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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

THECARERUK

THECARERUK

Issue 43

Care Staff Have ‘Professional Responsibility’ To Get Covid Vaccine Says Government Advisor

Government adviser and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has said that doctors and care workers have a “professional responsibility” to get vaccinated against Covid-19, amid alarming evidence that “barely half” of London care homes staff have taken up the vaccination. He told the government press briefing: 'My view is clearly for medical staff, where I am subject to the same code, it is a professional responsibility for doctors to do things which help protect their patients, and I expect that to be a professional responsibility for all other health and social care staff as well.” Statistics also show 74 per cent of care home staff in the south-east and south-

west have been given a vaccine, 73 per cent in north-west, north-east and Yorkshire, and 72 per cent in the Midlands. In a related development, Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the prospect of vaccinations being a condition of employment in the residential and nursing sector. He said, “I know that some of the very high quality care home groups are now looking at what they can do to make sure that their staff are indeed vaccinated,” he told the press conference.

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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 I think we may now be facing what could be the most contentious issue post-Covid. An issue that may run for years to come, with huge social and political implications, and, since I’m old enough to remember the miners’ strike of the early 80s, I am concerned that this issue will cause deep division. What is it? Any proposed “no jab, no job” policy. At present there is no government policy and it has left it up to businesses themselves to decide ethics and feasibility on mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace. The care sector is, of course, different from most other sectors, such as retail and hospitality, inasmuch as people choose where to shop or visit a pub, and can decide themselves whether or not to visit, depending on the business's policy surrounding vaccines and employees. Those employed in the care sector work with vulnerable residents who are for all intents and purposes a “captive audience”. I suspect there will be a trajectory of the vaccine rollout, leading to more instances in the sector of employers requiring employees to be vaccined. Our front page story leads with chief scientific adviser to the government saying that care staff have a “professional responsibility” to be vaccinated. A PR disaster! The fact that there is so much scepticism and, as our front page story states, “barely half” of London care homes staff have taken up the vaccine, along with further statistics revealing that up to a third of care staff nationwide have so far not been vaccinated tells its own story about how the government’s PR exercise in reassuring the public is working. I understand that when speaking to MPs that sit on the Science and Technology Committee Professor Anthony Harnden, JCVI deputy chairman said,: “In care home staff we do have a problem in terms of vaccine coverage. “It was one of our rationales frontline health care workers being in the high priority group that not only were there exposure risks, but they were treating lots of vulnerable, older people who could potentially get the virus from them. “I don’t know where we’re going with this. It certainly wouldn’t be a JCVI decision to make this compulsory. That would be a political consideration.” It is clear there are genuine public/employee concerns. There are still many

Editor

Peter Adams

“unknowns” about the Covid-19 and vaccinations. We still do not know if it is a “allencompassing” solution, particularly when it comes to preventing transmission, or the period of immunity. While the argument for vaccination for employees within the care sector is strong, I do think that any attempt to go down the route of browbeating/threatening/coercing people will have the opposite effect. The government, in my opinion, really needs to rethink its approach to reassuring staff that the vaccine is safe. The sector has suffered staff shortages for many years, and, as previously reported, there are vacancies of almost 100,000 in social care in any one day, so any policy preventing people entering the sector will add to the problem. Encouraging people voluntarily to take the vaccine with the encouragement that what they are doing is good for their own health and the greater good of protecting others is the route to go down! It was great to see that the Government has announced that care home residents could have one named visitor from 8 March and that they would be able to hold hands. This is, of course, subject to certain conditions. The visitor would have to wear personal protective equipment , and residents will be asked not to hug or kiss their relatives, although hand-holding will be permitted. However, it is still most welcome news indeed. I understand there is further guidance coming over the next 14 days so please do monitor our website www.thecareruk.com 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 editor@thecareruk.com

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Care Staff Have ‘Professional Responsibility’ To Get Covid Vaccine Says Government Advisor (...CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also come out in favour of vaccination of care staff, saying that they could require proof of vaccination to continue working in the sector. He acknowledged vaccination could become compulsory, saying: “We’re not at that point yet. And I think it’s important that we do we take all of the points of view into consideration.” The Health Secretary’s comments came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an inquiry into the possibility of ‘Covid status certificates’, said some home owners were urging the government to act. The Prime Minister announced that a review will be carried out to assess whether certificates could allow restrictions to be lifted more safely and is expected to report before June. Acknowledging potential objections, the Prime Minister said the review would be, “mindful of the many concerns surrounding exclusion, discrimination and privacy”. Labour’s shadow social care minister Liz Kendall responded by calling for action by ministers, saying: “Ministers promised that all staff working in elderly care homes would be vaccinated by the end of January but the latest data from mid-February shows worryingly low rates of uptake, especially in London where barely half of care home workers have been vaccinated,” she said. “The government must put in place a strategy to tackle misinformation about the vaccine and encourage far greater uptake amongst all frontline care workers working closely with care providers and trade unions. After so many deaths in our care homes this is a matter of the utmost urgency.” Chair of Care Forum Wales Mario Kreft, also said care homes were duty bound to do everything in their power to protect their residents and staff. An estimated 20% of care home staff in Wales have not had a vaccination yet and Mr Kreft said care home owners and managers were rightly encouraging existing staff to have the vaccine. However, with some staff “reluctant” he believed more needed to be done to safeguard a higher percentage of staff was vaccinated, saying “I think there are general concerns about this right across Wales. Some homes are doing incredibly well, we’ve heard stories of 100 per cent take up but others are struggling. “It only takes one person to bring one of the new strains of the virus into vulnerable people. “We know the more contagious Kent variant is now the dominant strain in Wales and there is also some evidence that it is also more lethal. We are also having to contend with the dangers posed by other mutant strains. “I think everybody who works in social care should, unless there’s a very good reason otherwise, get the jab and importantly be ready for a culture where we might have to have this each year for some years to come. “Care Forum was ahead of the curve at the beginning of the pandemic in calling on care homes to lock down long before this was required by the Welsh and UK governments. “We believe we now need to be proactive again so that we can continue to protect our residents and staff from this deadly virus.

“It is clearly sensible that care homes should be allowed to refuse to recruit anybody who has not been vaccinated. “It is clear that, quite understandably, the families of residents will want assurances that the staff looking after their loved ones are vaccinated so that they are less likely to be able pass on the infection.” It was a sentiment echoed by Care Forum Wales Council member Sanjiv Joshi. He said: “If you’re working in a care home, your mission is to care and protect your residents – that’s your solemn promise. “The science is very clear that the vaccine reduces serious symptoms and the number of deaths. “Not only are you protecting the residents, but you are also protecting yourself and your family. “Why would you not have the vaccine if it reduces the chances of you having a serious illness or dying. “If we were dealing with smallpox nobody would be arguing about the need to have a jab – let’s not forget in UK, we have already had 25,000 deaths related to Covid-19 in care homes. “Unless you have a legitimate reason like a medical issue or a religious objection, you should be rushing to be vaccinated. “If one of your relatives is going to be in a care home, you would be more comfortable if the residents and staff were vaccinated.”

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My Employer Has Asked Me To Have The Vaccine - What Are My Rights? By Katie Ash, Head of Employment Law, Banner Jones Solicitors (www.bannerjones.co.uk) With the Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out across the country, many are starting to wonder when it will be their turn. To date, vulnerable, front-line, care home staff and social workers have been at the front of the queue, with plans now afoot to reach the rest of the UK’s 66 million residents. Most people are being encouraged to have the vaccine in order to protect themselves, and others, from the most severe symptoms of the virus, and it is publicised as an important part of the Government’s lockdown exit strategy. As the case rates continue to fall, more people will return to their place of work – including those in offices, teachers and support staff at schools and colleges, and retail workers operating in non-essential shops, bars and restaurants. But what are your rights, and can you refuse the vaccine? Here, Katie Ash, Head of Employment Law at Banner Jones Solicitors answers some of the most commonly asked questions, including whether an employer can insist that staff receive the injection.

CAN MY EMPLOYER MAKE ME HAVE THE COVID-19 VACCINATION? In simple terms, your boss probably won’t be able to force you to have the vaccination. Employers do have a legal obligation to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees, and in some cases, such as where staff are coming into contact with many people in ways that pose high risks, they may strongly encourage you to be vaccinated to keep you safe. However, making a vaccination mandatory could go against individual human rights. Medical intervention of this kind requires consent. If your employer forced you to have the immunisation under duress, you may be able to take legal action against them. Furthermore, there are several situations in which forcing a vaccine could be considered discrimination. Pregnant women, though advised to shield at the start of the pandemic, may wish to turn the vaccine down at this stage. It has not yet been tested on pregnant women and so Government guidance advises that most should wait until the end of pregnancy to be injected. If you have a strong philosophical belief that would affect your decision to be vaccinated, you may be pro-

tected by the Equality Act 2010. For example, vegans and members of some religious groups may object to the use of gelatine in many vaccines. They would be covered by the Equality Act 2010. However, this may be risky as official Government guidance recommends coming forward for the vaccine.

IF I DON’T HAVE THE VACCINE, DOES MY EMPLOYER STILL HAVE TO MAKE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ME TO WORK FROM HOME? If you can’t have the vaccine or have sufficient grounds to turn it down, then your boss should continue to prioritise your health and safety. This could include letting you work from home where possible during lockdown. A reasonable employer should respect the fact that you cannot not be forced to be vaccinated. They should offer their help with keeping you physically and mentally healthy while carrying out your duties.

CAN I REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH MY EMPLOYER’S REQUESTS REGARDING THE VACCINE? As explained, you may have sufficient reasons for not following a company vaccination policy which could go some way in justifying your refusal to comply. That said, you should tread carefully. In a tribunal, in is unlikely that you would find success in simply stating your distrust of the vaccine. Official health guidance recommends being inoculated for the wellbeing of yourself and others. Additionally, refusing to agree to your employer’s instructions could potentially lead to a dismissal if the vaccine is crucial to protect you and others in your work. You should also check your employment contract for any clauses relating to medical examinations which your employer could use against your refusal.

HOW IS BEST TO HANDLE THE SITUATION AT THIS STAGE? The best thing you can do at this stage is to keep in open dialogue with your employer. Let them know of any concerns you have such as a phobia of needles or religious reasons for turning the vaccination down so they know where you’re at. If you don’t voice your worries, your employer may not consider your case when putting a policy in place regarding the vaccine and you could unintentionally be caught out. Between you, you will hopefully be able to agree on a reasonable compromise if you’re sure you will not be able to have the vaccine. This will be much easier than taking legal action later. If you’re considering not having the vaccine because of personal beliefs or your personal circumstances, make sure you’re making an informed choice. Check government and public health guidance, speak to colleagues and seek information from reliable sources, such as your GP, before drawing your conclusions. If you have any questions on your rights as an employee or are in a specific circumstance where you don’t know where you stand, please contact the Employment Law team at Banner Jones.

New Report Calls On London’s Health And Care Leaders To Ignite Efforts To Tackle Health Inequalities A report from The King’s Fund, Integrated Care Systems in London: challenges and opportunities ahead, finds that health and care organisations across London have worked together more closely than ever before to improve and join up services in response to the covid-19 pandemic. The new report, commissioned by London’s Mayor, looked at how London’s five integrated care systems (ICSs) – set up to enable joint working between the NHS, local authorities and community organisations – had been working before and during the first wave of the pandemic2. It found that Covid-19 created a clear common purpose that allowed health and care organisations to work together to shift how their services were delivered. In some cases, changes that would normally have taken years to achieve happened in the space of weeks or even days. The report highlights rapid changes enabled by this greater collaboration including: • massive leaps in remote access with many Londoners able to access virtual outpatient appointments and speak to their GP on the phone or by video • faster problem solving across organisations through frequent contact – meeting daily at some points in the pandemic – to find solutions such as sharing limited PPE supplies • closer work with voluntary and community organisations and local pharmacies to support people who were shielding • changes to services such as the creation of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ hubs to separate patients with suspected covid-19 from non-covid patients. This helped to keep Londoners as safe as possible while still delivering key services The report found that the temporary suspension of some national rules such as those around funding discharges enabled more integrated provision of care. However, the report also highlights the stark health inequalities that existed in the capital prior to the pandemic with life expectancy varying between boroughs by as much as 15 years for women and 19 years for men3, and that covid-19 has exacerbated these health inequalities further among Londoners, including

those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, homeless people and people with learning disabilities. The report found that there is now strong commitment among London’s health and care leaders to pursue the reduction of health inequalities with greater vigour. The report’s authors propose that ICSs must now ‘seize the moment’ by strengthening collective action on health inequalities and play a key role in moving from aspiration to action on reducing health inequalities across the capital. The report recommends sustained collaboration at three levels: 1. Locally led action on health inequalities should be co-ordinated by London Borough based partnerships 2.Integrated Care Systems will play a crucial role in linking the work of the boroughs with London-wide initiatives and public health expertise 3.At a London level, partners need to revisit which areas will benefit most from a coordinated response across the capital and update them in light of the impact of the pandemic. For example, around health inequalities and the likely rise in demand for mental health service The report adds that, before service changes brought about by the pandemic can be made permanent, there needs to be adequate scrutiny, including public consultation and engagement. Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund and one of the report’s authors said: “One of the few silver linings from the pandemic was the big leap forward in joint working to deliver health and care across London. This allowed London’s health and care services to respond to the unprecedented challenges of covid-19. However, covid-19 also laid bare the deep health inequalities that blight the lives of many Londoners. London’s health and care leaders now need to use this momentum and sense of common purpose as a catalyst for tackling inequalities and addressing London’s health challenges.” The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It has been an extremely challenging year for our NHS and social care services as staff have gone above and beyond to help and care for Londoners. Covid-19 has devastated our city, but this report highlights how health and care organisations have worked together in the face of such difficult circumstances, and have importantly united to tackle health inequalities. The virus has had a disproportionate impact and widened the already unacceptable health inequalities in our capital, and I will continue to champion, challenge and collaborate with the NHS to ensure a fair and healthy recovery for all Londoners.”


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Care Home Residents To Be Allowed One Visitor As Part of Cautious Easing of Lockdown Care home residents will be able to be visited indoors by a single named individual from the 8 March as part of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions. The scheme will allow a single visitor to hold hands indoors with their relative or contact in a care home, and make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe. Every resident will have the opportunity to name one individual, who will be required to have a test beforehand, wear PPE during the visit and avoid close contact. Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “I know how important visiting a loved one is and I’m pleased we will soon be in a position for people to be carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes. “This is just the first step to getting back to where we want to be. We need to make sure we keep the infection rate down, to allow greater visiting in a step by step way in the future.” Restrictions on visits have been in place during national lockdown to protect vulnerable residents. While coronavirus cases remain high, the number of infections is falling – and the UK’s vaccination programme has seen every care home resident offered a jab, with more almost 17 million vaccinations carried out in total. Outdoor, pod and screen visits will be able to continue in line with the published guidance which has been in place during lockdown, meaning

there will be chances for residents to see more than just the one person they nominate. The clinically led approach has been designed in partnership with the Deputy Chief Medical Officers and Public Health England and is the next step towards regular indoor visits resuming. Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “One of the hardest things during this pandemic has been seeing families desperate to be reunited with their loved ones kept apart and I absolutely want to bring them back together. “Throughout this pandemic we have sought clinical guidance on how visits can be conducted safely. “We had to restrict the majority of visiting when the new variant was discovered but we have done all we can to enable visits to continue in some form. That includes providing funding towards costs of screens and PPE. “As we begin to open up we will move step by step to increase visits while remembering we arestill in the grip of a global pandemic.” All visitors will receive a lateral flow test and be required to follow all infection prevention and control measures. These measures, based on the science, represent a balance between the risk of infections and the importance of visiting for the physical and mental wellbeing of residents and their families. Professor Deborah Sturdy, chief nurse for adult social care, said:

“I know how much people want to visit, hug and kiss their loved ones but doing so can put lives at risk so we would ask people to continue to follow the rules. “This is a first step towards resuming indoor visits and we all hope to be able to take further steps in the future. “I am pleased as a result of so many people following the rules we are in a position to increase visits and hope this is just the start.” Close contact care will be restricted to visitors who provide assistance – such as help dressing, eating or washing – which is essential to the immediate health and wellbeing of a resident. Existing guidance already enables these visits under exceptional circumstances. We are providing extra support for these carers by providing them with the same regular PCR testing regime and PPE arrangements as care home workers to further reduce the risk of infection to themselves and those for whom they provide vital care. All care home providers not experiencing an outbreak will be asked to follow the updated guidance and continue to work together with families and local professionals to ensure visits are possible while continuing to limit the risk of transmission of Covid-19. The government will continue to provide free tests and PPE to support the scheme and has already distributed £1.1billion from the infection control fund, an additional £149million to support rapid testing and visits and £120million to increase staffing.

A Surprise Bridal Shower at Glasgow Care Home Residents and Colleagues surprised one of their own this week with an incredible bridal shower at HC-One’s Ailsa Craig care home in Cessnock. When Colleague Amina broke the news of her upcoming wedding, everyone at the home knew they wanted to organise a special celebration, so Residents and Colleagues worked together to plan a secret bridal shower for her. It was a great excuse for Colleagues to chat to the Residents about their spouses and reminisce over their wedding days. Between them, they pulled together a wonderful collection of vintage wedding photos to display around Ailsa Craig. On entering the home, Amina was surprised with a table full of gifts and cakes. Everyone at the home clubbed together to buy Amina a lovely wedding

album, a painting and some special custom cupcakes. Berry Fraser, a Resident at the home, commented: “It was really lovely. I just love weddings and anything to do with them!” On top of the tremendous surprise, Residents had made some special love hearts and written down their best marriage advice. Who better to ask than the Residents who have decades of experience and knowledge in the area of love? Residents wrote down the lessons they had learned over the years on how to stay in love, including the importance of communication and patience. Amina, the bride-to-be, said: “I was so touched and surprised! I have the best Colleagues and friends. It was great hearing what our wonderful Residents had to say on the subject of love and marriage!”


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How Music Unlocks Muscle Memory By Jackie Pool, Dementia Care Champion, QCS (www.qcs.co.uk) It’s the 1980s and a woman sings Men of Harlech, a traditional and stirring Welsh folksong. Nothing unusual about that you might think. Sung by choirs, on battlefields, and in rugby crowds, it’s a song that’s deeply embedded in the Welsh psyche. But 80-yearold Hilda’s rendition was extraordinary. Hilda, you see, was living with advanced dementia. I remember the event as if it was yesterday. We were working together on an art project and in the background Men of Harlech began to play. As soon as the introduction started, to our astonishment Hilda rose from the sofa, clasped her hands in front of her and sang the lyrics all the way through perfectly in Welsh. What was most remarkable was that usually Hilda appeared to be completely disengaged from her surroundings. She spent all of her days sitting on the sofa with her eyes closed, and I had never heard her speak. My belief was that Hilda was unable to do anything – but how wrong I was.

UNLOCKING MEMORIES What I learned that day was that If you find the right prop – it becomes the key to unlock the memories that may have seemed lost forever. That ‘key’ doesn’t have to be music, but it is a particularly effective tool to access meaningful moments. Why? Because music is processed and stored in so many different parts of the brain. Most activity providers know that, if we know an individual’s musical preferences and history of any particular songs and tunes that relate to specific times, we can selectively use music to stimulate those memories as a reminiscence activity and so enhance self-identity. But music can do so much more. Many of you will have seen the recent social media posting of a Prima Ballerina in her 90’s who is living with dementia. As she listens to Swan Lake, her movement memory is stimulated and she performs again with beauty and grace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-j5yeRDBaU Or perhaps you saw the recent item which featured Paul Harvey, an 80-year-old former composer, living with dementia. Against all odds, Mr Harvey retained his innate ability to play music and remember compositions. He was able to do so due to muscle memory.

THE POWER OF PROCEDURAL MEMORY This ability to still be able to complete well-rehearsed movement is called procedural memory and results in what is known as a skill. So,

when we know that a person has a skill, be it playing a musical instrument or dancing a classical ballet, providing the right music and the opportunity will unlock that potential. Music is particularly empowering as it not only supports a sense of self, but also stimulates physical health – from providing rhythm for movement to providing rhythm for the heart rate. Even this knowledge can enable care providers to think carefully about the music that is available to support individuals; not only selecting the genre to suit individual preferences but even choosing music with the beat to stimulate either relaxation or alertness. I have often noticed that calm, relaxing music is being played in care home dining rooms when, actually, something with a faster beat would support more active dining One of the most important observations I have made over my many years of working with people with dementia is that, whilst music itself can unlock the potential of individuals, it is often the accompanying social interaction that helps to reconnect the person with others. The joy of sharing music by singing or humming together, dancing together, playing an instrument together or simply tapping along or swaying to the beat – it is the togetherness that enhances the mood and nurtures the spirit.

OTHER ACTIVITIES THAT UTILISE MUSCLE MEMORY But it is not just music-related activities that provide a ladder to seemingly lost memories. Any pursuit which bypasses the brain and utilises muscle memory - such as knitting for example - can deliver the same remarkable results. I believe that learning through muscle memory, while widely known in dementia circles, could be more extensively utilised. Take the design of a care home bedroom, for example. If you think of a person moving into one, he or she will be used to the set-up of their bedroom at home. They will know from repeated movement around the room, the exact location of the wardrobes, the chest of drawers, the bathroom, the light switches and the plug sockets from muscle memory. And this stops them from getting lost and confused.

MAKING THE MOST OF MUSCLE MEMORY IN A CARE HOME So why not recreate as similar as possible an environment for those living with dementia in their care home? While it might not be possible to create a room which is a carbon copy of a care home resident’s bedroom at home, it is certainly possible to replicate some furniture positions to enable them to navigate their way around the room using the same muscle memory that they would use at home. But of course it is not as simple as that. Dementia is a very complex and nuanced condition and those living with dementia have different levels of functional ability. The question is, how do you integrate the science of muscle memory into the culture of a care home while accommodate all abilities? The answer lies in the QCS PAL Instrument, which provides a highly effective framework to help professionals assess the level of functional

ability of clients with cognitive impairments. The instrument assesses those living with dementia on four levels. But what are the different levels and what do they mean? ‘Planned’ means that a person with dementia is capable of carrying out a task by themselves, although they may need help with activities that need high-level thinking such as problem solving. At a PAL Exploratory level, they would need guidance, which is broken down into multiple stages. Those operating on a PAL Sensory level, require the carer to demonstrate each step one at a time, while at a PAL Reflex level, the person needs extensive support from their carer. The QCS PAL Instrument supports care givers to understand the level of ability of the person. At a Planned Level, the person will be able to factually learn the new information about their room, for example, that the toilet door is right of the wardrobe. Identifying those at an exploratory and a sensory level will be important to understand that they will learn best through practising the repetition of movement, which enhances muscle memory. On this note, I’ll always remember the story of lady, who was living with advanced dementia at a home I worked in. She had become very anxious after not being able to find the way back to her room. We decided to teach her how to find her way by using muscle memory. Firstly, we taught her how to get to her room by using the lift. That meant she needed to know which button to press. We practised and practised, together and before long, her muscle memory kicked in, and she knew how to get to her floor. Afterwards, by constantly repeating the short journey from the lift to her room, she was able to get there unattended. It took time, but it was a liberating experience for everyone involved, and demonstrated the extraordinary power of muscle memory.

QCS POLICIES Back to music, which first alerted me to the remarkable capability of muscle memory, QCS has several policies in place, including a care plan and risk assessment for use when considering the use of meaningful music in every day activity, for example while helping the person to get dressed or to dine, as well as to support recreational activities. The National Activities Providers Association (www.napa-activities.co.uk) have some great ideas for supporting music based activities and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, Living well through activity in care homes: (https://tinyurl.com/5wpaa38w) the toolkit offers some great ideas for integrating activities and music. I will always be grateful for my experience in North Wales. Most of all it taught me about the magical effect that music can have on us all. It is liberating in the way it unshackles the mind, body and spirit. And most of all, as demonstrated in this article, it provides an accessible gateway to unlock learning through muscle memory. It has had an indelible effect on my life and can do on yours’ and your service users too. Why not give it a try?

Happy Retirement for Methodist Chaplain MHA Connell Court Care Home In Southport said a fond farewell to their chaplain Heather Draper with an afternoon tea and singalong after 8 years’ of service. Heather has decided to retire to spend much deserved time with her family and friends. Heather has been a valued team member and much loved by residents and staff at Connell Court and always has a listening ear. Heather always ensured that our residents spiritual needs were met in whatever form they chose. Heather said she was blown away by the generosity of us all who had contributed to her retirement gift and is looking forward to enjoying the treat of a Rik Stein home dining experience. Home manager Anna Harvey said Heather is a huge part of Connell Court and we will all miss her dreadfully, we wish her a long and healthy retirement.

Hearts of Kindness as Hospital Staff Receive Care Home Hampers Hospital staff on the frontline of Covid have been receiving hampers and messages of support from residents and staff at a care home provider. Colten Care has made a series of donations to intensive treatment units (ITUs) in hospitals serving the same communities as its homes in the South. They include the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. The idea of donating hampers to ITUs came from Helen Smith, Home Manager at Colten’s Wellington Grange home in Chichester. Helen has worked previously as an Accident and Emergency Sister and her partner, Dr Matthew Williams, is an ITU consultant at Queen Alexandra. Helen said: “Many hospital staff have been experiencing added pressure, anxiety and fatigue during the pandemic. ITU is such a highly skilled area of a hospital and you can’t just replace colleagues who go off sick. Some people have been at breaking point, on their knees about the situation, and there has been a feeling of a lack of recognition. Most of the public don’t know what it’s like. “We had a think about what we could do to make ITU staff feel a bit more supported and we thought some hampers and messages from our residents and team members, showing their heartfelt appreciation, was

something that would go down well. We have seen the extent of PPE that hospital ITU teams have to wear at the moment and we know ourselves how difficult and uncomfortable it is to work in heavy PPE, especially on long shifts.” Colten residents and staff have gifted two different types of hamper to each hospital. One is a ‘pamper’ hamper, containing unopened toiletries such as moisturisers, hand cream, body lotion, luxury soap and shower gel. This is to help ITU staff when they are moisturising hands and faces or having a shower after a shift. The second is a ‘munchies’ hamper, with goodies to eat such as unopened energy boosting snacks, granola bars and bags of nuts. Each kind of hamper includes heart-shaped notes from residents and staff, dubbed ‘Hearts of Kindness’. Wellington Grange resident Pen Trinnick said: “This comes from the heart, from all of us to them. This project is a good way to show them the thanks they deserve. Their care for us is much needed and they need to take care of themselves as well.” All the hospitals receiving the hampers have expressed their thanks. Simon Pearson, Head of Charity at Dorset County Hospital, said: “The gifts will help to boost the morale of our staff and reinforce the important message that their local community is still thinking of them and appreciates the work they are doing under such difficult circumstances.” In addition to items gathered by individual homes, Colten Care’s head office in Ringwood, Hampshire, has contributed £500 worth of toiletries and snacks to the initiative.


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Parliamentarians Back New Social Care Reform Report to Save NHS £1bn THE NHS could save nearly £1bn if integrated mental health and supported housing models were scaled up across England, according to a new report published this week. The report, commissioned by housing and support services provider Look Ahead, outlines that if integrated mental health and supported housing systems currently used in parts of London and the South East were implemented across the rest of the country, approximately £950 million could be saved to the NHS. The report has received the backing of both Conservative MP and member of the Health and Social Care Committee, Paul Bristow, and Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Mental Health, Baroness Claire Tyler. On the report launch, Paul Bristow MP said: “Reform of social care cannot be kicked further down the road. As we emerge from the pandemic, the need for mental health services will grow and the coming months offer an opportunity for reform every bit as profound as the creation of the NHS in 1948. “Building on the proposals in this report, the government must put in place reforms which can command support across the political spectrum, ensuring they stand the test of time. “ The report comes just weeks after the government released a new white paper, Integration and innovation: Working together to improve health and social care for all, which intends to bring health and care services closer together and build a system that is “fit for the future”. Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Mental Health Baroness Claire Tyler said: “Most people think of the elderly when it comes to care - as indeed has been the case in my own family - but many other younger people and their families are affected too including those with learning difficulties, mental health problems and the homeless. “We urgently need a national strategy for social care and long-term funding which works for everyone.” The report, written by economics consultancy, Europe Economics, found

that the integrated mental health and supported housing models used by 167 individuals supported by Look Ahead Care and Support produced £5 million a year in cashable savings and non-cash releasing efficiencies compared to hospital-based mental health care. These models include the integration of Crisis and Recovery Houses (short-term community-based alternative to in-patient psychiatric treatment); Rehabilitation services (accommodation-based services providing medium or short-term support to develop mental health stability and daily living skills); and Forensic stepdown for people to step-down safely from secure in-patient settings into the community. A recent analysis by The King’s Fund found that in 2018/19, total expenditure on social care by councils was £22.2 billion. In October 2020, the Health and Social Care Select Committee, published a report urging the government to spend at least £7bn more on social care by 2023-24. The report is being launched at a virtual panel event today at 12:15pm GMT with Paul Bristow MP, Baroness Claire Tyler and Look Ahead Chief Executive Chris Hampson. Chris Hampson, Chief Executive of Look Ahead Care and Support said: “It is already widely acknowledged in government policy that integrated services lead to improved physical and mental health outcomes for individuals. “We are pleased to launch this report today which we believe provides the missing piece of the jigsaw that is the financial case for scaling up these models in mental health services. We need to use this evidence to make the case for the integrated approach and scale it up. It makes sense not just for the public purse but for the quality of life of people accessing these services. “The government’s recent white paper is a step closer to more integrated services. But whilst the pandemic has shone a vital light on the importance of social care workers, we must ensure that wider reform focuses on all aspects of social care, and not just care homes and care for older people.”

Thanking Colleagues On National Care Worker Day The activities team at a Wellington dementia care home made the most of National Care Worker Day on 19 February, both to celebrate the extraordinary efforts of colleagues over the past 12 challenging months, and also to provide an inspiring talking point for residents who have themselves worked in the care sector. Richard Dempslake, activities co-ordinator for Camelot House and Lodge, described how moved resident Barbara Doubtfire was as she shared her memories of working as a registered nurse in a children’s intensive care unit in the late 1950’s. Her daughter, Karen Fullick, said: “Mum was an inspiration and she built a great relationship with patients and the families which she still has contact

with.” Richard Dempslake and his team supported residents to make ‘National Care Worker Day’ posters, and organised a socially-distanced singalong for staff and residents. Richard said: “It was such a harmonious afternoon, with everyone singing along to Bridge Over Troubled Water and Country Roads. “Lockdown and the pandemic has been tough on everyone's mental health so we thought a takeaway would also be a nice treat for all staff and residents. “Big thanks to manager Rob Pearce of Dominoes in East Reach, Taunton, who masterminded our mega-order for over 100 people – staff and residents at Camelot House and Lodge.”


PAGE 8 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

Key Considerations for Vaccine Rollout in Care Homes

Professor Farhad Huwez, a specialist Geriatrician, provides his insight on how he believes the coming months of the vaccine campaign should be delivered.

As of Monday 15th February, the UK Government reached its milestone of offering vaccines to their top priority groups – totalling 15 million people. With care home staff and older and clinically vulnerable residents among those prioritised, recent weeks have been a time of anticipation and relief for families with loved ones living and working in residential care. But while relief and celebration are undoubtedly necessary amid a third lockdown, the pandemic is a long way from over. Figures, while positive, paint an unclear picture and caution is essential to progressing with vaccine rollout. While 15 million people have been offered the vaccine, we know not everyone has taken it up. The policy-shift in early January to delay the second dose of vaccines by up to 12 weeks has now been ‘vindicated’ according to the WHO, but still leaves uncertainty as fewer than 600,000 people are ‘fully’ vaccinated having received both doses. So, how can we ensure the ongoing success of roll-out? How do we encourage as many elderly and vulnerable people, and those working with them, to get vaccinated?

COMMUNICATION AND CONSENT Properly communicating the importance of vaccines to residents, and employees, is essential. Taking time to understand the concerns of both parties, explain risks and answer questions about the vaccine are impor-

tant to alleviating anxieties. If a care home resident is able and has the capacity to make a decision about vaccination, they can do so by giving informed consent, the same as any medical procedure. That decision is theirs to make and must be respected. But many care home residents may have dementia or other conditions that reduce capacity to consent. In these cases, vaccines could be offered based on ‘best interest’ under the principles of the Mental Health Capacity Act. This will be decided by the key care providers, considering the individual’s previous wishes, attitudes, beliefs and any other factors. For employees, Matt Hancock recently urged key workers to come forward for the vaccine after revealing that take up amongst care workers has been particularly low, with a third still not having had their first jab. Care workers should also be aware that while mandatory vaccination is not currently legal, employers have a duty to ensure a safe working environment. For those working with vulnerable people, it could be argued that requiring staff to be vaccinated and disciplining them if they continually refuse, is reasonable because of the high-risk nature of the work. Leadership amongst care home staff will be critical here – ensuring directors and management are vaccinated will set a positive example.

BARRIERS TO ACCESSING OR TAKING UP THE VACCINE Concerns about the vaccine are particularly prevalent amongst communities of certain faiths and ethnicities, with worryingly low take-up amongst Black and Asian communities. Paying specific attention to understanding and allaying these concerns will be an important step for continued vaccine roll out and, where possible, care providers and residential homes should collaborate with community and faith leaders to dispel worries or mistruths.

THE SECOND DOSE With the vaccines currently available in the UK, patients receive two injections. While the immunity provided in the first dose could be nearly 60%, it is critical to get both doses, as the second boosts effectiveness and provides longer lasting immunity. Older people and their carers should be reassured that all available vaccines seem to work well in older people and those with pre-existing health conditions. There are remaining questions over effectiveness against new strains, but vaccines still offer a higher level of protection against more severe cases of Covid-19.

VACCINES ARE NOT A SILVER BULLET Transmission of Covid-19 is still possible even with increasing numbers of people vaccinated, and the possibility of new strains threatens the programme if transmission of the virus is not reduced globally. Therefore, additional measures are equally as important as they have been for the last year. Care homes should not relax and must retain the appointed leads responsible for ensuring accountability when it comes to reducing risk; overseeing prevention and control measures, PPE supplies, training, testing, access to medical care and control of visitors. The mainstays of infection prevention and control in care facilities are still physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene and appropriate use of PPE. These measures remain paramount to reducing opportunities for transmission. Care homes still have a critical role to play in containing the spread of Covid-19, and we must all remain vigilant to protect our communities. Professor Farhad Huwez is a certified Consultant General Physician and Geriatrician, Professor of Geriatrics at New Vision University, Georgia, and Programme Leader of the Care of the Elderly Diploma MSc provided by online learning specialists, Learna (www.learna.ac.uk)

Parkview Celebrates Chinese New Year Those living at Parkview House care home recently celebrated Chinese New Year in style! Parkview House had a full day of fun and activities dedicated to Chinese New Year celebrations. There was music, entertainment, and opportunities for everyone to explore the history of 'Chinese New Year of the Ox'. Nicolas Kee Mew, Home Manager of Parkview House, said: “Those within our care are always interested in learning more about my culture and understanding more about the history of my origins so I thought that there was no better way to learn more than by holding Chinese New Year celebrations right in the heart of Chingford!” Activities for everyone to enjoy included discovering their Chinese horoscope, tai chi and practising Chinese calligraphy, as well as sampling the delights of Chinese food – which always goes down well in the home.

Vision Direct Donates Over £10,000 Worth of Laptops to Vulnerable Children Homeschooling During Lockdown Following England’s third national lockdown and a return to remote learning, Vision Direct (www.visiondirect.co.uk) has donated over £10,000 to deliver 50 laptops to schools in need. The donation has come at a time when many students are struggling to maintain their education during the pandemic, as Ofcom estimates that up to 1.8 million UK children don’t have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. The brand new laptops have been delivered to six schools across London: St. Dunstan’s Cheam, CofE Primary School, Highams Park School, All Souls C of e Primary School, Rhyl Primary School, Hackney New School and Ruislip Gardens School. While the government has supplied a number of laptops to schools in England, it has struggled to deliver the amount needed to meet demand. Vision Direct stepped in to fill this gap by purchasing £10,000 of new laptops and donating them directly to the schools in need, who will then distribute the laptops to families on their lengthy waiting lists. "I am very grateful for the devices." says a parent from Rhyl Primary School "It has helped me form routines for home learning. I can support both my girls now as they have their own devices. I found it very stress-

ful before but now it is calm. The children look forward to their live lessons to meet their teacher and they can see their friends everyday. Thank you Vision Direct." “It’s vital that everyone has access to laptops during this pandemic,” says Ashley Mealor, Chief Marketing Officer at Vision Direct. “Like countless others, we’ve made the switch to operating remotely and our business would not have been able to continue functioning without the proper technology to keep us connected. We want to ensure that all children have that technology too, as they battle the challenges of remote learning.” The ‘digital divide’ that the pandemic has created has had a negative impact on children’s education. If families don’t have enough devices, they’re forced to make hard choices about their children’s educational needs. Despite these challenges, expectations of home-learning are high. The Department for Education states that schools must provide

between three and five hours of learning per day, depending on age. Many of those hours come in the form of live or prerecorded video, powerpoint presentations, and submitting work virtually to be checked, meaning that the child’s education is next to impossible without a device and access to the internet. “The donation of laptops from Vision Direct to Rhyl Primary School pupils has been invaluable,” says Helen Connor, Headteacher at Rhyl Primary School in Kentish Town. “Over 60% of our pupils do not have a device of their own to use at home and have to share with siblings or use a parent’s mobile phone. It is more important than ever that every school-aged child is able to access remote learning. For too many children this is not possible and as a result the gap in learning and achievement for our most disadvantaged children is becoming wider and the impact on their future educational outcomes will be significant. Every child has a right to be provided with a device of their own to support their learning and education and this donation will mean more of our children are able to learn at home and have the support from their teachers that they deserve.” This isn’t the first time brands have used their resources for good during the pandemic. During the first lockdown, many brands donated goods and services to key workers. Vision Direct gave away 4,000 packs of free contact lenses to people working for the NHS, police and fire service, social care staff and teachers to wear comfortably under their PPE. For more information, visit www.visiondirect.co.uk


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“Extreme Caution” Urged Over Visits Care providers have given an extremely cautious welcome to a Government announcement that visits can begin again in care and nursing homes following Covid-10 lockdowns. The Government announced at the weekend that care home residents could have one named visitor from 8 March and that they would be able to hold hands. The visitor would have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) gave an “extremely cautious” welcome to the Government’s announcement. It called for greater clarification on details of the announcement and urged providers to take care. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Care providers are very keen to enable residents to enjoy visits from their relatives once again as they have been kept apart for too long. “But we must sound a note of caution because Covid-19 hasn’t gone away and we are caring for the most vulnerable and most susceptible to it, as the figures show. “We need some clarification – for example, the announcement says holding hands will be allowed but warns against “close contact”. How is that going to be possible? There is going to have to be some very close but compassionate supervision of these visits. “In truth, we might have preferred a more phased return to visiting with maybe a period of no contact visits followed by some careful contact.” “We would also be slightly concerned that this is being introduced at the same time that schools return, which we are being warned could lead to an increase in infections again. Is it right to do these two things together? “Plus, many residents will not have had their second vaccine, many visitors will not have had any vaccines at all and there are concerns about the accuracy of lateral flow tests. “All in all, we know that people desperately want to reunite residents with their families, but we have to be extremely cautious. “These are very vulnerable people and Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 28,000 of them in the past year. “I would still urge care providers to work with their local health professionals and local councils to ensure they proceed with care.” The ICG said it was also concerned about the extra costs the new visits would create and called on the Government to provide more support. “The new visiting regime is going to entail a lot of hard work and extra staffing. With the current infection control fund coming to an end next month, we must have more support to help make this visiting work,” Mr Padgham added. The Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) welcomes the Government’s commitment to reopen care homes to visitors from 8

March, as part of the roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions. This is urgently needed and will begin the process to end isolation in care. R&RA has been campaigning to end isolation in care since September and the organisation wrote a letter to the Prime Minister earlier this week urging that residents be reunited with their essential caregivers. However, the limited detail published by the Government so far seems to fall far short of what is needed to end the heartache, distress and anxiety of isolation for all residents. It suggests that ‘close contact’ visits would only be allowed in exceptional circumstances, as the current guidance already sets out, which would leave many of the most vulnerable residents without the kind of support they need to protect their wellbeing. Helen Wildbore, Director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said:“R&RA welcomes the Government’s commitment to end isolation in care and is pleased they have listened to the voices of residents and their families. Our helpline hears daily from people for whom the past year of severe visitor restrictions has had a devastating impact and we will continue to campaign until ending isolation becomes a reality for all residents. For many of our helpline callers, being able to visit and hold hands will be a welcome first step. However, asking residents to choose a single constant visitor for face-to-face visits will lead to heart-breaking decisions between family members and friends. The proposals fall far too short of what is needed to end the distress of isolation for the most vulnerable residents. For people with dementia and other conditions, touch is crucial. If the roadmap only allows ‘close

contact’ visits in exceptional circumstances as suggested – such as help to encourage eating and drinking – this fundamentally misunderstands the role relatives and friends play as essential caregivers in protecting resident’s wellbeing. Finally, we are concerned little will change on the ground to reunite families until these proposals are deemed mandatory and set out in law. Only then can the Government ensure the promise of meaningful visiting becomes a reality for all.” Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum said: “The National Care Forum welcomes the government commitment to put care home visiting front and centre of the road map for recovery. The NCF, working in partnership with all those passionate about care, have been raising the urgent need to reconnect people with their loved ones for many, many months now, and whilst the overall approach to visiting has incrementally moved forward, it is hugely important that this next step recognises the role of essential caregivers and ensures that people living within care homes have regular, sustained and meaningful contact with one of the most important people in their lives. “NCF will continue to support our membership in moving as quickly as possible to implement these changes, and we call on the government to work with the sector to ensure that homes have all the support and resource needed to make this a reality for the hundreds and thousands of people living within care. Homes are communities, and relatives have always been an essential part of that community, having them back at the heart of care most definitely feels like an important junction on the roadmap.” Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “Hundreds of thousands of older people in care homes and their loved ones will sleep a little easier tonight, now they know the journey towards fully reopening care homes to visiting is to begin soon. It makes sense for the first step to be to allow ‘essential care giving visitors’ back into care homes because these individuals are so crucial to the health and wellbeing of the residents they support. In their absence we know that some older people have stopped eating and drinking, despite the best efforts of staff to take their place. Sometimes, only the person you love most in the world will do and it’s to the Government’s credit that they have recognised this. However, there are relatively few of these very special people so most care home residents and their families will have to wait a little longer for permission to meet up in person again. Still, now they can realistically hope that their nightmarish, prolonged separation will be coming to an end soon – something that would have been inconceivable before the pandemic and that we must do everything possible to prevent from ever happening again.”


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DHSC Launches “Care for Others Make a Difference Campaign” - Employment Minister Mims Davies Talks to A national recruitment campaign by the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) to drive people with the right values to take up crucial work in social care, now and for the future, was launched last week. Addressing the urgent recruitment need, ‘Care for others. Make a difference’ looks to build on the existing “Every Day Makes a Difference” campaign, but with a new message that reflects the current urgent recruitment need, highlighting the rewarding, varied and flexible roles available across the care sector to help build a sustainable workforce now and for the future. Following the launch, we here at THE CARER were delighted to speak with Mims Davies, Parliamentary UnderSecretary for the Department for Work and Pensions and formally a member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, to ask questions about the initiative:

Q: Welcome to the Carer, Minister. Firstly, can you provide more details of the scheme? When does it go live? Are you recruiting now? Where? (Just England or the entire UK?) Who? (Which sectors are you looking to recruit from - aviation, hospitality, travel?) A: We are actually recruiting already, we do at the DWP every single day, working with the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSE) #MAKEADIFFERENCE and others for this campaign which is fantastic, and we are doing it up and down the land in our job centres every week. It really is great that the DHSC are turning their interest to it, and of course today is the announcement of the blueprint which has come through the White Paper aimed at bringing health and social care closer together and focusing on how we can improve and support care as a whole and tackle inequality. At DWP we have something called our 'sector-based work academies programme'. This is where people can have up to 6 weeks training in a particular sector we can do initial training and learning from an employer, you can get your basic certification and we do this for care workers regularly. And it gives the opportunity for interviews at the end, to give real experience about what the job is going to entail, and I met with some claimants earlier this week as I do regularly, and this week I was in Walsall and North Harrogate at a hospice to discuss the breadth of opportunities in care that people could be part of. Some of these people don’t always think of the programme as their first step, it could be people coming off a career break, people who have been carers themselves. people looking to swap sectors, people who may be single parents and are looking something that fits around the parental and care responsibilities. But what was really great to see and what came out in all the conversations I had was how excited people were about helping others, how they knew it was such an important sector and above all it was for them an opportunity to come in and make a real difference.

Q: How long will the scheme last? A: We know the scheme is a long-term commitment, to champion the opportunities in care, and sits alongside what we do at the DWP. We had a fantastic take up on kickstart from employers in the care sector to help younger people come into the sector, which as you know is a programme which gives the opportunity, funded by the government for under 25 to join an organisation for 6 months work experience and the opportunity to get involved in the care sector. So, we got lots of measures to try and make sure that we are supporting the sector, we know there’s lots of vacancies and lots of opportunity. We have well over half a million vacancies even now during the pandemic and many of those are in the care sector

Q: Is this initiative just for England or is it UK wide? A: I believe it is UK wide, but I will double check!

Q: Are there any particular sectors you’re looking to recruit from?

Q: One of the concerns we had relates to retired doctors who

A: Well, my constituency is close to Gatwick, and I know my local NHS

volunteered to help the sector during the pandemic were unable to do so due the level of paperwork what will be done to reduce the burden of paperwork to ensure that people are able to make a difference?

and the care sector in that area there has been active recruitment from people that are normally employed in the aviation sector such as cabin crew. They possess experience around health and safety, around firstaid and they have those all-important people skills, these attributes have been very attractive for the care sector and hospitality is the same. And it is people recognising, which is very important to us at the DWP the value of transferable skills. People from perhaps the aviation and hospitality sector recognise the impact pandemic has had on their particular sector, and some will recognise that it might be sadly more long-term than perhaps shorter term and will be looking to turn their attention towards the care sector. I think the other thing, and I have seen this with volunteering and helping in my constituency and we have seen across the land, people really do want to give back they really do value community and care, and everything that’s gone on around the pandemic. I think people are beginning to say that if I’m spending a lot of time at work I want to do something when I feel I am making a difference and that is fulfilling. And I think a role in care certainly does that. In my constituency we have some wonderful carers and care homes, and as an informal carer of myself I know just how much it takes to care every day, I certainly value them and I’m sure that anyone coming in to the sector with transferable or existing skills will be very welcome.

Q: How would this initiative be funded? Will any responsibility be falling back in care homes or is it a government funded initiative? A: This is a government funded initiative coming directly from DHSC that we at the DWP supporting, and I would remind people that we have universal credit which will help people in and out of work coming into the care sector, particularly if they are themselves and can only take up a few hours. I believe that the DHSC has put in the region of £120 million into the scheme, and I know that this is just the start of a long-term focus to support the sector which I truly believe is very welcome.

Q. The sector requires particular levels of skill, although particular roles that you are looking to target, or is the initiative casting a “wide net” to get people into care and train them for various roles once they are actually enrolled? A: I think it is important to cast the net wide, as we have discussed roles within the sector are different and varied, so anyone can apply from the entry-level or to paid volunteers, some people might be asked to take on support roles and then move up in the sector more long-term. We have 1.4 million care workers at the moment, and we know as previously discussed the pressures the sector is under regarding safe staffing levels, so we do need more staff into care homes and domiciliary care. We are trying to move people from, shall we say volunteering or being interested to taking more direct roles. And it is important to get the message across that in care you can progress very quickly from those first early certificate entry roles to running or looking after our home. As well as frontline care we are looking to fulfil roles in management, IT, maintenance, entertainment, cleaning, it does not necessarily after centre around one-to-one care.

Q: In the initial launch it was announced that there will be opportunities for fast tracking could you elaborate? A: I think it is important for us to get the message that if people want to progress the opportunity is there, whether that is further within the NHS or adult social care. It really is about making sure that there is a really good progression pathway in care, and this is something we are highlighting in the campaign. It is also something that the DWP with our progression commission who are currently taking evidence know, that providing the opportunity to learn, and progress quickly encourages people to come into the sector. So this is part of a package of helping people to understand that there is more to care than what they currently perceive.

A: I do understand that, and I think it is an opportunity that we have with the White Paper where we are looking at health and care together with an absolute focus on getting things right, and that will be something for the DHSC to focus on, and I would say that whoever raised that with you I would encourage them feed that into the current consultation

Q: How will you vet people in time? Will you fast-track DRB checks and how can you be sure that in pandemic the checks are completed on time? A: We do understand the challenges involved and it’s something we are helping with here at the DWP, we do get feedback that sometimes it is the vetting procedure or the cost which is holding them back so that is something the DWP will definitely be linking in with the DHSC and also linking into the White Paper just to see if that is what is holding back staffing. At the same time we do recognise that it is very important to make sure that our safeguarding procedures are really high, well understood and that is something the care minister takes very seriously. I think that’s where are sector based work Academy programme is really helpful here at the DWP, because people go through the safeguarding procedures, go through training, learning and understanding what the job entails and what is required, and this again is something we at the DWP take very seriously. We do understand that we need to get vetting process right.

Q: When it comes to training who will be undertaking the training of staff? Are there designated companies? Or will be left to homes to administer training under their own in-house training schemes? A: Through our sector-based work Academy programme we work directly with learning companies and employers, so that they directly take those people through the experiences of joining the company and what the expectations and what training they receive. We cover some of that in our sector based work Academy programs. We do actively work with local employers to help them get the funding and support them through Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and we will provide more details to you with respect to DSE regarding specific homes.

Q: There is as you are aware a tremendous amount of governance and compliance required by the sector. While there is no substitute for training, compliance and content systems, offered by private sector companies like for instance Quality Compliance Systems, give Registered Managers the option to send the latest guidance, and best practice content to care staff as and when they need it. Will the homes be able to refer staff to third-party companies with the funding coming from the initiative? A: I genuinely don’t know the answer to that afraid Peter, I think that is one for DHSE and the care minister, but I will ask our team team to pick up on that one for you as I think it is important to make sure we are giving the right information.

Q: During the past 8 years renumeration for care staff has fallen behind that of hairdressers and cleaners. If you are looking to attract staff into the sector are there any plans to increase sector pay in particular the minimum wage in social care? A: This is something I understand that is being looked at by the DHSE as part of the White Paper, led by DHSC as I said earlier people can be on universal credit both in and out of work which enables us to support people going into a career, and one focus we have here at DWP is to help people progress and earn more. I think one thing that the pandemic has shown is our local care staff, what is going on in our communities, what our councils are paying for, and how our community is being looked after, which is so important. This gives us the opportunity to look at this issue. I know the DHSC are keen to look at this, and also around the progression piece. I think this is an opportunity to reflect what we have learned and understood going forward, and as a government look to respond to these concerns. A lot of this is also a matter for employers as well, so I think we all need to work together to make to make an attractive opportunity for people to join in and above all stay in.


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Loneliness: The New Epidemic in the Wake of COVID-19

by Steve Morgan, Partnership Director, Agilisys (www.agilisys.co.uk)

UNDER PRESSURE IN A PANDEMIC An increasingly lonely population was a concern for health professionals even before the pandemic. Mental health services in the UK have long been struggling, with limited resources to provide the right support for the ever-growing number of citizens facing mental health issues, many as a result of prolonged isolation. The ripple effect of COVID-19 on the mental health of the country has made it clear that there is a need for change. The pandemic and resulting social isolation has magnified the need for human contact, and the wearing of face masks in public places puts further limits on interaction by making it difficult to read emotions. Numerous studies have found loneliness is associated with a range of health problems – ranging from addiction, depression, heart disease to shorter life expectancy. In fact, loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are said to be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Although the pandemic has brought the issue of loneliness into the spotlight, this growing epidemic is unfortunately an age-old issue. The good news, though, is that there are several technology-led steps that can be taken to control the issue.

UNDERSTAND THE NEEDS OF THE POPULATION There are often mixed messages and opinions regarding the number of people across the UK experiencing loneliness, which in itself is concerning. If we cannot record loneliness effectively, how can we confidently deal with it? Capturing data and drawing on it for insights is a strong start to fixing the problem. However, only when the data is correct and reliable can it be joined with health and social care to success-

fully deliver successful solutions. The University of California recommends three questions: 1. How often do you feel that you lack companionship? 2. How often do you feel left out? 3. How often do you feel isolated from others? These questions can then be answered by one of three clear answer choices (hardly or never, some of the time, often). This method provides some form of measurement. As well as enabling organisations to identify bands of the most isolated or lonely individuals, it also enables the effectiveness of any intervention to be measured.

LARGE SCALE CONNECTIONS In the same way that a virus is a danger to physical health, it has been proven that loneliness is a dangerous to mental health. As we would with physical health issues, care and treatment must be tailored to treat the mental health of those suffering with loneliness. The main and biggest difference, though, is that one of the simplest answers to loneliness and social isolation is connection with others – meaning that the needs of multiple individuals can be met at the same time. Over 750,000 people volunteered their time to help at-risk groups and those needing care in the UK during the first lockdown. The ability to network and connect available volunteers via technology, means that tasks can be communicated to the right people with the right skills in a very short space of time. Add in connections into community groups and third sector organisations and we have a large network of people who can be mobilised to deploy an anti-loneliness care plan to isolated people at risk – or simply take a neighbour to their local library.

REDESIGNING THE CONTACT CENTRE MODEL Traditional local authority and mental health provider contact centres used to running on an ‘inbound’ contact model, must now change to a proactive ‘outbound’ model instead. They should be making video calls to citizens, verifying current situations, and using the proactive support bubble and close integration with primary care in any exception event. Early intervention using a proactive contact model will provide high levels of cost avoidance and better patient outcomes.

USING TECHNOLOGY FOR EFFECTIVE CONNECTION The over 75 age group is the fastest growing population now access-

ing the internet. There is a misplaced assumption that because they are older, they lack the understanding and knowledge of technology. However, this is rarely the case. The older generation has proven to be highly capable of learning how to use new technology. I appreciate there’s a bigger challenge with individuals who have some form of cognitive impairment. But that is a barrier that can be overcome, through the use of voice commands such as via Amazon’s Alexa, for example. Smart devices are continually being refined with improved accessibility, and are being rolled out in large quantities to reduce social isolation,

CARE FIRST, INTERVENTION SECOND Of course, it’s incredibly important during this pandemic for people in the highest risk groups to remain cautious about meeting others. However, loneliness can still be addressed, but from a safe distance, which is where technology plays a vital part. As well as part of the solution, technology is also part of the problem though. If you go back in time, there were all sorts of social gatherings that would get people out of their homes and engage with other people. However, these have all but disappeared in recent times. The technology advances that have made life more connected have displaced established communities and created circumstances that make it harder to form social bonds. Faced with a damaging epidemic, we need to find ways to replace these interactions and bring people back together, even if that means doing so virtually. By taking the right actions, and utilising the skills of people in the right way, the hope is that we can get people who have been removed from the loneliness epidemic to go on to help other people in similar situations. That's the success story we should look for. Above all else, we all need to care about those who are struggling, before the need for any intervention, by taking a preventative approach to health and social care. There’s no single organisation that can fix any of these issues, but if people are prepared to work together to solve the challenges, huge strides could be taken to tackle the issue of loneliness and social isolation. Either way, things need to change sooner rather than later.


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | PAGE 13

New Campaign to Support Vaccine Rollout Backed by Social Media Companies and British Institutions British institutions the Premier League and the Beano, much loved author, artist and illustrator Charlie Mackesy and social media platforms Facebook and Instagram are backing a new nationwide social media campaign launched by Government and the NHS for people to show their support for the vaccine roll out. The new initiative allows users to update their profiles with a range of specially-designed profile frames and graphics. People can use these to show “I’ve had my vaccine” or make a pledge that “I will get my vaccine” when their time comes. Famous faces including iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes and actor Brian Blessed are among those set to join in with the campaign. During the pandemic social media has been a vital tool for people to connect and share updates with their loved ones. The new collection of graphics will allow people to celebrate getting the vaccine with their family, friends and followers and say thank you to the hard work of our NHS heroes. The designs include artwork featuring the NHS, the Premier League, British favourite the Beano and beloved author, artist and illustrator Charlie Mackesy, who have all helped create images for those that wish to show their support for the vaccine rollout. The range of new Facebook frames and Instagram GIFs will be ready to use on social media and will also be available in 13 languages from

Monday so that people from communities all across the UK can support the campaign. The campaign aims to reach tens of millions of people, across the UK as the roll out continues over the next few months. These will be the first in a series of graphics created for a range of platforms that will launch over the coming months. NHS England’s primary care director, and London GP Nikki Kanani said: “I’ve seen first-hand the enthusiasm for being protected when vaccinating people against coronavirus, and it’s great people have a new way of showing support for the rollout online – it’s vital everyone is confident to have the vaccine when it is their turn to do so. “Vaccines are safe, simple and effective, and word of mouth is a great way of communicating that message so that our friends, family, and loved ones are encouraged to take up the jab.” Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “Throughout the pandemic, Premier League clubs and players have been proud to provide a wide range of support to local communities, the NHS and other frontline workers – from direct financial contributions to providing facilities for medical use and helping vulnerable members of society. We are pleased to be able to extend this support and help promote important messaging around the vaccine programme.” Charlie Mackesy said: “The vaccination programme has brought hope to many, and I’m happy to help people mark the moment they get the

vaccine and give thanks to our wonderful NHS.” As well as promoting the new campaign, Facebook and Instagram have worked closely with the NHS and government throughout the pandemic to help direct people to accurate information and advice, and to do more to identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the virus. Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We’ve been supporting the NHS and the UK Government throughout the pandemic by directing over 10million people to their websites and sharing vital information within our Facebook COVID-19 Hub. We’re promoting these unique profile frames and GIFs to all UK Facebook and Instagram users to raise vital vaccine confidence and we’re giving free advertising credits to the NHS so they can reach the public with their campaign. “I got my vaccine this week and feel proud and grateful to the NHS for all their hard work so I want to show my support in whatever way I can. It only takes a minute to change your profile picture – why not give it a go today!” The UK’s vaccination programme will be extended to more groups in the coming months, with the Government aiming to offer the vaccine to everyone over 50 by May, and all adults by September.

Care Home COVID Deaths Fall By A Third The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 12 February 2021 (week 6) fell to 15,354, which was 1,838 fewer deaths than in the previous week and was 28.8% above the five-year average (3,429 deaths higher). Of the deaths registered in Week 6 in England and Wales, 5,691 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”; a decrease of 1,629 deaths compared with Week 5. In Week 6, deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 37.1% of all deaths in England and Wales. The number of COVID-19 care home related deaths fell by a third in the latest weekly statistics reported by the ONS. The biggest decrease was seen in those aged 90 years and over (424 fewer deaths). The majority (70.5%) of deaths involving COVID-19 were in people aged 75 years and over.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic (up to week ending 12 February 2021), 54.3% of all deaths involving COVID-19 have been in males (Figure 4). There have been more deaths in females aged 85 years and over (28,649) than males aged 85 years and over (24,005). However, these numbers do not account for the population structure where there are more women aged 85 years and over than men. Of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 and up to Week 6 (week ending 12 February 2021), 68.9% (86,101 deaths) occurred in hospitals, with the remainder occurring in care homes (29,584 deaths), private homes (6,617), hospices (1,774), other communal establishments (457) and elsewhere (445). Between Weeks 5 and 6, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased in all settings: hospitals (941 fewer), care homes (566 fewer),

hospices (58 fewer), private homes (52 fewer), other communal establishments (8 fewer) and elsewhere (4 fewer). Deaths involving COVID19 in hospitals as a proportion of all deaths in hospitals fell to 53.5% in Week 6 (58.0% in Week 5). Deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes accounted for 37.8% of deaths, a decrease from Week 5 (45.5%). As well as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) provides numbers of deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes in England that are based on the date the death was notified to the CQC. From 10 April 2020 (the first day when data were collected using the CQC’s new method of identifying deaths involving COVID-19) to 19 February 2021, there were 27,875 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19. Of these deaths, 649 were notified in the week up to 19 February 2021.

H.W. PICKRELL Amanda Waring - (award winning dignity campaigner, trainer, filmmaker, author and well- being expert )is providing so much invaluable help to Carehome managers and staff around the UK at this time. Please see how she may help your home with her award wining online dignity trainings and self care programmes and books and films on caring for others whilst caring for ourselves.

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Please visit her website www.theheartofcare.co.uk. She is also offering a £100 discount for her WHAT DO YOU SEE training pack that includes over 50 hours worth of innovative person centred training. Her online uplifting and inspirational self care and recovery masterclasses for all who work in care are proving incredibly powerful and helpful. To book your sessions please email Amanda at amandawaringfilms@gmail.com. Essex County Council have ensured every carehome and staff member receive Amanda’s unique trainings.

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PAGE 14 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

Managing Isolation in Care Homes During the COVID-19 Crisis Simon Kezic-Williams, operations director at Shaw healthcare, comments on the potential damage of long-term social isolation in care homes because of the pandemic – and what care homes can do to balance the risk of COVID-19 with facilitating vital social engagement.

It is no secret that the roller coaster of the last 12 months has put unprecedented pressure on the care sector, forcing those within it to adapt and pull together to ensure staff and residents remained as protected as possible from COVID-19 – something much easier said than

done. Infection control within a care home is not easy, but the sector did what it needed to in order to limit the spread of the virus, through strict hygiene practices and ensuring those visiting the home are only doing so if it is absolutely necessary. This did, of course, mean that care homes had to make the heart-breaking decision to stop visits from family and friends. This was seen as a temporary measure, but of course the ongoing prevalence of the virus in our communities meant such measures have now, in 2021, become the ‘new normal’. But what impact does such a sustained period of physical isolation from loved ones have on care home residents? As always, families play a huge part in the care process. Not being able to see your loved-one in person has an immense emotional impact, not only for our residents but for their friends and relatives who rely on the importance of a regular visit. When the virus first emerged, we quickly mobilised a digitally focussed approach, doing our best to link residents and relatives through tablets and smartphones, and getting them accustomed to video-calling platforms. As restrictions began to be lifted, we were able to manage some socially distanced meetings outside but we weren’t so fortunate during the second wave, as sunny weather made way for a cold, wet and dark winter, and our concerns around residents’ mental health wellbeing became all the more acute. We turned our attention to finding a more long-term solution that would enable residents and loved ones to meet each other safely indoors, all year round.

This led to us signing up to an exciting trial at Wylesfield, one of our care homes in Mid Wales. Working with the Welsh Government, we agreed to host the first of a number of ‘visiting pods’ in the lead up to Christmas. Brought in on a six-month, rental basis, the pods have allowed the home to offer indoor visits, safely separated from other residents and staff. Visitors were tested on arrival and, on evidence of a negative result, embarked on a carefully managed meeting while also wearing PPE. While normality certainly hadn’t resumed, it felt like a step in the right direction. The positive impact of this cannot be understated. One resident – 97year-old Rosina Mayer – said how “having the pod will make us part of the community again, instead of feeling like we’re being shut away”. She wasn’t alone, with many of the residents taking advantage of the initiative to see their loved ones in person over the festive period and beyond. Since this trial, we have brought in similar pod in another one of our homes, offering a lifeline for many residents and relatives. Despite these advances, we remain pragmatic. Although regulations in all devolved nations are starting to be lifted, COVID-19 will not be leaving our shores any time soon and we need to continually adapt if we want to provide a high-level of care across the board. But, with these new methods of working coupled with the excellent progress made in the NHS vaccine rollout to date, we are starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of what has been a very, very long tunnel.

A Piper For Peggy On Her 100th Birthday Walstead Place Care Home resident Peggy Chinnock celebrated her 100th birthday this week with a piper and a family visit as well as balloons, a cake and a card from the Queen. Home Manager Jacquie Ferguson said that Peggy, who has been a resident at the West Sussex home for 12 years, woke up on her birthday to an array of cards and flowers. “Peggy has a wonderful smile which comes across her face, when people say someone smiles with their eyes that’s our Peggy. To reach 100 years of age is a marvellous milestone and we were delighted to have the pleasure of sharing it with her,” added Jacquie. The team at Walstead Place made a special place for Peggy near

the bay window decorated with balloons, so she would be able to see her birthday surprise – which was her family of daughters Angela and Shelia, her son John and daughter-in-law Teresa. “Her face lit up, she was able to wave to them through the window and was able to open her card from the Queen and she smiled so much when she saw the picture of the Queen and her name in the card,” explained Jacquie. “But what she wasn’t prepared for was that she thought she could hear bagpipes. She was correct, her family had organised a sole piper to play some lovely ballads and ‘’Happy Birthday’’ as well which we all sang to her. She has had an amazing day and at the end of it all she just wanted a cup of tea and a slice of her cake and oh …. a walk around our beautiful garden which she loves.” Peggy, a very hands-on and caring mother and grandmother, was born on February 15, 1921, and has four children and five grandchildren. Her faith, her family and her friends have always been important to her, increasingly so after she was widowed. She met her husband Bob, who she describes as “my one and only” around the time the Second World War broke out. He finished his teacher training and then spent the war years stationed in the middle

east. Peggy joined the Land Army and they married in 1945 once the war was over. Peggy and Bob enjoyed holidaying in Scotland, Peggy was an energetic walker and conquered several mountain peaks. She was widowed in 1984 but then learnt to drive and really enjoyed the freedom it gave her to visit friends and family. ‘’Peggy is a lovely lady with a fierce in-built independence and doesn’t suffer fools gladly,” said Jacquie. “Nowadays Peggy prefers the quieter side of life and is happy to sit and watch the world go by. She does not let anything hold her back, if she gets a knock back she picks herself up with sheer determination and carries on.”

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; colleagues 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 operating. 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 pre-acceptance 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 costeffectively 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.


PAGE 16 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

Former Google Employee Shares Tips For Marketing Your Residential Care Home Online By Conor Hardy, Managing Director, Run PPC – https://wwww.runppc.co.uk Putting your business and its services in front of the right people online is a non-negotiable in today’s digital age, and while traditional marketing techniques such as offline advertising will continue to deliver results, keeping abreast of the latest digital strategies is essential. Add into the mix the challenges of coronavirus and the importance of having an effective online marketing strategy in place has perhaps never been more acute. As a former Google employee, I have seen digital marketing trends come and go, and techniques that were once hugely effective are now redundant, but staying up to date with what works and what doesn’t can be extremely challenging when you’re running a residential care home. So, what practical solutions can you put in place to ensure there are pairs of eyes on your services, which don’t require a huge investment of time? Well, a lot depends on how your customers find you and how you want them to find you. It makes sense to focus attention on areas where you are getting the most success, and I certainly wouldn’t encourage operators to abandon strategies that are delivering results. But have you considered the techniques being used by your competitors and the audiences you could be missing out on? An often-neglected aspect of digital marketing in the residential care industry is SEO and PPC, and I know this to be the case because I’ve analysed the marketplace, both in preparation for writing this article and through my own work with operators in the sector. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and refers to the practice of ensuring your brand is at the top of

search results – or close to it – for key search terms. Here’s a quick experiment you can try from your phone or laptop – search on Google for residential care home and the area you serve – for example, “residential care home dorset” – and take a look at the results generated. Does your name feature? Consider other terms that your audience may use to find businesses like yours. If your name isn’t appearing then these people simply won’t find you. So, what can you do about it? 1. Ensure your website is submitted to search engines – speak to your website manager to check that this box has been ticked. Free plug-ins like Yoast SEO (which works with WordPress websites) can help you do this in a few short steps. This allows Google to ‘crawl’ your website and add it to its directory. 2. Ensure your website is as good as it can be – for your website to rank highly in Google, it should be up to date, fast loading and populated with relevant information. Adding a new blog post every couple of weeks will work wonders in the longer term. Slow, outdated websites will quickly slip down the search rankings as Google wants to show its users the best and most up-to-date answers to queries. 3. Consider Google Ads – An effective Google Ads campaign can send your business to the top of the search results for key terms. This requires a little investment, although a significant percentage of your total spend is dictated by the number of clicks your campaign receives. This is where the term PPC – or pay-perclick – comes from; the more successful your campaign is, the more you’ll pay. But if the value of a new customer is significant then the initial outlay is a real no-brainer. Alongside other digital strategies, such as engaging social media output, by taking these steps you can super-charge your digital marketing and ensure that your business is presented to a relevant audience that is ready to engage with you. I have worked extensively with operators in the residential care sector and have seen the good and the bad – and grown to understand that the phrase ‘getting out what you’re prepared to put in’ is rarely more relevant than when it comes to online marketing.

Sunrise of Winchester Residents Pay Tribute to Sir Captain Tom Moore Residents at Sunrise of Winchester have paid tribute to Sir Captain Tom Moore with a walk around the care home. Sir Captain Tom Moore was an inspiration to all the residents and team members at Sunrise of Winchester. Following the news of Sir Captain Tom’s passing, they wanted to honour his legacy with a walk around the home. Residents initially set a target of 100 laps, this is one lap for each year of Sir Captain Tom’s life. 19 residents took part, and between them, they accomplished over 181 laps of the home. After residents completed the laps, team members presented them with certificates that said, ‘I walked for Captain Tom’. Families and friends of residents sponsored the residents on their walk, and all proceeds are going to The Captain Tom Foundation. The residents raised a total of £475. Jean Tudor, 92-year-old resident at Sunrise of Winchester, said: “I felt quite pleased with myself that I had achieved something. We all appreciate what Captain Tom did to help others.” Ted Gumbrell, 89-year-old resident, said: “I was so happy to be the first to go around the course. Captain Tom showed true gumption and determination.”

Freda Peacock, 91-year-old resident, added: “Captain Tom was so selfless and made a tremendous effort to make an example for other people to do something and express their appreciation. I loved doing the walk and it will be nice to do it again in the garden when the weather is better.” Louise Murkin, Activities and Volunteers Coordinator at Sunrise of Winchester, was so proud of the residents. She said: “The residents and I followed the amazing achievements of Sir Captain Tom with great affection. We were saddened to hear that he had become unwell and later passed away. I was chatting with the residents soon after we heard the news of his passing and they were keen to do something in his memory. “We set a route within the home and challenged the residents to do 100 laps. “I was so proud of the residents; they were so motivated to achieve the set goal. Some did 20 plus laps, some did some in the morning and again in the afternoon. It was so lovely to see the comradery of those involved encouraging each other and laughing and joking along the way.”

Omnicell's eMAR Solution Helping Care Homes to Manage Their COVID-19 Vaccination Programmes As the COVID-19 vaccination programme is being rolled out across the UK, Omnicell’s eMAR solution has recently been enhanced to help support care homes to manage recording of the medication in terms of timings, dosage as well as the type of vaccination used. As with any other medication, this vaccine needs to be managed and administered safely. New features to the eMAR care home solution have been introduced to ensure that staff can easily record the type of vaccine, when it was administered and whether it was the first or second injection. As with all medication, residents have the right to refuse and should that be the case, the Omnicell eMAR solution also captures this information too. The Omnicell eMAR system automates the entire medication management and administration process for each care home resident, ensuring they receive their right medication at the right time. Now, care home management and staff can have the COVID-19 vaccine status of each resident at the touch of their fingertips as part of the eMAR Reporting Suite. The eMAR system gathers information, provides prompts and accurate instructions for staff and managers in real time at the touch of a button. Each individual medication is identified through a barcode, normally applied in pharmacy, which can then be tracked at all stages from check in at the care home through to administration to a resident. It provides an invaluable medicines history for each patient and includes a simple alert and verification system to minimise the risk of medication errors in the home. Residents in care homes take an average of 7.2 medicines per day. With each additional medicine comes an increased risk of errors in prescription, monitoring, dispensing or administration, adverse drug reac-

tions, impaired medicines adherence which can lead to compromised quality of life for patients. CQC’s annual state of care report found that safety was the biggest concern with one of the main contributing factors being poor medicines management.1 Recently, Omnicell UK, the market leader in medication and supplies automation, and Nourish Care, a leading electronic care planning provider, came together to provide a new integration that gives care staff greater visibility of a patient’s medication regime as part of their overall care plan. Managing and monitoring resident’s medication regimes effectively can significantly impact the delivery and quality of care. Historically care

planning and medication administration systems have been managed completely separately. This can potentially contribute to failings in support of residents’ care. The new integration means that Omnicell eMAR can now share data related to medication with the Nourish Care system, giving greater insight and driving best practice into the safety and individual care of each resident in the home. Heather Bethune, Care Home Manager at Abbeyfield House Care Home, comments; "The new COVID-19 recording feature has been a huge help for our care home. All of the vaccine information is recorded in one place and it's presented alongside all the medication that we've administered - where it should be, so it's great to have a simple overview of everything that’s medication related. We can record the type of vaccine that resident has been given and the date they were administered it, this allows us to know when the second vaccination is required for each resident. The system allows you to input information retrospectively which is a great help when we have new residents join the home who have already had the vaccine. It's a really simple and easy to use system that is helping us to manage the COVID-19 virus.” Cyrus Hodivala, Medicines Adherence Sales Director at Omnicell UK & Ireland, comments; “Here at Omnicell we are constantly looking at new ways to respond to our clients needs with innovative solutions. And as such, we are pleased to announce the new features and enhancements to our eMAR solution which will help support care homes to manage their COVID-19 vaccination programmes. We anticipate that this will help to drive much needed times efficiencies for staff during this difficult time, as well as ensure patient safety within the care sector.” For further information contact www.omnicell.co.uk/products/emar


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | PAGE 17

Nursing Applications In England Up By Over A Third To 48,830 Health and Care Ministers have welcomed the latest figures out this week showing the number of applications to undergraduate nursing courses this year is a third higher than last year. UCAS has received 48,830 applications to nursing courses in England, up from 35,960 at the same point last year, representing a 34% increase. Last year, the number of people accepting a place on a nursing course increased by 27% compared to 2019. Health Education England is working with health and education sector partners to make sure there are enough places for all suitable applicants who will go on to take up vital jobs in the NHS or social care sector. The figures for England also show: • an increase in applications of more than 50% among 25 to 34 year olds and 43% among 35-and-overs; and • a 41% rise in male applicants. Minister for Care, Helen Whately said: “I’m delighted to see such an incredible boost in this year’s applications, with more mature applicants helping to contribute to a diverse and truly representative nursing workforce. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to support our health

and social care services. “These are the nurses of the future who will help the NHS and social care recover from this pandemic and continue to deliver world-class care to patients for years to come. “These figures are a testament to the work of Health Education England and UCAS in highlighting nursing as a rewarding and accessible career path, as well as the remarkable achievements of all health and care professionals over the past year. “We’re another step closer to delivering 50,000 more nurses for our NHS and providing better healthcare for everyone.”Last year, the Government introduced a new training grant for eligible nursing, midwifery and allied health profession (including paramedic) students of at least £5,000 a year, which does not need to be paid back. Nursing students will also benefit from additional financial support for childcare and for those who study specialisms which typically have fewer applicants such as mental health or learning disability nursing. Eligibility for this is in line with existing criteria for tuition fee and maintenance support from the Student Loans Company.

St Georges Plan for Better Times It is very important for the well-being for everyone to have something ahead to look forward to. It makes you feel good and may also give an “atmosphere of growth” to your life, because the future seems bright. Lindsey, Lifestyle Coordinator at St Georges Court Care Home in Cambridge, and some of the residents decided to look forward and start planning for their St Georges Court garden. Many of the residents enjoyed maintaining their own gardens before they came to St Georges. They reminisced with each other trying to explain the plan of their own gardens so others could imagine what it looked like. They also discussed what they had managed to do in the garden last year and the main project was to brighten up the large wooden shed building that was rather prominent. They had painted it rainbow colours and it really is a focal point.

This year they have decided to concentrate on growing some colourful and scented flowers as well as growing a variety of vegetables. They have collated a wish list of lilies, lupins, iris, roses, dahlias, sunflowers, sweet Williams, big daises, and lavender. They will be able to work on their plans prepping the areas and asking for donations ahead of schedule. Lindsey has made a poster with pictures and written their ideas next to the pictures. This way they have a record of their planning session and can refer to it whenever needed. Residents cannot wait to start their project as soon as the warmer weather arrives and to reap up their rewards, after the planting and growing has taken place. Hoping that in the summer they will be able to sit in the garden with their loved ones.


PAGE 18 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

Online Defamation - A Growing Risk For The Care Sector? By Jennifer Rhind, Solicitor in the Commercial Litigation Team at Wright Hassall Solicitors (www.wrighthassall.co.uk)

The recent headline story of a law firm’s previous client having to pay them £25,000 in libel damages for a negative Trustpilot review, highlights what a business can do when it considers a bad review has crossed the line and is defamatory. The law in relation to defamation is contained within the Defamation Act 2013. For a statement to be defamatory, the publication of the statement must have caused, or be likely to cause, serious harm to reputation. If the suspected defamation relates to harming the reputation of a business, the business will need to show that it has caused or is likely to cause serious financial loss in order to be regarded as ‘serious harm’.

HOW A BUSINESS SHOULD REACT

For Nursing and Residential Care Homes dealing with bad online reviews, or comments on Facebook and Twitter, it can be stressful, but just because the comments are not good, they are not necessarily defamatory. Thanks to the impact of the pandemic and the resultant torrid last twelve months for the care sector, once the dust has settled, it is possible that many harsh statements made by grieving families may find their way onto the internet, but even so, defamatory publications remain unacceptable. Many people believe they can express any opinions they want about a business and in fact, one of the defences to a claim in defamation is honest opinion. An individual seeking to use this defence would need to establish the words complained of as being defamatory were a statement of opinion which indicated as such and which an honest person could have held. However, if the statement is deemed to be a statement of fact, this defence would be unsuccessful. There is a very fine line between statement of fact and statement of opinion. For those businesses reviewing online comments, you should always consider what meaning or meanings the words are reasonably capable of bearing, e.g., words can be defamatory not only in their natural and ordinary meaning but also through innuendo. Whilst the author of an opinion might not consider their words to bare a defamatory meaning, there are in fact various factors that need to be considered such as whether the author has over-elaborated the position and what the ordinary reasonable reader would consider it to mean. Further, as a general rule an individual will not escape liability just by claiming they are simply repeating something that someone else told

them unless they can prove the subject matter of the comment is true. Repeating someone else’s defamatory statement is just as bad if you had made the defamatory statement yourself. If you have any concerns or suspect a review contains exaggerated opinions, or ones that cannot be justified, with the sole intention of causing your business harm, it might be time to take legal advice.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND REVIEW SITES POSE A RISK The case in the introduction references the law firm Summerfield Browne who sought damages against a client who left a defamatory review on Trustpilot: “A total waste of money, another scam solicitor”. Although the Defendant sought to argue this was his honest opinion, the Court awarded Summerfield Browne damages of £25,000 and costs, plus an injunction banning the Defendant from repeating his allegations. The Court also ordered that Trustpilot should remove the review from its website, although this is likely to be challenged by Trustpilot as they were not involved in the proceedings.

IN CONCLUSION As a business operating in the modern digitally connected world, you must actively monitor your online reputation and whilst welcoming honest customer feedback, you should consider action to protect and defend your hard won reputation when you believe it has been unfairly maligned. If someone, even anonymously, expresses an opinion about your business that you believe is defamatory, you should consider obtaining legal advice from a specialist, particularly in light of the potential defences which may be available to an individual faced with a defamation claim.

Stoke-On-Trent Colleague Marks 25 Years At Care Home A Colleague at HC-One’s Stadium Court care home in Staffordshire, is marking a huge 25 years working at the home. Paul Tunnicliffe started working at Stadium Court on January 22 1996 at the age of 37. The home was officially opened later that year on November 5 1996 by none other than Sir Stanley Matthews, CBE. Over the last 25 years, Paul has been involved with plenty at Stadium Court. He likes to help with the Activities Colleagues too by making and mending items. In his 25 years at the home, Paul has seen a lot of changes and a few new owners under the management of three companies before the home eventually came under the ownership of HC-One. When he started in 1996, Colleagues preferred to be address as ‘Matron’ and nurses dressed in full uniform. Since then, the home has garnered a much more friendly, relaxed approach where Colleagues can get to know and have a laugh with Residents as they offer them support and care. Paul is well respected by Colleagues and Relatives and is often described at a ‘Top Man’ by Residents who love chatting to him. Stadium Court Home Manager, Maureen Southern, remarked, “If you every need to know anything ask Paul as he hoards everything!”

Michael Hurt Joins Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare As Head Of Memory Care Michael Hurt has joined Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare as Head of Memory Care. Having taken his position on 4th January 2021, Michael is now advising on all aspects of dementia care, including training for team members, enhancing dementia-friendly environments and supporting colleagues to deliver best practice in care. He is also set to lead on the introduction of new models of care to the benefit of residents across each of the organisation’s 46 care homes. Michael’s ambition to work within the care sector can be traced back to when he was just three years old after he spent six weeks in hospital with a fractured femur. He later developed a specific interest in mental health as a teenager following the completion of a school project on this topic which, combined with spending time with his grandmother and growing fond of stories from older people, set in motion his desire to join the industry. After qualifying as a nurse, Michael specialised in Old Age Psychiatry and has since remained in the industry for over 36 years. Over the course of his career, he has worked on wards, in day hospitals, in residential care homes for those living with dementia, and also as a community mental health nurse. He went on to qualify as a Specialist Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Independent Prescriber where he responded to urgent referrals, many of which were in care homes. Then, in 2009,

Michael became a Commissioner of Dementia Services and was employed as Head of Older People and Dementia at Walsall Council and Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group. Here, Michael developed and delivered new practices to improve the quality and responsiveness of existing services. His work went on to be recognised in eight prestigious national case studies, including in the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, NICE, NHS England along with other requests to Chair and speak at national conferences. And, alongside his work, Michael has taught at three universities as well as to a variety of audiences, from volunteers and members of the public, to medical staff. Michael says that his vast experience has allowed him to be the “calm one in the room” and offer valuable support to others. This experience also means that he is rarely surprised and has developed the emotional resilience to not worry which, he says, rubs off on others and helps to improve the confidence of his colleagues. Asked what he loves about working in care, Michael says his last few roles have allowed him to make significant changes which have made demonstrable improvements to the lives of those with dementia, as well as their carers and the staff supporting them. Then, after a brief period in retirement, Michael was shortlisted for the Head of Memory Care role and for another similar role at a different care home provider, both with head offices in Beaconsfield. However, after speaking to Annie Webber, Sunrise and Gracewell’s Senior Director of Care and Quality, he says he knew that he wanted to work with her and the wider organisation. She explained that she didn’t want a “Yes” person, rather she wanted someone with practical experience that was comfortable to work on the ground with team members – a description Michael saw in himself.

Although not easily amazed after spending more than three decades in care, he says he has been thoroughly impressed by the leadership shown across all levels at Sunrise and Gracewell. Speaking of his initial experiences of Sunrise and Gracewell, Michael said: “I have met some very skilled team members working in dementia care and they are really dedicated to delivering any further improvements in the quality of care. There are also some very good working relationships between operational and quality team members, and I am surrounded by exceptional subject matter experts which I can learn from.” The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to the wider social care sector, but Michael stresses that the difficulties of this crisis have mainly affected team members and residents in care homes, as well as their family members. He says that the impact of care home closures and social distancing measures are likely to have a long-lasting impact on mood, mobility and confidence. He also believes that the sector and society more widely are still learning from this difficult experience. Looking ahead to his tenure, Michael says that although Sunrise and Gracewell are industry leaders, he would like to focus on further improving the understanding and confidence of all team members involved in dementia care. He says that he has already met a few team members who have a first-rate understanding of dementia but would benefit from improved confidence in what they do. Michael is also excited to introduce environmental improvements and new approaches, while ensuring that any changes are supported by evidence and can deliver a demonstrable improvement to the lives of residents. Finally, asked what his aims and ambitions are for Sunrise and Gracewell, Michael said, “this bit is easy. I want Sunrise and Gracewell to be the best dementia care provider.”


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | PAGE 19

Low Pay “Insult” Is Kick In The Teeth For Frontline Covid Heroes The decision by Flintshire County Council to base care home fees on paying half the staff the minimum wage is a “kick in the teeth” for the frontline Covid heroes, it’s been claimed. Care Forum Wales, which represents nearly 500 independent social care providers, says it’s an affront to care workers who had put their own lives on the line and heroically done their utmost to protect their residents from the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. In Wales, pay rates for carers are effectively determined by local councils who set the level of fees care homes and domiciliary care companies receive. Flintshire, along with many other authorities and health boards, use a formula which calculates how much they want to allocate towards all care home costs, including what staff are paid. As a result, say Care Forum Wales, wage levels have been unfairly suppressed by the local authorities who have managed the budgets for 25 years. Meanwhile, carers working in in council-owned homes in Flintshire are paid considerably more even if they have no experience or qualifications. Last year Flintshire Council was named and shamed as one of the “meanest” local authorities in Wales when it comes to paying care home fees. An investigation by Care Forum Wales revealed they were in the bottom five worst paying councils in Wales. It prompted the organisation to launch a campaign to ensure qualified staff who work in care homes and domiciliary care in Wales are paid a minimum of £20,000 a year. According to Care Forum Wales chair Mario Kreft MBE, the valiant

response of care workers in saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic had highlighted their true value and it was high time it was recognised by the authorities who commissioned publicly funded social care. It was, he said, a “national disgrace” that the 2020 Fair Pay campaign was necessary and it was “bitterly disappointing” that Flintshire County Council had chosen to ignore it. Mr Kreft: “Twenty or so years ago Flintshire’s rates were among the highest in Wales but they have slid steadily down the league table of shame and are now in the relegation zone. “It’s part of the increasing North/South divide in Wales with five of the bottom 10 payers being North Wales councils while the highest rates are to be found in South East Wales. “When they were calculating the fees for the coming year, Flintshire split the staff up so that half the staff are paid the national living wage which is currently £8.72 an hour going up to £8.91 next, while the other half are on a slightly higher rate of £10.21. “Flintshire’s approach also flies in the face of the recently published Welsh Government White Paper, Rebalancing Care and Support, which says action is needed in ‘refocusing the fundamentals of the care market – away from price towards quality and value’. “To put things into perspective the UK Government are charging returnees £175 a night to quarantine in hotels – which clearly does not include the cost of care. That works out at £1,225 a week which is nearly double the fee for the most acute level of need in Flintshire for people needing EMI nursing care. “This is an unforgiveable insult to all the heroic people who have been on the front line throughout the coronavirus. It’s nothing less than shocking.

“Instead of clapping for carers Flintshire Council they are kicking them in the teeth and condemning them to live on low wages which is an absolute scandal. “They should be treated as national treasures for showing tremendous courage as well as skill and dedication in the face of this frightening disease during a global pandemic. They deserve so much better. “And then to add insult to injury they pay their own employees working in care homes at a much higher rate. “Earlier this month Flintshire advertised for carers at £10.01 to £10.63 – no formal qualifications or experience was required while the vast majority of staff in the independent sector are both qualified and experience but expected to live on a lot less. Surely, this is shameless hypocrisy. “Carers in the independent social care sector are being treated like second class citizens. There is just no justification for this and the people on large salaries who commission these services should hang their heads in shame. “Surely now we have got to recognise the care sector and particularly social care workers for the incredible value they provide for our communities and our society. “We have got to make sure that working in social care is a career of the highest value. “This is the time for social care to be put on a pedestal alongside the NHS because they are symbiotic – they cannot work without each other. “People working in social care need to be rewarded like a proper profession instead of being treated like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel.”

Oxfordshire Resident Recalls Meeting Her Husband 70 Years Ago in the Very Building Where She Now Lives Colleagues have uncovered a lovely romantic story about a Resident at HCOne’s Thamesfield care home in Henley-on-Thames. In the 1940s, the building where Thamesfield now resides was a youth club that Mrs Jean Young and her friends regularly attended. One day while she was there having fun, a handsome young man entered through the front door. His name was Cyril Young, a former RAF recruit, and he and Jean hit it off immediately. Fast forward 70 years, the former youth club is now a care home owned by HCOne and Jean is one of the lovely residents who lives there, in the very same building where she first locked eyes with Cyril. After a few years of courting and going dancing at the youth club, the couple married in March 1949 at local St Mary’s Church. One of Jean and Cyril’s beautiful

wedding photos is now on display in the Thamesfield reception area. Jean commented: “Every time I pass reception, it brings back happy memories.” Their relationship and wedding day were a truly local affair. Jean’s wedding bouquet was even made by the father of Thamesfield’s current gardener all those years ago. The newlyweds enjoyed a romantic honeymoon in London before living a beautiful life together. After many years, Jean eventually moved into the building, now a care home, where the pair met almost 70 years ago. Thamesfield Home Manager, Lina Nela, said: “Everyone has loved hearing this lovely story. How amazing that Mrs Young met her husband here and now, all those years later, lives here. “It’s a story that warms your heart.”

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PAGE 20 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

Caring for the Carers By Richard A. Powell, Project Evaluation Manager, Imperial College London, London

Prime Minister Boris Johnstone’s recent news that COVID-19 vaccines has been offered to all older residents at eligible care homes in England, is a welcomed “crucial milestone.” The impact of the pandemic upon care homes has been catastrophic. With residents of advanced age, often with deficient immune systems and co-morbidities, living in closed settings with multiple co-residents, viral transmission is that much easier. Compounded by the lack of PPE,

poor testing regimes, and unmet need for hospital treatment, over 25,000 deaths in England had been recorded by February this year. While the current vaccination programme rolled out across the UK is, as Mr Johnstone remarked, the “route out of the pandemic,” attention needs to pivot to those in residential care homes whose health needs have also been neglected: care home workers. The post-COVID landscape should include a focus on the wellbeing of staff who have been at the frontline—but also those who have performed in a supportive, backroom capacity—combating the impact of the virus. Responsible senior managers should devote their attention to how, if at all, their colleagues have been physically, but also importantly mentally, affected. To what extent have they been affected, what support services—if any—have staff accessed to help them overcome any problem they encountered, and what should future service interventions look like to ensure they can return to, and fully function in, the workplace? Ensuring mental health and wellbeing challenges are identified and addressed effectively is premised on understanding the lived experience of staff members, helping to determine the long-term support that will enable them to continue providing invaluable care. It is within this challenging environment that Imperial College (IC) London is conducting a study among care home staff to provide the data to achieve that understanding. As Dr Dasha Nicholls, lead for mental health and multi-morbidity in the NIHR Northwest London Applied Research Collaboration, and principal investigator of the study, commented on the impact of the virus:

“Workers might be particularly affected by fears of contamination, disruption of normal supportive structures, work stress, and retention issues. Many will have to make difficult choices to deliver care they know is not necessarily the best, explain difficult decisions to relatives, or make decisions that jar with their personal values. An immediate research priority is to monitor and report rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide, and other mental health issues among vulnerable groups of workers, to understand mechanisms and inform interventions. “We are really hoping that staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities take part in the study given they’ve been especially hard hit by the virus.” The study, which is conducted online, focusses on the short- and medium-term psychological impact of the pandemic on North-West London social care-related staff, identifying psychosocial indicators of resilience and vulnerability, and evaluating the effectiveness of staff support programmes offered through employer organisations. It is the first study to include social care (including residential homes), primary care, mental health and acute care staff, enabling a comparison of the virus’s impact across care sectors. A short online survey will collect basic demographic and clinical information, supplemented by more detailed outcome measurements for those wishing to participate. Data collection is repeated at 3, 12 and 18 months, to see how staff feel over time and what is helping or not. “The study findings promise to provide us with very rich data on vulnerable staffing groups by socio-economic status and ethnicity,” added Dr Nicholls. “It is by gathering such data that we can begin to understand the nature and impact of the pandemic in care homes and plan a way forward with staff support programmes that work.! For further information on the study, and the survey itself, please visit its website: https://arc-nwl.nihr.ac.uk/research/covid-19/london-wide-covid-19research/mecarenwl.

Bon Voyage! South East Care Group Sets Sail On Epic Virtual World Cruise Residents became passengers at a South East care group as it left its virtual port to embark on a six-month world cruise – offering its residents the holiday of a lifetime despite the pandemic. With passports at the ready and sun and sangria in mind, residents at all 13 of Nellsar’s homes across Kent, Surrey and Essex began their grand voyage in Hong Kong, to coincide with Chinese New Year. A welcome distraction to the current lockdown, residents enjoyed Chinese themed activities, decorations, music, cuisine, costumes, quizzes, and films from the comfort of their armchairs. Dubbed ‘Around the World with Nellsar Cruises’, the virtual ship will dock at a different country each month with upcoming destinations including India, Spain, Italy, France and the Caribbean, before returning to the UK in August. Residents and staff at Nellsar’s Meyer House Care Centre, in Erith, Kent, Lukestone Care Centre, in Maidstone, and Princess Christian Care Centre, near Woking, were just a handful of homes that embraced the sun-soaked adventure. Even Nellsar’s Managing Director, Martin Barrett, got involved in the fun, becoming captain of the cruise liner and sending a video to all the homes, in full costume, encouraging everyone to put their feet up and have some fun. Viv Stead, Recreation and Well-being Manager at Nellsar, said: “Our residents and staff have been dreaming of escaping the lockdown and visiting far flung destinations, so we thought why not take them there!

Let’s face it, it’s been a long haul for everyone, and we all need a break and some well-deserved sunshine and fun. Our virtual cruise offers no pressure or rules, just a bit of sunny distraction. “Our first stop in Hong Kong was a great success. Everyone embraced the Chinese culture and we had so much fun across our homes. 2021 is the year of the Ox and is associated with dependability, strength, diligence, and determination – which we believe encapsulates the social care sector over the last 12 months, so it tied in nicely.” She continued: “We’re getting the relatives involved too, by exchanging postcards and photos as we make our way around the globe. It’s a great way to help our residents reminisce, with many of them being very well travelled and willing to share their globetrotting adventures. Ultimately, we just want to have a bit of fun after an exhausting year and what better way to do that than with an all-inclusive world cruise – it’s armchair travel in luxury!” With the cruise liner already making its way to India, where it will dock on Wednesday, March 10th, residents have been reflecting on their recent trip to Hong Kong. Iris Smith, an 84-year-old resident at Nellsar’s Woodstock Residential Care Centre, said: “I enjoyed setting sail on the virtual cruise and celebrating Chinese New Year, as I lived in Hong Kong for two years with my husband. I love the people and their way of life, and I enjoyed talking about my time there to the staff and fellow residents.” While fellow Woodstock resident, 90-year-old Charles Hunter, added: “I was looking forward to being the captain of our cruise ship all week! It was great fun.”

“Exceptional” NHS Nurse Joins Gracewell Of Ascot Care Home Annaliese Abrahams, a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in the NHS, has made a large impact at Gracewell of Ascot care home since joining in September 2020. After working in the NHS for over eight years and eventually leading an Intensive Care Unit, Annaliese decided to join Gracewell of Ascot after developing a passion for delivering exceptional palliative care. “End of life care shares the same importance as it does helping to bring life into this world - you only ever have one opportunity to get palliative care right”, she said. Adding, “Gracewell of Ascot offered me the opportunity to make this a peaceful and dignified experience for these particular residents while being able to help support families through some of the toughest times.” In her role at the care home, Annaliese also helps to treat residents who require nursing care by understanding their medical history, administering medicines safely, performing diagnostic tests and providing emotional support. She also acts as an advocate for residents to ensure they have the best quality of life possible while supporting the wider care team to provide excellent care services. Since joining, Annaliese has thrived on making a positive impact on the lives and health of residents and has enjoyed giving back to the “incredible men and women who have done so much for us in the past.” She also said that one of her highlights since joining the care home has been administering vaccinations against COVID-19 to residents. Annaliese says that she would strongly recommend other nurses consider working in a care home, saying: “I have been able to carry out my job to care for people passionately whilst also being

able to help empower other care team members to help them achieve their professional goals. I truly feel appreciated at work and that my ideas are listened too. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic really took a toll on the nursing industry. However, working at Gracewell of Ascot has really helped me to regain my confidence on how a healthy work life balance can be maintained. My passion for nursing has been reignited by my time at the care home and it truly is a really special career. “I have also formed relationships with the wonderful residents at Gracewell of Ascot and learnt so much about their incredible life stories. They thoroughly deserve the highest standards of care and I smile and laugh every day while caring for them - it’s a real joy to come to work.” Annaliese says she now looks forward to developing a long-term career in care as she now feels healthier and happier within herself which has reflected into other aspects of her life. She also says that her family are grateful for the benefits they have seen within her since transferring to the sector. Speaking of Annaliese’s successes, Raina Jordan, the General Manager at Gracewell of Ascot, said: “Annaliese has a huge amount of experience and excellent clinical skills as well as a passion for nursing where nothing is ever too much trouble. Her ability to reassure residents and families is exceptional and she has received wide praise since joining the team. “Her attention to detail and her kind and touching approach to end of life care has made an incredibly difficult time for residents and their family members more bearable.”


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Alzheimer’s Research UK ‘Extremely Concerned’ By Drop In Dementia Diagnosis Rate, Since The Start Of Pandemic Alzheimer’s Research UK warns the drop in the number of people receiving a diagnosis for dementia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘extremely concerning’. The UK’s leading dementia research charity has responded to figures released by NHS Digital which show the dementia diagnosis rate dropped by over 40,000 between February 2020 and January 2021, from 471,252 to 429,858. Between December 2020 and January this year, it dropped by 8,503 alone. Alzheimer’s Research UK is concerned that many people with suspected dementia are not seeking help from a medical professional who could provide an accurate and timely diagnosis. As a result, they are not receiving the support and treatments that may help with their symptoms and improve their quality of life. There are almost one million people in the UK living with dementia, but only around two thirds have a formal diagnosis. An increase in the dementia diagnosis rate would provide a clearer picture as to how many people in the country have dementia, and increase the chances of successful clinical trials and treatments by helping more people get involved in research earlier in their condition. Susan Mitchell, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It is extremely concerning that the dementia diagnosis rate has fallen during the past year. While we are disappointed by the figures, we hope they will act as catalyst for urgent change in the way we diagnose

dementia, as people with the condition are continuing to be let down. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the dramatic decline in the number of diagnoses, eroding the progress made in this area in recent years. As a result, a person’s ability to get a diagnosis has become even more challenging. The evidence suggests that COVID-19 is putting people off from seeking the medical support they need, but an early and accurate diagnosis for dementia has never been more important. “The period of uncertainty leading up to a diagnosis can be a particularly worrying time for people affected and their families. Dementia is a progressive condition and the earlier it is picked up, the quicker people can take steps to manage their symptoms, receive treatments and plan for their future. “Without a diagnosis, people can miss out on the chance to take part in research studies and clinical trials, which could give them access to potentially life-changing treatments. The drop also threatens future breakthroughs in dementia research, as we know that the earlier we are able to diagnose dementia, the better chance we have to slow and stop it in the future. “These figures also raise fears about how our health services will be able to cope in the future. Without a clear picture of the number of people living with dementia today, the NHS can’t plan for future demand and ensure the necessary resources are available for people with the condition.”

Residents At Royal Star & Garter Celebrate Chinese New Year and Pancake Day Residents at Royal Star & Garter have been kept entertained as they celebrated Chinese New Year and Pancake Day at the charity’s three care homes. They enjoyed Chinese-themed activities and food between 8-12 February as they welcomed in the Year of the Ox, and on 16 February, they helped prepare, toss and eat pancakes to mark Shrove Tuesday. Activities and events took place in all three Royal Star & Garter Homes, in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. In Surbiton, residents enjoyed a week of activities to mark Chinese New Year, including making spring rolls. In High Wycombe, the veterans painted cherry blossom trees, and in Solihull they took part in arts and crafts activities. The Homes also served mouth-watering Chinese dinners in decorated dining rooms. On Shrove Tuesday, residents helped to make and eat freshly prepared pancakes with toppings of their choice.

High Wycombe resident Margaret commented: “The Home was beautifully decorated for Chinese New Year and we enjoyed all the activities. Pancake Day was so much fun too.” The charity, which provides care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, celebrates cultural days throughout the calendar, such as patron saints days, Burns Night, Valentine’s Day and Halloween. It is part of a busy schedule of daily activities, which keep residents mentally and physically active. Pauline Shaw, Director of Care at Royal Star & Garter, said: “The Activities teams do a wonderful job marking and celebrating special dates and cultural events in each of the Homes. They help keep residents amused, active and stimulated, which is all part of the holistic care we provide.”

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.

Lancashire Care Home Residents Make Their Own Tree Of Kindness As part of Random Acts of Kindness Day, the Residents and Colleagues at HC-One’s Bankhouse care home in Hambleton, Poulton-le-Fylde have made and populated their very own tree of kindness with lovely caring words. Senior Nursing Assistant, Ashley, made the incredible tree with cardboard and colourful tissue paper. Residents and Colleagues

Residents and Colleagues gathered around the tree and toasted to kindness with a glass of bubbly. Betty, a Resident at Bankhouse, said: “I wish we could do this every day! Kindness costs nothing but means everything.” Residents loved taking part in such a wonderful activity as warmth and compassion flowed through the home on a cold

were then encouraged to write a kind message on a paper heart

February afternoon. After populating the tree, Residents were

and fix it to the tree with a peg for all to see.

feeling the love and decided to make some posters celebrating

Everyone was encouraged to wear something pink to brighten up the day and spread the love through Bankhouse. Once their tree had been populated with wonderful messages,

Random Acts of Kindness Day. The day is held in February every year and encourages people to pay kindness forward through random acts.


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | PAGE 23

£18.5 Million To Tackle Long COVID Through Research People experiencing the longer term effects of long Covid will benefit from £18.5million to fund research projects to help better understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of the condition. The funding will be given to four studies to identify the causes of long COVID and effective therapies to treat people who experience chronic symptoms of the disease. The projects were chosen following a UK-wide call to find ambitious and comprehensive research programmes to help address the physical and mental health effects of COVID-19 in those experiencing longer term symptoms but who do not require admittance into hospital. Long COVID can present with clusters of symptoms that are often overlapping and/or fluctuating. A systematic review has highlighted 55 different long-term effects but common symptoms of long COVID include breathlessness, headaches, cough, fatigue and cognitive impairment or “brain fog”. There is also emerging evidence that some people experience organ damage. Approximately 1 in 10 people with COVID-19 continue to experience symptoms and impaired quality of life beyond 12 weeks (‘long COVID’). Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “I am acutely aware of the lasting and debilitating impact long COVID can have on people of all ages, irrespective of the extent of the initial symptoms. “Fatigue, headaches and breathlessness can affect people for months after their COVID-19 infection regardless of whether they required hospital admission initially. “In order to effectively help these individuals we need to better understand long COVID and identify therapeutics that can help recovery. This funding will kickstart four ambitious projects to do just that.” Amy, 27, has been experiencing ongoing breathing problems after first contracting COVID-19 three months ago. She said: “I expected to be fully recovered within two weeks, but I actually isolated for three weeks because I just didn’t feel comfortable going out, I was still really poorly. “At my age, I didn’t expect to suffer symptoms for more than just a few days. Feeling that poorly for that long, hearing all the horror stories and things, I wondered if I would actually go back to normal. “I exercise a lot and it was really scary thinking that I might not actually get back to that again. It’s quite shocking to me actually that three

months on I’m still not really myself.” Chief Medical Officer for England and Head of the NIHR, Professor Chris Whitty said: “Good research is absolutely pivotal in understanding, diagnosing and then treating any illness, to ease symptoms and ultimately improve lives. “This research, jointly funded through the NIHR and UKRI, will increase our knowledge of how and why the virus causes some people to suffer long term effects following a COVID-19 infection – and will be an important tool in developing more effective treatments for patients.” Health Minister, Lord Bethell said: “The UK is at the forefront of scientific research and innovation when it comes to the treatment of COVID-19. This work is vital in helping us to build on our knowledge and improve the treatment of the longer term impacts of the virus. “This research will make the best use of available evidence to help us identify the causes, the consequences and most importantly the best treatments to help people recover from COVID-19 in the long term.” An independent panel of research experts and patients with long COVID recommended the following four studies for funding, at a cost of approximately £18.5 million: • REACT long COVID (REACT-LC): led by Professor Paul Elliott, Imperial College London – £5.4 million over 3 years. The study will involve people in the community who have taken part in the REACT study of the virus that causes COVID-19. Data will be analysed to find common factors to examine why some people get Long COVID and others do not. The biological studies will help us understand what causes persistent symptoms and may point to possible treatments. • Therapies for long COVID in non-hospitalised individuals: from symptoms, patient-reported outcomes and immunology to targeted therapies (The TLC Study): led by Dr Shamil Haroon and Professor Melanie Calvert, University of Birmingham – £2.3 million over 2 years. The study will identify which treatments are most likely to benefit people with particular symptoms of long COVID and test supportive treatments to improve their quality of life. • Characterisation, determinants, mechanisms and consequences of the long-term effects of COVID-19: providing the evidence base for health care services: led by Professor Nishi Chaturvedi, University College London – £9.6 million over 3 years. The study will use data from more

than 60,000 people to help define long COVID and improve diagnosis. It will also explain why some people get the condition, the typical effects on a person’s health and ability to work, and the factors that affect recovery to inform the development of treatments offered to patients. • Non-hospitalised children and young people with long COVID (The CLoCk Study): Professor Sir Terence Stephenson, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health – £1.4 million over 3 years. The study will teach us more about long COVID among children, how it can be diagnosed and how to treat it. Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, part of UKRI, said: “There is increasing medical evidence and patient testimony showing that a significant minority of people who contract COVID suffer chronic symptoms for months after initially falling ill, irrespective of whether they were hospitalised. These four large-scale projects will work with affected individuals to better understand and address these debilitating long-term impacts.” Patients with long COVID and members of the public were involved throughout the process of deciding which research proposals to fund. The government, through the NIHR and UKRI, is also jointly funding major studies to characterise acute and longer term disease in hospitalised patients. The Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID) was backed by £8.4 million in funding and looks into the long-term physical and mental health implications of Covid-19 to support the development of new measures to treat NHS patients with coronavirus. Both funders will continue to consider research proposals on long COVID. NHS England launched new specialist long COVID NHS clinics across the country, providing assessment for adults, children and young people alike. These clinics will play an invaluable role by helping medical experts assess, diagnose and treat thousands of people suffering with the debilitating long-term health implications of this virus. There are now 69 specialist clinics operating across the country, supported with £10million funding, with more due to open shortly. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued official guidance on best practice for recognising, investigating and rehabilitating patients with long COVID.

Read all the latest stories online at: www.TheCarerUK.com Visit The Carer website to see all the very latest news and developments from the care sector as it happens! Sign up to get the latest stories delivered directly to your email at:

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PAGE 24 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

VODG Responds to News of COVID-19 Vaccine for People with Learning Disabilities In response to the announcement that all people with learning disabilities will now be invited for a COVID-19 vaccine, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has issued the following statement: Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of VODG, said: “While today’s announcement is to be welcomed and will ensure those people with a learning disability on a GP register will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine, it has taken far too long for the government to reach this point and there is still work to be done to ensure all disabled people are offered a vaccine. “As soon as the news of the COVID-19 vaccination programme was launched, VODG and others called on the government and its agencies to ensure disabled people were not left behind in the rollout of the programme and wrote to The Joint Committee on Vaccination and

Immunisation (JCVI) advocating for people with learning disabilities to be re-prioritised. “Since then, VODG, alongside the collective voice of families, voluntary sector providers, and many others have had to champion the rights of people with learning disabilities and push for policymakers to acknowledge the available data on the impact of coronavirus (COVID19) on people with learning disabilities and disabled people. “Today’s announcement will be of great relief to many families, but we must also hope that this has been a lesson in listening for the government and it will finally commit to an inclusive and equitable approach in its COVID-19 policy responses for everyone with a disability, especially given that we know disabled people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

Windfall Charity Donation Of £500,000 To Older People’s Care Home A residential care home in Greater Manchester has received a charitable donation of £500,000 following work by insolvency specialists Smith & Williamson. Hatton Grange in Hyde was chosen as the beneficiary by the trustees of the Bowlacre Home charity, whose own Hyde-based residential care home closed in November 2018 due to financial difficulties. Bowlacre Home subsequently entered into administration. Surplus funds from the subsequent freehold property sales of Bowlacre Home, encompassing the residential care home itself, together with adjoining bungalows and flats, provided the unexpected windfall for nearby Hatton Grange. Trustees of Bowlacre Home, run by a charity established 65 years ago to provide for elderly care in Hyde, selected purpose-built

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Hatton Grange as it met their local charitable criteria. With accommodation for up to 70 residents, Hatton Grange is operated by Anchor Hanover Group, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for older people. The donation was realised through work by Smith & Williamson, which provides restructuring and recovery services and advisory consultancy through its departments, led nationally by Greg Palfrey. At the request of the trustees, Steve Adshead and Mr Palfrey were appointed administrators of Bowlacre Home at the High Court of Justice on 23 November 2018. Immediately prior to this, the trustees had, in conjunction with Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and Stockport Council, arranged secured alternative accommodation for all 23 residents. Although all staff were made redundant, most quickly found employment elsewhere within the care sector – a number moving with residents to their new care homes. Mr Palfrey, who works out of Smith & Williamson’s South Coast office in Southampton, said: “Despite the best efforts of trustees and staff, Bowlacre Home’s future as a care home was financially untenable, with losses rapidly mounting. “There was a shortfall in the number of residents needed to meet breakeven and costs were escalating, including higher insurance premiums. It was against this testing background that the key source of funds to satisfy creditors’ claims was disposal of the freehold properties.” A full marketing campaign was undertaken, inviting offers from various types of purchaser, in particular care home operators and property developers. Mr Palfrey said: “As we head into spring 2021, all creditors have been paid in full, including statutory interest of 8% per annum. With the surplus funds, Bowlacre Home’s trustees selected Hatton Grange as the beneficiary of a £500,000 donation. “Whilst it is sad to see the demise of a care home like Bowlacre Home, after decades of caring, trustees can take comfort from the fact that elderly residents in the district will benefit from this surprise windfall.” He added: “It is satisfying to realise this level of surplus and see it being applied to such good local use – and in trying times. I would also like to thank the trustees for their support and understanding during a difficult time for them.” Bob Smith, Bowlacre Home’s chairman, said: “We are pleased to be able to provide this valuable funding for the provision of older people’s residential care within the local Hyde area. My fellow trustees and I feel that this is a fitting conclusion to the work of Bowlacre Home, a charity set up in 1956 to provide assistance to the older people of Hyde.” Anchor Hanover managing director care services, Mark Greaves, said: “While the circumstances of this donation are extremely unfortunate, we are very grateful and pleased that we will be able to use the funds to enhance the lives of older people living at Hatton Grange for many years to come.”

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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | 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.

THE SITUATION

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


PAGE 26 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

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

Management

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 43 | PAGE 27

HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL GermErase Launches to Give Confidence to UK Businesses and Hospitals, With Efficacy Against SARS-Cov-2 First British commercial product to be tested on live SARS-Cov-2, the virus causing COVID-19 Multi-surface protector kills up to 99.9999% of pathogens in under 30 seconds and provides a protective barrier for up to 48 hours British scientific breakthrough can turn the tide against hospital infections and superbugs, while supporting vaccines in the fight against COVID-19 and saving the NHS billions GermErase, a new brand at the frontline of protecting against COVID19, infections and superbugs, has today launched its first product range. Available as a cleaning spray and a hand spray with wipes, with aerosols and hand wash to follow, GermErase is a unique formulation that kills up to 99.9999% of pathogens, including the virus that causes COVID-19, in under 30 seconds – faster and more effective than the next best product. It bonds to surfaces to provide total protection without any reduction in performance for up to 48 hours and remains effective for 28 days. GermErase has been tested to global standards in independent facilities at the University of Southampton, including on live strains of SARSCov-2. The British business has invested £1m in testing the product. As 99.9% water, GermErase is safe and has low toxicity, meaning it

does not irritate skin in the way alcohol gels can and, unlike alcohol gels, is not flammable. It uses common ingredients that have already been approved for medical and cleaning purposes and is ready to distribute at scale across the country via specialist cleaning supplier, Denis Rawlins Ltd. Professor Bill Keevil, Professor of Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton, comments, “An invention like this does not come across your desk very often. We have found that GermErase demonstrates remarkable breadth of efficacy against bacteria and viruses, speed of kill, residual efficacy and shows no evidence of antimicrobial resistance.” GermErase is more effective than alcohol gel and, alongside vaccines, can help to turn the tide against COVID-19 and a broad spectrum of other dangerous pathogens. While alcohol gels and sanitisers – products recommended by the World Health Organisation – are dependent on concentration levels and a lengthy period of application, GermErase is easy to use and completely kills the virus within seconds with a simple spray. The products can be used by medical professionals in hospitals but are also quick and easy to use by private sector businesses – giving employers and employees the confidence to return to work safely and unlock the economic recovery in the UK. GermErase will launch a consumer product range for the general public in Spring 2021. The urgency of antibiotic resistance is well known among the medical community and increasingly by wider society. GermErase provides a defence by preventing infection, instead of relying on the development of new cures and antibiotics. Inspired by the most human of stories, GermErase was invented by

Rob Scoones, a former retail business owner. After losing someone very close to him, Rob dedicated his life to eradicating the superbug crisis in our hospitals and worldwide. Through the relentless pursuit of this vision, Rob developed the GermErase product, combining common ingredients in a way that has delivered remarkable efficacy against all known pathogens, including SARS-Cov-2. It has been estimated that a 10% reduction in infections and superbugs in hospitals would save the NHS £1bn annually. GermErase can kill and protect against all known infections and superbugs and is available to use throughout healthcare facilities immediately. Matthew Higdon, Chairman of GermErase, comments, “Our intention is for GermErase to become the first line of defence against infection for hospitals, businesses and families across the country. This product will allow us to get our freedom back and live with peace of mind that we are protected against pathogens like Coronavirus. Our ambition is for this British breakthrough to represent a landmark moment in the fightback against COVID-19, infections and superbugs.” GermErase is the new British brand at the frontline of protection the fightback against coronavirus, infections and superbugs. It provides a new multi-surface protector proven to kill the virus that causes COVID-19 within 30 seconds and provides protection for 48 hours. Clinically proven to be more effective than alcohol gel or existing disinfectant, GermErase products are the breakthrough Britain needs to get back to work, turn the tide against the Coronavirus in healthcare and save the NHS billions of pounds handling infections and superbugs. GermErase is available from Dennis Rawlins Ltd at www.rawlins.co.uk/brands/germerase.html

Antimicrobial Contract Fabrics for Added Reassurance Skopos has recently launched a new sub-brand, Skopos Pro-tect Plus, as a marker for all Skopos products offered with an antimicrobial finish. Skopos has been offering antimicrobial fabrics for over 15 years, however the new sub-brand helps to clearly identify this offer to our customers, at a time where extra reassurance within contract interiors has never been more relevant. Within Pro-tect Plus Skopos customers have a choice of fabrics for different end uses; Antimicrobial drapery fabrics, Antimicrobial woven upholstery fabrics, Antimicrobial faux leather and vinyls. The upholstery fabrics offer includes luxury velvet, printed fabrics, vinyls and a large range of woven collections, mostly waterproof, soil and stain resist, perfect for caring interiors. Many of our drapery and bedding fabrics can be finished with an antimicrobial treatment, so

please ask. Choices include print basecloths, plain and woven designs. All antimicrobial fabrics are flame retardant and tested to the high standards required for contract interiors. Skopos antimicrobial fabrics have bacteriostatic, viral-reducing and anti-fungal properties. Fabrics are not seen as a beneficial host for Sars Cov-2 even without antimicrobial treatment, however including this extra benefit viruses and bacteria are greatly reduced. Free samples of our fabrics are available online or via our customer services team: sales@skopos.co.uk. www.skoposfabrics.com

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 43

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 43 | 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.

ongoing costs.

“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 info@barbel.net 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.


PAGE 30 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | 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[1]. 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[2] 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 info@onespray.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. [1] https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-how-is-it-transmitted [1] 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 sales@axair-fans.co.uk 01782 349439


PAGE 32 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

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 more@bio-luminaire.co.uk or call us on 01376 331 515.


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | PAGE 35

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 resourcecentre@nutricia.com. 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


NEW RECIPE

*Aggregated UK wholesaler value sales 52 w/e 21st August 2020. ^This product does not contain allergenic ingredients which require declaration under EU regulation 1169/2011 [Annex II].


CHOOSE YOUR BEST

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PAGE 38 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

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.

MINDFUL EATING

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 43 | 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 info@forbes-professional.co.uk 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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PAGE 42 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

MEDICATION MANAGEMENT

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 steve@carerightnow.co.uk 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 43 | 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 43 | 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 sales@redro.co.uk

Watch the short video at https://vimeo.com/425488696

web: www.mainteno.com email: sales@redro.co.uk

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 info@spirit-digital.co.uk


PAGE 48 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

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.

www.pinpointlimited.com


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43 | 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 contact@sekoia.co.uk 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 info@care-vision.co.uk or call 0208 768 9809


PAGE 52 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

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 43 | 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.

NURSE CALL

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.

Features include:

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

www.edisontelecom.co.uk

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 43

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 43 | 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

www.nursecallsystems.co.uk


PAGE 54 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 43

PROFESSIONAL AND TRAINING

Boost Cashflow by Claiming Tax Allowances By Steven Bone, director and capital allowances specialist, Gateley Capitus (www.gateleyplc.com/gateley-capitus) The Government's initial coronavirus tax assistance package to businesses focused on late payment of tax and offered time to pay to give breathing space. Whilst welcome, the limited nature of these measures has made it more vital than ever for care home owners and occupiers to fully take advantage of existing incentives and reliefs. These can reduce tax bills to retain cash in the business or even generate cash repayments from the Government. Capital allowances are a government tax break intended to encourage investment in business assets by allowing those investments to be written-off for tax. They improve cash flow by reducing the amount of tax that needs to be handed to HM Revenue. In the right circumstances they can even generate a cash repayment from the tax man by rectifying a previous year’s tax return where relief was underclaimed, meaning that too much tax paid at that time can now be reimbursed to the business. Currently each year, up to £1 million of qualifying spend can be 100% written-off for tax in the year the money is spent using an ‘Annual Investment Allowance’ (AIA). Although the Government intends to reduce the AIA to just £200,000 from January 2022. So, a fading opportunity exists to make the most of this generous cap whilst it is still available. Most care home providers and their advisers are aware that plant and machinery capital allowances are available for furniture and furnishings, and business apparatus such as moving and handling equipment or laundry machines, and these allowances are straightforward to claim in practice. But it is less commonly realised that allowances are also available for assets

integral to the fabric of a building when an owner or operator buys or constructs care premises (including newbuilds, extensions and refurbishments). Also, from the end of 2018 a brand new kind of capital allowances was created by the Government called ‘structures and buildings allowances’ (SBAs). This, for the first time, gives care home owners and occupiers relief for ‘bricks and mortar’ type expenditure which was previously not eligible for any tax relief (albeit SBAs relief is given at a slower rate than the tax write-off for plant and machinery). But the trouble is that in practice it can be difficult for a general practice accountant or tax adviser to maximise capital allowances claims for premises spend. To prepare the claim, the property needs to be broken down into its constituent parts. For example, electrical power and lighting, hot and cold water, heating systems, bathroom fittings, fire alarm installations and so on. Then each must be costed separately and grouped together in the tax return with other assets that have similar tax characteristics. This not only needs an understanding of the detailed tax rules, but also ideally requires construction knowledge and surveying skills that accountants and tax advisers ordinarily do not have. For purchases of care premises there are additional traps for the unwary because there are vital steps that need to be taken at the time of the transaction. But under the pressure of getting the deal over the line these are often overlooked or dismissed as being unimportant. Unfortunately, that usually means that valuable tax allowances are lost and can never be recovered. Whereas, in practice there is usually no reason why the value of capital allowances cannot be considered and appropriate action taken which should not delay or frustrate the purchase. If you are buying, building or refurbishing care premises, thinking of doing so, or have done so in recent years it is well worth speaking to a capital allowances specialist. About the author: Steven is a tax-qualified chartered surveyor. For more than 20 years he has specialised in capital allowances, and more recently land remediation relief and R&D tax incentives.

How Does the New UK Points-Based Immigration System Work? Is There Any Benefit to the Health Care Sector? 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 km@astonbrooke.co.uk. See the advert on page 21 for further details.

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


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The Carer Digital - Issue #43  

The Carer Digital is delivered to our readers online every week.  This new online edition is available online for the duration of the COVID...

The Carer Digital - Issue #43  

The Carer Digital is delivered to our readers online every week.  This new online edition is available online for the duration of the COVID...

Profile for thecarer