and Social Care has launched a campaign to encourage the public to consider social care as a career, launching its “Care for Others Make a Difference Campaign”. Speaking exclusively to THE CARER, Helen Whately Minister of State (Minister for Care) at the Department of Health and Social Care said:
“We all remember those Thursday nights last year when we came together on our doorsteps to clap. On every street and every village across the country, you could hear the sound of that applause. And we clapped not only for our NHS workers, but for all our carers.” “The NHS has rightly enjoyed a place in our hearts since it was created, but social care has not always had the appreciation it deserves. That is changing.” “This virus – that has proved so deadly to the oldest in society – has shown just how important social care is alongside our NHS.” “We have seen thousands of wonderful people step forwards to volunteer for the NHS and take part in our truly tremendous national vaccination effort. Today, I’m asking people to step forwards and help in social care too.” “Almost 1.5 million people work in adult social care, and every day they make a difference with their skills and their compassion. But we need more people who want to play their part in this pandemic to choose social care.” “That’s why the Government is launching our ‘Care for Others. Make a Difference’ campaign. There are thousands of opportunities, from short term roles to long term careers in care.” “As Care Minister, one of the best bits of my job is getting to meet
some of the amazingly dedicated people who work in social care – people working in care homes, people going out into the community or providing full time care to people at home.” “Jobs in the care sector are hard work, but they can also be incredibly rewarding. If you want a job where you get home from work or finish a shift and know you have made a real difference to someone’s mum or dad, or a much loved grandparent, then the care sector could be for you.”. “We’re doing all we can to support those currently working in social care through this pandemic. We’ve provided over 255 million items of PPE, introduced regular staff testing, and invested £1.1 billion to prevent outbreaks in care homes. And as vaccines are rolled out across the country, we made sure that carers and the people they look after were at the front of the queue.” “This pandemic has made us think about what we value. The dignity of care work is finally being recognised.” “For those looking for a job that has meaning and purpose – my message is take a look at working in social care. Visit www.everydayisdifferent.com to see how.” “And one more time – a great big thank you to everyone working in social care.”
Vaccine Roll Out-Amazing Achievement, But Clearer Understanding of National Picture Needed Responding to the latest Downing Street press conference, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said: “That over 10 million people have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is an amazing achievement and testament to the hard work and effort of NHS staff who deserve enormous praise in reaching the milestone. “However, whilst there are encouraging signs of improvement and with news that the second wave has now peaked, infection rates are still very high and the NHS remains under immense pressure. It’s important that we have a clear
understanding of the national picture, including those who have yet to take up the opportunity to be vaccinated so that we can understand whether certain communities or groups continue to be at greater risk from COVID-19 and therefore will need tailored and targeted engagement as the programme continues.” “Also, we need both clearer information on how well the vaccines will guard against important and ever-changing COVID-19 mutations and better visibility on supply and delivery of the vaccines. “For the time being the best thing to do is keep observing the restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in all its variants as much as we can.”
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Tackling the Mental Healthcare Crisis
By Ross Harper, CEO and Founder of Limbic (www.limbic.ai)
While our healthcare resources are being diverted to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have another health crisis that needs to be addressed: mental illness According to the World Health Organisation, mental illness is the largest cause of disability in the UK. One in four adults experience a mental health problem each year*, which costs our healthcare system £105 billion annually.
The pandemic has accelerated the need for faster access to mental healthcare. COVID-19 has resulted in a parallel outbreak of anxiety and depression, which the Royal College of Psychiatrists* has, rather alarmingly, described as a ‘tsunami of mental illness.' It’s unsurprising then, that demand for talk therapy has spiked in the last twelve months. Last year, 1.17 million people entered treatment for talk therapy through the NHS’ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. A global pandemic compounded with living in prolonged isolation and a diversion of our healthcare resources means we’re already playing catch up. Not only do we have new patients flowing into the system that need support, but we also have a backlog of patients that need to be helped as well. In fact, patient referrals to IAPT services are expected to triple. However, when it comes to mental healthcare, the UK has a supply and demand issue. Demand for talk therapy is at an all-time high. And yet, more than one in ten mental health posts are vacant in the UK and 2000 mental health staff quit their jobs every month. Service capacities are unlikely to increase anytime soon. Unquestionably, digital health must play a role in alleviating the pressure on our healthcare system, providing mental health support to those who need it urgently and driving equality of service access across the UK. A particular pinch point is around clinical assessments: a resource-
heavy process in IAPT services. Approximately 25% of the total IAPT budget is taken up by clinical assessments. Typically, assessments are completed by an IAPT therapist and involve a 1 hour phone call to screen the patient for service eligibility, collect basic patient information, assess risk and point them towards the most appropriate care pathway. By automating elements of this process, not only can we reduce the six week waiting time that patients face for a clinical assessment, but we can also free up clinician time as well. In fact, pilot data from our own Limbic Access triage tool - which augments clinical assessments within IAPT services - showed that clinicians saved 20 minutes of time per referral through digital support. This has a knock-on effect; freeing up staff time can save on temporary staff costs and can arguably also help to reduce clinician burnout (and subsequently, clinician turnover rates). Perhaps most importantly, the resulting efficiency means that patients get forwarded to the most appropriate care pathways as quickly as possible and can move onto treatment quicker too. Not only does this improve the overall patient experience, but crucially, faster time to treatment is known to improve patient recovery rates. Clinical assessments are not the only part of the care pathway that can be streamlined through digital innovation. We need to embrace technology as soon as possible to meet the supply and demand issue in mental healthcare and ensure that everyone has access to the right support when they need it. Together, we can tackle this crisis.
A Surprise Marriage Proposal at Tameside Care Home There were tears all around when a man decided to propose to his girlfriend in front of her dad, a Resident at HC-One’s Kings Park care home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester. Before Christmas, Lewis contacted the care home to tell them that he was planning on
Karly commented: “Oh, thank you so much for letting us have our special moment!” Colleagues at the home presented the newly engaged couple with a bottle of bubbly to
proposing to his girlfriend, Karly. He explained that it would be a much more beautiful moment if her dad witnessed the occasion, so with some careful planning, the Colleagues organised a “window visit” with
congratulate them while Karly’s father simply couldn’t stop smiling. The thoughtful engagement was a truly touching moment to everyone at the home and cheered Residents up on a cold day in lockdown.
the couple. Her father was happy to see his daughter for a visit but was taken by surprise when Lewis dropped to one knee and produced a beautiful engagement ring.
Karly’s dad, along with the Residents and Colleagues of the home, cheered as Karly said ‘yes’ and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Kings Park Deputy Home Manager, Rose, commented: “It was a really emotional moment and was beautiful to watch.”
Scottish Government’s Pledge To Research Why So Many People With Dementia Have Died From COVID-19 Alzheimer’s Research UK has welcomed the Scottish government’s plan to support people with dementia affected by COVID-19, as it vows to carry out research to find out why so many people with dementia have died during the pandemic. The commitment is one of several made in the government’s plan, outlining how it intends to support people with dementia, their carers and families, as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2020, the National Records of Scotland showed that of all deaths involving COVID-19 between March and June 2020, 92% had at least one pre-existing condition. The most common main pre-existing condition was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (31%). The Scottish government plans to carry out research to understand why so many people with dementia have died during the pandemic, and will use their findings to improve clinical responses to people with dementia who contract COVID-19 in the future. The plan also outlines the importance of an early diagnosis of dementia and post-diagnostic support. It says a study in partnership with the Care Inspectorate will examine the use and review of psychoactive medication in care homes during the pandemic. Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, has welcomed the commitments made by the Scottish government, as it says people with dementia have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Susan Mitchell, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit people with dementia and their families particularly hard and this has been an incredibly frightening time for them. We are pleased to see the Scottish government’s commitment to supporting those affected by dementia following the pandemic, particularly the pledge to conduct research into why so many people with dementia have died from COVID-19. This important work will help us to understand why people with dementia have been disproportionately affected, so that outcomes can be improved for others in the future. “We also welcome the acknowledgment of the significance of people being able to receive a diagnosis of dementia, which has become harder during the pandemic. For anyone experiencing dementia symptoms, it can be a very difficult time and it’s important to seek the help of medical professionals. If not, people with dementia face missing out on the right support, along with treatments that may help with their symptoms and improve their quality of life. “The devastating impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia has put a spotlight on the desperate need to find life-changing treatments for the condition, and we hope that the support to improve the outlook for those affected will continue to be a priority once we are out of this pandemic. Research is making progress and with the right support, we can make breakthroughs possible that will deliver much-needed new treatments for dementia.”
Naval Sweethearts Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Surrey Care Home Award-winning care home, Belvedere House of the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, is marking the most romantic time of the year with a tale of true romance from two of its Naval sweetheart residents. The maritime care home in Banstead, Surrey, offers specialist facilities to allow married residents to continue to live together whilst receiving the best possible care. Two of their newest residents, Trevor Kirby OBE and Isabelle Kirby, who will have been married 70 years this year, moved into the Home in September 2020, just before the Autumn lockdown. Trevor, who joined the Royal Navy at aged 16 rising to the rank of Commander, and Isabelle, a Naval Nurse and then Welfare Officer, met at RNAS Culdrose, a Royal Navy airbase near Helston in Cornwall, in 1950. Their relationship reads like a romantic novel; after courting for a short time, Trevor went to sea for six months before returning via Gibraltar, where he bought an engagement ring, which he smuggled back to the UK so he could marry Isabelle at short notice. After a quick weekend honeymoon, the Kirbys were back at work on the Monday and didn’t see each other for a fortnight, when Trevor managed to borrow a Seafire aircraft to fly down to see Isabelle, before borrowing a
car and taking a ferry to see his new wife. After many years living apart and seeing each other only at weekends, they went on to have two daughters and a son and spent many
happy years together before deciding to consider additional care needs. They moved into the Royal Alfred’s Weston Acres estate late last year, with adjoining rooms allowing them to stay together and see each other every day, with care and nursing support when needed. Mr Kirby said: “The care here at the Royal Alfred is second to none, everyone is so helpful and bend over backwards to help us. It is interesting to be able to live with people who have a similar background to us and can share their experiences of life at sea. Living together has given us the time to relax as a couple and spend quality time together and we feel much better for it.” When asked their secret to a long marriage, Trevor said separate bathrooms and Isabelle said lots of time at sea! Chief Executive of the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, said: “At the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, we have built a strong community of former seafarers and their dependents, who offer support and companionship to one another through their many shared experiences. But we also know just how important it is to be able to ensure couples who have spent their lives together are able to continue to share accommodation and care after building a lifetime of memories and experiences.”
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Care England Calls For Fair Rates For Care Care England has written to all Directors of Adult Social Services regarding fee rates for care providers stressing that in addition to the human cost that the pandemic has had upon care homes, the financial impact upon providers has been unprecedented. Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “We are deeply concerned with the feedback we are receiving from many of our members about local authorities who are proposing to make very little increases if any to the base fee rates they pay for the care services that they commission. This impact, combined with other inflationary pressures has created the perfect storm, placing the care home market, home care and supported living settings in an incredibly precarious financial position”. Local authorities have a legal obligation to promote the efficient and effective operation of the care markets in their localities to ensure that people have a variety of providers and services to choose from. They must also have regard to the sustainability of the market
which includes a duty to ensure adequate fee levels. The pandemic has had a significant and immediate impact upon providers’ costs of care for example and whilst there has been some financial support provided to care providers, it has been limited and has not been provided on an indemnity basis. This has left providers having to absorb the financial shortfall on their increased costs often with reduced occupancy. Martin Green continues: “The current Covid-19 pandemic has, and continues to have, a catastrophic impact on all elements of our society. Care homes have been recognised as one of the front lines and have sadly been one the most affected despite the measures that have been put in place by both providers and central government. We hope that Directors of Adult Social Services will work with the sector to ensure that it can recover and be in the best position possible to provide quality care to those in need”.
New Standards for Care Home Nurses Published The Queen’s Nursing Institute and Skills for Care publish ‘Standards of Education and Practice for Nurses New to Care Home Nursing’. The first ever standards for nurses working in residential homes have been published by community nursing charity, The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI). The standards are augmented by a Practice Portfolio developed with Skills for Care. The QNI was commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) to develop the new standards to support the transition of a Registered Nurse who is new to working in the Care Home sector. The new Standards were launched at a meeting of the QNI’s Care Home Nurses’ Network on 29th January 2021. Currently there are 36,000 registered nurses employed by adult social care (Skills for Care 2019/20; NMC 2019) and the care required by residents is becoming more complex and technologically sophisticated. This requires the registered nursing staff to be skilled, knowledgeable and competent in caring for this group of people. Sharon Aldridge-Bent QN, Director of Nursing Programmes (Leadership) at the QNI who leads the Care Home Nurse programme of work said: “There has been a realisation across the health and care
sector that nursing staff working in care homes support a unique area of practice and a very high level of responsibility in delivering care in settings that are complex and can involve multiple issues of physical and mental health dependency among residents. This has been
brought into even sharper focus by the pandemic and we have seen a greater focus on care homes than ever before in the past year. Government and system leaders realise that care homes are at the very centre of the health and social care system in every community in the UK and touch the lives of millions of individuals and families.” Oonagh Smyth, Chief Executive of Skills for Care said: “Our nurses in adult social care have been absolutely instrumental in helping our sector keep the people we work with safe and well during the pandemic. We still have high vacancy rates for nurses so these new standards will help attract Registered Nurses to choose to work in care homes and make a smooth transition into roles that we know offer a huge degree of professional and personal job satisfaction.” Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE, Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care in England said: “The new standards are a very welcome addition to the knowledge base of nurses working in the Care Home sector. I would like to thank all those who worked in partnership to deliver this project; it is a significant achievement that will help support high standards of learning, leadership and care delivery in Care Homes across the country.”
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BMA Calls for Social Care Reform The BMA is calling for concerted action to ‘fix’ social care in the UK, saying that urgent steps need to be taken to improve it in the short, medium and long term. A group of experts convened by the BMA agreed the situation isn’t sustainable, and people were being let down. At a roundtable event, representatives of leading charities, think tanks and other organisations discussed the main challenges facing the sector and also considered possible solutions. All agreed that the priorities for action included better funding to improve access and quality of social care, investment in the social care workforce, and a culture that valued the social care sector and recognised its importance to the wider health and care economy. They also agreed that people needed more information about their options, and said there should be better integration between social care and the NHS. Chaired by Helena McKeown, chair of the BMA representative body, the virtual event brought together leading voices in the field, including Andrew Dilnot CBE, currently warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, who chaired a commission into social care funding reform set up by former prime minister David Cameron.
POOR STRUCTURE Although the commission reported almost 10 years ago, its recommendations – including a ‘cap’ on the amount an individual has to pay for care and a substantial increase in the means-tested threshold above which people have to pay all their social care costs – have not been
LACK OF RESOURCES
implemented, with successive governments putting off difficult decisions about the future of social care. Sir Andrew said it was critical for the whole population that we get it right. ‘Social care is a terrible stain on our nation. It’s delivered by wonderful people to people in great need, but it’s not adequately funded and it’s not adequately structured in all sorts of other ways.’ Sir Andrew said there was an opportunity to press for change ahead of this autumn’s spending review. ‘We need to make sure somehow that we have as loud a voice as we possibly can in the middle and latter parts of this year.’ Baroness Hollins, a cross-bench peer and former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the BMA, who founded a charity that provides picture books for people with learning disabilities, said social care touched younger people too. ‘It’s easy to forget that social care isn’t just about people my age and older, but people like my disabled children, and the people that my charity Beyond Words tries to support and empower and care so much about supporting people’s independence.’
Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, is also one of three co-chairs of the Carers Support Alliance. ‘It’s my job to think and worry about social care and I get plenty of ammunition for doing so. Clearly it’s probably the area of policy where we’re furthest away from where we want to be in terms of older people. Having said that, I completely agree that it isn’t just about older people – it’s about younger disabled people, people with chronic illness and it’s also about unpaid carers.’ The experts pinpointed a lack of resources as a key issue, and also a lack of consistency in how funding decisions were applied across the country. But they said workforce was also a key issue. Oonagh Smyth, CEO of Skills for Care, said: ‘We definitely need a sustainable funding model that allows us to have the right level of support to meet unmet need, but also to have a valued workforce. Within that, it’s really clear that we need career pathways to value people who work in social care so that we get more people working in social care with the right values, but also that they stay – we’ve got real issues with wellbeing.’
CALL FOR A STRATEGY She said that while there was a predicted gap in the future workforce, there was also a problem right now that had to be tackled. ‘Ultimately we do need a social care strategy but we also need to know where we’re starting, and we need a vision for where we’re ending, that starts with the needs of people accessing social care.’
Morpeth Care Home Becomes Social Media Sensation for National Storytelling Week A resident at Riverside House care home in Morpeth has starred in a Jackanory worthy video for National Storytelling Week. Ella Stephenson 89, read her favourite book, The Tale of Jeremy Fisher, on camera which the home shared on its Facebook page as part of the nationwide initiative which aims to encourage storytelling and reading for all ages. The video received lots of support from the page’s followers, with many comments praising Ella on her professional recital and thanking the home for providing a wide variety of activities for its residents. Following Ella’s story time, resident shared their favourite tales with each other, and some of the most popular books included what’s the time Mr wolf, Albert Herbert Hawkings and the space rocket and The Tale of Jeremy
Fisher. Ella said: “I had a lot of fun sharing my favourite book, The Tale of Jeremy Fisher, with my fellow residents and reading it to our followers on Facebook. Childhood tales bring back lots of happy memories, and I really enjoyed reading lots of books as a child.” Danielle Carter, home manager at Riverside House care home, said: “Celebrating National Storytelling Week is very important to us as a home as it gives us an opportunity to share stories with one another. This can be childhood favourites, adult fiction or even telling our own stories to each other. “The residents had a lot of fun and we have discovered some fantastic new stories to get stuck into!”
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“Delayed Care Home Sales Could Mean Higher Tax Bills,” Warns Amberglobe Care MD Care home owners who are in the process of selling their businesses should aim to complete their transactions as quickly as possible or potentially face higher tax bills on the proceeds, according to Chris Rowlands, managing director of Amberglobe Care, a specialist division of Blacks Business Brokers. Looking ahead to the Budget on 3 March he warned that Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rates and allowances could be in the sights of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak as he seeks to recoup the costs of the Government’s pandemic response. CGT is paid on the gain when an individual sells an asset, meaning that if somebody purchased an asset for £200,000 and subsequently sold it for £300,000 then £100,000 would be subject to CGT. If, however, they were selling a business they had built from scratch then the whole amount for which it was sold would be likely to be taxable. Mr Rowlands, who is one of the UK’s most experienced business transfer specialists, said, “There will be political pressure on the Chancellor not to increase taxes in a way that obviously reduces consumers’ or companies’ disposal income, so I don’t expect any changes to Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT or Corporation Tax this year. Post-Covid Britain will need to spend its way out of recession so the Budget is unlikely to target ‘earned’ income. “However, CGT is often seen as a tax on transactions, paid by venture capitalists, hedge fund managers and property speculators. In the real world, of course, it is also paid by hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, including care home owners, every year when they sell their businesses, either to pursue other opportunities or to retire. “This should make the Chancellor think twice about raising the rate of CGT, or reducing the annual tax-free
allowance for capital gains, but I suspect it might not. A year ago, we should remember, Mr Sunak slashed the lifetime limit for Entrepreneurs Relief from CGT, showing he is not afraid to target business owners.” In his first Budget, delivered on 11 March 2020, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak reduced the lifetime allowance for gains eligible for Entrepreneurs Relief, on which CGT is paid at a reduced rate of 10 per cent, from £10 million to £1 million. He also renamed it “Business Asset Disposal Relief.” “Renaming Entrepreneurs Relief last year looked like a clear warning shot,” Mr Rowlands continued. “Calling it ‘Business Asset Disposal Relief’ links it more closely with professional investors than care home founders in the public imagination, making it politically easier either to alter the rate at which tax is relieved or to abolish the relief altogether in future.” Entrepreneurs Relief is not the only aspect of CGT that the Chancellor could have in his sights on 3 March. CGT on most business sales is currently charged at ten per cent for basic rate income taxpayers and 20 per cent for higher and additional rate taxpayers*, which compares to a basic rate of income tax of 20 per cent, a higher rate of 40 per cent and an additional rate of 45 per cent. The Chancellor could choose to close the gap between tax on income and capital gains. He might also reduce or abolish the annual allowance that currently allows individuals to realise gains of up to £12,300 per year before CGT becomes payable. Mr Rowlands said, “CGT looks like a sitting duck for the Chancellor and, if he does reform it, some or all of the changes might have immediate effect. Last year’s cut to Entrepreneurs’ Relief was imposed from midnight on Budget Day, rather than from the beginning of the new tax year on 6 April, so time is of the essence for care home vendors who want to be certain of keeping as much as possible of the proceeds from the sale of their life’s work.” * Capital Gains Tax is currently charged at a standard rate of ten per cent on taxable gains that, combined with the vendor’s income that year, take the taxpayer’s total income up to the threshold for payment of higher rate income tax. Any taxable gains that, combined with the taxpayer’s other income, fall above the higher rate threshold suffer tax at a marginal rate of 20 per cent. Higher rates (18 per cent for basic rate and 28 per cent for higher rate taxpayers) apply to the sale of second homes and residential buy-to-let properties.
Hunters Down Care Home in Huntingdon Thank Their Regular Post Lady on “National Thank a Letter Carrier Day” On Thursday 4th February it was National Thank a Letter Carrier Day. When the residents were told about this, they were very happy to be part of thanking their own regular post deliverer. Especially with the pandemic and post workers being part of the front line, and not always recognised. Our residents have been very thankful to the post workers as they have helped to keep them in touch with their loved ones and the community. With the help of staff they made a unique card with pictures of themselves holding
posters up thanking their post deliverer. When Sydney who is mainly Hunters Down regular post lady was presented with the card and some chocolate, she was surprisingly shocked and was quite overwhelmed with the gesture. Hunters Down Care Home would like to thank all post workers, for their hard work, especially in these busy and difficult times.
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Make Social Care The Driver For Post-Covid Boom By Stephen Wilson, CEO Netli (https://netli.co/), a leading innovator in the UK’s health and social care sector There can’t be a person in the country who - as we struggle through the Covid crisis - doesn’t now look at people working in the social care sector in a different light. This previously unsung army of workers have gained our respect and admiration – even going for far as calling them heroes and putting them on an equal footing to NHS staff. It’s a new-found reputation that has to stick. But this should not just be so that individuals in this huge workforce can start to feel proud of themselves. Instead, we should be positioning the social care sector to be engine room to support the nation’s post-Covid economic recovery. Consider this – we have swathes of people in retail, hospitality and travel who have lost or could be set to lose their jobs. Sadly, more women than men are going to lose their jobs. Contrast that with the social care sector: it’s been estimated that the care workforce in England must grow by 2.2% per year to keep up with the ageing population. However, with 150,000 vacancies and growth at just 1.2%, care provision has reached crisis point.
The Care Quality Commission acknowledges that “health and social care have seen demand for services rising, combined with greater complexity of people’s needs. Staffing shortages can further increase the strain on the workforce”. Care providers throughout the UK face notorious challenges with staff retention, with turnover rates as high as 44% versus 15% in other sectors, resulting in significant backlogs to care provision. Care UK estimates over 1.4 million people currently have unmet care needs, with delayed discharges due to the lack of social care costing the NHS more than £500 every minute. Even the highest performing Local Authorities struggle to plan to meet the UK’s needs when the care sector is impacted by instability, inconsistency and interruption. Faced with this challenge, it calls for a sensible, joined-up strategy that has the potential for two outstanding results: we find work – and work that is now highly valued – for the thousands of people made jobless; and we ramp up staffing levels to ensure we provide the care for those people most in need; those people who have suffered most from Covid and for whom change needs to happen if we are to learn any lessons from the pandemic. Of course, it can’t happen overnight and different parts of the country will make change a different speeds. But by adopting – as other sectors have done – new technology to better track, plot and plan workforce data, these changes can happen. It is vital to put technology at the heart of this planned transformation.
People – from our politicians down – now see social care, and the need to care for our most vulnerable individuals, differently. That should lead to two key developments over the coming year – more funding in social care and better wages for social care staff. In England, an extra £120m of government funding has already been announced to help local authorities boost depleted staff levels. Enhancing social care as an exciting, rewarding and now well-remunerated career choice should act as a trigger to encourage people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, to take up these new roles in social care. So when the UK opens up post-Covid, social care can be that key sector to support the economic recovery of the nation. It is pleasing to see the recent Independent Review calling for a National Care Service in Scotland state that the additional expenditure required should not be seen as a revenue cost but rather as an investment that encourages job creation and provides economic stimulus. It reported too that: For every £1 spent on social care, more than £2 is generated in other sectors. Its estimated that an increase in social care expenditure of 1% of GDP would create three times as many jobs in the UK economy than it would if spent in the construction industry; and the sums recouped by the Treasury through taxes and NI would be 50% higher. So, as we look to our pathway out of Covid, let’s seize the opportunity to make dynamic change that can transform our care for our most needy citizens.
Hospital Patients Transferred To Encore Care Homes Praise Care Staff Patients from hospitals in Dorset who have been transferred to Encore Care Homes for specialist care have praised the support they have received from the staff. Dorset residents who were non-Covid hospital admissions have been welcomed into Encore Care Homes, after receiving a negative Covid test result, for temporary care through a partnership with the NHS to reduce the pressure on hospital staff as coronavirus patient numbers rise. Encore Care Homes has four purpose-built care homes based across Dorset and Hampshire including Fairmile Grange in Christchurch, Oakdale in Poole, Great Oaks in Bournemouth, and Hamble Heights in Fareham. Strict Covid-19 protocols are in place at Encore with all incoming residents being tested for Covid-19 before they arrive at the care home. The new resident also undergoes a period of self-isolation, with the team’s support. All care home residents are tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis, with staff accessing twice-weekly Lateral Flow rapid testing. Speaking about the care she is receiving, Peggy Aedy, 78, who arrived at Great Oaks in January from Bournemouth Hospital, said: “I had choked on my food, which is why I went into hospital. I live by myself with the help of carers coming in three times a day. The staff at Great Oaks have been very helpful. They have got me everything I
want or need. I’ve been able to speak to my daughter and my grandson, Rueben, and my daughter even came to visit me through the window at the weekend.” Steve Lillington, 68, who arrived at Oakdale also in January from Bournemouth Hospital, said: “I had two strokes in a matter of months. I
just look at life and see that other people have it worse than me right now. I’ve received fantastic care at Oakdale. I listen to the radio, I do puzzles and I can ring my daughters twice a day. My daughters both live in Poole and I have six grandchildren. I’d like to live closer to them, as I currently live in Christchurch.” In response to the NHS partnership, Encore Care Homes is looking to welcome 500 Dorset residents to sign up to its not-for-profit care agency, Care Club. A range of roles are available including Registered Nurses, Care Practitioners, Senior Healthcare Assistants (Senior HCAs), and Healthcare Assistants (HCAs), based in Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch. Benefits for Care Club members include high rates of pay, a cash bonus of £30-60 for every full shift worked, and the flexibility of choosing the care home they wish to work at, as well as their hours. Care Club members will also be included in the rollout of vaccines across Encore Care Homes. People who are looking for a change of career and are new to care are also encouraged to sign up to Care Club. They will be provided with an induction and full training, a ‘Buddy’ to work alongside as they get to know the role, and ongoing training support. For more information and to apply for a role within Care Club, go to www.Careclub.encorecarehomes.co.uk
New Pay As You Grow On Bounce Back Loans Offered To UK Smaller Businesses
Borrowers can use these options individually or in combination with each other, and remain responsible for repaying their Bounce Back Loan and fully liable for the debt. Lenders will start to communicate Pay As You Grow (PAYG) options to Bounce Back Loan Scheme borrowers three months before repayments commence. Lenders will inform their customers about PAYG directly, so borrowers should wait until they are contacted by their lender before enquiring about the scheme. Lenders will advise customers about how their payment profiles may change according to their choices under the scheme. Businesses first began to receive BBLS loans in May 2020 and the first repayments will become due from May 2021 onwards. Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Small Business Lending, British Business Bank, said: “Pay As You Grow will provide tangible benefits to Bounce Back Loan recipients, many of whom may have accessed the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to borrow money for their business for the first time. The scheme offers greater flexibility to businesses who may need flexibility in paying off their Bounce Back Loan and enables them to manage their repayments more effectively.” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The comprehensive and generous financial support package we have delivered across the UK has protected jobs, saved businesses and kept local economies on the move. “While our vaccine rollout is moving at an incredible pace and the end is in sight, we know times are still tough for many companies and extra support is needed. “These flexible repayment options will give businesses the time they need to recover from the pandemic before paying back loans, giving them the breathing space and confidence to build back better.”
Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance at UK Finance, said: “The UK’s banking and finance industry is delivering an unprecedented level of support to businesses across the UK to help them navigate the crisis and set them up for recovery. Nearly 1.5 million businesses have received a Bounce Back Loan (BBL) since the scheme launched in May last year. “As the outlook for many businesses remains challenging, the flexibility of Pay As You Grow will help smaller businesses manage their cash flow and repayments. Lenders will be contacting BBL borrowers in advance of their first payments to outline their options. “Government-backed loans are just one part of the industry’s wider support for businesses alongside commercial lending, capital repayment holidays, extended overdrafts and asset-based finance – meaning there is a range of help available for any firm that needs it.” Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Bounce Back loan scheme has been an important lifeline for many small businesses during the pandemic. “With many businesses still facing diminished cashflow, the flexibility provided by Pay As You Grow has a crucial role to play in providing firms who have received a Bounce Back Loan with much-needed headroom to manage their repayments through this continued economic storm. “Chambers of Commerce across the country will ensure that businesses in their local communities are aware of the Pay As You Grow scheme.” Chris Wilford, Head of Financial Services Policy, CBI, said: “Pay As You Grow will provide vital support to many businesses who hope to move from survival to recovery mode when the economy gradually reopens.” “The combination of payment extensions, reductions and holidays
gives firms important flexibility as they manage tight cash flows.” “Businesses have hugely welcomed the Government’s financial support package throughout, with guaranteed loans having provided a lifeline to more than 1.5 million businesses so far.” FSB National Vice Chair Martin McTague said: “With the first bounce back loan repayments hitting against a backdrop of continued restrictions, it’s critical that small firms are aware of all their options. As such it’s good to see efforts to expand understanding of, and access to, Pay As You Grow plans. “These should help many small firms to keep debts manageable as they drive our recovery from an incredibly deep recession. Ultimately, bounce back facilities have been made possible by the Government as part of efforts to see us through a national crisis. Lenders must be mindful of this fact, and treat borrowers accordingly over the months ahead.” The Bounce Back Loan Scheme launched on 4 May 2020. It provides financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since May 2020, the scheme has supported nearly £45bn of loans to 1.5m businesses. Businesses can apply for a loan from £2,000 up to 25% of their business’ turnover, with a fixed interest rate of 2.5% for the duration of the loan, meaning all borrowers benefit from the same, affordable rate of interest. The maximum loan amount is £50,000, and the Government will make a Business Interruption Payment (BIP) to cover the first 12 months of interest payments. The borrower does not have to make any repayments for the first 12 months. Businesses who have concerns regarding repaying debt should contact their lender, and can find additional links to resources on the British Business Bank’s Finance Hub.
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Skilled Worker Visas: What Your HR Team Need to Know
By Katie Ash, Head of Employment Law (www.bannerjones.co.uk)
After a lengthy transition period, the UK has now left the EU with a deal agreed. While many possible scenarios have been discussed at length in recent years, until now we have been limited to speculation and conjecture in terms of what the outcome might be. Not to mention how it might affect businesses and, more specifically, employees. In this blog, Head of Employment Law at Banner Jones, Katie Ash looks at some of the legislation that has now been confirmed, including details about what is known as the Skilled Worker Visa. While restrictions on freedom of movement may not be keenly felt until it is safe to travel again, those looking to grow their team with individuals from the EU should familiarise themselves with what documentation will now be needed. Equally, as the vaccine is rolled out across the country and business picks up through 2021, we consider what employers may need to keep front of mind – including which roles they will be able to sponsor and how long employees will be able to remain in the UK. You’ll also need to factor in attaining your sponsor licence before you begin the process of employing EU nationals.
END OF FREE MOVEMENT If you employ European nationals, or your British team members travel to European countries for work, then you’ll need to take note of the end of free movement. In simple terms, there are now restrictions on how long people can stay in territories other than their home country, and they may now need a permit to work. The EU nationals you employed before the start of 2021 will need to have settled status to work in the UK and become permanent residents. Those who have lived continuously in the UK for five years or more should be able to apply, but in order to have this granted, they must not have left the UK for more than six months in the last five years. If an EU national that you employ has not yet been in the UK for a sustained period in the past five years, they can claim pre-settled status. However, they must move onto full settled status after their pre-settled
period has come to an end, so it’s important that they also don’t leave the UK for more than six months at a time before this is granted. Any EU nationals you employ from this year onwards will need to be eligible for Skilled Worker status and must have a visa sponsored by you. We explain below. To find out more about settled status, please see our previous blog post.
SKILLED WORKER VISA You can find out whether an occupation is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa by checking its ONS code. The table on the gov.uk website shows that roles including Chief Executives, Marketing Directors, Production Managers, IT Directors, Shopkeepers, Chemical Scientists, Librarians and Civil Engineers are all eligible, as well as many others. The minimum annual salary is usually £25,600, however this varies depending on job roles. You may be able to sponsor an employee with a lower salary if they are fulfilling a job shortage, are under 26, have a PhD in a STEM subject or hold a postdoctoral position in science or higher education. You can read more on the gov.uk website. Those employed as Skilled Workers will also probably need to prove their level of English. They must be able to communicate at a B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. This denotes not just basic, but independent English usage.
HOW TO GET A SPONSOR LICENCE The Government advises that you should first check your business is eligible. This mainly means that the people in your business must not have specified previous unspent criminal convictions – for example, for immigration offences or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering. You should then choose between a Worker Licence and a Temporary Worker Licence. To sponsor Skilled Workers or organise intra-company visas, you should choose the former. Next comes appointing someone senior and responsible in your business to be the authorising officer, as well as a key contact with UK visas and immigration. Finally, you will need to submit the appropriate documents and fee in order to apply for your licence. The cost of your licence will depend on the size of your company. It will be either £536 or £1,476. You can find detail on the process of getting a sponsor licence on gov.uk. While a deal has now been done, we know that there remain many unanswered questions about the true impact of the changes afoot and how it will affect businesses that operate or trade internationally. Should you have any questions on the changes that Brexit has brought about or need help when employing EU nationals, please get in touch with the Banner Jones Employment Law team.
Essential Cuisine Donates To “Souper Hero” Programme To Feed NHS Workers Essential Cuisine have donated over one thousand litres of stock to Cafe Manager, Steve Illidge, who has been delivering soups to medical staff at Warrington Halton NHS trust throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. After Steve’s cafe (Hope Cafe in Runcorn) had to close its doors during the pandemic, he immediately thought about how he could help the NHS during the crisis. Within 24 hours and with the help of generous donations, he initiated the “souper hero” programme, whereby he began utilising his kitchen facilities to produce quality, nutritious soups that could be heated in minutes to sustain NHS teams on the front line, ensuring they looked after themselves, both physically and mentally. Steve Illidge and his team prep and deliver over 50 soups a day to the staff
at Warrington and Halton Hospital. The staff are always so grateful for the donations, as the fresh soups offer a much needed boost of energy and morale. Essential Cuisine General Manager, Heather Wilde stated, “We are so proud to support such a wonderful, local cause. We hope that our product donation will make Steve’s life a little easier in the kitchen, eliminating sensitive areas of food safety and declarable allergens whilst retaining all the attributes a kitchen-made stock should. People like Steve are making such a valuable difference and we are delighted to be able to help.” Would you like to be a souper hero? Visit www.facebook.com/hopecaferuncorn/ to find out more.
Review Backs Calls for National Care Service In Scotland
An independent review into the future of adult social care has recommended that a National Care Service, similar to the NHS, be set up in Scotland to tackle the crisis in the sector. The report, led by former Scotland director general of health and social care Derek Feeley, published more than 50 recommendations to the Scottish Government, including making care services free at the point of need for non-residential care in communities or at home. The National Care Service would work in close co-operation with the NHS to “establish a simplified set of outcome measures to measure progress in health and social care support”. A chief executive would be appointed to the National Care Service, equivalent to the chief executive of the NHS and accountable to ministers. The National Care Service would oversee local commissioning and procurement of social care and support by reformed Integration Joint Boards, with services procured from local authorities and third and independent sector providers. Integration Joint Boards would manage GPs’ contractual arrangements, whether independent contractors or directly employed, to ensure integration of community care and support provision, to respect and support professional interdependencies, and to “remove the current confusion about where responsibility for primary care sits”. Derek Feeley, said: “This is a time to be bold and radical. Scotland needs a National Care Service to deliver
the high quality, human rights-based services people need to life fulfilling lives, whatever their circum-
stances. “Scotland has ground breaking legislation on social care but there is a gap, sometimes a chasm, between the intent and the lived experiences of those who access support. We have a system that gets unwarranted local variation, crisis intervention, a focus on inputs, a reliance on the market, and an undervalued workforce.” If we want a different set of results, we need a different system. That’s why I want to see a National Care Service, delivered in partnership with the people who rely on it and with the workforce, which provides the opportunity for everyone in Scotland to flourish.” The review’s recommendations also include an end to charging for non-residential services so that social care can be free at the point of need for those receiving care in their own homes or community settings. In addition, it calls for enhanced pay, conditions, training and support for the social care workforce. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the report in parliament and said the SNP government will respond shortly. She said: “The pandemic has shown us more starkly than ever before just how much our care services matter, so the review report provides us with a basis for significantly improving these services, as a vital first step towards the creation of a national care service.”
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Improving Digital Services For Citizens With Learning Disabilities – A Reflective Review Of 2020
By Stephan Liebrecht, operational director of adult support at London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
At the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham I’m leading on the implementation of an app-based tool designed to increase the independence of some of the borough’s 472 adults with learning disabilities. The app, created by our digital social care partners AutonoMe, gives users and care supports access to personalised, instructional videos on how to do things to improve their independence and prepare for employment. Content can be added and amended to meet the developing needs of individuals. Following the successful bid for match funding in and an extensive design phase, we had our first users on board in December. I’ve reflected on three main areas during project design and implementation, reviewing the decisions we’ve made.
DID WE MAKE THE RIGHT CONSIDERATIONS? We realised we were looking at a wide range of potential users. On one hand, we want to support people with low needs with a higher degree of independence. On the other hand, we felt we needed to include people with moderate needs too. My message here is go in with an open mind, considering how funded projects like this could benefit a wider group.
We considered what we saw as ‘true value’ in terms of outcomes. This meant we wanted a tool that was adaptable to meet the requirements of a variety of users. A key consideration for us is increased employability, not employment. We find it’s often not the lack of manual skills that stops people with learning disabilities securing and keeping a job. It’s equally important people have the right life skills to be successful in employment. This focus enables a much wider approach, that is flexible enough to include the range of people we want to support. We also want app users to see the value in ‘learning to learn’- once learners can use the platform, they can access a broader range of content, gaining further benefits such as confidence and motivation. Therefore, funding the project to work with a specific app would have wider, more sustained benefits, giving it more measurable value. During the funding application process, and into the development of the service, I would also recommend regularly considering what the legacy of the project be. Peers in local government and social care will understand the frustration of the many initiatives that launch and disappear. We believe that this app could become part of our standard offer and be an alternative or addition to other services as part of a support plan. Ultimately, users will determine its success as they get to choose if they want to add it to their package.
DID WE BRING THE RIGHT SERVICES AND THE RIGHT TECH TOGETHER? On reflection, our focus on adaptable tech propelled the project forward considerably. Our clients face multiple living and employment challenges and their support reflects this, so we had to keep this at the
kernel of service design. We ensured the app and support around it was limitless in terms of content and outcomes supported, meaning it can remain relevant and personalised regardless of how users’ lives change. Apps are everywhere in our modern society, making them attractive for our residents and they are getting the opportunity to learn how to use them.
DID WE FOCUS ON THE RIGHT OUTCOMES? Widening the focus from the beginning of the project has proved successful. Communicating our vision to frontline workers has taken time but scepticism at the beginning soon turned to a positivity. We’re dealing with individuals and care scenarios where it’s difficult to define selection criteria that are not too inclusive or exclusive. Once we stopped trying to identify and refer people to the project who were a ‘perfect fit’, and recognised the benefits to differently structured care plans, we found a successful pathway and selection became a positive process. We’ve also become enthusiastic about some additional outcomes of the project such as the data from our screening process. Learning why a candidate didn't pass the screening process is useful, such as being made aware someone meets all the criteria but does not have WiFi, which is something we can look to change for them. Reflecting on our outcome focus, yes, we want to see progress towards independence, but we’re also interested in softer metrics. For example, are people connecting with the application? If they are, they will learn new skills, as even using the app is helping them use a smartphone or tablet more successfully.
Atherton Care Home Goes Own Under
The Chanters care home in Atherton, Greater Manchester, has celebrated Australia Day in true antipodean style with cork hats and inflatable native creatures. The home, based on Tyldesley Old Road, held an afternoon of fun for the residents with themed games including a bushtucker trial where residents ate creepy crawly shaped sweets rather than the real thing! Exploring and celebrating different countries and cultures is an important part of The Chanters activities plan, enabling residents to learn more about countries they may not have visited. The residents also shared stories of exciting places they have visited in the past, while enjoying a Fosters shandy together.
Sybil Downham, age 93, a resident at The Chanters, said: “I really enjoyed the
Australia Day afternoon, especially playing the games. We had a giant inflatable spider that we threw rings onto its legs to score points! When it was my turn to spin the bushtucker trial wheel I had to eat a pretend snail, it was horrible, but I washed it down with my shandy.” Anne Hargreaves, home manager at The Chanters, said: “The residents had a lot of fun celebrating Australia Day, and the bushtucker trial game was a hit! You’re never too old to learn and it’s important that we all take time to understand more about other cultures and countries, and it was very interesting to discover more about the animals and creatures that are native to Australia.”
Case Study: How Visioncall Saved Jean’s Sight, And Turned Her Life Around “Your sight is precious, isn’t it?” These are the words of Jean*, an 85-year-old care home resident who underwent lifechanging cataract surgery in 2019, following diagnosis from Visioncall, a leading eye healthcare provider to the care home sector. Formerly almost completely blind, Jean’s carers say that she is now “a whole new woman” since her treatment. Jean came to Cherry Lodge in Birmingham in October 2018, after a fire in her home. She’d been living alone since her husband passed away several years before, and according to carers, was in ‘a state of serious self-neglect’. In those early months at Cherry Lodge, Jean required 24-hour one-to-one assistance, because of her sight issues. “When Jean first came here, she couldn’t see at all,” explains Lauren Kavanagh, Jean’s carer at Cherry Lodge. “She couldn’t see shadows; she couldn’t see if you placed your hand in front of her face – she just couldn’t see a thing. She was very timid and withdrawn. She would be very wary, shouting out to see if someone was there; sometimes, she’d stand up from her chair and start shouting for help, that she couldn’t see.” It was particularly sad for Jean to lose her sight, as she’d been an avid reader, with a particular love of crime stories. “Jean told me that she used to meet her sister in Birmingham city centre every Thursday, and that they’d go to the library together,” says Lauren. “But that all stopped
when her sister died. She sometimes says that she thinks her eyesight went downhill because she read too much.” After her arrival at Cherry Lodge, Jean was diagnosed with dementia, which made things more complicated: “Jean would insist that she could see,” explains Lauren. “When her dementia was at its worst, she would say things like ‘I’m not blind – I don’t know what you’re talking about, I can see everything’. She was in complete denial.” Carers were concerned about Jean’s sight, so they asked Visioncall to visit Jean and make a professional diagnosis. Vic Khurana, Visioncall’s lead optometrist, diagnosed Jean with bilateral cataracts and inflamed eyelids, and referred her to her GP and SpaMedica, a specialist eye hospital in Birmingham. Within a week, Jean had an appointment for cataract surgery. “The surgery was amazing – out of this world,” says Lauren. “I was allowed to be in the operating room with Jean, because of her dementia, and I watched the whole surgery. When it was done, the surgeon asked me to stand beside her, and I said ‘hello’ to her. Jean looked at me, straight in my eyes, and asked how I was! She could see me straightaway.” The changes didn’t stop there, according to Lauren. “I remember coming home with her that day, and she didn’t hold my hand – she got out of the car and walked into the building on her own. This was only one eye that had been treated at this stage, and she’d never seen the
building before, she didn’t know where her room was, but she walked straight in. She immediately began using the bathroom on her own and eating her food by herself – we didn’t need to help her with anything. She got her independence back that day, and it was lifechanging – for Jean, of course, but also for the staff.” Lauren is adamant that it was Cherry Lodge’s partnership with Visioncall that turned Jean’s life around, saying: “I think if Jean had been here at Cherry Lodge sooner, her eyesight and her independence would never have been so badly affected, because Visioncall would have been there to help her before it got to that stage. Visioncall is brilliant; they understand the needs of a care home, the needs of residents, the needs of people with dementia, which is amazing. It’s such a good service.” These days, Jean is very much enjoying her new lease of life at Cherry Lodge. “She’s got a 42-inch TV in her room!”, laughs Lauren. “She watches TV every day, and she reads again too, which is lovely. She enjoys her food again, and she’s much more sociable now, having conversations with everyone. Jean still has some struggles with her dementia, and some days she won’t remember a time when she couldn’t see, but it’s sometimes just nice to sit back and observe her in the communal areas, and remember how far she’s come.” “I honestly think that this experience will be something that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Lauren says. “I’ve never seen such a turnaround on somebody before, how something so small can make such a difference. It helped Jean so much, it has changed her whole life.” To find out more about Visioncall, please visit: www.vision-call.co.uk *Name has been changed to protect privacy.
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The Care Workers’ Charity Launches Mental Health Support Programme The Care Workers’ Charity has launched a Mental Health Support Programme to support the UK’s social care workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the mental health of the social care workforce. Care workers are said to be struggling with insomnia, anxiety, depression and PTSD as a direct result of their role and evidence from the Government Select Committee points to a great many more care workers facing ‘total burnout’. Karolina Gerlich, Executive Director of The Care Workers’ Charity, said: “Everyday care workers go above and beyond to provide much needed support – this has been especially true during the pandemic, which has put their mental health under additional strain. “Our Mental Health Support Programme aims to bridge the shortfall in mental health resources for those working in the social care sector; which we hope
will not only improve individual wellbeing and resilience in the short term, but also go a long way towards increasing staff retention rates, reducing workforce shortages, as well as leaves of absence and sickness related to mental ill health.” One carer quoted by the charity said: “I experienced sleepless nights and panic attacks, worried if I was going to bring this terrible virus home to my family. “The financial assistance from the charity has removed some of the stress involved by ensuring that I am able to pay my bills and concentrate on taking care of my family and the residents in my care at a time when carers are under pressure like never before and the world is a very scary and uncertain place.” If you would like to help us to support care workers in crisis, please visit: https://thecareworkerscharity.enthuse.com/cf/mental-health-appeal
Celebs Back Royal Star & Garter Iraq Veteran In Fundraising Challenge A soldier left brain damaged after a mortar bomb attack in Iraq has completed a 60-mile cycling fundraiser from his room at a Surbiton care home on national TV. Wheelchair-bound Royal Star & Garter resident Stephen Vause finished his virtual London to Brighton challenge raising money for Help for Heroes on Monday 1 February. He started the ‘Do 60 with Steve’ challenge on Christmas Eve, and the final moments of his efforts were captured on film by staff at the Home and shared by Lorraine Kelly on her ITV breakfast show Lorraine, the following day (2 February). Stephen had been cycling around three miles a day on a static bike in his room, with the support of Royal Star & Garter staff. The charity provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. He has been encouraging others to fundraise with him using #do60withSteve, and received support along the way from celebrities including Lorraine Kelly, Lord Sugar, Jeremy Vine and the Loose Women team. To date Stephen has raised over £4,100, surpassing his £1,500 target. He said: “Help for Heroes is a charity which is very important to me.” Stephen was just 19 and on his first tour in Iraq, serving with the 4th Battalion The Rifles, when he suffered brain injuries in a mortar explosion near Basra. The attack left him severely disabled.
Now 33, he said: “My injuries from a mortar attack were so severe that my life was in imminent danger. I have spent much time working on my recovery and rehabilitation since then, and will require a high level of support for the rest of my life. Help for Heroes have helped me a great deal and I wanted to do something for them, knowing it would help other veterans, especially at this tough time. Whilst this bike ride is usually a one day event, for me it is a six-week challenge on my adapted static bike using my arms and legs alternately.”
Royal Star & Garter was established in 1916 to care for the severely injured young men returning from the battlegrounds of the First World War. It has a close working relationship with Help for Heroes who also funded a bespoke wheelchair and specialist gym equipment to support Stephen’s care. Stephen is a popular figure at Royal Star & Garter, and helped to run Boccia sessions for fellow residents. In 2019, the Fulham fanatic was visited by two footballers from the Craven Cottage club, in a meeting arranged by staff at the Home. He has been living at the Home since 2015, where he receives round-the-clock specialist care. He has one-to-one physiotherapy two to three times a week, and is also helped and enabled by the charity to access a local hydrotherapy service. In October 2018, his sister Sian led ‘Team Vause’ in a Tough Mudder challenge, raising over £1,000 for Royal Star & Garter. To show his support, the ex-soldier undertook his own set of challenges, including lifting weights, sit-ups and hand-eye coordination tasks. Royal Star & Garter Chief Executive Andy Cole said: “Stephen is an inspiration to all of us and we feel very privileged that he chooses to live with us at Royal Star & Garter. He and his family have supported and raised money for us, and we’re proud to be supporting him as he fundraises for another excellent military charity.”
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How Music Eases Vaccination Anxiety Vaccinations are on all our minds at the moment, potentially causing a degree of agitation for many. A new guide shows how music can be used to help alleviate COVID-19 jab anxiety for people living with dementia, and its information has universal relevance. Entitled ‘A dose of music with your COVID-19 vaccination’, the guide explains how music can be used to manage the physiological symptoms and psychological response to vaccinations among people with dementia. The 1-page guide includes advice for carers, health practitioners and individuals on how music helps, with practical measures to take before, during and after the jab to manage the experience and make it more pleasant.
Led by the campaign Music for Dementia, ‘Dose of music’ has been co-produced by leading organisations in music and care for people with dementia. Although conceived originally for people living with this condition, the information in the guide is also useful for people with other conditions or impairments who may be distressed or agitated by vaccinations or unusual events. Suitable for sending to individuals or their carers in advance of their vaccination date, and for displaying at vaccination centres, the guide is complemented by an infographic highlighting key points. In recent weeks music as a therapeutic counterfoil to anxiety has been put into practice at vaccination venues such as Salisbury cathedral, where organ music was played live to people awaiting and receiving their COVID vaccination. Grace Meadows, Programme Director of Music for Dementia, said: “There is no situation that is immune to the power of music. We have seen this time and time again during the pandemic. The vaccination experience is no different; the calming and soothing properties of music can help reduce anxiety around having the vaccination, particularly for those living with dementia.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum, said: “It’s official. We want you to bang the drum for vaccination, or sound the trumpet or tinkle the ivories! We don’t mind what instrument you pick – but this guidance will give you some real inspiration as to how you can use the incredible power of music to support people in planning for and having the COVID-19 vaccination.” The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury, commented: “Bach, Handel… or Rodgers and Hammerstein: here in Salisbury, the mellifluous music of the Cathedral organ has helped thousands of vaccination patients to feel welcome and at ease. Music is one of the most sublime gifts we can offer one another, and its impact on human wellbeing is transformational.” Co-producers of the ‘Dose of Music’ document include: National Care Forum, National Activity Providers Association (NAPA), Methodist Homes Association (MHA), Dementia Change Action Network, Live Music Now and Music in Hospitals & Care. Contributors included music therapists and a retired GP, now living with dementia. It can be viewed and downloaded from the Music for Dementia website at https://musicfordementia.org.uk/advice-resources/toolkits-resources/
Local Woman With Learning Disabilities Spreads Love This Valentine’s Day A woman with learning disabilities from Lympne is rhyming her way to Valentine’s Day as she takes on a creative fundraiser for the service where she is supported. Molly is writing a poem every day from 1 February until 14 February to raise funds towards a ‘Big Build’ at her service, which is run by national charity, Hft. The 27 year old has been supported by the charity for five years and was inspired to use her hobby to support a good cause after struggling with her mental health during the pandemic. Poetry has always been an important part of Molly’s life, but her passion has increased during the last year, as it’s been a source of comfort during a sometimes lonely time. Now Molly is writing a new collection of poems inspired by subjects such as love and the arrival of spring to raise funds for other people with learning disabilities. All funds raised by Molly are set to go towards a Big Build at her service, which has over five acres of land, where people regularly enjoy socialising and taking part in activities. Looking to make the most out of the space, Hft staff embarked on a renovation project in 2016 and have since fundraised enough to build an outdoor gym, with plans currently in place to create accessible footpaths and an updated sensory room. Money raised in this challenge is set to go towards building a ramp and improving access to the outdoor gym, helping Molly and her friends to be able to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Molly is being supported throughout her challenge by her support workers, who have helped her to
cope with the disruption to her routines caused by the pandemic. From hosting art session to replace activities previously held in the community, to encouraging Molly to exercise by exploring new music to dance to, creative support offered by staff has helped to boost her wellbeing during a challenging time. As Molly gets closer to Valentine’s Day and the end of her challenge, her support team are planning for her poems to be displayed at her service. Molly’s poetry challenge forms part of Hft’s 1.4 challenge event, which sees the charity asking fundraisers to raise money for adults with learning disabilities by taking on activities based around the numbers 1 and 4, such as dancing for 14 minutes, or making 14 Valentine’s Day cards. Molly said: “I’ve been writing poems on and off for years, whenever my emotions are overwhelming and I need to get it all out. I struggle with my mental health and mobility daily so I’m trying to raise money to improve easy access to the swings and outside space at my service. I’m very proud to be taking on this challenge.” Emma Macdonald, Sports and Challenge Events Manager at Hft, said: “Love is more important than ever this Valentine’s Day, when lots of people might be missing family, friends and other loved ones. We can’t think of a better way to mark the day than by raising money for a great cause, just like Molly is doing. We’re so proud of her talent, creativity and resilience during what continues to be an incredibly tough time for people with learning disabilities. We’re hoping that thanks to her beautiful poetry, Molly and others at Hft South Kent will be able to enjoy their time spent outdoors even more, just in time for spring.”
Public Urged to Not Delay GP Visits This World Cancer Day This World Cancer Day the Health and Social Care Secretary and NHS Clinical Director for Cancer are calling on the public to speak to their GP if they are worried about symptoms that could be cancer or concerned about factors that put them at higher risk. NHS staff continue to work tirelessly to prioritise cancer surgery alongside COVID-19 treatment, and make sure cancer treatment can continue safely wherever possible. Cancer that is diagnosed at an early stage is more likely to be treated successfully and save lives. Late diagnosis can require more urgent or intensive treatment, and can often lead to worse outcomes for patients. Between March and November 2020, nearly 1.5 million people were urgently referred by their GP with suspected cancer and over 203,000 people started treatment for cancer – 95% of whom started treatment within 31 days. However, the latest NHS data shows fewer people are being referred for help for lung cancer and urological cancers, including prostate cancer, compared to other cancers, because they are not coming forward for help. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This World Cancer Day we should come together to commit that diagnosing and treating cancer is a top priority. “If you notice any unusual symptoms which last more than a few weeks, however mild you think they might be, please come forward and discuss it with your GP. The sooner you speak to your GP, the sooner a diagnosis can be made, the sooner treatment can start, and the more lives we can save. “I also urge anyone with cancer in the clinically extremely vulnerable category to ensure you get your COVID-19 jab when you get the call, so we can ensure all of the most vulnerable in society are protected from this devastating virus.” The call to action from the Health Secretary comes as the NHS in England continues its ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign. It aims to address
some of the barriers that stop people from seeking medical advice and to encourage them to contact a health professional if they have concerns. From mid-February, a refreshed national campaign will turn its focus to lung cancer to encourage more people with specific warning signs to come forward for help, and not ignore them. The main symptom of lung cancer is a cough, and if someone has had a cough for more than three weeks and it is not COVID-19, they must speak to their GP. Latest data also shows there have also been fewer referrals for urological cancers, which includes prostate cancer. Health leaders are urging anyone with risk factors of prostate cancer to speak to their GP about any concerns – this includes men over 50, black men, and those with a history of prostate cancer in their family. NHS Clinical Director for cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, said: “The NHS has had a year like no other and – while COVID has put the health service under huge pressure – doctors, nurses and specialist clinicians have still carried out nearly 1.5 million cancer checks with more than 200,000 people starting treatment. “Catching cancer early saves lives which is why we are using this World Cancer Day to urge anyone with a worrying symptom to help us help you by getting it checked out and come forward for your routine screenings when offered an appointment.” Despite recent pressures on the NHS, cancer care has recovered back to usual levels in most areas, including acute leukaemia, breast cancer, children’s cancer and gynaecological cancer. Cancer treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery are still taking place. Local NHS services are maximising independent sector use to manage any surges in COVID-19 cases and urgent cancer surgery patients are the first priority for accessing additional independent sector services where required. The NHS is doing everything it can to ensure that cancer care can continue to be delivered safely. If people have an appointment for treat-
ment or a test – including a screening test – they should feel safe go to their local NHS services as planned, unless told otherwise. Karen Stalbow, Head of Policy at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Detecting prostate cancer earlier can help to saves lives, but most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms. That’s why it’s vital that men are aware of their risk. Andrew’s story is an important reminder of why men at risk of the disease shouldn’t wait to see changes before they act. “If you’re over 50, black and over 45, or have a family history of prostate cancer, you’re at increased risk of the disease and should speak to your GP, who can guide you through the pros and cons of a PSA blood test. Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can also call Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383.” People with cancer are being protected with vaccinations as the NHS works to offer everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the JCVI – those aged 70 and above, frontline health and social care workers, the clinically extremely vulnerable including some cancer patients, care home residents and staff – by mid-February, with over 10 million people vaccinated so far. The NHS has put a range of measures in place to keep patients safe, including cleaning, disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas in hospitals and GP surgeries. COVID-secure cancer hubs have been launched again and ‘COVIDfriendly’ NHS cancer treatments are being extended in a £160 million initiative, which will fund drugs that reduce damage to patients’ immune systems, meaning fewer hospital visits. The government has ensured over £1 billion is available to the NHS to ensure the continued use of the independent sector in cancer treatment, on top of its record cash boost to the NHS budget of £39 billion a year by 2023/24.
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More Than 10 Million People Receive First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine In UK More than 10 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, marking a significant milestone for the largest vaccination programme in British history. Figures show the NHS vaccinated a total of 10,021,471 million people between 8 December and 2 February, including almost nine in 10 people aged 75 and over in England. This is equivalent to vaccinating the total capacity of 111 Wembley stadiums in just eight weeks and is an important step towards hitting the Prime Minister’s target of offering vaccines to the top four priority groups by the middle of February. These top four groups account for 88% of COVID deaths, which is why the vaccines will play such a crucial role in saving lives and reducing the demand on the NHS. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This terrific achievement is testament to the monumental effort of NHS workers, volunteers and the armed forces who have been working tirelessly in every corner of the UK to deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history. Every jab makes us all a bit safer – I want to thank everyone playing their part “Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. The unprecedented national effort we have seen right across the United Kingdom means the majority of our most vulnerable people are now inoculated against this awful disease. “The UK Government has worked rapidly to secure and deliver doses to all of the UK, demonstrating the strength of our union and what we can achieve together.”
Vaccines have been offered to all elderly care home residents and staff in England and Wales, with staff returning to homes where residents may have been unable to get a vaccine due to medical conditions, or because of a local outbreak. A study published in the Lancet today shows the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine provides a sustained protection of 76% during the 12-week interview between the first and second dose. It is also the first study to show the vaccine may substantially reduce transmission, suggesting those who have already been immunised with this vaccine cannot infect others. All vaccines being used in the UK have undergone robust clinical trials and have met the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality. The vaccination programme continues to expand, with thousands of vaccination centres open – ranging from GP and pharmacy-led services to hospitals and large-scale vaccination centres – to provide easy access to those eligible, regardless of where they live. Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The UK’s vaccination programme is in full swing and almost 1 in 5 adults across the UK are already protected from serious illness. “The NHS is doing everything it can to protect the most vulnerable and will continue to expand the vaccination programme ever further in the coming weeks to save as many lives as possible.” The public has a vital part to play in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and the government has called on people to: • Help out – help those eligible for the vaccine by supporting friends, family and loved ones with their appointments, as well as volunteering to help those in the community; • Join up – sign up to clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines, as well as treatments; and • Stay informed – keep up to date with accurate and trusted NHS advice and make sure to share the facts with friends and family.
Greater Caution Needed As Home Deaths Rise ANXIOUS care providers have urged further caution as the death toll in care and nursing homes almost hit 2,000 in a week. The figures from the Office for National Statistic show that 1,971 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes in the week up to 29th January – up from 1,817 the week before. According to these figures 26,680 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes between 28th December 2019 and 29th January. The Independent Care Group (ICG) said the need to remain vigilant against Covid-19 was clear. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Whilst we pray that these numbers will soon start to fall, we cannot forget that Covid-19 is still taking a terrible toll amongst the most vulnerable. “This second wave has been every bit as devastating as the first and we cannot let up in our fight against coronavirus. “People are starting to talk about routes out of Covid-19 and the lockdowns, but for those caring for our
oldest and most vulnerable, we are still at a critical point in this fight. “The vaccine is now playing its part but until everyone is protected, we have to keep observing the rules and keeping everyone safe.” Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said: “These figures are a clear reminder of the heavy human cost of the COVID-19 crisis. This is still a very real emergency, with more than 112,000 lives tragically lost to the virus across the UK, and nearly 30,000 people in hospital with COVID-19 – more than at the height of the first peak last spring. “The real success of the vaccine rollout shows what the NHS can achieve, on a huge scale and in a very short space of time. Lockdown is also beginning to have an effect, but the numbers of cases and deaths are still very high. We all need to continue to abide by the restrictions, which should only be lifted gradually, and when there is clear evidence that it is safe to do so.”
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World-First Covid-19 Alternating Dose Vaccine Study Launches In UK Patients taking part in a new clinical study launched this month will soon receive different COVID-19 vaccines for their first or second dose. Backed by £7 million of government funding, the study will be the first in the world to determine the effects of using different vaccines for the first and second dose – for example, using Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s vaccine for the first dose, followed by Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine for the second. The study, run by the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium (NISEC) across eight National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported sites, will also gather immunological evidence on different intervals between the first and second dose for a mixed-vaccine regimen against control groups when the same vaccine is used for both doses. A same-dose regimen is currently implemented for the national COVID-19 vaccination programme, and there are no current plans for this to change. Anyone who has received either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccination as part of the UK-wide delivery plan will not be affected by this study. They will receive their second dose from the same source and over the same 12 week interval. The 13 month study will monitor the impact of the different dosing regimens on patients’ immune responses, which have the potential to be higher or lower than from the same dose regimen. Initial findings are expected to be released in the summer. The study has received ethics approval from the Research Ethics Committee, as well as approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Should the study show promising results, then the government may consider reviewing the vaccine regimen approach if needed, but only if proven to be safe and recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is a hugely important clinical trial that will provide us with more vital evidence on the safety of these vaccines when used in different ways. “Nothing will be approved for use more widely than the study, or as part of our vaccine deployment programme, until researchers and the regulator are absolutely confident the approach is safe and effective. “This is another great step forwards for British science, expertise and innovation, backed by government funding – and I look forward to seeing what it produces.” Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Senior Responsible Officer for the study, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: “Given the inevitable challenges of immunising large numbers of the
population against COVID-19 and potential global supply constraints, there are definite advantages to having data that could support a more flexible immunisation programme, if needed and if approved by the medicines regulator. “It is also even possible that by combining vaccines, the immune response could be enhanced giving even higher antibody levels that last longer; unless this is evaluated in a clinical trial we just won’t know. “This study will give us greater insight into how we can use vaccines to stay on top of this nasty disease.” The study will initially have eight different arms testing eight different combinations, but more products may be added. The eight arms include: • Two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at 28 days apart; • Two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at 12 weeks apart – as a control group; • Two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at 28 days apart; • Two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at 12 weeks apart – as a control group; • The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for the first dose, followed by the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the second, at 28 days apart; • The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for the first dose, followed by the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the second, at 12 weeks apart; • The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the first dose, followed by the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for the second, at 28 days apart; and • The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the first dose, followed by the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for the second, at 12 weeks apart. Over 800 patients are expected to take part in the study, referred to as the COVID-19 Heterologous Prime Boost study or ‘Com-Cov’, across
eight different sites across England – including in London, Birmingham and Liverpool. Patients will be recruited over the course of February via the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, with vaccinations expected to start towards the middle of the month and initial results to be made available over the summer period. The UK public can volunteer to be contacted about taking part in the study and further vaccine studies by joining the registry. The study has been classified as an Urgent Public Health study by the NIHR and is being undertaken by NISEC and the Oxford Vaccine Group, with funding of £7 million from the government through the Vaccines Taskforce. Chief Investigator Matthew Snape, Associate Professor in Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said: “This is a tremendously exciting study that will provide information vital to the roll out of vaccines in the UK and globally. We call on those aged 50 years and above who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine to visit our website to find out more about the study and see if there is a study site near them. “If we do show that these vaccines can be used interchangeably in the same schedule this will greatly increase the flexibility of vaccine delivery, and could provide clues as to how to increase the breadth of protection against new virus strains.” National Clinical Lead for the NIHR COVID Vaccine Research Programme Professor Andrew Ustianowski said: “This is another exciting step forward in finding a variety of vaccine options for the UK and globally, for which the NIHR is integral to ensuring the participant recruitment for this study and the gaining of robust data on safety and effectiveness. “We need people from all backgrounds to take part in this trial, so that we can ensure we have vaccine options suitable for all. Signing up to volunteer for vaccine studies is quick and easy via the NHS Vaccine Research Registry. ” Interim Chair of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce Clive Dix: “Thanks to funding from the Vaccines Taskforce, this study will give us valuable insight into how vaccines work together and could give us more flexibility as we continue to tackle this virus in the weeks, months and years ahead. “This is yet another example of the UK leading the way in vital research into Covid-19 – and something that people both in this country, and around the world, could benefit from.”
Marie Curie Partners with a Care Provider for the First Time to Implement End of Life Care Strategy Health England review found that, between 2011 and 2017, the number of deaths in care homes increased by 20 per cent as the population continued to age and the need for residential care increased. With the Office of National Statistics predicting the number of persons aged 85+ to double between 2018 and 2043, that demand for residential care is expected to grow substantially. This highlights a need, prior to the events of 2020, for such expert support for people working with care home residents.
Leading end of life charity Marie Curie and multi-award-winning care provider Hallmark Care Homes are working together to implement the care group’s End of Life Care Strategy. Through this unique collaboration Marie Curie will provide training in end of life awareness; communication; coping strategies; symptom management and care planning to 2,100 Hallmark employees. Meanwhile, Hallmark will support Marie Curie to hone its resources for a care home audience and in the progression of relevant research to improve end of life care outcomes for older people. Hallmark approached Marie Curie to seek input on the development of their End of Life Care Strategy. To support the strategy Marie Curie is providing mentorship, clinical supervision and training in counselling and leadership support for the Hallmark Care Homes End of Life Care Champions. Nationally care home workers have faced a stark increase in deaths during the pandemic. However, a trend had already been identified of an increasing number of deaths in a care home setting. A 2017 Public
Welcoming the new partnership with Marie Curie, Care Quality Governance and Compliance Director at Hallmark Care Homes Julie Rayner said: “Hallmark is well-known for the quality of care provided to all residents who chose to make a Hallmark care home their home and this partnership with Marie Curie will ensure this outstanding care extends throughout a resident’s life journey. There are ground-breaking times ahead for Hallmark and Marie Curie as we work and share learning together. “We are delighted to be to implementing our End of Life Care Strategy. Not only will our teams be benefitting from the high-quality
training provided by Marie Curie, but our End of Life Care Champions will be mentored by Marie Curie nurses and their reflective practice will be supported by regular action learning sets, again being facilitated by the Marie Curie team.” Eamon O’Kane, Deputy Director, Devolved Nations and National Programmes at Marie Curie, said: “Marie Curie’s priority is to improve the experience of dying, death and bereavement for all. Even before the pandemic the number of people dying was increasing annually. Covid-19 has increased the pressures on care workers to support both residents and families in very challenging circumstances. We commend Hallmark in their proactive efforts to change the experiences for their service users, relatives and their workforce. “Care homes are supporting residents with end of life care needs now more than ever and evidence shows that over a third of people who die in care homes are temporary residents transferred for end of life care. “Marie Curie have decades of experience to share in the provision of direct care at end of life and we know we can make greater impact by working with a wider network of stakeholders who are ideally placed to help people at end of life.” The work with Marie Curie has been developing virtually over the last nine months and the planned timetable of training and knowledge exchange will be out to Hallmark employees by the end of March.
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Waste Not, Want Not Commander Brian Boxall Hunt, Chief Executive at maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, discusses how care homes can implement changes to reduce their environmental impact In the fight against Covid-19, singleuse plastics have become a massive part of our daily lives, helping to protect our communities from the virus, but having a serious impact on the planet. In 2020, it was predicted that the UK would see an extra 66,000 tonnes of contaminated waste from face coverings alone . This is why it is now vital that, whilst the virus still poses a threat and personal protective equipment (PPE) is still required, we must do all that we can to reduce our plastic consumption wherever possible to make a change. In recent years and before Covid-19 was even in our vocabulary, plastic pollution was high on the public agenda, with David Attenborough highlighting the seriousness of the issue in 2017’s Blue Planet II and supermarkets such as Waitrose pledging to eliminate unnecessary plastic, making all own-brand packaging reusable or made out of widely recyclable or home-compostable material by 2023 . Here at The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, and our nursing care home Belvedere House, we’ve taken great steps to reduce our impact on the environment as best we can. In 2019, the NHS paved the way for the UK health sector by announcing its aim to cut the use of up to 100 million plastic products from its hospitals including straws, cups and cutlery . With the health and social care sectors both requiring the use of single-use plastics for
general care duties, along with the PPE now required in medical and care settings, it’s important that plastics can be reduced wherever possible and that we implement innovative strategies to reduce our environmental impact.
THE WAR ON PLASTIC At Belvedere House, we began making a conscious effort to reduce our plastic consumption back in 2019 and have since prevented more than 52,000 plastic cups and 22,000 wet wipes from reaching landfill by rolling out a sustainability plan for the home. The plan included small changes such as switching from single-use plastic cups to reusable ones that can be washed after each use and the introduction of washable cloths in place of wet wipes. These simple changes not only helped to prevent unnecessary waste going to landfill, but also reduced the Society’s costs and allowed the money saved to be redistributed back into the charity. Reducing our single-use plastic consumption where possible is just one of the steps the Royal Alfred team has taken to limit our environmental impact; we have also invested heavily in green technology. As a facility that supports 68 residents with round-the-clock care, our overall energy usage can be quite high and we were keen to assess how we could reduce our carbon footprint as well as our costs. As a charity, we are fortunate to have access to grants and funding to support our needs and, over the last few years, we have utilised our funding to invest in green technology including solar panels, making Belvedere House more energy efficient whilst reducing our electricity bills by 15%. Alongside the introduction of solar panels, the Society also installed a sustainable pellet-fired biomass boiler which has reduced gas usage by around 20%, while the introduction of a 135m borehole will supply fresh water to the home at a projected saving of £8,000 per year once up and running later this year.
FORWARD-THINKING CHANGES In 2019, the UK was the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law which set us a target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050; this was revised in December of last year to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030 . This inspired the Royal Alfred team to make a change – and still does – to ensure we can do all we can to cut emissions and we’d love to see other facilities and businesses come together to do the same. Something as simple as charging 5p for plastic bags in 2015 resulted in a 90% reduction in single-use plastic carriers and it’s small changes like this that, if we all contribute, can make a massive difference. As a not-for-profit organisation, we must manage the challenge of keeping costs down where possible, while delivering an outstanding level of care to our residents, prioritising their safety, health, happiness and wellbeing. Whilst we know we must continue with the use of PPE and face masks for the time being, it’s really rewarding to know that the changes we’ve implemented so far not only reduce The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society’s environmental impact, but the money saved can be invested back into the home and directly benefit those in our care.
83% of Residents Already Vaccinated at Somerset Care In the fight against coronavirus, Somerset Care has already had 83% of residents and 70% of staff receive their first dose of the vaccine. Staff and residents have been administered the vaccine within their respective care homes or designated vaccination centres, as part of the NHS vaccination programme. Those receiving the vaccine range from a 17 year old trainee to a 104 year old resident. Many of the residents have been reminiscent of an inoculation day at school from their youth, as they all seem to take the experience in their stride, excited to be a part of the hope that the vaccine provides in getting through the current pandemic. The pandemic has been particularly challenging for the care sector, to try to protect one of our most vulnerable groups, with many care home residents having not seen their loved ones since March 2020. Somerset
Care has worked tirelessly to permit safe visits from friends and families of residents, while ensuring residents are protected, all to government guidance. Designated visitor spaces have been created, further supported by testing and PPE, which has enabled residents to remain connected to those closest to them. A spokesperson for Somerset Care said “Our thanks go to everyone making the vaccination and its roll out possible. We very much look forward to the next phase of the programme in our efforts to return to normal life, whenever that may be.” Those working within Somerset Care who provide domiciliary care have also began the vaccination process, with plans for all applicable staff and residents to have received their first does of the vaccine by mid February.
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NHS Covid-19 App Alerts 1.7 Million Contacts to Stop Spread of Covid-19 Over 1.7 million app users across England and Wales have been advised to isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app following a close contact with someone who goes on to test positive, new data published today shows. The NHS COVID-19 app has been breaking chains of transmission to protect users and their communities since its launch in September. The app is the fastest way to notify the public they have been at risk of contracting the virus, sending alerts to close contacts to tell them to isolate as quickly as 15 minutes after an app user enters a positive result into the app. The app has now been downloaded 21.63 million times, representing 56% of the eligible population aged 16+ with a smartphone and was the second most downloaded free iPhone app on the Apple App Store in 2020. The more people who download the app the better it works. Research conducted by scientists at The Alan Turing Institute and Oxford University shows for every 1% increase in app users, the number of coronavirus cases in the population can be reduced by 2.3%. Research by the Turing/Oxford team into the epidemiological impact of the app also points to a causal link between app use and reduced case numbers, with their analysis suggesting the NHS COVID-19 app has prevented 600,000 cases since it was launched. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The NHS COVID-19 App is an important tool in our pandemic response. We know it has instructed hundreds of thousands of at-risk people to self-isolate since it launched in September – including me – and this analysis shows it has been hugely effective at breaking chains of transmission, preventing an estimated 600,000 cases. “Isolating and knowing when you have been at risk of catching coronavirus is essential to stopping the spread of this virus, and the app is the quickest way to notify you if you are at risk. “I want to thank all those who have played their part by downloading and using the app, and urge those who haven’t to take the simple step to protect your communities and loved ones and download it” The app has been designed with privacy in mind so it tracks the virus not people utilising the latest in data security technology to protect privacy while notifying users when they are at risk. As well as contact tracing and booking a test the app allows users to check their symptoms via the symptom checker. Coronavirus symptoms have been reported into the app over 1.4 million times in England and Wales since 24 September.
Over 3.1 million test results have been entered into the app across England and Wales, of which 825,388 were positive. This is a combination of both tests booked through the app and test results manually entered into the app. As users are more likely to manually enter a positive test result in order to trigger contact tracing than a negative result, these figures cannot be used to calculate a positivity rate for the NHS COVID-19 app comparable to manual contact tracing. Baroness Dido Harding said: “There can be no doubt the NHS COVID-19 app is a vital tool in stopping the spread of coronavirus, having sent over 1.7 million notifications to tell people who have been exposed to the virus to self-isolate since launch. “The app, which works as a part of the wider NHS Test and Trace programme in England, helps us to reach more people quickly to protect communities, by notifying contacts as quickly as 15 minutes after a user enters a positive result. “The app continues to protect our essential workers during this lockdown, and will continue to play an important role in the future as we come out of national restrictions.” Director of Product for the NHS COVID-19 app, Gaby Appleton said: “It is great that over 56% of the eligible population have already downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app. “The more people who download the app the better it works, and now more than ever every new user makes a difference. For every 1% of additional users who download the app, we can potentially reduce the number of cases in the community by up to 2.3%.
“If you have already downloaded the app; I would like to thank you for helping to keep your loved ones safe, and please check that you always have the latest version of the app downloaded, as we make ongoing improvements to the app to help keep people even safer.” Figures on the app’s wider features show users have checked into a venue over 103 million times. A total of 253 venues were identified as ‘at risk’ as a result of an outbreak since 10 December, triggering ‘warn and inform’ alerts to app users who had checked into those venues, protecting app users by letting them know as quickly as possible when they may have been at risk so they can monitor symptoms. A ‘warn and inform’ notification will only be sent if an outbreak is identified at a venue and is not equivalent to an instruction to isolate. The app operates on a principle of continual improvement and has had a series of updates since its launch in September 2020, including an update to the risk scoring algorithm to utilise GAEN API Mode 2 which better estimates distance based on Bluetooth signal strength, increasing its accuracy and making this the first contact tracing app worldwide to harness this technology. Professor Mark Briers of the Alan Turing Institute “We have created a world leading app, the first of its kind to be built on the latest GAEN API Mode 2 technology, which works to break chains of transmission and protect users against the spread of the virus while maintaining privacy and anonymity. “Using the NHS COVID-19 App is the fastest way to know when you have been at risk of catching the virus and our analysis shows when more people download the app they can have a disproportionately positive impact on driving down case numbers in the community. “I urge those who have not yet downloaded the app to look at the data and our analysis and see for yourself the benefits using this app can bring to protecting not just yourself, but your families and communities.” The app is now also interoperable meaning it is compatible with other contact tracing apps across the UK, protecting users who travel to Scotland, Jersey, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar. As of December, selfisolation support payments have been available to users in England who have been instructed to isolate, without compromising the privacy protecting nature of the app. In Wales NHS COVID-19 App users have been eligible to apply for the SISS since 1st February. App users will only be notified to isolate if they are assessed to be at risk of having caught the virus so it is essential users comply with self isolation to stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS.
Sunrise of Hale Barns Resident Celebrates 104th Birthday Anne Connor, a resident at Sunrise of Hale Barns celebrated her 104th birthday on 14th January. Anne moved to Sunrise of Hale Barns in March 2019, and she lives in the care home’s Memory Care Neighbourhood. Anne was born in Dundee in 1917 and moved with her family to the Manchester area when she was quite young. She worked all her life in a variety of jobs, particularly those requiring quick numerical calculations. Anne could add up a column of numbers amazingly fast and with great accuracy.After her retirement, Anne was an intrepid traveller, often visiting her brother in Canada and going on a tour of California on her own. She was never too fond of exercise and any exercise Anne did take had to be able to be done in stilettos and without disturbing her hairstyle.Anne has now survived two global pandemics, the
Spanish Flu in 1918 and Covid-19.
The Sunrise of Hale Barns team members organised a window visit for Anne’s family on her birthday. She was delighted to see them and blew them lots of kisses through the window. The team members at Sunrise of Hale Barns made sure Anne’s day was special as they celebrated with her. They organised balloons, a lovely cake and a gift, and during her family visit the team sang happy birthday to Anne as her family watched through the window, Anne loved the attention. Natalie Gribben, Memory Care Coordinator at Sunrise of Hale Barns, said: “When I think about Anne, I always think about how sassy she is, she definitely has a ‘fire in her belly’. She is an incredible woman, and we are so impressed she is still able to walk at 104!”
Bampton Care Home Gets 100% Take Up for COVID-19 Vaccinations Rosebank Care Home in Bampton has recently had all their residents and staff vaccinated within the home. Rosebank is amongst a handful of Oxfordshire homes that have achieved a 100% take up on their vaccination programme for both staff and residents. Owner Jane Roberts commented, ‘We have tried to keep all our staff, residents and families fully informed since the start of the pandemic. When the vaccinations were first approved, we made sure we held meetings with staff, and talked to families and residents, to ensure everyone had a chance to have their questions and concerns answered.’ The home has been hugely supported by their local GP surgery in Bampton. Dr Matthews and District Nurse, Phillipa McRoberts, both attended the home to ensure the vaccinations were given out in a calm and reassuring manner to everyone. Manager Vanessa Lavender commented, ‘It was a joyous occasion, and we are extremely grateful to our amazing local surgery who have continued to support us
throughout this pandemic, and thereby ensure everyone in the home has remained safe and well. I think it is important to acknowledge the professionalism, the commitment and speed at which Oxfordshire has responded to this incredibly challenging vaccination programme. Some of our staff have also received vaccinations at The Churchill Hospital. A truly incredible service, and a massive thank you from everyone at Rosebank.’ Despite receiving their first vaccinations the home continues to follow all the same COVID-19 Secure policies and procedures. Jane Roberts commented, ‘This is not a time to let our guard down. All procedures remain the same to ensure our residents and staff remain safe. Families are enjoying visiting loved ones in our purpose-built family hub, and we hope garden visits will be able to resume again before too long, hopefully in some lovely spring sunshine.’
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New Review into Use of Health Data for Research and Analysis A new review, launched by the government, will focus on the more efficient and safe use of health data for research and analysis for the benefit of patients and the healthcare sector. The review will complement the forthcoming Data Strategy for Health and Social Care which will set the direction for the use of data in a post-pandemic healthcare system. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has asked Dr Ben Goldacre to undertake this rapid review and report his findings in April. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “The pandemic has demonstrated just how important health data is. Ensuring that researchers have secure, transparent and ethical access to health data has the potential to transform health and care and save lives. “Ben has a wealth of experience in working with health data and I am delighted he has accepted my invitation to undertake this review. I am look-
ing forward to working with Ben and seeing his recommendations over the coming months.” Dr Ben Goldacre, Director of the DataLab, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, said: “The UK has a phenomenal resource in its raw data, and its people. Our challenge is now in the final lap: we need to find safe, secure, collaborative and efficient ways to turn that raw data into insights and action, to improve patient care for all. There is a wealth of expertise around the country, much of it untapped. I’m excited to talk to people across health, social care and research about their experiences and concerns to help drive better, broader, safe use of health data. ” If you would like to get in touch about the review or share your experience of using health data for research, please contact email@example.com.
Liverpool Care Homes Threatened With Closure To Remain Open Following Transfer Two Liverpool care homes which were set to close are to remain open and will be transferred to another operator. An agreement has now been reached with provider Bloomcare which means that Brushwood care home in Speke and Millvina care home in Everton will remain open. Healthcare provider Bloomcare has reached an agreement with Liverpool which means that Brushwood care home in Speke and Millvina care home in Everton will remain open. Last summer, operator Shaw Healthcare gave notice that it wished to cease as provider as it was no longer viable, largely due to low occupancy linked to the coronavirus pandemic.In September, an interim agreement was reached which meant that Shaw Healthcare would be able to keep the two homes open until the spring, while talks took place to find another operator. Bloomcare is a locally based care operator with experience of providing good quality dementia, nursing and residential care across Liverpool City region and the north west. Staff will transfer to the new operator on their current terms and conditions, and existing residents will have their care protected with no topup fees. Acting Mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “I know there was a huge amount of concern from residents and relatives about the proposed closure of the homes, and this news will come as a great relief to them.
“We have been working hard behind the scenes over the last few months to identify a new operator committed to the long term future of both sites and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with Bloomcare. “For residents, this provides certainty that they can stay in the homes with the same care. For staff, it means they will continue to be employed on the same terms and conditions.” Cabinet member for adult social care and health, Councillor Paul Brant, added: “We listened to the concerns of relatives and acted on it, so I am delighted that we have had success in being able to find a new organisation to take on these valued facilities in Everton and Speke. “It is also welcome news that they continue to operate in the guise that they were specifically built for – providing quality care for some of our most vulnerable residents.” Audrey Tan, Operations Director at Bloomcare, said: “We are thrilled to be able to incorporate the operation of Millvina and Brushwood into our company vision of providing excellence in dementia care across the North West. It is our pleasure to be able to provide the continuity of care needed during these challenging times. “We are honoured for the opportunity to steward Brushwood and Millvina, and we look forward to building on the existing relationships within the community and welcoming all staff and residents to our Bloomcare family.”
New Covid-19 App Enables Care Homes and Primary Care Providers Comply with Hazardous Waste Audit Requirements Remotely A new app, which gives Care Homes and primary care providers the ability to conduct compulsory clinical waste pre-acceptance and duty of care audits without the need for third-party on-site visits, has been launched by leading independent healthcare waste management company Anenta. Designed to provide a Covid-19 compliant solution that ends the need for on-site reviews by external bodies, the app simplifies the process, saves time and dramatically cuts the cost of audits required by producers of healthcare waste in order to operate. The app, which can be operated from a desktop as well as a range of mobile devices, takes the user through the audit process, covering duty of care and waste pre-acceptance in one go. Taking around 40 minutes to complete, the app streamlines a process that can take up to six days - including expensive on-site visits - consuming the valuable time of staff and management. Costing just £200 per site, the Anenta audit app saves between £300 and £800 on physical audits. It identifies and records details of training undertaken linked to duty of care, keeping a record for compliance purposes. It also identifies if the correct waste management policies are in place and records details for assessment, including whether hazardous consignment notes are kept for three years – a compliance requirement - and in what format. The app enables details of all internal waste containers to be recorded, including their location and content, and whether these are correctly labeled. Images are uploaded as a point of reference using mobile devices, enabling multiple site assessments to be undertaken; col-
leagues can be emailed with a link to the section of the waste management audit that they need to complete. Once done, Anenta assesses the audit and provides a report with advisory notes and actions to be taken covering: missing policies, segregation requirements, and areas where action needs to be taken to comply with regulations; be that in terms of duty of care or the clinical waste pre-acceptance audit process. This enables clients to quickly and easily address aspects of the audit that will enable them to continue operat-
ing. Graham Flynn, Managing Director of Anenta, commented on the app launch, saying: “Business operating in the healthcare sector have a duty of care to their staff within the Environmental Protection Act 1990. “Those that fail to demonstrate proper measures face potential enforcement action by the Care Quality Commission. Those same organisations also have an obligation to complete clinical waste preacceptance audits, without which hazardous waste including healthcare items cannot legally be removed from site. Without this being in place, care homes could face the prospect of being temporarily closed until the audit is completed.” “Understandably, many care home producers of clinical waste are looking to avoid third parties from coming on site during the current pandemic, yet they still have audit responsibilities. It is for this reason that we have developed the Anenta audit app, allowing healthcare settings to fulfill their duties faster and more cost-effectively than has previously been possible, so that they can continue operating unincumbered. We view this as a win, win solution for all concerned and a transformational development for the care home and healthcare sector.” All audits undertaken using the Anenta app are stored electronically, are readily accessible by the user and can be used to track remediable actions providing a breadcrumb trail for compliance purposes and CQC checks. To gain access to the Audit app, healthcare settings need to set up an account with Anenta: visit www.anentawaste.com or call 03301222143.
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 25
The Changing Risk Landscape for Care Providers and its Impact on Insurance It is common knowledge that the coronavirus pandemic has brought huge challenges to the UK care sector. The increased demand for care across all sectors and the change to the way in which it is delivered means operators have had to become more flexible and responsive. This has only been possible by the hard work and dedication of those working within the industry. Significant change have been experienced across all sectors of the care industry, but it’s only the elderly care sector that has seen a change in the insurance landscape as a direct result of COVID-19. There have been increases in the premiums required by insurers for many insurance packages as potential risk increases and appetite for the sector diminishes. We have taken a look at the challenges facing providers of elderly care in the UK and why these increased risks have had such an effect on the insurance market.
We know that at the beginning of the outbreak back in March, many companies operating care facilities were not included in vital government plans to provide suitable PPE, financial support and workforce planning. Many UK care homes in the elderly care sector struggled to control outbreaks within their facilities as COVID began to sweep across the country. By the very nature of the working conditions and relationships between patients, families and staff, it was easy for the virus to spread causing worry. PPE was a cause for concern; locating the right type and in the right quantities left many care providers without the right protection. Staffing has been challenging with vulnerable team members shielding, and isolating colleagues leaving a temporary gap in staff levels following a holiday or from exposure either inside or outside of the care home. But the biggest ongoing challenge facing elderly care home operators was and remains regular testing and speedy results. Testing is vital to stop the spread of infection and is the best weapon to keep it under control, until the approved vaccine programme is well underway. As restrictions change across the country on a regular basis, care providers have had to adapt and implement new ways of working. This constant change adds additional stress to the workforce and brings increased potential for something to go wrong. All of the issues above will have been closely moni-
tored by the insurer market as they weigh up the exposure to risk for care providers.
INCREASED POTENTIAL RISKS – A CONCERN FOR INSURERS
Care facility proprietors will always put the care and wellbeing of their patients and residents at the heart of everything they do; reputations are built on the exceptional care that is delivered. We should remember that care home settings have always been open to potential risk. Claims can arise for a myriad of reasons, from a claim of medical malpractice to a claim under Employment Liability for an employee fall or injury, but COVID-19 has brought its own set of risks which have increased the potential for insurance claims. Insurers have been watching the unfolding care sector situation closely as they decide on their response and how or rather if, they have an appetite for cover moving forward.
Matthew Dale, from Barnes Commercial, an expert adviser who specialises in insurance for the care sector has spoken to a number of A rated insurers to understand why there is a decreased appetite for the elderly care sector. Matthew said: “Whilst insurers haven’t actually seen an increase in claims so far, the apprehension appears to be around the potential for claims under Employment Liability cover for COVID-19. There is concern about the possible emergence of companies that may offer a ‘no win no fee’ for anyone who has contracted Covid whilst working in a care home, creating a claim culture. Should this scenario arise it could lead to significant reserves having to be put aside for potential claims. It sounds unlikely but this is exactly what happened with PPI only a few years ago. The reasons for claims are certainly very different but we could see the claim culture it invoked replicated for this pandemic.” Claims may arise from employees, residents or the families of either, if something should go wrong. This could be as the result of inadequate PPE or robust procedures to stop the spread of infection within a facility. The potential for claims is high, but without adequate cover in place care homes will be unable to operate. Matthew continued: “We are an independent broker and look across the insurer market to find the optimum insurance programme for our clients. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to place business, which is a problem for everyone. A number of insurers have pulled out of the elderly care market completely and those remaining have increased their premiums to accommodate for an anticipated rise in claims.”
INSURANCE ADVICE FOR PROVIDERS OF ELDERLY CARE
Thankfully there are still some insurers who will provide insurance for the care sector and at affordable premiums. Packages are available for care homes in any setting, including elderly care, with a turnover of up to £5M and can be purchased via reputable brokers. Barnes Commercial offer a Business Essentials package which has been specifically created for the care home sector, and includes cover for management liability (Director’s and Officer’s insurance) which is quite hard to come by these days. Care homes can expect to see broader insurance packages returning as the pandemic abates and the approved vaccines are rolled out. Advice to care homes owners during these extraordi-
nary times to mitigate risk, is to ensure that you keep up to date with government and CQC guidelines. Create safeguarding practices, write them up and share with all members of your team so everyone knows the procedures to follow and how to manage a crisis effectively. If following an inspection any issues are raised, ensure an action is put in place and any remedial actions are taken immediately. Review and improve cleaning regimes to ensure they are robust and comply with government guidelines. Consider hiring the services of companies with specialist air purifying machines to help with air circulation and ventilation. Try to avoid using agency staff if possible because the change can be unsettling for elderly residents and there is more potential for the virus to be brought into your workplace. If you do use a care agency, make sure you carry out due diligence and check they have employment liability and medical malpractice insurance for their staff. If you employ new staff, ensure they are fully trained and put procedures in place to facilitate ongoing training for all employees. Make sure you carry out thorough background checks for new team members, or suppliers. In summary, it’s all about general good management and an ability to manage risk effectively. Take the time to look at all areas of your business and identify where you are open to risk, putting measure in place to allow business continuity should the unexpected occur. Barnes Commercial Insurance Broker is a specialist independent broker offering guidance and advice on managing risk within the care sector. For more information please visit their website at www.barnesinsurancebroker.co.uk
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PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Rapid Testing During Lockdown - NEW Panodyne Combined COVID-19 & Influenza Flu Virus Test Kit
With the increased infection rates across the UK and the new lockdown restrictions, early detection of the virus through rapid antigen testing is more crucial than ever in controlling the spread of the virus to save lives. Multibrands International Ltd is now launching a new combined Panodyne COVID-19 & Influenza Flu virus Antigen Test Kit to help test against both viruses and provide clear results with up to 98% accuracy within 15 minutes. As we are in the middle of winter, this is particularly helpful in the vulnerable section of the population susceptible to the influenza flu virus. Multibrands International Ltd already supplies a growing number of care homes and healthcare facilities with its Panodyne COVID SARS-CoV2 Rapid Antigen Test Kit alongside its Panodyne Rapid Antibody test kit, which helps assess the body’s immune response to the virus by detecting the presence of antibodies after the infection has gone. With the Government’s plan to roll-out LTF rapid testing to schools and secondary schools in January, the Panodyne range of rapid Covid-19 tests can help make the numbers.
The company has also registered interest from local councils who feel that essential workers such as bin collectors, cleaners and other service providers who are working throughout the pandemic, need rapid testing to carry on safely. Equally, food stores and supermarkets along with a lot of businesses, large and small are still operating during lockdown such as the Royal mail, banks and construction industry to name a few. As the New business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in his open letter to the construction industry yesterday 12/01/21 in the Construction Enquirer: “I would like to take this opportunity to restate the Government position, which is that firms and tradespeople in the construction sector and its supply chain, including merchants, suppliers and product manufacturers, should continue to operate during this national lockdown.” Hence, rapid test kits such as the Panodyne COVID-19 Antigen test kit or indeed the new combined Covid-19 & Flu virus test kit is a vital screening tool for businesses and schools that have to remain open during and beyond lockdown. There’s no doubt that early detection through rapid testing will help keep staff, students and customers safe until the vaccine is rolled-out to the rest of the population. All Multibrands COVID-19 test kits are CE certified and approved for use by healthcare professionals and trained staff. For further information call 01274 307310 or visit https://panodyne.eu.com/test-kits/
Adaptawear’s Magnetic Shirts - Helping Independent & Assisted Dressing Adaptawear’s men’s magnetic shirts provide an easy dressing solution for people who struggle with tiny shirt buttons or who need a helping hand when getting dressed. This unique men’s magnetic shirt incorporates specially hidden magnets along the front panel that fasten effortlessly and removes the need to struggle with buttons. Perfect for customers who suffer with limited mobility or dexterity including Arthritis and Parkinson’s. Available in choice of sizes: Small – XX Large in smart light blue check or black check. Please note that the magnetic shirt is unsuitable for Pacemaker users and suffers from Deep Brain Stimulation. Adaptawear provides adaptive clothing that are spe-
cially designed to making dressing easier and the elderly and disabled; both for independent dressing and assisted dressing. Adaptawear clothes are ideal for arthritis, stroke, Parkinson, incontinence and dementia sufferers as well as people of all ages who struggle with fastenings, buttons and zips. They also offer a choice of men’s open back shirts, men’s magnetic shirts and men’s open back polo shirts as well as ladies open back blouses and tops.
CARER OFFER: SAVE 10%
Do go and visit online at www.adaptawear.com to buy adapted clothing online. Carer readers please quote CR10 for 10% discount off your first order. See the advert on page 3 for details.
Why Specify a Yeoman Shield Fire Rated Door Edge Protector? When specifying for a structure, it’s important to be aware of the level of wear and tear a door can be exposed to in a public building. Door edges, in particular, can be easily damaged or worn down by regular use – which can then render them non-compliant for fire safety regulations. To ensure that a project remains compliant, an architect can specify durable door edge protectors to add durability and longevity to doors. Not only will specifying edge protectors increase the longevity of doors, they will enhance the cost efficiency of a project by reducing maintenance demands and the possibility of having to replace unsafe fire doors. Yeoman Shield fire rated Door Edge Protectors are unique with a 2.0 mm Vinylac outer and a specially formulated 9mm PVCu reinforced core. They are FD30 (1/2 hour) and FD60 (1 hour) rated
with intumescent seals that are in accordance to the fire door’s specification. Fire rated Door Edge Protectors are suitable for commercial applications such as residential blocks, schools and hospitals etc. Door Edge Protectors can also be specified with different fire seals, from a plain intumescent fire seal to a brush, fire and smoke variant. Of course, for doors that are non-fire rated in an architect’s project Yeoman Shield also provide quality edge protectors without seals to enhance durability and reduce wear. Source a full range of door protection panels and kick plates from a single supplier by choosing Yeoman Shield. Our door protection panels and kick plates offer the same lasting durability and quality as our door edge protectors. See page 10 or visit www.yeomanshield.com for details.
CareZips Dignity Trousers C & S Seating Postural ™
CareZips™ preserve dignity and privacy of people receiving care during diaper changes. CareZips™ make diaper changes easier and faster, reducing workload, saving efforts, and saving time! CareZips™ help to deliver better standards of care! Fitted with unique 3-zip fastening system, the CareZips™ make changing of incontinence diapers more dignified and comfortable for the patients and easier and faster for the carers. CareZips™ feature 3 strategically positioned zips, 2 of which run from the waist to the knees on both sides of the body. The 3rd zip goes from the inside of one knee up to the crotch and down to the second knee on the inside of the other leg. This zip facilitates total opening of the trousers at the crotch during diaper changes. The 3-zip system ensures fast and easy access to the abdomen and crotch without having to undress the patients or pull their trousers down. CareZips™ are suitable for men and women. They
are available in 7 sizes for perfect fit. CareZips™ are soft and wrinkle resistant with stretch and give for extra comfort. Practical, durable, washable and noniron, the CareZips™ trousers are the perfect choice for daily use. Contact Win Health Medical Ltd - 01835 864866 www.win-health.com or see the advert on page 5.
C & S Seating has been providing postural control equipment to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and medical equipment services nationwide since 1991. With 9 different sizes of T-Rolls and Log Rolls in a removable and machine washable, waterproof Titex or Soft Knit material. These rolls are used to control posture and position of the body in either supine or side lying. Our Knee & Leg support wedges are available in 2 sizes. C & S Seating is the sole manufacturer of the Alternative Positioning Support (APS) system. Ideal when more control of the abducted lower limb is required (See photo) which has
removable side cushions and middle pommel; this is available in small or large. Our popular range of Soft Knit covers in a choice of 5 vibrant colours provide a softer alternative that fit easily over our standard waterproof rolls. It is recommended you seek professional advice to select the correct product depending on your needs. Contact us on 01424 853431 or visit us at www.cands-seating.co.uk to request or download a brochure, pricelist or order form, request an individualised quotation, speak to an advisor or to place an order. See the advert on page 12.
Heanor Park Care Home - Winner of Client of the Year at the Lux Awards* 2020 The Circadian Plus solution includes bespoke lighting design, smart lighting software and spectrum-controlled lights – creating a truly revolutionary solution that has resident health and wellbeing at the forefront. The impact of the lighting at Heanor Park has significantly reduced resident falls, increased engagement, and has improved sleep-wake cycles. Check out our case study video to understand more at www.circadianplus.com/heanor-park-case-study The term Circadian Lighting is defined as lighting that replicates natural light (as closely as possible) to support human circadian rhythms, otherwise known as our internal body clock. We are all governed, to some degree, by our internal body clock - the timing, intensity and colour of light are key factors in regulating our sleep and wake patterns. Disturbances
in the circadian rhythm can have a physiological and mental impact, and often causes poor sleep patterns. Many factors can influence our circadian rhythms, such as exercise/movement and food intake. However, by combining them with new interactions with our non-image forming light receptors, we can achieve excellent results in the care home setting where residents tend to struggle to spend time outdoor where they can be exposed to the benefits of natural light. Some of the main benefits of circadian lighting are: • Improved sleep • Improved mood • Less risk of developing certain mental and physical health conditions • Reduction in errors and accidents
• Faster cognitive processing • Increased alertness at the right times of day • Can aid with the rehabilitation of certain medical conditions e.g. brain injuries • Can be beneficial for elderly residents and people with Alzheimer’s disease To understand more about the importance of care home lighting visit www.circadianplus.com/news/care-home-lighting ‘We’re seeing a greater level of engagement from the residents during the day because the lighting is helping their body clock become alert and ready for the day…we’re not seeing people falling asleep in their chair or not wanting to engage in activities’. - David Poxton, Managing Director of Heanor Park Care Home * The Lux Awards are designed to celebrate and reward both creativity and sustainability, recognising clients and end-users that have used lighting in exceptional ways to improve their lit environment, reduce energy and achieve business objectives.
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 27
HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL
Cleanliness and Hygiene: Continuing Care place for staff and regular visitors, unless it is used correctly and uniformly, there’s still potential for viruses and bacteria to make their way into the building. Positioning dispensers, ideally hands free, immediately at the home’s entrance, exits and key doorways is the best way to remind all visitors to sanitise their hands. And don’t be afraid to insist gels are used before allowing entry, or check later that hands have been definitely sanitised – it’s always better to be reassured. Posting clear signage throughout the care home that reminds visitors and staff to clean their hands regularly and properly also helps, as well as emphasises that they are in a vulnerable environment and extra vigilence is required.
CHECK THE QUALITY
With a new, more contagious strain of COVID spreading across the UK, cleanliness and hygiene has never been more critical. Here, Anica Detic, Head of R&D at Zidac Laboratories discusses how care facilities must go above and beyond on their hygiene policies to keep staff and residents protected. With the UK placed under another lockdown as cases rise dramatically due to the emergence of a new, more contagious variant of COVID, care homes are under increased pressure to uphold even stricter hygiene standards to keep staff and residents safe. The new restrictions have brought with them a ban on close contact visits, as well as an optimistic pledge from Government to vaccinate all elderly care home residents by the end of January. Yet the new COVID variant is still driving a surge in cases, with the latest figures from Public Health England showing that in the first week of January, there were 503 reports of COVID-19 outbreaks in English care homes, up from 304 the week before. It is clear that staff and visitors alike must continue to go above and beyond in their diligent cleaning and hygiene measures, to ensure residents are protected in time for the vaccine. And, even if vaccinations have taken place it is still not the time to relax standards or procedures. By staying aware of the below, care home managers can be reassured they are doing all they can to protect residents.
As well as ensuring sanitiser is available, care home managers should check that they are providing hand gels that are powerful enough to kill viruses. There is now a huge range of hand sanitisers on the market but not all formulations are fully effective. The most important factor to consider when buying hand sanitiser is alcohol content, which kills germs by protein denaturation and dissolving the lipid membrane. For sanitiser to be fully anti-microbial (or effective on germs) it must contain at least 70 per cent alcohol, yet many off-the-shelf sanitisers that are currently being produced do not contain this. Care home managers would be advised to use products which contain more than 70 per cent alcohol, as well as state they have been tested to kill at least 99.9 per cent of germs – or 99.99 per cent for the most powerful sanitisers. Where possible, managers should also look for labelling proof thataproduct has been tested to a minimum of European Standards EN
1276 and EN 1500. Products which advise accreditations of EN 14476 and EN 13727 also certifies them as suitable for use in medical and contaminated areas and guarantee the highest standard of protection.
REGULARLY CLEAN FREQUENTLY TOUCHED SURFACES The increased contagiousness of the new variant means that areas that are hot spots for bacteria must be given even more attention when cleaning – relying on sanitiser is not enough. Surfaces that are often touched by multiple people, such as door handles, door bells and desks with sign in books or screens, will need to be cleaned far more regularly than before. This should be with high quality multipurpose disinfectants to help minimise the chance of cross contamination, as viruses can stay on surfaces for 1-2 days. Again, it’s vital to look for medical-grade products which provide the most reassurance that potential viruses lurking on surfaces are killed. And while it is recommended to place sanitiser bottles and pumps near high risk areas to reduce hand-to-surface contamination, they can also be a hotbed for germs. Sanitiser stations are often missed during regular cleaning regimes, however it’s vitally important they are regularly disinfected all over to kill any residual bacteria or viruses which may then transfer back to hands.
MAINTAINING HIGH-STANDARDS With a vaccine being offered around the UK, it seems that the ending may be in sight. However, the new variant has meant that there is no time for complacency. With a final concerted effort from all towards the vigilant cleaning of surfaces and hands, ideally with medical-grade products, care home managers can help contain the spread of the virus in time for the widespread introduction of the vaccine.
FIRST DEFENCE Hand sanitiser remains one of the best defences against COVID – and indeed other germs. While its use in care homes has become common
In 2020, TC Facilities Management (TCFM) completed over 500 nationwide Covid-19 decontamination and electrostatic sprays, in 4-hour response times. As we enter Lockdown 3.0, TCFM is continuing to keep their customers’ sites safe across the UK with their Covid-19 decontamination solution. The electrostatic spraying technology that TCFM offers provides 360° coverage to the premises, in contrast to traditional fogging methods which only protect surfaces. Environmentally f riendly, human and food-safe chemicals kill Coronavirus on con-tact, offering up to 4 weeks’ protection f rom pathogens. This solution provides TCFM’s customers with: A safe working environment;
Credibility with their clients;
Employees who feel valued;
Peace of mind.
Working tto Working o Minimise Disruption A Across cross a National Portfolio P ortffolio TCFM is proactively working with a diverse portfolio of national customers to keep their sites safe including: Tesco, Yodel, Makro, RS range of industries including distribution, retail, telecommunications and finance. TCFM’s national coverage is key to responding promptly to calls for the Covid-19 decontamination solution, which mitigates disruption to BAU at even their most remote sites.
Ho How w TCFM TCFM Can Can Suppor Supportt Y You ou Thr Through ough The Th e Developing Developing C Covid-19 ovid-19 Cr Crisis isis TCFM is committed to supporting customers across the country to safeguard sites against Coronavirus as the situation continues to develop. To ensure they can deliver a solution tailored to the requirements of your premises, TCFM offers a f ree site visit and quote for their Covid-19 decontamination solu-tion and a certificate on completion. As many of your colleagues will be site-based, this will give them the peace of mind that you are committed to safeguarding their health and safety. This identifies TCFM as a trusted partner in the fight against Coronavirus. Haris Niksic, TCFM’s Head of Specialist Services, comments: “Our specialist service colleagues wor work extremely hard to prevent disruption d to y your our business while saffeguarding a saffe e wor working environment for for your colleagues and customers.”
To book your free site assessment & Covid-19 quote please visit: https://tcfm.online/return-to-work-safely-with-covid19-decontamination-cleans/ or contact Nicola Heywood directly on: 07920 539 265
PAGE 28 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41
HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL UK Company Develops Anti-Viral Facemask Believed To Kill Covid-19 SCIENTISTS at Cambridge University are testing a facemask that has an anti-viral fabric coating that they believe may kill Covid-19. The reusable mask was developed by British company LiquidNano and has already been shown to kill a coronavirus that is genetically and structurally very similar to SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that caused the pandemic. The fabric of the mask contains a unique nano-coating called DiOX 4, which has strong anti-viral properties, according to an initial study by the University of Cambridge. Further testing has now been commissioned to evaluate the efficacy of the mask directly on Covid-19.
Andy Middleton of LiquidNano said: "We have created an antimicrobial face mask that is environmentally friendly and ergonomically designed to be worn comfortably for long periods. The mask can be washed up to 20 times, which is a major positive for anybody who is concerned about the environmental impact of disposable masks." The initial study of the DiOX 4 facemask was overseen by Dr. Graham Christie, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge. Dr Christie commented: "Our study showed that the coating on this facemask has strong anti-viral properties, which are likely to be effective against all types of coronavirus. We initially tested it on a pathogen called MHV-A59, which is genetically and structurally very similar to the causative agent of Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). We found that the mask killed almost 95% of the test virus within one hour." "We followed the industry standard testing for viruses on material (ISO18184:19) but made some critical adaptations to give it a more ‘realworld’ relevance. This included conducting splash tests to mimic sneezing to ensure the tests were as rigorous as possible. Therefore, there is evidence to suggest that this mask could be beneficial in helping to prevent human to human transmission of Covid-19, and we are now scheduled to conduct further tests using the SARS-Cov-2 pathogen." A number of commercial companies, including those within the hospitality and retail sectors, are currently trialling the mask with a view to rolling-out its use for employees. The study showed that 95% of viral pathogens introduced to the fabric surface were killed within one hour and almost 100% after four hours. The study concluded: "Box fresh DiOX coated fabric is associated with strong viricidal activity with respect to the control material, with a near 95% (1.25 log) reduction in viral titre after a 1 hour contact period. The murine
MAG Launches Ozone Generator Proven To Kill Covid–19 Are your rooms 100% free of germs and smells? Clean, fresh air has never been more important and ozone is being used in care homes across the UK as a new safety standard for infection control. The MAG Ozone Generator emits ozone through the air to sanitise surfaces and kill bacteria and viruses including Covid–19. Proven to eliminate SARS coronavirus, norovirus, E.coli, salmonella and more than 99% of harmful bacteria and viruses, ozone is recognised as the strongest and fastest method of destroying microorganisms. With cycle times as quick as 15 minutes the MAG Ozone Generator is the quick & easy way to sanitise any indoor environment including care homes, pods, rooms, offices, toilets, canteens,
storage areas and more. Ozone is also extremely effective at removing unwanted smells from rooms. Rather than masking unpleasant odours with air fresheners and chemicals you can permanently remove smells with the MAG Ozone Generator. Available for less than £5.00 per day MAG Ozone Generators can be purchased outright or paid for monthly via lease or rental. Separate to ozone generators MAG Equipment Ltd also supply and service all leading brands of commercial washing machines, tumble dryers and ironers should you require any assistance. To find our more visit www.maglaundryequipment.co.uk or telephone 01422 244734. See the advert on page 11 for details.
Coronavirus inoculum is undetectable in eluates after a 4 hour contact period, representing an 8 log reduction in titre (although there is no formal definition or standard, we would consider a 5 log reduction to be indicative of significant viricidal activity)." The study found that the mask maintained its antiviral properties after repeated washing, albeit at a reduced rate when compared to a box-fresh mask. For further information, please visit www.liquidnano.com
Sheffcare Teams Up with Haigh Sheffcare continue to stay at the forefront of resident health, safety, and care. With ten homes across the city of Sheffield, Sheffcare a leading care charity, serves the needs of more than 500 older people and is strongly committed to providing high quality, compassionate care which enhances quality of life. Like a clean kitchen, often the most important aspects of infection prevention are out of sight. Best in class providers continue to invest in their facilities, ever-improving client health and experience. Most recently, Sheffcare has upgraded its waste management to Haigh's disposal units. These allow the hygienic disposal of disposable toileting items, simplifying and improving a challenging task for staff, reducing cross infection risks, and helping drive down long-term costs. Sheffcare noted "Investments like this are taken only once we have strong evidence. We trialled the
Haigh Quattro and Haigh Incomaster at several of our sites. The improvement was noticeable, improving resident experience and for our care staff." Haigh has been designing bed pan disposers since the 1950s, supporting hospitals across the UK and worldwide, while investing in the UK economy. For further information, visit www.haighmed.com
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 29
HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL
SanOZone Deep Cleans Indoor Spaces of All Sizes for Covid Safety Ozone sanitising is the most effective way to deep clean residential environments. It is easier, quicker and more cost-effective than manual cleaning or fogging.
The main benefits of SanOZone are:
Once in position, an easy to use key-pad enables the operator to set the optimal ozone concentration for the size of the room. The system then automatically converts the ambient air into ozone that fills the room, sanitising floors, walls, ceilings, surfaces and equipment.
Quicker and more effective than fogging
Highly efficient in the fight against Covid viruses
Effective against the majority of microorganisms tested
Requires only low volumes of ozone to kill bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses
A standalone system that eliminates the need for chemical substances
More cost-effective than traditional cleaning operations or materials SanOZone units are fully mobile, easy to programme for hourly or daily cleaning
The complete sanitisation of an average sized room will take approximately two hours. This includes the production of ozone, maintaining the required concentration for total cleaning and then returning the room to its usual habitation state.
“SanOZone offers many benefits over manual cleaning and is three times quicker and more efficient than alternatives like fogging.”
visit the website at www.barbel.net.
and have acoustic and visual warning indicators for safe operation. As it creates its own ozone, no chemicals or additional cleaning products are required. There are no
For more information, contact Barbel on 01629 705110, email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Portibac - Making The Places You Live and Work Safe PORTiBAC is the answer to the quick and effective sanitisation for care homes. Choose the PORTiBAC system that fits your needs. All come with our unique sanitising solution produced in the UK. PORTiBAC 800ML SPRAY GUN The entry level member of the PORTiBAC family has a simple mission - to sanitise the spaces you care about within minutes making the environment safe for staff and residents. Powered by a rechargeable battery and with its easy custom carry case, the PORTiBAC 800ML SPRAY GUN is ready to go anywhere. What could be more satisfying than taking aim with this handy spray gun at the places
you need to make safe? Filled with exclusive PORTiBAC Tropical Citrus solution - certified to kill Covid-19 on surfaces – the fine mist produced by the gun gets the job done in minutes. The PORTiBAC 800ML SPRAY GUN is available in, Metallic gold, Brushed silver & Brilliant white. Comes complete with 800ml of PORTiBAC Tropical Citrus solution all for just £125 PORTiBAC - the essential tool in the fight against the spread of Covid19 15% discount to all care homes, please see www.Portibac.com or call 03430 442 442
Please Please mention mentionTHE THE CARER CARER when when responding responding to to advertising. advertising.
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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 31
HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Rentokil Initial Launches VIRUSKILLER Air Purifier That Kills Coronavirus in the Air* TM
Rentokil Initial has announced an agreement to distribute VIRUSKILLERTM, air purification technology which is proven to kill 99.9999% of viruses with a single air pass, including Coronavirus. It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently updated information on its website that recognises Coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person via aerosols in the air. The VIRUSKILLERTM technology will hopefully play an important role in the nation’s Coronavirus recovery, helping businesses and public facilities minimise the risk of airborne transmission when they are allowed to resume normal operations. Despite WHO recognition of Coronavirus transmission (air to person) via aerosols, research commissioned by Rentokil Initial reveals a lack of awareness of this risk amongst the British public. Just over one in five (22%) of Brits revealed they are concerned about catching Coronavirus from contaminated air. Interestingly, the research did find that over three in five (64%) were more concerned about the air quality in indoor environments now, than they were prior to the pandemic. As a result of these concerns, 59% of consumers believe air purification systems should be mandatory in public buildings and educational facilities. Additionally, 41% believe that facemasks do not do enough to protect them against catching Coronavirus from contaminated air.
Unlike traditional air purifiers that can ‘trap’ airborne particles and microbes, the VIRUSKILLERTM also decontaminates the air, by not only trapping but also killing airborne viruses, bacteria** and fungi. When placed correctly the unit takes control of the airflow in a room, drawing contaminated air in from the ‘breathing zone’ and then releasing fresh, clean air back into the breathing zone. As well as deploying carbon and HEPA filters, VIRUSKILLERTM uses patented ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps, surrounded by a mesh of chromed nano titanium dioxide tube filters that are polished with activated carbon. The emitted UV light reacts with the mesh, and in a process called ‘photocatalytic oxidation’ produces hydroxyl radicals, which acts as a disinfectant and breaks down the organic molecules. This all in one solution effectively filters dirty air, neutralises toxic air and decontaminates sick air. Dr Colm Moore, Area Technical Manager UK, Ireland and the Baltics, Rentokil Initial says: “Unlike traditional air purification systems, the UVC technology provides a photochemical deconstruction of the RNA and DNA of microorganisms, deactivating their reproductive processes so that the Coronavirus, and other viruses, can no longer spread, before the air is released back into the room. “Its ability to kill 99.9999% of viruses with a single air pass, including Coronavirus, is what really sets this technology apart. Take the following scenario for example, if you had one million viruses passing through a
OneSpray - Reduces the Spread of Harmful Bacteria and Viruses
Throughout the course of the 2020 pandemic, the Care Home sector has undoubtedly endured a challenging period. With an increased risk to staff and residents, there has been a lack of fundamental government support at all levels, leaving owners and managers with increased challenges. Infection control is naturally a top priority for Care Homes but never before has the risk been so acute. With a lack of direction and support from government, the onus is left to the individual homes to determine the best course of action. An obvious change has been to implement either significantly increased or continual cleaning procedures. However, as Channel 4’s Dispatches showed on 26 October 2020, whilst this can be effective if carried out perfectly, the results can be highly inconsistent in reality, as that policy is susceptible to human error. It also comes at a cost, in terms of both product and labour. Dispatches looked at continual cleaning procedures under-
taken in Tesco, Costa Coffee, hotels and public transport, using ATP testing in a number of sample areas to determine the presence of organic material. The results were very mixed with an unsettlingly high number of samples showing very high counts of bacteria, despite supposedly being clean. The conclusion was that whilst the process can work, it leaves open the risk of human error, whether that be missing an area or it simply not being feasible to continually clean every surface. OneSpray offer a solution to help mitigate that risk, with innovative antimicrobial technology that is proven extensively to protect surfaces for up to 30 days from application. Groups of Care Homes are already using their solutions, alongside major transport networks, airlines and airports amongst others business worldwide, across multiple sectors. Containing no alcohol or harmful chemicals, and proven against EN14476 and EN1500, the unique longevity of the products will help protect staff and residents alike. For more information, contact email@example.com or 03400 577 148. Alternatively, you can visit their website at www.onespray.com
VIRUSKILLERTM, just a single virus would be recirculated, compared to the 500 viruses that would pass through when using a traditional filtration device (99.95%).” Jamie Woodhall, UK Technical & Innovation Manager, Rentokil Initial comments: “Following the positive news surrounding several Coronavirus vaccines on the near horizon, VIRUSKILLERTM is another landmark development in the ongoing effort to battle Coronavirus. “VIRUSKILLERTM could play an important role as people look to resume their normal lives, providing confidence and peace of mind that airborne transmission is far less likely in indoor environments where the technology is installed. It could also help eliminate scenarios that we see in so many schools across the country, where students have to sit in cold classrooms because the windows must be kept open to maintain airflow. “This solution will play a crucial role in helping to break the ‘chain of infection’, by taking control of the airflow in a room – drawing contaminated air out of the breathing zone and releasing fresh, clean air back into the environment. Once installed, businesses should still ensure that proper hand hygiene is encouraged among workers and visitors, and that social distancing measures are practiced.” For further information, please visit www.rentokil-initial.co.uk * When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass.  https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-how-is-it-transmitted  Research conducted by Opinium LLP for Rentokil Initial. Conducted 20-22 November 2020 sampling 2,000 adults in the UK **When independently tested against reference bacteria (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphyloccus aureus subsp. Aureus, Streptoccocus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli), the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of bacteria on a single air pass.
Clean Air Solutions There are a lot of cost-effective equipment that could be put in place quickly and easily to actively assist in lowering or eliminating the virus contaminated particles of any room helping eliminate the spread of viruses. Air and Surface Treatments are the most effective method for treating all manner of smells, viruses, volatile organic compounds and all other airborne and surface contaminants. These type of unit utilise either O³ (Ozone) or OH (Hydroxyl) Ozone is created when the kind of oxygen we breathe O² is split apart into single oxygen atoms. Single oxygen atoms can re-join to make O², or they can join with O² molecules to make ozone (O³) when the energy is available to do so. Ozone breaks down when it reacts with other compounds, harmful viruses included. The machines that produce Ozone in higher effective concentrations must be used in unoccupied spaces, high concentrations of Ozone can cause issues with the respiratory sys-
tem, with this said they are extremely effective at sanitising a space (airborne and surfaces) after a manual clean down. Hydroxyl machines are by far the most user friendly, firstly because they’re more adaptable and easily integrate into our normal daily lives. Much like the Ozone units, a volatile OH compound is produced which reacts with all airborne contaminants. The OH compound reacts by oxidizing and this cascade reaction will continue until the area is free of contaminants, the OH particles will then simply become H²O once there is nothing left to react with. Hydroxyl units are safe for use in constantly occupied rooms and will provide the constant decontamination required in a busy office. For more information please contact Axair Fans to discuss your requirements. www.axaironline.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01782 349439
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HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Edge Protect Giving Care Homes the Tools to Manage Infection Control In-House Edge Protect have been providing care groups throughout the pandemic with their own Fogging equipment and revolutionary 3-1 TriGuard solution to enable homes to effectively manage hygiene and infection control inhouse. Owning their own fogging equipment allows care homes to maintain the safety and wellbeing of both residents and staff whilst also having best laid plans in place when opening back up for outside visitors. The process can be managed in-house, with a quick and simple process treating all visitation areas both inside and outside the home along with other communal areas and bedrooms. Owning your own fogging equipment has been advised by councils as an essential
purchase, and one of which can be claimed back through the infection control funds. It ensures your home has a robust Covid prevention process in place whilst also having all the tools necessary for immediate treatment in the event of any outbreaks.
BENEFITS OF TRIGUARD AND FOGGING TO CARE HOMES • A quick and easy to use in house Covid19 decontamination solution • Significantly reduce likelihood of outbreaks and spreads with one simple weekly treatment • Save 000’s of pounds on specialist cleaners • Fogging cost at £0.30p per room, based on an average care home room size of 20m2 • Non time consuming – Fogging takes 30 second per room. Up to 20 x cheaper than employing external specialists (based on a 40 room care home) • TriGuard forms an antimicrobial coating on surfaces, which continues to protect against biocides residually when dry • A comprehensive sanitising method, protecting employees, residents and families for complete peace of mind • TriGuard does not use aggressive chemicals, alcohol or bleach and is non-toxic, and safe on skin. “ We are delighted to have the Edge Protect team in our corner supporting providers through this pandemic” Nadra Ahmed OBE Executive Chairman – National Care Association Visit www.edge-protect.co.uk or call 01179 214 1109 for more information and an obligation free quote.
A More Hygienic Lighting Solution Designed and manufactured by COCO Lighting after many months of development, Bio-Luminaire™ is a new range of surface, recessed and pendant LED luminaires. The unique benefit is that they offer a more hygienic alternative to traditional and existing lighting options. With light fixtures often being overlooked due to inaccessible high ceilings and walls they can, however, still harbour hidden and harmful bacteria. The spread of bacteria is naturally a major concern in every environment, especially care homes where hygiene is of paramount importance. With the surface of the entire luminaire armed with BioCote® technology, Bio-Luminaire will continue to protect 24/7 against bacterial growth, as well as provide a reliable and maintenance-free light source. The proven and safe BioCote® technology is not a coating but impregnated into the diffuser sheet and paint of the luminaire at the time of manufacture so will not wear away over time. Independently tested in a UK laboratory, Bio-Luminaire™ has been proven to kill over 99% of bacteria within 2 hours upon the surface on the luminaire and effective against MRSA, E.Coli and Influenza as well as some common viruses, making it an ideal addition or replacement to your existing lighting. Not only can Bio-Luminaire™ help reduce your energy
consumption but also reduce any ongoing maintenance costs thanks to its high-quality construction and LED light source. Designed and manufactured in the UK, the standard ceiling luminaire comes in both recessed and surfacemounted versions. The Bio-R version developed for quick and easy installation into popular 600x600mm ceiling grid systems and the surface-mounted option (Bio-S) for installation on standard ceilings. The recent addition to the range is the wall-mounted version (Bio-W) offers a rugged yet modern design ideal for illuminating walkways, corridors, and stairwells. Finished with a tough powder coated white finish as standard with your choice of coloured trim options to match your environment if required. To ensure compatibility across all technological platforms the Bioluminaire™ range is designed to work with Fixed Output/DALI/1-10V dimmable drivers or having an integral standard, Self-Test and DALI addressable emergency functionality. We can also incorporate a wide variety of sensors that can communicate via Bluetooth technology. For more information on the Bio-Luminaire™ range please visit www.bio-luminaire.co.uk or email email@example.com or call us on 01376 331 515.
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CATERING FOR CARE
Texture Modified Foods – Eating For Pleasure and Health
By Mandy Davies, Head of Nutrition & Dietetics at Elior UK (www.elior.co.uk)
Let me tell you about dysphagia - Imagine being too scared to eat. Imagine not being able to eat your favourite foods. It’s simply unimaginable for most of us, yet for many care home residents it’s very real. Up to 75% live with dysphagia (swallowing difficulties) leaving them unable to eat everyday foods in an everyday way. Various health events can lead to dysphagia, such as stroke, cancers including head and neck cancer, learning disabilities and progressive neurological disorders. Whilst dysphagia can affect all ages, its occurrence disproportionally affects the ‘older adult’, hence the prevalence in the care home setting. Dysphagia can affect swallowing food or drinks, chewing, sucking, controlling saliva, taking medication, or protecting the airway from choking. Having swallowing difficulties greatly impacts on an individual’s quality of life. People who do not receive a diet that meets their individual needs are vulnerable to malnutrition, dehydration and weight loss, as well as psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Why Texture Modified Foods? – The swallowing process is made up
of 3 stages (oral, pharyngeal and oesophageal). Safe and successful swallowing depends on each stage of the swallowing process being completed and happening at the right time. In a person with dysphagia, any or all the swallowing stages may be delayed. This increases the risk of choking and aspiration, which can be fatal. Altering the consistency of food and liquids (TMF) provides individuals with a better opportunity to swallow food and drink safely. NHS Improvements called for all NHS staff to use clearly categorised food textures, as published by the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). This was enforced internationally from March 2019 to ensure patients of all ages and all cultures, are fed safely and correctly according to their individual needs across all care settings. TMF must be prescribed by a Speech & Language Therapist. The Food: TMF is not just pureed food and it’s certainly more than just mashed potato. It is about modifying the consistency and texture of foods and drinks to safely maintain oral nutrition wherever possible. It is about offering texture modified meals that are consistent in texture using a variety of safe foods. It is about enabling people living with dysphagia to dine with dignity by offering tasty, nutritious and recognisable meals. It is about inclusion. The People: Supporting people living with dysphagia is everyone’s responsibility. It is vital that IDDSI descriptors are used by all health professionals in the UK, and that food is cooked and prepared to the required consistency – with love! Chef’s preparing TMF should undergo robust training and have competencies assessed at regular intervals. Enhanced training, including piping skills is a must for an integrous approach. Food service is just as
important, and the social opportunities should be not be overshadowed by medicalisation. We’re all human and mealtimes should be enjoyed by all. Mandy Davies, Head of Nutrition & Dietetics, joined the Elior UK family last year. Following on from Caterplus’ award for their Dining with Dignity Programme in 2020 she is on a mission to drive inclusivity and promote great food choices for everyone. When she’s not working, you can find her walking, trail running or entertaining friends.
Are You in Need of Dysphagia Training ? *
*This training is intended for healthcare professionals only. Did you know that between 50-75% of nursing home residents suffer from dysphagia1? Nutricia has a training solution for you, a FREE e-learning covering the fundamentals of dysphagia management using Nutilis Clear. The training is divided into 4 sections and has been specially designed for busy health and social care staff caring for people living with dysphagia. It takes 60 minutes in total to complete, however you can complete one section at a time. How can this training help you? • Easy & convenient online solution to dysphagia training • Visibility to track progress in your care home • Raise the quality standard of dysphagia care in a consistent way The quality standards aim is for all new health and social care staff members caring for
patients with Dysphagia to complete the modules as part of their induction programme. Existing health and social care staff members should also complete the learning to support their continuing professional development. There is a certificate that can be downloaded once the training has been successfully completed. Use the camera on your phone to scan the QR code to access the e-learning and get started! For any questions contact your local Nutricia sales representative or our Resource Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nutilis Clear is a Food for Special Medical Purposes for the dietary management of dysphagia and must be used under medical supervision. Reference: 1. O’Loughlin G, Shanley C. Swallowing problems in the nursing home: a novel training response. Dysphagia 1998; 13, 172-183.( https://www.rcslt.org/speech-and-language-therapy/clinical-information/dysphagia)
EF Group Launches CaterCloud - The Secret Ingredient for Menu Management Success Manchester-based, EF Group has announced it is offering free for life access to its new cloud-based, menu management platform, CaterCloud, which launched this week. The easy-to-use, next generation allergen, nutrition, menu planning and costing system offers a wealth of enhanced functionality to help caterers gain significant efficiencies in their operations, to control costs and increase profits. CaterCloud helps businesses ensure food safety remains a key focus. With food labelling regulations set to change in October 2021, as a result of Natasha’s Law, all England-based businesses working in the food industry will be required to clearly label all foods produced and packed on their premises with a full list of ingredients detailing the full allergen profile. Designed to help businesses prepare for this upcoming regulation, CaterCloud provides sub-allergen information and tagging; QR Code scanning for live allergen and nutritional information, along with the ability to print Natasha’s Law compliant food labels. CaterCloud also offers customers access to a range of accredited training for allergen awareness and food safety. CaterCloud’s innovative functionality also boasts many other benefits to enable simple menu management for caterers across the hospitality, healthcare, education and retail sectors. It offers effective menu planning with dish and menu costings; access to a nutritional database with 1,000s of ingredients and customisable dashboards to record KPIs. Users of CaterCloud can also join the e-foods’ Buyers’ Club and benefit from its substantial buying power. The Buyers’ Club is made up of a net-
work of trusted accredited suppliers across the UK. Users can purchase food and non-food goods from these suppliers with savings of between 5 to 10%. Paul Mizen, Chief Executive, EF Group said: “The service industries are
moving at pace towards technology to help meet their stock ordering, menu planning and compliance challenges. Our experience shows that there is increasing demand for more advanced dish and menu costing tools, as well as detailed, easy to use product data. “Catering managers require their menu management software to seamlessly integrate with their ordering systems and demand best value from their food suppliers. With CaterCloud, we will remain at the forefront of delivering the innovative features the industry needs. “The entire catering industry has been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and as businesses work hard to recover, we are providing CaterCloud for free to help maximise efficiencies and reduce costs. This is our way of giving something back to the industry upon which our business is founded.” CaterCloud is a web-based menu planning, nutrition, allergen and costing system which is part of the E-F Group. CaterCloud helps hundreds of hospitality businesses deliver performance and control costs while reducing food safety risks. CaterCloud is committed to innovation in food management, its leading-edge platform helps to manage food offerings from front desk to kitchens, with the aim of improving efficiency in catering operations. Live menu costings help businesses to see how their business is performing every day, enabling them to focus on producing quality food and increasing profitability. CaterCloud’s clients are mainly in the following sectors: healthcare, education, hospitality and retail. For more information, see the advert on page 22 or visit www.CaterCloudCare.com
CATER FOR ALL
WITH THE UK’S NO.1
GLUTEN FREE GRAVY
Find out more at ufs.com/knorrprofessional Support. Inspire. Progress. ^Aggregated wholesaler data. Gravy Report UK (Latest Period 52WE 11 Oct 2020). *Department on Health UK 2017 salt targets. **This product does not contain allergenic ingredients which require declaration under EU regulation 1169/2011 (Annex II)
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CATERING FOR CARE
Cinnamon Care Collection and QCS Join Forces To Create New Food Safety Toolkit
A luxury UK care home group and a leading compliance provider have come together to create a food safety manual for care home caterers, which is being released today.
Cinnamon Care Collection, which operates an exclusive group of care homes and retirement developments across the UK and Quality Compliance Systems (QCS), a leading provider of content, guidance and standards for the social care sector, spent a year working on the new manual, which is available to all QCS customers at a discounted rate. The driving force for the partnership was to create a practical, userfriendly toolkit which also provides care home catering staff with a set of easy-to-use compliance tools to record, log and evidence industry guidance and best practice, meeting the highest standards of food safety and hygiene. The food safety manual contains 86 documents divided into six distinct categories which will be regularly updated by QCS. The manual breaks down each of the processes and provides logical guidance to catering teams, helping to ensure residents receive food prepared to exacting standards for care home residents. Rob Burcher, Cinnamon Care Collection’s Regional Support Service Manager, said, “We’re very proud to be rolling-out the food safety manual in partnership with QCS. While it meets FSA regulations and CQC requirements, what really makes it stand out from other manuals is that it is a realworld document, written in accessible language, which every member of the catering team in a care home can relate to. Another unique aspect of the toolkit is that it not only provides caterers with up-to-date guidance, but the templates, the posters and the questionnaires bring compliance and best practice to the forefront of food preparation and kitchen safety.” Leah Cooke, QCS’s Customer and Policy Lead, added, “We are delighted
Can Food Boost The Immune System? Since Covid-19 came into our lives, focus on the immune system and suggestions regarding immuneboosting food has been rife. Tess Warnes, BSc RD, Registered Dietitian at independent food procurement experts allmanhall, provides advice… Important nutrients for effective immune function are: • Copper – bread, fortified breakfast cereals, meat, fish, beans, pulses, seeds, and nuts • Folate - bread, fortified breakfast cereals, citrus fruits, beans pulses • Iron - fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrains, meat, pulses, green leafy veg, nuts, eggs, dried fruit • Selenium - bread, nuts, seeds, seafood
to have worked with Rob and his team on this project. We think that the manual content, which was provided by the Cinnamon Care Collection team, gives care home caterers all the tools they need to excel in kitchen safety and food hygiene. We look forward to making the toolkit universally available so that every care provider in the UK can benefit from it.” To discover what is included in the QCS Food Safety Manual, please watch: https://youtu.be/DxBvvI0J0Sw?utm_source=FoodSafetyManual&ut m_medium=Youtube
Click on the following link to access a free kitchen cleaning schedule: https://www.qcs.co.uk/kitchen-cleaning-schedule
• Zinc - fortified breakfast cereals, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, nuts • Vitamin A – milk, eggs, orange coloured fruit and veg • Vitamin B6 – meat, fish, milk, cheese, seeds, eggs, wholegrains • Vitamin B12, - eggs, milk, cheese, meat. Fish marmite, fortified breakfast cereals • Vitamin C – fruit and vegetables, potatoes • Vitamin D - fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, oily fish No one food is recommended over another – balance is key. The immuno-protection of many of these nutrients is based on their antioxidant capacity which is lost if consumed in excess. Beneficial bacteria (probiotic bacteria) ensure good health and prevent diseases. To support good gut health, ensure residents eat a wide range of foods, high fibre foods and live foods. In case of specific challenges in meeting the dietary
requirements, supplements can be used to add nutrients to a resident’s diet. Unfortunately, the complexity of the immune system means that it cannot be modified acutely by a specific nutritional intervention. Rather, ensuring residents adhere to a healthy diet is important and may even delay the process of immunosenescence (the natural gradual deterioration of the immune system as people age). There is no convincing evidence that any food or dietary pattern can ‘boost’ the immune system and prevent or treat Covid-19. Find out more at www.allmanhall.co.uk/blog
Parkinson’s and Mindful Eating By Jane Clarke, BSc (Hons) SRD DSc, Founder of Nourish by Jane Clarke (www.nourishbyjaneclarke.com)
eating challenges – whether caused by Parkinson’s or another health condition – can experience the pleasure, ritual and sensory and emotional fulfilment provided by sitting down to a meal.
Eating is such a simple joy, and such a loss when a condition such as Parkinson’s Disease makes it difficult. There are a number of factors that can make mealtimes a struggle. Parkinson’s can affect the muscles in the jaw, face and tongue, meaning that biting, chewing and swallowing food is a challenge. Even when a mouthful is swallowed, diminished strength and movement in the muscles along the intestine results in food taking longer than usual to travel from mouth to stomach. As mealtimes become prolonged, the appetite can wane and food goes cold on the plate, leaving the individual hungry and dissatisfied. A dry mouth can be a problem for people living with Parkinson’s, making chewing and swallowing uncomfortable, and meaning they don’t experience the full flavour of food. Conversely, producing too much saliva is another common problem. Drooling, choking and spitting doesn’t just make eating difficult, it can lead to social embarrassment and a reluctance to sit down to a meal with others. These issues don’t mean that, as carers, we must default to the plainest purees and synthetic meal replacements to provide the nourishment a person needs. There are ways to savour real food and to ensure those facing
One of the joys of food – and it’s something that so-called ‘mindful eating’ reminds us of – is a pleasure that goes beyond flavour. It’s the feel of food in our mouth and the sensory tingle as even the smallest amount hits our taste buds, whether that’s the sweet chill of a lick of ice cream or a sip of warming broth. Sadly, that feeling isn’t easily available to all. Over the years I’ve been in practise, I’ve worked with many people who have found it difficult to chew and swallow in order to eat and nourish themselves, due to conditions such as Parkinson’s. It has been noticed that patients who are unable to eat whole foods, love to hear about the food you have been eating, as if they could enjoy it by proxy – you may find that those you care for ask what you’ve had for dinner, or want to watch food programmes on TV. I would always indulge this desire, as talking about food can waken the appetite, and tempt someone reluctant to eat to perhaps try a few mouthfuls. Take the time to discover the flavours that someone enjoys most, and see if you can incorporate them into their mealtimes. That might mean taking the same ingredients and enjoying them in a new way – a soft chowder rather than fish and chips, for example; or poached blackberries with Greek yoghurt instead of blackcurrant crumble. Present dishes such as purées with love and care. Instead of a plate with dollops on, ramekins or even a soup served in a little espresso cup can feel and look far more appetising. Remember, we eat with our eyes so the way food looks has an enormous impact on how tempted we feel to eat it.
CONSISTENCY & FLAVOUR There are some easy tips that reduce the choking and swallowing hazards in a meal. • Find alternatives to liquidised meals. Rather than simply pureeing meals, which can make a person feel disempowered and dispirited, try to find softer alternatives. Try an appetising shepherd’s pie served in a small ramekin instead of struggling with the classic Sunday roast. • Slow-roasting meat such as lamb in a good stock alongside root vegetables until they all melt in the mouth and become less challenging to swal-
low can be delicious for everyone to eat. • Spread a soft crumpet with butter or soft cheese, rather than serving crisp and crumbly toast. • Serve easy to swallow puddings such as mousse, lemon pudding and trifle. With cakes, think a moist ginger cake instead of a flapjack or a rich fruit cake, which often contains nuts and more challenging ingredients. Or try bread and butter pudding if the dried fruits have been cooked so they are really soft. • Thicken liquids as some people find thin fluids trickier to swallow. Soups, a smoothie given body with ingredients like avocado, banana or a dollop of nut butter can be a good way to ensure they have enough fluids. Italianstyle soups which have soaked bread in them, such as ribollita, can be gorgeous and much easier to swallow than a thin consommé. If you have a thinner soup and want to thicken it, then adding some mashed potato, cream or Greek-style yoghurt is another idea. • Don’t be afraid of using spices and more intense flavours such as garlic, a little chilli or fresh ginger. They not only stimulate the taste buds, but they can activate the brain’s response and encourage swallowing. You can, for instance, stew fruits such as apricots in cardamom and a little orange – delicious not only from the spice, but also because stewing the fruit will really intensify the flavours.
PEG TUBES Some people who cannot swallow easily may require a PEG, which is a tube inserted directly into the intestine or stomach, sometimes via the nose, through which nourishing liquids can pass. In this way, the body can receive all the nutrients it needs. What it can’t do is provide the sensory joy of food and eating. Sometimes, it simply isn’t possible to attempt chewing and swallowing at all. But there are many people who, with a PEG to take away the stress of trying to eat enough, can still enjoy the sensation of food in their mouths. It could simply be a sip of soup or a smidgen of Greek yoghurt. Taking a moment really to savour the taste and sensation of food when in the company of others, can do so much to make the person you care for feel a part of the world and not isolated or defined by their illness. Even when they have difficulty eating or need a PEG tube to deliver the majority of their nourishment, every mouthful matters.
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 41
LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS Forbes Professional Provides Critical Laundry Appliances to the Care Industry
Effective laundry and dishwashing processes have always been vital to the efficient running of any care environment. This has never been more critical than in this COVID era, where infection control is absolutely paramount. Throughout the pandemic, Forbes Professional has provided an uninterrupted provision of essential services to the healthcare sector. We have been approached by hospitals and care homes from across the UK requir-
ing compliant solutions with a rapid turn around and a swift, reliable service support. We have implemented the requisite enhanced hygiene measures to ensure that we are COVID-secure, and continue to deliver the same/next day response that our clients depend upon. Our National Account Manager, John Dobbs, says ‘Throughout the pandemic, demand has been extremely high from hospitals and both national and local care home operators. Miele’s hygiene dishwashers and washing machines provide a fully compliant solution to the healthcare sector and our first-class engineer response has been utterly invaluable.’ Never before has the importance of finding a trusted service partner been so underpinned. The care sector need to know that they can deliver continuous and hygienic decontamination and laundering, and that relies on having fully-functioning commercial grade machines at all times. Conact Forbes Professional 0345 070 2335 email@example.com www.forbespro.co.uk
5 Reasons Why You Should Choose LaundryTec Chester based LaundryTec since its foundation in early 2016 has become one of Alliance Internationals major UK distributers. Founded by Jeremy Hartigan, the team of industry professionals with the backing of the Alliance Lavamac brand and supported by its service partner PDS Laundry based in Nuneaton. They supply a significant number of the UK’s leading health care operators with equipment, installation and after sale support. The LaundryTec designs offer not only washing, drying and ironing equipment but a full range of handling, distribution, folding and identification systems, to create a fully functioning laundry complete with all items necessary for efficient operation. Every LaundryTec machine includes full installation options, including the removal and disposal of an existing machine. A training program and a minimum of 24
months part and labour warranty. The environment is at the forefront of every operator’s mind. Standard specification on a Lavamac machine includes functions that automatically weigh and control the energy input into the machine and store the data in the machines memory. Our LS range of electric heat pump dryers require no ventilation or gas services and operates at 3kw per hour.
5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE LAUNDRYTEC 1. Cost 2. Efficiency 3. Service 4. Design 5. Innovation Telephone 0151 317 3127 Web www..laundrytec.com
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Cost Quality Service Design Innovation
PAGE 42 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41
Managing Medicines In Care Homes. Effective Remote Consultations. By Steve Turner, nurse prescriber and Managing Director of Care Right Now CIC It is now common for clinicians to carry out consultations with patients over the ‘phone or online. Here are some simple suggestions to help staff in care homes prepare for an effective consultation. Our patient led clinical education work is showing that this can greatly improve the effectiveness and outcomes, even to the extent that an online or ‘phone consultation may be preferable in cases where a hands-on clinical examination is not required. Whether you are assisting the resident to have the consultation or carrying it out on their behalf I recommend that you write some notes beforehand. Here is a brief guide to producing a simple checklist that will help you prepare for the consultation and lead to an agreed plan for what to do next. In preparation, you may need to take some observations, e.g., temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and other measurements, including the resident’s feelings, behaviour changes, mood, cognition, mobility, and areas such as sleep & appetite. If the problem is something visible (like a rash for example) send pictures & monitor changes over time. Use early warning scoring systems where appropriate. Think particularly about what the resident would like to have happen. This is a question you may well be asked.
If you are speaking to clinician who does not have the person’s records to hand, be sure to have a list of their previous illnesses, long term conditions and treatments, plus a list of all clinicians and therapists they are currently seeing. The person’s preferences and beliefs about treatments, including on resuscitation & end of life care (often called advanced decisions or advance care plans), and whether anyone has Power of Attorney is a ‘Deputy’ in relation to their health and care need to be included. You also need details of the person’s (current and past) medicines. This must include details of any allergies, sensitivities of previous adverse reactions. This may be critical. This list should include prescribed medicines; over the counter medicines; as required (prn) medicines, including the effect these have; herbal medicines; complementary medicines; vitamins and supplements and any other therapies they are receiving. In addition, diet, smoking and alcohol intake can affect medicines. You also need to have information on the person’s beliefs and ideas about medicines, and anything they do not want to take. At the end of the consultation, you should confirm that all concerns have been listened to and have an agreed action plan , to be documented in the resident’s notes. This plan may be ‘watch and wait’ or may involve a change. You should also be clear on what to look for if the situation deteriorates, including who to call, and have access to related support and information for the resident. I believe taking time to prepare for consultations and insistence on having a clear agreed plan as the product of the consultation will help improve outcomes & may even save someone’s life. There is emerging evidence that good remote consultations, where applicable, save time
and can sometimes be preferable to face to face consultations when all factors are considered. About the author: Steve Turner is a nurse prescriber, Managing Director of Care Right Now CIC, Head of Medicines and Prescribing for MedicineGov.org, Information Governance Lead for CareMeds Ltd and Associate Lecturer at Plymouth University. You can find more on this, & related topics, at Steve’s blog site: https://medicinegovorgmedlearn-innovation-event-nhs.blog/ Contact firstname.lastname@example.org 07931 919 330.
ATLAS eMAR - The Only Proven eMar for Care Homes in the UK
ATLAS eMAR is the only independently evaluated medication administration system that has been shown to eradicate 21 out of 23 medication error types, save 65 staff hours per month on medication, representing over £1500 savings per month and improve accountability by reducing missing entries by 85%. There are four unique features of ATLAS eMAR: 1. Use of barcode validation to ensure all the rights of medicine administration are checked. This feature eradicates most common medication errors. 2. Automatic two-way link between the pharmacy and care home. This ensures that the pharmacy is aware of therapy changes made at the home and can sort out discrepancies with prescriptions before they become errors. The pharmacy can also see all prescription requests and the actual stock counts of each medicine at the care home. This leads to efficiencies in ordering, booking in and returning of medicines.
3. The data from ATLAS eMAR on medication administrations can now be viewed on most e-care planning platforms through our open API. This means that all aspects of resident care including medications can now be viewed in one place. 4. ATLAS eMAR can now be used on any suitable android device. This means that if you already have an android device for e-care plans, then you can run ATLAS eMAR on it, making it a very cost effective option. ATLAS eMAR has a national network of enabled pharmacies and can work with any pharmacy, as long as they agree to support the care home with the technology. The implementation is detailed and fully supported. Training is via on-line elearning and webinars. Over 95% of care homes who implemented ATLAS eMAR indicated that they would never go back to their traditional medication system. Visit www.atlasemar.com or see the advert on page 34 for further details.
everyLIFE’s PASS and NHS Digital’s GP Connect join up Health & Social Care Information sharing and interoperability between Health & Social Care took a significant step forward today with an industry first integration between GPs and social care providers through the implementation of GP Connect Access Record: HTML with everyLIFE’s PASS digital care management system. Taffy Gatawa, everyLIFE’s Clinical Safety Officer said, “Ensuring that the right information is in the right hands at the right time to deliver safe care and the best possible care outcomes has been at the core of what everyLIFE was set up in 2014 to achieve. With real time sharing from today of clinically relevant data such as Problems and Issues, Allergies and Adverse Reactions, Acute and Repeat Medication between GPs and authorised social care clinicians, the provision of person-centred care takes a milestone leap forward. Michelle McDermott, Programme Manager in GP Connect at NHS Digital, said “This is a really important step in more joined up care and we’re thrilled
to be working with the social care suppliers to allow access to the GP Patient record for clinicians working with social care settings. everyLIFE’s enthusiasm for this project has been great to see and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the name of better patient care” Juliette Millard, Head of Clinical Governance, Newcross Healthcare Solutions commented, “We are really excited about GP Connect within PASS, it will have a positive impact for our clinicians and how we manage medicines for our service users living in the community. It will also enable us to access changing information about the health and wellbeing of the people we support in a timely way, ensuring that we work in true partnership with our medical and healthcare colleagues to achieve the best outcomes possible.” For further information visit everyLIFE Technologies Limited t. 0330 094 0122 w. www.everylifetechnologies.com
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 45
TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE
Why Technology Enabled Compliance Systems Are The Future Home health care provider Cera Care recently chose QCS to assist it with compliance. In doing so, a member of the Cera Care team became the 100,000th user to access the QCS system. In this case study, Cera Care’s Regional Director, Theresa Cull, reveals how the QCS platform is helping Cera Care to manage its compliance requirements. What is the greatest barrier to delivering outstanding domiciliary care? Ask any experienced Registered Manager and they're likely to list recruitment and retention as the top challenge. But the Pandemic has also demonstrated the value of embedding a culture of technology within care services – something which is still relatively rare in the care sector. It is, however, what sets Cera Care, a London-based technologyenabled domiciliary care company, apart from other providers. Launched in 2016, Cera, which operates a nationwide home care service, has been using technology to help its frontline carers plan and deliver an outstanding package of person-centred care.
TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN COMPLIANCE But Cera Care understands that innovation comes in many different forms. Take compliance, for example. Cera Care is using technology to revolutionise compliance by providing care workers with the latest guidance in the form of curated, easy-to-read content - as and when it is required. Cera Care approached QCS, which operates the UK’s leading content platform for the healthcare sector, to help it with its compliance needs. Cera Care had begun to acquire a number of traditional care businesses across the UK. In February, it purchased Mears Care, which has operations in England, Wales and Scotland. With each nation governed by a separate regulatory body, it began tailoring compliance for each country. Quality Compliance Systems, has assisted Cera Care in helping it to deliver the right content, to the right worker, at the right time regardless of which country they are operating from.
CERA CARE: TAKING COMPLIANCE TO A NEW LEVEL Theresa Cull, the Scottish Regional Director of Cera Care believes that Cera Care’s approach to compliance, and its partnership with QCS is a potential game-changer for her staff and the people they care for.
She explains, “The system will save us time, as we’ll no longer have to trawl the Care Inspectorate’s or the Scottish government’s websites for the latest changes in protocol. At the peak of Pandemic, when guidance was changing several times each daily, simply updating policies and procedures was incredibly time consuming. Now, however, the new system will give us the peace of mind that the policies we’re accessing are not only up-to-date, but have been individually tailored to the needs of service users in the country that we’re operating in. That’s incredibly important – especially for new starters who might confuse the Mental Capacity Act (England) with the Adults with Incapacity Act (Scotland).”
INCREASED ACCESSIBILITY Mrs Cull, who has worked in the care sector for over 30 years, also believes that the culture of innovation that Cera Care has instilled within its staff, will also increase accessibility and engagement. She says that the content, which is divided into a number of different formats, such as policies, guides, checklists and audit tools, is not only “very easy to understand, but the QCS platform that supports it is highly scalable”. “Care workers can access QCS on their desktops, smartphones and tablets. For anybody in home care, this is essential as if they’re caring for a client, and want to check on a policy, instead of ringing the office, they can check the policy by typing the QCS platform URL into their device.”
PROMOTING EVEN GREATER ENGAGEMENT AND UNDERSTANDING In terms of promoting even closer engagement, Mrs Cull says that the bespoke reading lists that Cera Care and QCS partnership will allow her to create for staff could prove a great way of “checking understanding and also reinforcing any knowledge gaps”. She explains, “We find that there are one or two recurring policy areas – such as the ‘No Access Policy’ and medication protocol - that staff find particularly challenging. When we begin using the new system, however, it will not only tell me that my staff have read a particular policy, but it will also let me know how long they've spent reading it. If, for example, a care worker has only spent a few seconds reading the update, it will immediately flag on my dashboard.”
CERA CARE: CHAMPIONING BETTER COMPLIANCE UNDERSTANDING While carers from the UK account for the vast majority of domiciliary care staff, there are a minority of workers – around 20 percent – who have come from overseas. Cera Care recognises that care workers, who receive policies and procedures in their native tongue, can understand and implement compliance much more easily. Working with QCS, it has ensured that its staff policies and procedures have been translated into over 100 different languages. Mrs Cull adds, “While it’s important to say that most domiciliary care
policies are from the UK, we do employ care workers from abroad. No matter how fluent a person is in English, I think it’s both reassuring and comforting that that they can access new guidance in their first language. From an efficiency perspective, it’s also likely to save us time because previously we hired translators to translate complex guidance into English.”
VIDEO-BASED TRAINING But Cera Care, which invests heavily in staff training and development, also recognises that everybody learns differently. Theresa Cull thinks that taking a multi-faceted approach to professional development will add great value. “We’ve already witnessed the role that video-based training can play. Every care worker at Cera Care can access it. It is particularly useful when it comes to a procedure such as preparing, changing and disposing of a stoma bag, as seeing a stoma for the first time can be quite frightening for inexperienced staff. Having read the policy, and checklist, we find that having access to a video as the final preparatory step is the best ways to mentally prepare staff before they undergo practical training.”
EMBRACING COLLABORATIVE COMPLIANCE Cera Care has always practiced outstanding compliance. It is firmly built into its DNA. But what separates it from other homecare providers is a desire to use technology to explore new ways to continuously improve person-centred compliance. While Cera Care’s compliance and technology teams have - and always will - lead the way in this respect, Theresa Cull says that QCS’s digital platform has added value. She concludes, “We pride ourselves on always being able to supply frontline workers with the right compliance tools which enable them to provide outstanding care. By providing us with templates, care plans, audit and surveying tools, QCS, however, will make that task a little bit easier for us. It will save us time. In the future, it ought to be possible to use the time saved to lay the groundwork for new policies, such as protocols around car sharing, for example. And we know we can always approach QCS for best practice guidance and advice and they’ll come back to us in 24 hours with the information we need.” For further information on Cera Care visit www.ceracare.co.uk For further information about QCS visit www.qcs.co.uk or see the advert on the back cover.
Turn To Tech To Relieve Pressure and Improve Experience By Stephanie Vaughan-Jones, Moneypenny (www.moneypenny.com) those in need. Here, Stephanie Vaughan-Jones, Head of Healthcare Sector at Moneypenny – the leading outsourced communications provider – explains how.
ALWAYS BE AVAILABLE
The care sector has faced enormous pressures this year – all under the spotlight of the world’s media. The outbreak of Covid-19 has rewritten the rules and for care homes, it’s been a battle to protect residents and staff, while continuing to provide quality care and communicate clearly with concerned families. The pandemic has had an impact on communications habits, too. During times of unrest, people naturally want to reach out for support so the phone has become a lifeline for many seeking updates on loved ones that they’re unable to visit. Living in a 24/7 society, there’s round the clock demand and care staff are forced to juggle external communications with delivering care which can be extremely overwhelming – particularly out of hours. Technology has the power to help overcome this mounting pressure and leave carers to focus on what’s really important – looking after
Being accessible for residents’ families is a crucial part of running a care home – it’s what helps to make people connected with their loved one’s care givers. The telephone is the primary means of communication and has been critical during the pandemic with call volumes increasing significantly. It’s not just about maintaining a family connection, there’s an important commercial benefit to being readily available. Covid-19 means there’s an increased demand for care services and the phone is a major channel for new enquiries. If you’re accessible, friendly and professionally over the phone, it gives an indicator as to the values you have as a care home – you can not only put families at ease but also fill vacant beds quickly. Society has adapted to digital communication but there’s no replacement for human interaction. The introduction of alternative methods has simply rendered ‘real life’ conversation even more valuable. A phone call offers assurance and familiarity that you only get from speaking with a human being – particularly during times of need. That’s why being able to answer and handle calls quickly and efficiently is essential – it’s unacceptable to let the phone ring out or leave callers on hold for extended amounts of time. If this happens, messages aren’t relayed or calls missed – it starts to impact reputation and this can be hard to come back from. By outsourcing telephone answering – either on an overflow basis or entirely – care homes can rest assured that they’ll never miss a call – no matter how busy staff get. Callers will always get through to someone friendly and professional, who understands and represents a care
home’s individual brand.
PUT YOUR WEBSITE TO WORK Another way of streamlining customer experience is through the inclusion of live chat on a website. Consumers carry out lots of research online and there’s a growing expectation that they can communicate with your brand this way. The instant nature of live chat is what has made it so popular. Web visitors appreciate the opportunity to ask quick questions, right there and then, whilst browsing online. Others simply prefer not to talk on the phone and favour the messenger-style experience live chat offers. People expect a wide variety of channels through which they can communicate – live chat is still a relatively untapped area for care homes but it can be a valuable part of this solution. It provides an instant and easy way to get in touch and triages enquiries to keep volume away from the phones. Live chat technology generates six times more website engagement and encourages visitors who wouldn’t otherwise take the time to email or call, to engage with you. The solution also stores important details securely, allowing for a more informed and seamless follow-up. The reality is that we’ll be feeling the impact of the pandemic for months to come, so increased pressure on phones and other channels will remain. If standards are slipping, care homes can address these issues easily by looking to outsourced tech. Telephone answering support allows care providers to focus on the clinical aspect of their role and live chat is proven to improve digital presence and keep call volumes down. In difficult times, communicating well with the outside world offers an opportunity to stand out. It goes hand in hand with customer care and gives people confidence in the efficiency and quality of the service you provide.
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 47
TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Evaluation of Remote Reliant Care Solutions Ltd WHY SHOULD CARE HOMES MOVE FROM PAPER TO ELECTRONIC TIME SHEETS The industry is under considerable financial pressures. An efficient electronic booking on/off system that will schedule, provide budgets, calculate hours worked, overtime and absence such as sickness and holiday entitlement will save Time and Money.
HOW IS TIME AND MONEY SAVED BY DOING THINGS ELECTRONICALLY? Collecting payroll information from paper timesheets can be slow, prone to errors, and very labour intensive. Staff rosters can be produced as far in advance as practical and accurate within budgeted hours. Staff book on and off-duty electronically, thus eliminating any time errors. Wage queries are virtually eliminated and immediate checks can be made without wading through reams of paper which invariably are inaccurate, misfiled or even 'lost".
THERE ARE MANY SYSTEMS ON THE MARKET WHY FACIAL RECOGNITION IS IMPORTANT AND
HOW IT WORKS
Some systems use tokens, which can be lost or left at home, requiring management involvement in the booking on/off procedure. Fingerprint systems can be beaten and Social media is awash with ways to copy fingerprints. Face recognition combined with a staff PIN is simple to use and manage using touch screen technology and web cams. Staff see their image displayed immediately when booking on or off and confirms their identity visually. It provides the best deterrent available as it builds a greater 'image knowledge’ of each employee, a picture is worth a thousand words. Eliminates 'buddy punching' where employees can book colleagues on/off duty using someone’s tokens, swipe card or even fingerprint.
HOW IS DATA PROTECTED?
With the correct security setup computer systems provide more data protection than paper-based records which can be easily removed or stolen. GDPR covers all data including paper records and therefore the chances of infringing the rules and incurring fines is greater with paper. For further information visit www.rcscare.net or call 03333 444 562.
Mainteno Facilities Maintenance and Management Software Whether it’s managing planned maintenance or dealing with fault repairs, Mainteno simplifies the day-to-day maintenance of almost any organisation. Mainteno also seamlessly incorporates asset management and tracking. Mainteno streamlines every aspect of the maintenance management process, saving your organisation time and money.
USABILITY MADE AFFORDABLE Mainteno was designed with practicality in mind. The interface is so intuitive that basic operation can be learned in minutes, and you can be a power user in one afternoon. Elegant usability usually means a hefty price tag. However, our pricing structure means that for small organisations, Mainteno can cost as little as two cups
of coffee a month. No set-up fees, no lengthy contracts and a free trial, all mean that the system starts paying for itself straight away. Dr Asif Raja, Bsc MBBS Summercare Managing Director says “Facing significant challenges of ever increasing quality and compliance demands upon time and resources as well considerable economic pressures, Summercare, an award winning provider of residential care and housing related support, sought to upgrade their systems for managing the property and environmental aspects of its service delivery. After an extensive period of investigation and research Mainteno was selected as the platform of choice for the entire organization based on its ease of use, very short-term contract, quick set up and ongoing support.” Visit www.mainteno.com, Tel: 020 8798 3713 or email email@example.com
Watch the short video at https://vimeo.com/425488696
web: www.mainteno.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monitoring Technology Begins In Derbyshire Care Homes
Following pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic in care homes, Derbyshire health and care system partners are evaluating the impact of new digital monitoring technology that helps to detect the deterioration of care home residents to support care home staff with timely escalation. Joined Up Care Derbyshire, the county’s Integrated Care System (ICS) which brings together health and social care organisations in Derbyshire, and the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN), the region’s innovation arm of the NHS working to test and spread innovative health and care solutions, are working with innovator Spirit Digital to introduce their remote monitoring platform, CliniTouch Vie, as part of a trial for Derbyshire care homes. The platform is designed to identify early signs of deterioration in care home residents, enabling care home staff to escalate and communicate this in an appropriate and timely manner. Catching deterioration of care homes residents early can significantly improve resident outcomes and will create better ways of working for care home staff, making the most of their time and skills. Leicester headquartered Spirit Digital’s remote monitoring platform, CliniTouch Vie, has been augmented with functionality to meet the specific needs of care home residents and staff. Using the platform, carers will take residents’ regular vital signs readings (including respirations, oxygen saturations, blood pressure, heart rate (pulse), temperature and assessment of their consciousness level including any new onset or worsening confusion) and answer personalised questions to identify changes in residents’ everyday wellbeing on a digital device. These readings are provided directly to specialist clinical staff who can then remotely connect with the care home staff to provide health and wellbeing advice for residents, and intervene when more urgent care is needed. As part of the trial, an education and training portal will be provided for all care home staff using the technology. The evaluation will last 6 months and work has started with the early adopter care homes, with others being contacted through December and into the New Year. The results will be used to provide evidence as to whether a large-scale deployment of this digital approach would be beneficial to the health and care
system in Derbyshire, the East Midlands and potentially nationally. Dawn Atkinson, Head of the Derbyshire Digital Workstream, Joined Up Care Derbyshire says: “This project is an exciting opportunity to test and evaluate how a digital solution can help care home teams to feel more supported by health services as they monitor the health and wellbeing of their residents. “We look forward to working with EMAHSN and Spirit Digital to test whether a digital platform can impact on the dual challenges of identifying deteriorating care home residents early, enabling care home staff to escalate residents to the correct and appropriate service, and providing a solution for Primary Care Networks to fulfil the ability to perform remote home rounds in a structured way. We aim to ensure high-quality, consistent care to residents within care homes whilst also ensuring the safety of residents, carers and clinicians.” Simon Applebaum, Managing Director, Spirit Digital, concludes: “We have been working over the last few months to make this latest technology available to help the NHS with its COVID-19 response, and enhanced it to help medical teams quickly identify when a person exhibits health deterioration so they can intervene earlier. We are proud to be in a position to support both the NHS and vulnerable people in Derbyshire through the development of CliniTouch Vie specifically for care home residents and carers. Being able to identify early warning signs of deterioration and intervene accordingly is key to keeping people safe in their environment and prevent avoidable hospital admissions, critical in today’s environment.” For further information please visit www.spirit-digital.co.uk, call 0800 881 5423 or email email@example.com
PAGE 48 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41
TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE
Why eLearning Is Part of the ‘New Normal’ The rapid turnover of staff in the care sector is an established and unfortunate fact. A state of play that care providers are forced to contend with constantly. Not only is this the cause of countless lost hours, but it also takes a hefty financial toll too. Skills for Care have estimated the cost to recruit, train and induct new carers at £3,642 per care worker. With a significant portion coming directly from training costs. Prior to COVID-19, forward thinking care providers were already starting to use eLearning instead of or as a compliment to face to face training. The current situation has compelled care providers eLearning the most sensible way to go for most if not all care providers.
able, flexible and efficient way to train staff. In 2007 he founded eLFY. Thirteen years later and eLFY is now used in over 5,000 registered care locations care across the UK and is the leading eLearning system for social care in the UK. What people love is the interactive learning, the ease of use and access anywhere, the comprehensive course library and of course, the much fairer pricing model. In the intervening years, the eLFY team have worked with experts in care sector training, regulations, and compliance and in eLearning design. develop a truly unbeatable learning library. Here are just some of the course categories on offer: • Mandatory courses (including infection prevention and control) • Care Certificate • Managerial courses • Clinical courses
WHAT’S eLEARNING FOR YOU AND WHY IS IT DIFFERENT?
While most eLearning platforms charge by the individual, eLearning for You, or eLFY for short, charges by the course or for an allocation of transferable user licenses. Crucially, this means that when a new carer replaces an outgoing one, they simply take on the leaving carer’s learning license, so you don’t need to pay again. That’s because we understand how the care sector works at the levels of senior management and the day-to-day, on the ground. eLFY’s founder, Rob Cousins, has operated his own care homes for over 17 years. Relatively soon after entering the care sector Rob saw the need for a more afford-
WristPIT from Pinpoint The WristPIT from Pinpoint,is a bespoke patient call transmitter designed to be worn on the wrist. This wrist-worn personal infrared transmitter (WristPIT) is easily accessible and allows patients to activate a call for even if they are away from their bed or a fixed call-point. Pinpoint’s renowned PIT technology (usually worn by staff for personal safety) has, for the first time, been designed around patient use. The WristPIT can withstand showering and brief submersion in water and also incorporates antimicrobial product protection, reducing the ability for bacteria to grow. According to figures published by the National Reporting and Learning System, around 250,000 incidents where patients required assistance in hospital were reported in 2015/16. In many cases, nursing staff remained unaware that a patient had had a fall for quite some time.
• Non-clinical courses • Ancillary courses • Advanced care courses
NEW HORIZONS A more recent addition is eCompetency. Designed by social care experts, eCompetency uses gamification to create a virtual and interactive environment. Learners are presented with real-world scenarios to properly assess their decision making and competency. eLFY’s rapid growth and reputation among care providers led them to be acquired by the Access Group earlier this year. eLFY is now delivered through Access Workspace, the unique single sign-on system that brings all your care software together in the same place. This joining together of forces will make it easier for Access’ 8,000+ care locations to take advantage of eLFY, particularly at a time when distanced learning seems like the only sensible option. Meanwhile care providers using eLFY are seeing exactly what else Access can do for them, whether it is electronic care plans, scheduling, medicine management, compliance, recruitment, screening, or something else, Access should have what you need. What eLFY users say: “We have been using eLearning For You for several years now and it’s helped to change the way we manage our training and develop our staff teams.” – Frank Walsh, Workforce Development Manager, Potens “Very easy online platform to use, especially on mobile. The content of the course was well presented and comprehensive.” – Iona Cioaca, Registered Manager, Runwood Homes Find out more about eLFY or book a demo at www.theaccessgroup.com/hsc or call 01202 725080 (Option 4).
Pressing the clearly labelled call button on the WristPIT notifies the personnel on duty that a patient is requesting help and informs staff exactly where the patient is. The call button is recessed and surrounded by a bump guard to prevent false alarms. Pinpoint Alarm Systems are installed in thousands of medical facilities throughout the UK and USA. The new WristPIT is backward compatible and easily integrated into existing Pinpoint Systems. A green LED indicates the WristPIT is ‘activated’ with good battery level. When the battery requires changing, the LED flashes red until the battery is changed and the device has been retested. In addition to being water-resistant, the WristPIT has been designed to withstand harsh environments and user tampering, meaning suitability for facilities where service users may be at risk of self-harm. For more information: www.pinpointlimited.com or see the advert on this page.
PINPOINT WRISTPIT The WristPIT is a wrist worn Personal Infrared Transmitter designed exclusively for patient use. The latest call button is recessed and surrounded by a bump guard to prevent false alarms. It is also backward compatible, allowing seamless integration into existing Pinpoint Systems.
DID YOU KNOW? Biomaster Technology is incorporated into all surface areas of the product during manufacture, inhibiting the growth of contaminating bacteria 24/7 for the lifetime of the product.
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 51
TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Strong Case For Digital Care Planning CARE VISION Switching from one digital system to another is a big decision. But Tim Whalley and the rest of the team at Birtley House Nursing Home knew what they wanted. The award-winning Surrey nursing home, Birtley House, is a family-run operator that’s been about since 1932. You could say that the nursing home tradition is in their DNA. They know what they need and why they need it. Even when it comes to technology. Just like empowering their residents to make their own choices, they were looking for a digital care planning system to empower staff delivering care effectively and safely. New Generation Supplier Unnecessary complexity and old school software were a regular nuisance for staff. Creating more problems than it solved. And if there’s one thing staff don’t need in the care sector it’s to be obstructed by the very thing designed to help them. Birtley House also wanted a solution they could customise to the scale of their home. To support how they deliver care. Tim Whalley, Director & Nominated Individual, elaborates: “We are now generating a
quality of care records that we never had before. It gives our staff the information they need quite literally in the palm of their hands.” Implementation Time: Smooth Sailing Or Windy Seas? Implementation is always a worry. You introduce fundamental changes to working routines for staff and residents. It’s not something that’s done by the flick of a switch. Every home would need to spend a bit of time configuring and setting up their system. For it to be a successful transition one would even need staff to lean in:
Care Control Systems Care Control Systems Ltd is proud to create the UK's best Care Management Software designed for use within all standard, niche and complex care settings. Care Control has been in constant development since 2010 and was made commercially available in 2016. Since then we have expanded across hundreds of providers within the UK and are well recognised as leaders in our field. Care Control is used by over 15,000 care professionals daily across the UK in multiple service types ensuring their services have
live, up-to-date essential information. Located in Tavistock, Devon our expert team is comprised of numerous industry specialists with many years of direct, hands-on care experience. This is one of our key USP’s. Our Managing Director, Matt Luckham started the creation of the original Care Control Software in 2010 with the aim to provide essential, accurate information for Spring House Care House in Devon. Matt had purchased Spring House in 2010. Matt developed the software and then spent 6 years proving its functional-
“Implementation was easier than expected. Excellent engagement from our staff helped a lot and I think everyone sensed this was a great opportunity to improve things.” Being available for questions and advice during the first period and on the go-live day is of essence. And onwards of course. That’s why some suppliers like Sekoia offer to stay the night. Onsite or online. So, the night shift is also comfortable with the new changes. Julie Eagleton, Care Delivery Coordinator at Birtley House elaborates: “From the start, it was just easy to use, even for me as one of the older members of the team I can find my way around it! Even those staff members who were originally advocating a return to pen and paper are now fully on board.” Luckily, Birtley House is already seeing promising signs with Sekoia. Tim concludes: “I think it is extremely powerful that the care staff can access the detail of a residents care plan directly from their mobile device in realtime.” Call (0)20 7751 4010, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see the advert on the facing page for further details. ity within Spring House. It soon became apparent the software could add real value to other service providers and after numerous requests we decided to commercialise the software. In 2016 Care Control Systems Ltd was founded and since then has gone from strength-tostrength with exponential growth. We now have an exceptional team of more than 20 staff who have over 70 years of direct hands-on care experience between them. On top of this our team of Software Developers are experts in their field and are constantly developing our products to ensure they offer everything our customers expect in what is a particularly complex sector. 2020 has been a record year for Care Control with record numbers of customers choosing us, office expansion, overseas sales and an ever growing team to name just a few things. We are so excited for the future! Visit www.carecontrolsystems.co.uk or see the advert below for further details.
At Care Vision we believe care may never be the same again. Outstanding care truly is at the heart of everything we do, with a clear purpose of Less Admin, More Care. Growing up and working in a family owned care home, Rishi Jawaheer saw at first hand the main needs in the care sector; to cut down on the burden of manual paperwork while maintaining good practice and to encourage people to become more involved in care. Using his experience as a registered manager, with some of the smartest minds in tech, Rishi was driven to create Care Vision, an all in one cloudbased care management, system incorporating all your care and admin into one easy to use system. Presently the care industry has our work cut out to keep in line with statutory and legislative compliance in addition to the essential everyday tasks of looking after our clients. Care Vision acts as a bridge which uses technology that organises care work, ensures a safer, better and more intimate experience for every member of the community, from administration, the carer to family, friends and the people we care for. Care Vision provides An easy to use system for carers, managers, relatives; bringing care and admin into one platform; to manage time, attendance, rota, HR, housekeeping, maintenance and much more An E-mar system, fully compliant with NICE, reducing medication errors and keeping people safe An intuative daily notes section that can be completed at the point of service quickly and accurately A pictorial food order system that allows the individual to choose from a menu even if they forgot what a meal looks like Daily reminders in the form of care routines which reminds staff of key aspects of care for the individual
Care Plans / Risk assessments/ Life stories which allows you to customise care plans to specifically suit the person’s needs. Reminding all about one’s history and who Is important in one’s life A family app that allows families to keep track of their loved one’s wellbeing through videos and pictures, which has been essential during the pandemic. Care Vision gives you the freedom to access it using mobile, tablet, laptop, or pc in real time whilst safely securing and storing data. within the platform. Built flexibly to adapt to services of any size, large or small, Care Vision’s structured, interactive features engage carers in sharing information with the end-user and their family. Registered manager and director of Summerhayes Care says “The carers have taken to Care Vision like a duck to water and the information that we are gathering is streets ahead of the previous system we used we are very impressed. They make it easy to understand and nothing is any trouble. I highly recommend taking a look at this system if you are wanting to meet your quality standards and CQC requirements”.
Nationally our data has shown that working with homes Care Vision can save 2-4 hours every week per carer by reducing tasks that could be better spent with the people we care for. As both carers and developers, we are unique in our focus on developing software that benefits the care sector. This allows us to continually develop and update software for our clients. The Care Vision team would love to talk to you about what the system can do for you, come and join us, we believe the future of Social care is in good hands with “Care vision” Contact us at email@example.com or call 0208 768 9809
PAGE 52 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41
NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION
The Ageing Population: Tackling the Challenge of Falls By Barak Katz, VP and GM Essence SmartCare (www.essencesmartcare.com) It is no surprise that populations around the world are ageing dramatically, with citizens living far longer than ever before. Indeed, the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS), reveals that a quarter of the population will be over 65 by 2045 (1). While this reflects improved health and welfare standards, such an ageing population presents the NHS and social care services with a number of challenges, with perhaps none more important than dealing with the aftermath of life-changing falls. The Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) showed that between 2017-2018 there were around 220,000 emergency hospital admissions related to falls among patients aged 65 and over(2). Dealing with these falls is estimated to cost NHS England £435m a year alone (3). Whilst our own research, conducted in late 2020, showed around 75 percent of all falls go unreported, as people are often embarrassed about falling and don’t want to be ‘told off’ by family members and carers. Put simply, if individuals are not reaching out and raising the subject with their families or carers, care teams will struggle to prevent such incidents from happening again. What’s the answer? To focus on preventing falls, and when they do happen, to be better at detecting, and responding to them.
FALL PREVENTION REQUIRES GREATER ACCURACY AND MORE DATA INSIGHT Preventing falls requires multi-disciplinary teams who have access to behavioural information about the situation just prior to the fall. Whilst there have been some developments within social care, where technology such as smart sensors and other telecare solutions have been added to the home to track elderly subjects, there are too many gaps in the data. Most current fall detectors are based on accelerometer technology, which only detects certain types of incidents and only the fall itself. Teams need to consider the accuracy of what is being reported and verify
whether the incident was indeed a fall. This represents a serious challenge, and our research suggests, less than half of those in residential care actually wear fall detection devices even when provided to them. To some, they represent a ‘badge of vulnerability’. Elderly care needs to be far more proactive and respectful, and there needs to be greater visibility across the whole home. Relying on legacy technology that only confirms whether a fall indeed took place and calls for help, is clearly not working. Care teams need insight into the events that led up to the fall. A more non-linear approach to falls management is needed, but this requires far more effective fall detection technology.
BUILDING A NON-LINEAR APPROACH TO MANAGING FALLS Clearly to be better at falls management, more information needs to be recorded and shared. For example, consider an appraisal of a victim’s situation leading up to the fall, telecare solutions can now report on the circumstances leading up to the incident and care teams can retrace their steps. In fact, whilst multiple sensors could notice an individual’s movement within the household, more recent developments such as machine learning, can analyse trends and patterns in behaviour. It could highlight whether the individual moved suddenly following a long period of seated rest, or whether they were in fact in a darkened room. These seemingly small factors could greatly inform how care teams and families plan proactively for future events. Teams would have the insight leading up to event enabling future prevention. Once teams can improve the accuracy of recorded falls with an increase in incident logs and case history and gain real insight into what led to the fall, they can put more preventative measures in place. With greater data on high-risk individuals, they can personalise their social care programme, providing specific prevention and management help. Whether grab rails, improved flooring, or lighting, or even reconsidering the resident’s current home setting. By assessing the circumstances and identifying all risk factors for that individual, teams can make widespread changes. Using such techniques as described above will help older people feel more comfortable discussing a fall incident. Whilst falls cannot be entirely stopped from happening, we can deploy more appropriate technology, gather and share the right data, and in so doing help mitigate the risks that falls bring, leading to better health and living conditions. (1)https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/545605/PHOF_Part_2.pdf (2) https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/03/falls-fracture.pdf
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 53
NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION Edison Telecom We here at Edison Telecom Ltd have been providing specialist solutions to your call system requirements tailor-made to each customers needs for over 25 years, says director Bob Johnson. Is your current Nurse Call “legacy”, obsolete, so full of software bugs or commercially not viable for your current supplier/maintainer to maintain? We may have just the part and expertise that you are looking for to give your nurse call a further extension to
life, adds Bob, “Edison will treat your nurse call with the same compassion that you give to those in your care. There will come a time when your equipment is beyond repair but Edison are experts in extending the life of obsolete systems.” www.edisontelecom.co.uk
Fall Savers - Affordable Fall Monitoring Solutions Fall Savers®, are an experienced market leading healthcare provider of resident safety solutions for over 15 years.
FALL SAVERS ® WIRELESS MONITOR
Eliminate all cables with our new generation falls management solutions! Upgrade your falls programme with the latest technology from Fall Savers®. The NEW Fall Savers® Wireless eliminates the cord between the monitor and sensor pad. This results in less work for nursing staff, improved safety for patients and reduced wear and tear on sensor pads. Wireless advantages include the ability to use one monitor with two sensor pads simultaneously and support for many new wireless devices.
Benefits include: Safer for patients; less work for staff Bed and chair pads available One monitor works with two sensor pads Integrates with most nurse call systems A variety of options, including: Call button Pager Floor sensor mat
Wireless door/window exit alerts
TREADNOUGHT ®FLOOR SENSOR PAD
The TreadNought® Floor Sensor Pad is built to last with a durable construction that far out lasts the competition. Our anti-bacterial floor sensor pad is compatible with most nurse call systems or can be used with a portable pager to sound an alert when a person steps on to the sensor pad. Caregivers typically place the sensor pad at the bedside, in a doorway or other locations to monitor persons at risk for falls or wandering. An optional anti-slip mesh reduces the potential for slippage on hard surface floors.
IT’S NOT OBSOLETE UNTIL THE OPERA LADY SINGS
EDISON TELECOM LTD (IN BUSINESS SINCE 1984)
have spares, enhancements and expertise for wired and wireless systems abandoned by the original manufacturer, whoever they are.
Call us on 01252-340220 We can give most systems a new lease of life and maintain them into the future.
Connects directly to most nurse call systems High Quality anti-bacterial Floor Sensor Pad Large Size Pad: Measures (L) 91cm x (H) 61cm Options (sold separately): Anti-slip mesh for hard surface floors
See the advert on this page for further details.
Please Please mention mention THE THE CARER CARER when when responding responding to to advertising. advertising.
PAGE 54 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41
NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION
Wireless Fall Prevention TumbleCare A New Brand of ®
By Ben Kilbey – Business Development Manager, Spearhead Healthcare The last thing any care home wants to have to deal with is an elderly resident falling in their home. However, with over 255,000 hospital admissions in England a year relating to the elderly suffering injury after a fall, being alert and aware as soon as a fall happens is critically important in the administration of aid; as well as helping reduce emotional distress. For years, the care industry has used a tremendous range of call alert solutions to help care home staff respond to these falls quickly and easily. The most popular and regularly used of these are systems which plug in to nurse call systems. Nonetheless, these come with their own issues and can often create their own risks in regard to falling; largely in the use of trailing cables that need to be plugged in to make them work. These potential trip hazards can cause the exact issues they are trying to prevent. But with new innovations come new solutions, and we are increasingly seeing a range of wireless solutions that provide a variety of benefits. Below we list things to look out for when selecting these systems:
NO LOOSE WIRES When looking at a wireless solution, make sure it truly is wireless and that any receivers, or sending features on the items are contained and are not left loose where someone can catch a foot on it, or accidently rip it out.
WIRELESS CALL BUTTONS Care home staff cannot be chained to their desk and need to be checking on residents and conducting all the duties that are required to create a smooth-running home, filled with happy residents. A wireless alert that can be carried in a pocket allows the user to respond as swiftly as possible to potential falls, helping homes provide the highest level of care. A centralized alert system is an option that also presents many benefits, as homes can ensure that the right person in the right place is alerted in a timely manner. Making sure that a system works both centrally and on the move, giving you the best range
Falls Management Products by Medpage Limited
Medpage has launched a comprehensive range of fall detection/prevention products under the brand TumbleCare. The products are designed to deliver reliable performance at manageable prices. For home carers the products provide a simple, effective solution for preventing falls in the home. For professional care, the products provide a means of serving more people for less. For more than 25 years, Medpage/Easylink has manufactured and distributed bed and chair occupancy monitoring products and have an unrivalled reputation for supplying quality product at affordable
of options to help provide a high level of care.
PLUGS While this might very well be viewed as a smaller issue, nurse call systems come with a huge variety of plug types; and ensuring that your receivers have the correct plugs for your call system is key.
LOOK AND FEEL Make sure the system you choose is as unobtrusive as possible. Often fall prevention equipment is designed to be as hidden as possible. Should the item be particularly obvious make sure you are happy it fits as well as possible into the decor of the room it sits in and think about choosing a floormat that corresponds with the flooring in the room e.g. wood effect vinyl or carpet. Spearhead are proud to distribute the entire Alerta wireless range that has been launched this year. See the advert on this page for details.
prices. The TumbleCare brand will group together the most popular options for the detection and prevention of falls including; bed, chair and floor pressure sensor pads, movement and proximity sensors and a choice of carer alarm receiver options. Investing in a new product brand can be a risky business, but through a pandemic, we are really proud of our achievement. You can view the available products at https://www.easylinkuk.co.uk/index.php?route=product/search&search=tumblecare See the advert on page 2 further details.
How Flexible Is Your Nurse Call System? Fitting a nurse call system can often be disruptive, time consuming and expensive; but not with Aid Call’s wireless system. Aid Call utilise wireless technology because there is no need to install cables to any of the call points and the impact is minimal, which is reassuring at a time of increased pressure on resources and environments. Wireless systems also have lower installation and operating costs over a traditional hard-wired system, as well as being quicker and easier to install. Wireless configuration offers complete flexibility and mobility, which makes our system infinitely changeable and expandable, allowing for the constant ability to deal with ever changing priorities and demands. Our system is safe, reliable and cost-effective. It can be designed to suit individual requirements and needs and adapted to work within your budget. It also has a variety of features which can help to maximise
staff efficiency and improve the overall quality of care offered to your clients and patients.
TOUCHSAFE PRO DISPLAY PANEL
The Display Panel conveys a mass of important information at a glance. This includes call type, call location, patient name, nurse identity and call response time. Varying colour displays and alarm tones correspond to different call types to help staff to easily identify priority levels. All calls will display on the panel. In the event of multiple calls, automatic system triage will display the calls in order of urgency. On multiple-panel systems the panels can be set up with zones so only calls from specific areas are displayed on the panel located within that area. See the advert on page 15 or visit www.aidcall.co.uk
THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 41 | PAGE 55
NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION
A Digital Future of Care in a Post COVID-19 Era The New Year brings good news and light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with the roll out of vaccination programs, despite this the UK has been forced into stricter lockdown regulations. Health and care sectors are acutely aware of their responsibilities and the importance to look after technology that is fundamental to caring for the vulnerable and their carers. Should systems fail, technology suppliers should provide help and assistance remotely with telephone support and using remote diagnostic tools. At Courtney Thorne we find that most issues are resolved over the phone, where this proves difficult and further checks or reconfiguration is necessary this is done by remotely accessing systems and running diagnostics. 95% of the service inquiries we receive are resolved this way reducing the need to physically attend the site. Inquiries that cannot be rectified remotely will require an engineer to visit. To ensure the safety of residents, staff and the engineers themselves, service providers need to adopt stringent policies with rigor-
ous clarification processes concluding with written confirmation that there is no COVID-19 on site or where there is, that those suffering are suitably isolated. In the case of Courtney Thorne our process includes asking authorised care home management to fill out a questionnaire prior to our engineer turning up. We also insist that our staff are regularly checked, including logging daily body temperature. Finally equipping field staff with necessary PPE, making sure it is always used and includes a hand washing regime before, during and after any site visit. Courtney Thorne provides our field-based engineering staff with overalls, gloves, face masks and plenty of hand sanitiser. By diligently observing these protocols, and despite our staff visiting care homes and hospitals on a daily basis throughout the pandemic, not one of them has developed any COVID-19 symptoms at any time. For further information visit www.nursecallsystems.co.uk or see the advert on this page.
PLEASE MENTION THE CARER WHEN RESPONDING TO ADVERTISING
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PROFESSIONAL AND TRAINING How Does the New UK Points-Based The Five Biggest Employee Relations Immigration System Work? Is There Any Challenges For Care Homes Managers Benefit to the Health Care Sector? By Sarah Dillon, senior solicitor and director for ESP Law (www.esphr.co.uk)
The UK's new points-based immigration system ('PBS') is now operational from the 1st January 2021. It will apply to non-EEA nationals; EEA and Swiss nationals (who do not qualify under the EU Settlement Scheme). EU and EEA citizens resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have the right to settle, if they apply to EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021. When the UK was an EU member, people from EU countries had an automatic right to work in the UK but this is no longer the case.
WHY HAS IMMIGRATION TO THE UK CHANGED?
Tier 2 has been rebranded the Skilled Worker route. Employers are required to have a sponsor licence in place in order to sponsor employees through this route. This will include nurses and other healthcare professionals including the senior care worker position. A significantly larger range of jobs will be eligible for sponsorship than is currently the case meaning that an increased number of employers are likely to be involved in the sponsorship process. Business should look to benefit from changes in the UK’s 2021 system with thoughtful planning. Employers who intend to recruit migrants from the EU or elsewhere will require a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence. Employers intending to sponsor those from outside of the UK should apply for a sponsor licence now if they don’t already have one in order to avoid any delays.
HOW WILL POINTS BE AWARDED?
To qualify for a visa, migrant workers who want to move to the UK will have to qualify for 70 points. If you have a job offer from an approved employer (sponsor licence holder) for a skilled job you will earn 40 points. Demonstrating the ability to speak English will give another 10 points. The applicant can achieve the remaining 20 points if they are paid at least £25,600 per annum.
HEALTH AND CARE VISA
The events of recent months have illustrated just what a crucial role the care sector plays in UK society. The Home Secretary and Health and Social Care Secretary have together developed the Health and Care Visa to demonstrate the government’s commitment to deliver for the NHS and wider health and care sector. The Health and Care Visa will come with a reduced
visa application fee compared to that paid by other skilled workers, including exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge. Health and care professionals applying on this route can also expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks, following biometric enrolment. However, the independent care sector has serious concerns with the Governments view. Concerns have been raised over the exclusion of social care workers from the health and care visa, which will not apply to care staff because they are classed as unskilled. Moreover, the Migration Advisory Committee recommended that the senior carer position should be placed on the shortage occupation list thus allowing the salary threshold to be lowered to £20,400 for sponsorship. However, the Home Office did not adopt MACs recommendation and kept the salary threshold at £25,600 per annum. Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said that despite calls from adult social care and the NHS’ own representative bodies, including the Cavendish Coalition, the government has “failed to pay any dues to the sectors specific needs”, thus leaving it “out in the cold. This is particularly worrying given the wider context of the instability, which COVID-19 has placed upon the adult social care sector. The impending threat of the international workforce supply being turned off has the potential to de-stabilise the sector even further with potentially disastrous consequences”. In short, the PBS has some benefits for the social care sector pertaining to the recruitment of nurses as the abolition of the RLMT reduces the timeline for recruitment and migrants are able to work immediately after the certificate of sponsorship is assigned and do need to wait for a decision on their applications. However, although the skill level has been reduced to RQF Level 3 (equivalent to A level) there is no immediate benefit to the sector. In this regard, Aston Brooke Solicitors is initiating a legal challenge on behalf of Care England to determine the reason the Home Office did not adopt MACs recommendation to place the senior carer position on the shortage occupation list. If you wish to support this legal challenge, please contact the firm by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. See the advert on page 21 for further details.
spread of the virus. Issues are emerging of employees refusing testing. Employers should explore the reason and evidence behind such requirements before carefully considering what action, if any, to take. Any action could be challenged on discriminatory or unfairness grounds and so taking legal advice is critical.
3. STAFF VACCINES
The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified many of the troubles the care home sector was already dealing with. From staffing concerns to keeping safe from infection and protecting mental health – while battling ongoing pressures of caring for vulnerable individuals – these are all obstacles that continue to impact employers and their workforces. With so many issues to face, how can they tackle some of the most challenging employee relations matters during a global crisis? Sarah Dillon, ESP Law director, provides guidance to help managers face each complexity head-on.
1. ENSURING THAT SERVICES ARE ADEQUATELY STAFFED
There have been many reasons why staffing is a particular issue during the pandemic, which include: • Some employees being classed as clinically vulnerable and are therefore advised, by the Government, not to work at certain times and for prolonged periods • Some employees who live with clinically vulnerable individuals feeling too anxious to attend work due to the high rate of infections in care settings • The requirement to self-isolate due to coming into contact with Covid • Staff members contracting the virus and being away from work for a minimum of two weeks. The high level of staff absence has meant there has been a greater reliance on agency workers. These individuals have been in high demand – and therefore less available. Additionally, infection control requirements, to ensure that Covid is not passed between settings, means that businesses have been required to ’block book’ agency workers. Without this option, the care industry would not have been able to function at this time. It has never been more important for managers to communicate with their employees to reassure them and underline the steps the business is taking to protect health. Additionally, robust sickness management systems have also been vital when dealing with nonCovid-related absence swiftly.
2. STAFF TESTING FOR COVID-19 Following the introduction of weekly testing and temperature checks for care sector staff, this has allowed some organisations to quickly identify asymptomatic and Covid-positive employees and reduce the
The authorisation of various vaccines is seen as the single biggest health management tool available to the Government in the fight against the virus. However, some staff members do not wish to receive it. If this is the case, managers should explore: • Open forums where those who have been given the vaccine can discuss side effects or how they felt about obtaining the vaccine • Communication with employees as to the perceived risks versus the benefits • Highlighting senior staff who have been vaccinated. Currently, the decision on whether or not to take the vaccine is a personal choice and people must consent. Where an employer acts against an employee – who refuses the vaccine on the ground of any ‘protected characteristic’ – this may leave the company open to discrimination claims. If an employer dismisses an employee because they refused to be vaccinated, the employee could pursue a claim for unfair dismissal.
4. CLINICALLY VULNERABLE EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ASKED TO SHIELD Employers should be having open discussions with their employees about the steps being taken to protect them, and PPE information and risk assessments provided. Ultimately, employees refusing to return to work – either because of safety concerns or vulnerability if they contracted Covid – means employers can either furlough or allow the individual to stay home without pay.
5. PROTECTING EMPLOYEES’ MENTAL HEALTH Pre- pandemic, mental health issues were an increasing concern in the care sector. The strain has magnified since March 2020 too, with people working in heavy, and hot, PPE all day long. High demands, combined with insufficient time also continue to be a challenge alongside dealing with clients, patients and deaths. To address wellbeing, organisations have taken various steps which have included: • Improved staffing levels wherever possible during peak hours • Establishing a communication protocol for situations that could pose health and safety risks • Promoting employee participation through meetings • Improving relationships between colleagues and managers at work • Establishing support groups and providing Employee Assistance Programmes for counselling • Adopting coping strategies.
2021 is the Year to Take Stock of Training Following COVID-19 Restrictions By Peter Bewert, Managing Director of Meaningful Care Matters
As we enter a new year full of hope and possibility, it is the optimal time to reflect and learn from the experiences of the year that has just passed, which, for all the care sector, was filled with challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Working closely with our partners undertaking Butterfly Projects in Canada, the UK and Ireland, we found that one of the biggest challenges was coping with the stringent infection control restrictions in a person centred care culture where human touch is so meaningful. Unfortunately, the restrictions have caused some confusion in social care and has led to some care providers and individuals to wonder what is acceptable in the ‘new normal’. At Meaningful Care Matters, our ultimate goal is to create person centred care cultures that allow the caregiver and care receiver to thrive. Following the restrictions of 2020, we believe now is the perfect time for providers to take stock and review their training to ensure all practices are in place to maintain and safe, meaningful space for people to live in. As a leading care and organisational development
group that specialises in helping health and social care providers and individuals to access a variety of support services, we can help to facilitate the creation, reinvigoration and sustainable implementation of person centred care cultures, where people matter, feelings matter, and we are ‘Free to be Me’. Providing services in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada, we offer a comprehensive range of development tools, each uniquely laying the foundation for a powerful story of ‘Meaning and Mattering’. Each care model has been designed by an experienced team of people who care, and can be implemented into all health, social/aged, and disability care settings. Being CPD accredited with the CPD Standards Office, we deliver the highest quality of training and support available to enhance the skills of care providers. Using the core values of purpose, value, transformation, freedom, engagement, and love, we want use 2021 to empower those working in care by helping them to get the best out of themselves and those around them. Our goal is simple; to improve the quality of life and lived experience for all people in health and social care services; bringing meaning and mattering to the forefront of interactions by connecting through powerful and emotive stories, heart to heart and person to person. For more information on our training and services, please visit www.meaningfulcarematters.com
The Carer Digital is delivered to our readers online every week. This new online edition is available online for the duration of the COVID...
Published on Feb 10, 2021
The Carer Digital is delivered to our readers online every week. This new online edition is available online for the duration of the COVID...