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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 46

Compulsory Vaccine Under Consideration for Care Staff

Care home workers in England could be legally required to have a Covid-19 vaccination under plans being considered by the government. Following leaked discussions which emerged from within the Covid O cabinet

erly care home can be vaccinated.” He said. One line in the leaked document was alleged to read: ‘The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State have discussed on several occasions the progress that is

sub-committee this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted that the gov-

being made to vaccinate social care workers against Covid-19 and have agreed,

ernment is considering implementing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for

in order to reach a position of much greater safety for care recipients, to put in

care home staff: “Yes, and it’s important because those who look after people in

place legislation to require vaccinations among the workforce.’

care homes have a duty of care towards them. And not every resident in an eld-

(CONTINUED ON PAGE 3...)


PAGE 2 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

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 The sector also has an ageing workforce and the government recently undertook Our front page story will, I suspect, become one of the most hotly debated and controversial a recruitment drive to attract the public and encourage them to consider a career in care. topics in modern history if the government Autocratic mandates like this without consultation will have the opposite effect I attempts to implement it. I have often said in the past, going right back to when the pandemic first broke, that the government has and continues to find itself between “a rock and a hard place”. We all know the government made a catastrophic error in releasing Covid infected patients back into Editor care homes, and since then has had to tread a very fine line regarding safety of staff and residents, human rights, family visitation rights and general all round mental well-being. In last week’s issue Mary Wimbury Chief Executive of Care Forum Wales really did hit the nail on the head when she said “we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t” regarding indoor visiting. This, of course, will be a leading factor toward the government’s consideration of compulsory vaccinations for care staff. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Because people who are looking after elderly residents in care homes, who we know to be the most vulnerable to Covid, they have a duty of care not to pass on the disease and it is a reasonable question." He also said "many" care homes had asked for this to happen. I strongly suspect a play on words here, supporting something and asking for it are two different things! There are clear concerns, and overriding those concerns with a compulsory vaccination programme will lead to a raft of employment tribunal cases, human rights cases and the possibility skilled and trained staff leaving the sector for good. We here at THE CARER have regularly reported over the years the difficulties sector has and retaining staff, with estimations of over 100,000 vacancies in the sector and every day. Part of my “remit” here at THE CARER is dealing with PR agencies several times each and every working day. And as a PR exercise this is a disaster.

Peter Adams

suspect. A positive campaign gently persuading people, for their own safety and the safety of those they look after is a far more effective way of encouraging people to take up vaccinations. Really positive news that he number of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes has fallen yet again. According to its latest weekly update covering the week ending 12 March, the ONS said Covid -related deaths in care homes were down by more than a third to 249, the sixth weekly decrease from the peak of almost 2,000 deaths at the height of the second wave in January. A real positive sign that we are getting on top of this pandemic, and a real testimony as to how hard the sector has worked to reduce the deaths, when compared to this time last year. I would draw your attention once again to our latest Unsung Hero Award. (Page 11) We last did an award before Christmas, which received we are delighted to say a phenomenal response, with some of the most wonderful, delightful, inspiring nominations for staff working in numerous roles within the sector who had gone that little bit more (often a lot more) in their daily duties which can sometimes go unnoticed. So much so in fact that we tagged on an extra couple of runner-up prizes! Once again a luxury hamper delivered directly to the a “UNSUNG HERO” at their care home awaits, nominations are open until April 30 so please get nominating with a small paragraph of what your nominee has done and why you think they are worthy of recognition nominate@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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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 3

Compulsory Vaccine Under Consideration for Care Staff (...CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) Speaking about the plans in a TV interview on Sky News the Health Secretary said: ‘As you know, we have a taskforce looking at the question of certification, of whether there’s things that you need to be able to show, that you’ve had a vaccine, or indeed a test, in order to be able to do. ‘That looks both at these questions around international travel, but is also looking at the question of whether, in order to be able to care for people professionally, then you ought to have protected yourself so that you can’t infect others. ‘This is something that happens already. For instance, doctors have to have the hepatitis B vaccine, and it’s clearly something that has important moral questions on both sides. ‘It is something that we’re looking at but no decisions have yet been taken.’ Compulsory vaccinations which would affect 1.5 million workers in England adult social care sector would prove highly controversial and may inevitably lead to legal and human rights challenges, and the probability that a large number of social care workers may decide to leave the sector if forced to have a vaccination. Whilst in favour of vaccinations for care staff Independent Care Group chairperson Mike Padgham believes that compulsory vaccinations are not the route to follow and says that the Government needs to work harder to persuade care staff on the benefits of having the Covid-19 vaccine rather than making it compulsory. The care provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) says it would prefer people to have the vaccine voluntarily and it is worried such a rule might put people off from joining the sector. ICG Chair Mike Padgham: “It is vital that care workers have the vaccine because of the vulnerable people they are looking after and I can understand the temptation to make it compulsory.

“But I have always been of the belief that we cannot force someone to have an injection and it should be voluntary. We have to remember people’s human rights as we live in a free society. “I think rather than force it through legislation, the Government has more work to do in terms of persuading everyone, not just care workers, about how important it is that the whole country has the vaccine so that we are all protected. “There are already 120,000 vacancies in the care sector, we don’t need to put anything else in the way that might prevent people from joining our rewarding profession.” Tony Stein, chief executive of Healthcare Management Solutions, which operates around 80 homes across the UK said: “Whilst I’m somewhat shocked at the news it’s something that the whole sector has been discussing for some time. This is more than a practical issue - it goes to the heart of what we, as healthcare professionals feel is necessary to protect our residents, their loved ones, the NHS and those that can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. “Whilst compulsory vaccination is unusual, it is not unprecedented. NHS staff are already required to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B if they are to work on NHS premises. “Receiving a jab is not a big ask of people and whilst we have already seen that the vast majority of our workforce have been very happy to

receive the vaccination in the fight against this terrible disease, we welcome further moves to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those in our care.” Compulsory Covid vaccinations for care staff are the wrong way to increase injection take-up and would heap additional pressure on an already-challenged sector, said UNISON. UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Everyone wants the pandemic over and vaccinations are the route back to normality. But turning the clock back to Victorian times by forcing care workers to be jabbed isn’t the way. “All those who can have the vaccine should. That’s clear. But the key to getting the numbers up is for employers, unions and the government to work together. “Instead of leaping to the law, ministers could start by putting the funds behind a targeted advertising campaign aimed at care staff. “The slow take-up rate in care across England is a disastrous consequence of the fragmented way the sector is organised. It’s no accident that far higher numbers of NHS workers have been jabbed. “Employers can do their bit too. They could make it easier for staff to have injections and allow appointments during working hours so lowpaid staff don’t lose out. “Nervous staff need extra time. They must be encouraged to talk to colleagues who’ve had their jab and be persuaded there’s nothing to fear. Clear information to counter the anti-vax nonsense on social media is essential too. “Mandatory vaccines smack of a bygone age or of authoritarian regimes. The care sector is already in crisis. It needs to hold on to staff, not give people another reason to take better paid jobs elsewhere.”

Exercise Classes Give Yorkshire Care Home Residents A Welcome Boost A Yorkshire based care home group is helping residents to boost their physical and mental strength after launching a series of bespoke ‘lockdown proof’ exercise classes and programmes. Czajka Care Group’s five nursing and care homes are helping both its older residents, and its younger residents with disabilities, improve their mobility and wellbeing with regular exercise classes that include chair ‘aerobics’, stretching exercises, seated marches and catching and throwing games, alongside gentle resistance movements and musical motion activation. Czajka Care Group’s managing director, Konrad Czajka, explained: “When the first lockdown hit, a lot of our fitness and music classes, that are hosted by external specialists, had to stop. Our priority was keeping our residents safe, but unfortunately this did result in a reduction of structured exercise amongst our residents.” A recent report from the National Care Forum (NCF) and the University of Leeds has also studied the effects of the pandemic on care home residents’ fit-

ness and movement. It recommended that care homes employ exercise instructors who can train care staff and help them access online exercise programmes for older people. It stated that staff should take “creative approaches” to enhance levels of physical activity, motivate residents to maintain or increase their exercise, and encourage them to exercise alone if they are self-isolating. Konrad added: “We understand what an important role exercise and movement plays in both the everyday life of older people and in assisting rehabilitation. We have therefore invested in specialist exercise equipment and trained our activity coordinators and care workers to take on the role of exercise coach. “We have been proactive, learning new skills and ensuring that our residents are still able to get together at least once a week in a group setting to take part in exercise and movement classes. With an inclusive and welcoming approach, we ensure everyone feels comfortable and in control, gradually introducing exercises and making sure they are fun. By using soft, lightweight equipment, and also game play and music, our residents are always keen to take part.”


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Blanket DNAR Decisions are a Clear Breach of Human Rights By Philippa Shirtcliffe, Head of Care Quality, QCS (www.qcs.co.uk) Philippa Shirtcliffe, QCS’s Head of Care Quality says that making the correct DNACPR decisions require collaborative advanced care planning. Sonia Deleon was just 58 when she passed away last year. Her family described her as “vibrant”, so it was a terrible shock when Miss Deleon, a woman with learning disabilities, who has tested positive for Covid-19, died of a heart attack in Southend hospital. When her loved ones phoned the hospital, they discovered that medical staff had not resuscitated Sonia due to a ‘Do Not Attempt Resuscitation’ notice. According to the Basildon Echo, which has covered the story in great detail, the hospital said “the order was discussed with two family members” but that “the family disputes this”. Sadly, this does not appear to be an isolated case. A recent report by the CQC has revealed that over the course of the last 12 months, 508 DNARs – across different settings - were carried out without discussion with family members.

CHANGES NEEDED Both the CQC and the NHS are calling for change. According to the BBC, the CQC wants a “ministerial oversight group”, containing multiple stakeholders from both the health and care sectors, to be created. While I think forming such a group makes great sense, families who have lost loved ones should not have to wait for months for a costly

review to take place. With the Covid crisis demonstrating the speed at which systemic and systematic changes can be made, and the NHS capacity tracker ensuring that such changes are consistent, there is a strong argument for rolling out improvements without first initiating an expensive review process. Inconsistency is a challenge. If you talk to frontline managers, as QCS does regularly, they will tell you that there are indiscrepancies in documentation. Our content team has worked incredibly hard to fill in the gaps and to create end of life and advanced decisions policies, but to effect real and lasting change, there must be a meeting of minds and a collegiate approach adopted by stakeholders in the health and care sectors. They need to work together to improve training and standardise documentation around DNACPR best practice. Most crucially any joinedup approach must have buy-in from front-line clinicians too.

ADVANCE CARE PLANNING DELIVERY There also appear to be knowledge gaps in advance care planning delivery. While my observations are purely anecdotal, it does seem that that some providers excel at it, while others find it very challenging. That is to take nothing away from care professionals, who during the pandemic, have been working closely with service users and families – displaying great compassion and dignity – to ensure that everyone’s wishes are respected. They can only work with the tools they have been given. Essentially, to solve the problem, a national support framework needs to be created, which every frontline worker has access to and can feed into. Such a framework needs to recognise that advance care plans, which are not legally binding, require a great level of skill and experience to get right. They cannot be formulated overnight because a care professional is unlikely to win the confidence of a service user straight away.

Even when people are ready to have the conversation, it might take several informal sittings for Registered Managers to form the plan.

ADVANCE CARE PLANS CHALLENGING TO CREATE It also needs to acknowledge that advance care plans are incredibly challenging to create, especially when service users have complex needs or are living with dementia. In these circumstances, it is vital that the person’s family is able to feed into the plan, and if it is deemed that a service user is not capable of making their own decisions, then not only must a solicitor apply for lasting power of attorney (LPA) on their behalf, but the front-line manager, coordinating the advance care plan, must understand how the LPA will directly impact on the person. Finally, it is worth adding that there are lots of positive examples of collaboration between GPs, care providers and service users, out there already. Take the Resuscitation Council’s ReSPECT plan, for instance. It seeks to lay the foundations for an advanced care plan, when a person, in the future, is no longer able “to make or express choices.” What stands out, however, is the way that the ReSPECT plan promotes multisector collaboration in conjunction with families, while keeping the service user at the centre of the process. Whatever the remedy, it must be one, as the CQC rightly proposes, that puts care professionals at the centre of the solution. As history has taught us, if recommendations are left to ministerial talking shops, they do not always translate to the front lines. The pandemic, on the other hand, has shown us that formulating dynamic action plans, which are anchored to best practice and consistent guidance, is extremely effective. So why not continue on this path? To find out more about QCS, contact our compliance advisors on 0333-405-3333 or email sales@qcs.co.uk.

Care Provider Offers ‘Virtual’ Placements For Student Paramedics Student paramedics have been able to continue their placements with specialist care provider, PJ Care, despite not being able to enter the building because of coronavirus. First year students on the BSc Paramedic Science course at Oxford Brookes University would normally spend two weeks at Mallard House, PJ Care’s neurological care centre in Milton Keynes, shadowing staff to understand residents’ care needs. PJ Care provides specialist neurological care for adults with degenerative conditions such as dementia, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It also offers rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injuries. But the doors of Mallard House, along with its sister sites, Bluebirds and Eagle Wood in Peterborough, have been closed to visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than miss out on the placements altogether, students have been invited ‘into’ the centre via online training sessions. “The people who live with us have a range of conditions which affect their ability to communicate and their behaviour, so we are able to offer students a chance to experience things they might not otherwise come across,” said PJ Care’s Head of Training, Alexander Balicki. “Not only does it help students when they start working in the community, it also helps our residents, and people with similar needs, if and when we need paramedic support.” Students were invited to take part in the care provider’s multi-disciplinary team meetings in which residents’ health and wellbeing are

discussed by PJ Care’s in-house neuro-psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor, occupational therapist, nurse and carers. Student, Paula Ventura, said it was a fascinating insight. “I didn’t know what to expect but it was so interesting to see how they approach people’s care,” she said. “Input from the whole team means there is medical knowledge combined with on-the-floor expe-

rience, and nothing is missed because they’re discussing issues face to face. “I have no real experience of this type of neurological care so it was really useful to understand that changes in a person’s behaviour are often because their needs are not being met or something else is going on for them. “I was amazed at how well they all know all of their residents! The sessions were really helpful. Having this knowledge changes my way of seeing the world; when I’m out in practice, I will have it more in the forefront of my mind.” As well as being part of the three hour sessions, students were invited to a bespoke lecture on the brain by Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist and Clinical Director at PJ Care, Dr Allan Perry. Practice Education Lead for the degree course at Oxford Brookes, Siân Lavers, said placements like these are an essential part of a paramedic’s education. “Over the course of their studies, students usually spend time in a care environment, at a GP surgery, at a special school and a range of other settings but PJ Care gives them experience of neurological conditions they might not otherwise come across. We didn’t want to contribute to the infection risk in any way, or put students at risk, but, equally, we didn’t want them to miss out on this experience. “We are extremely grateful to the staff at PJ Care who gave up their time to make these sessions possible.”

Reunions and Gifts as Colten Care Homes Celebrate Motherhood

Hundreds of mums living at Colten Care homes in the south enjoyed much-deserved recognition and pampering on Mother’s Day. The annual celebration of motherhood saw staff lay on afternoon tea, deliver gifts, fresh flowers, bubbly and cake, and co-ordinate livestreamed music. As the day followed the recent relaxation of visiting rules at care homes, there were also emotional reunions involving family members. At Colten’s Outstanding-rated New Milton home, Kingfishers, resident Val Collinge was overjoyed to see her daughter Sue Bailey face to face once again. Val said: “Before lockdown, Sue used to come and see me every week. It’s been hard without that. It’s not quite the same to communicate remotely. Just being able to hold her hand again was so beautiful. We had a few tears but it made me really happy.” Marion Shearer, who lives at Court Lodge in Lymington, said: “What the staff laid on, with decorations, music, gifts and a high tea, made every mother in the building feel special. It was such a nice day with a great atmosphere. It got us all up and dancing. Even with social distancing, it helped us forget all about the pan-

demic. Well done ‘Team Court Lodge’ for making my Mothering Sunday so wonderful.” If relatives were not able to visit on Mother’s Day, they were encouraged to send in personalised video messages which were played to their loved ones as a surprise. Some Colten homes, including Outstanding-rated Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst, gave mothers tailored bags of treats such as their favourite magazines and chocolate. At Colten’s art deco-themed Bourne View home in Poole, staff liaised with relatives in advance of Mother’s Day to gather photos from their mothers’ younger days. “We had great fun guessing who was in the pictures,” said Home Manager Helen Lacey. “Seeing the photos brought back lots of memories for the mums among our residents. It was a great day all round.” Ellie Peters, one of Colten’s Senior Companionship Team Leaders, said: “It was an amazing day of joy and reflection. We have mothers, grandmothers, greatgrandmothers and great-great grandmothers among our residents. It was lovely to see how happy a little extra-special treatment made them feel.”


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 5

More Questions than Answers - Care England Submits Evidence to Select Committee Care England has submitted evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s inquiry into the Government’s White Paper on Health and Social Care. Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “The White Paper neglects many of the issues which are of prime concern to care providers hence we have more questions to posit. For it to be as effective as possible, the adult social care sector's development must be considered especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated just how vital independent sector support and care providers have been to society, the broader economy and the health system”. The Health and Social Care Select Committee’s inquiry will examine the proposals in the White Paper, Integration and Innovation: Working Together to Improve Health and Social Care, and the extent to which the proposals will deliver integrated health and social care services throughout England. It will also consider the extent to which the White Paper delivers the necessary long-term plans for social care and the health

and social care workforce; and the proposals to confer additional powers on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. In addition to its evidence, Care England has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care outlining its concerns about how vital it is for the independent sector to be involved emphasising various points around data, regulation and Integrated Care Systems. Martin Green continues: “The White Paper misses the opportunity to address adult social care's financial sustainability, a point which we feel most strongly needs to be rectified and one which we want to work with the Government on for it to fulfil its manifesto commitment to reform adult social care. The development of the White Paper, from now on, needs to be transparent in nature, so independent providers are clear about how decisions are being made”.

Baby Chicks and Ducklings Delight Care Home Residents as they Hatch in Time for Spring A group of care home residents recently welcomed some very special guests, following the egg-citing arrival of baby chicks and ducklings, which hatched in their homes. The residents, who all live in care homes operated by CHD Living, had recently been surprised with egg hatching kits by staff hoping to spread joy ahead of spring. Provided by Incredible Eggs, the ethically sourced, high-welfare hatching kits were installed throughout CHD Living's care offerings last week, much to the delight of residents who got into the spirit of things straight away, making predictions on when they would hatch. Within a couple of days, the chicks and ducklings had started to arrive and were settling into their new homes. Since then, residents have been enjoying interacting with their fluffy friends, lavishing them with cuddles, teaching them to swim and making sure they have plenty to eat and drink. Some residents even got involved with naming the animals, heart-warmingly calling them after residents who have passed away this year. Discussing the initiative, Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality and Communications at CHD Living, said: "Research heavily suggests that animals can boost general health and well-being, especially as we age. Not only do they bring tremendous amounts of joy, but animals also open up channels for conversation whilst providing sensory stimulation and relaxation too. "We're hoping to incorporate more animal therapy into our offerings and work-

ing with Incredible Eggs on this project has been a fantastic place to start. Our residents and carers have loved every aspect, from the anticipation of waiting for the eggs to hatch to the excitement of welcoming the chicks and ducklings into the world. They've made everyone light up with joy. It's been beautiful to see, especially after the tough year we've all had". Resident Shelagh Howes, 91, from CHD Living’s Surbiton Care Home home said: "The ducklings are very sweet and so soft - they make me smile a lot. It’s been lovely having them stay with us and they’ve definitely spread a lot of happiness and excitement for spring”. The chicks and ducklings will now become permanent residents at the homes with the appropriate facilities for taking long-term care of them. Where no suitable home is available, they will be returned to Incredible Eggs, where they will enjoy a first-rate quality of life in high-welfare facilities. Discussing their regular work with care homes, a spokesperson for Incredible Eggs, said: "Incredible Eggs have had the pleasure of working with many hundreds of care homes over the last 10 years. It’s always incredibly moving for us to hear what a joyous, life-enriching experience the hatching kits bring to residents. This is especially so this year, after what has been such a difficult and upsetting time for care home residents, families and staff. Watching chicks or ducklings actually hatch from an egg, then caring for them as they grow is completely immersive, magical and uplifting for all involved!”


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Can COVID-19 Vaccines Become a Condition of Employment? By Alec Colson, Partner and Head of Employment Law at Luton-headquartered law firm Taylor Walton (www.taylorwalton.com) With some businesses publicly expressing an intention to make the COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment, it’s important that the issue is considered thoroughly before policies are introduced. Currently, there is no legal provision that permits an employer to make the vaccine a requirement, but with an increasing number of organisations expected to look down this route, the legal position must be navigated carefully. Simply put, compulsory vaccines is a legal minefield and employers must exercise caution when they approach the matter, so they do not breach any strict rules or guidelines. Background As detailed in section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA 1974), an employer must take all reasonably practicable steps to reduce workplace risks to their lowest possible level. Under section 7 of the same act, it is an employee’s duty to cooperate with the employer, so that it can comply with statutory requirements, such as reducing workplace risks. Not only this, but employees will want to be reassured they are working in a safe environment. However, it is unlikely that this will extend to vaccines becoming a legal requirement across all business sectors and we will have to wait for further Government guidance on what measures an employer may be required to take. The meaning of “reasonableness” is likely to depend on the business sector of the employer and the services it provides. For example, the request of an employer operating in the social care sector for its employees to take the vaccination could be argued to be a ‘reasonable management request’ as refusing to take the vaccination could pose severe risk to fellow employees and patients and thereby threatening the business. Therefore, dismissal in such circumstances could fall within the range of reasonable responses for the employer to dismiss the employee fairly, either on conduct grounds or for some other substantial reason. Religion and Belief It is unlikely that an “anti-vax’ belief amounts to a philosophical belief for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. However, not all vaccines in production have released their list of ingredients and it is possible that

Stand Up For Social Care! A full-blown campaign to ‘Stand up’ for social care would be a fitting way to mark the first anniversary of the Covid-19 lockdown, providers said today. They called on the public to demand the Government begin urgent reform of the sector after Covid-19 took a terrible toll on the vulnerable. The Independent Care Group (ICG) says the country cannot let social care become so susceptible again and the time for total reform has come. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said today: “As we mark the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, we remember those who sadly have been lost. For me, I think of the near 32,000 who have been lost in care settings and the valiant efforts of those working in social care to save and protect lives whilst feeling helpless. “At my own care group, we have cared for over 100 discharged Covid-19 patients. “So, now it has to be payback time. One and a half million heroic social care workers have put their lives on the line during Covid-19, it is time they got the recognition they deserve. To begin with it would be nice if the Government could give all carers in England a bonus, like the £500 administrations have given to car-

gelatine may have been used in some vaccines or in its production process and therefore, an employee with certain religious beliefs or vegans may have religious or philosophical grounds for refusing to take the vaccination. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination Public Health England advice states that “women should be advised not to attend for vaccination if they are, or may be, pregnant, or are planning a pregnancy within three months of the first dose. Vaccinated women who are not pregnant should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant for two months after the second dose of vaccine”. Therefore, a requirement to take the vaccine as a condition of employment for a pregnant employee, or an employee planning a pregnancy, is likely to amount to sex discrimination, pregnancy/maternity discrimination. Data protection Personal data collected in connection with an employee’s vaccination records will be sensitive personal data or special category personal data and will need to be processed in accordance with GDPR. But is it legal to collect such data? The answer to this is whether the employer, as a data controller, has a legitimate interest or legal obligation to collect vaccine information due to the nature of their business. A care home owner may well be justified or may become legally obliged to do so whereas for an office role, the requirements to have such information is less clear cut. Conclusion At first glance, making the COVID vaccine a condition of employment seems like a reasonable way to keep colleagues and clients safe, particularly in the care sector where a lot of patients are considered vulnerable. However, the legal position is a lot more complex than meets the eye and businesses must consider individual circumstances before implementing policies. From a business perspective, it is important to stay up to date with the latest Government public health guidance, so that policies can be adapted accordingly. Remember, the vaccination rollout may be the light at the end of the tunnel, but the pandemic story still has a long way to go yet.

ers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. “And it is time we put social care at the front of the queue and served the millions of frail and vulnerable people with the care they need and deserve, in a civilised country.” As a matter of urgency, the ICG wants to see: • A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded • NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally • Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance • Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease • A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care • Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT The ICG points to 1.4m people going without the care they need, £8bn cut from social care budgets since 2010-11 and 100,000 vacancies in the care sector on any one day as evidence that social care needs urgent help. Mr Padgham added: “Reform is long overdue; the Prime Minister has repeatedly promised it and it is time to deliver. Unless we get more funding into the sector to support care, ease the staffing shortages and improve the terms and conditions of the staff providing amazing care, the sector will continue to be extremely fragile, as it was when Covid-19 struck last year “If people had lived as long as they do now when Nye Bevan created the NHS in 1948, the care of older people would have been included in the system then. It is time to put that right now by carrying out the sort of reform Bevan did for healthcare on the way we care for the country’s most vulnerable and in need of support.”

Lockdown Anniversary: Residents and Staff at a South East Care Group Share Emotive Poem Reflecting on the Past Year To mark a year since the UK went into its first national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents and staff at a South East care group have shared a poem of resilience, gratitude and togetherness. Titled ‘Thank You’, the poem, which has been turned into a video and performed by those across all 13 of Nellsar’s homes in Kent, Surrey and Essex, reflects on the hardships and obstacles of the past year that have been met with bravery and determination across the family-run care group. Since the Prime Minister addressed the nation on the 23rd March 2020, where he said the British public ‘must’ stay at home, initiating the first of three national lockdowns over the next 12 months, Nellsar’s care homes, like the majority in social care, faced uncertainty. The emotive poem summarises the experiences of those receiving and delivering care during an unprecedented time and thanks everyone associated with the care group for their support through the highs and the lows. In full, the poem reads: I want to say thank you, thank you to all those who came together in our time of greatest need. Who united to fight an unseen enemy. I want to say thank you. Thank you to those who stood by our sides when our families could not. Thank you for the banter, the chit chat

and those who kept us entertained, who went the extra mile just to bring a smile. I want to say thank you. Thank you to those who couldn’t stay home who had to be there for others. Thank you to those who cleaned, who fixed who planned and organised. Those who made the meals, to those who kept us moving who made our beds, and those who gave out meds. Thank you to our local communities

who generously donated their gifts and services. We are humbled. Thank you to the relatives for your understanding of the challenges we face. But most of all, thank you to our residents, our family. Without you, the shadows would have been darker. Together, we were united. Thank you. Thank you. Martin Barrett, Nellsar’s Managing Director, said: “To mark the first anniversary of lockdown and World Poetry Day (21st March), the Nellsar family would like to thank everyone for their endless support throughout what has been one of the most difficult times in recent history. We couldn’t have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and we are overwhelmed by the resilience of our staff and our relatives’ understanding through the challenges we have faced. We are so grateful to our local communities who generously donated their gifts and services; but most of all, we want to thank our residents for facing these changes with us and for keeping us smiling.” Declared by UNESCO in 1999, World Poetry Day aims to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression. Its purpose is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world. An emotive video of Nellsar’s residents and staff reading the poem can be found at www.nellsar.com/videos/


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 7

Shielding Advice For The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable To Stop From April More than 3.79 million clinically extremely vulnerable people in England will be informed they are no longer advised to shield from Thursday 1 April 2021. In line with the government’s ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ roadmap published last month, those on the shielded patient list can begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population, but are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Letters to patients with updated guidance will be arriving from today and over the next two weeks. These set out practical steps people can follow to reduce their risk of catching the virus, including continuing to maintain strict social distancing and to keep their overall social contacts at low levels, such as working from home where possible. The move follows the steady decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations across the country for the last couple of weeks. Senior clinicians, including the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Dr Jenny Harries, have recommended that shielding advice is

paused nationally from 1 April onwards, as supported by the latest scientific evidence and advice. With the success of the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, more than 9 in 10 clinically extremely vulnerable people are now vaccinated with their first dose, but it’s still important people continue to follow the national rules and take the additional precautions set out in the guidance to keep themselves as protected as possible. Local councils and supermarkets will continue to provide support for those shielding until 31 March. If people have already registered for priority access to supermarket delivery slots, they will continue to be able to access these until 21 June 2021. Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Dr Jenny Harries said: “Shielding has always been an advisory measure to safeguard those who are the most clinically vulnerable in our communities. We recognise how difficult this period has been for so many and the impact it has had on people’s wellbeing. “With the prevalence of the virus in the community continuing to decrease now is the right time for people to start thinking about easing

up on these more rigid guidelines” “If you have been shielding, we strongly urge you to take extra precautions following 1 April to keep yourself as safe as possible, such as continuing to observe social distancing and working from home. “We will continue to monitor all of the evidence and adjust this advice should there be any changes in infection rates.” People are still advised to continue working from home where possible, but if people are unable to do so, employers are required by law to take steps to make workplaces COVID-19 secure and should discuss this with their employees. In February 2021, the government announced a new predictive risk model that helps clinicians identify additional people who may be at higher cumulative risk from COVID-19 due to the combination of their underlying risk factors. Up to 1.7 million vulnerable individuals were identified by the tool, taking the total number of people in the shielded patient list up to 3.79 million people, as of 6 March 2021. As a result, over 800,000 more adults have been prioritised to receive a vaccine that weren’t already in the top four priority groups for phase one of vaccinations.

Childhood Sweethearts Celebrate Sapphire Wedding Anniversary at Rotherham Care Home Childhood sweethearts, Bill and Barbara Moore, have recently celebrated their sapphire wedding anniversary at Moorgate Hollow care home, marking 65 years of marriage. Bill and Barbara, both aged 91, first met when they were only six years old. Bill became close friends with Barbara’s brothers, and he would visit Barbara’s family home every day. It wasn’t until they were in their late teens that the couple began to court. They quickly fell head over heels in love and married in 1956. Barbara moved in to Moorgate Hollow, a residential care home in Rotherham, two years ago, on the recommendation of medical professionals due to the specialist dementia care the home provides. To celebrate the special anniversary, the care team at Moorgate Hollow showered Barbara with flowers and balloons and played her favourite tunes to dance along to. The couple’s 65th wedding anniversary was made all the more special by receiving a card from Her Majesty the Queen.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday Bill visits Barbara from Brinsworth. Throughout the pandemic, he has remained devoted to her and has continued to visit as often as restrictions allowed, waving and chatting through her bedroom window while it was not possible for visitors to enter the care home. The couple have two children, Ian and Jan, and three grandchildren whom they cherish. Bill attributes his long and happy marriage to unconditional love and always putting his wife first. Bill Moore said, “I want to wish Barbara a very happy 65th anniversary, I have loved you for many years and always will. We also want to thank Her Majesty the Queen for sending her best wishes.” Lyn Pilkington, manager at Moorgate Hollow, said: “Everyone at Moorgate Hollow knows Bill and Barbara and their love story is an inspiration to us all. We enjoyed celebrating such a momentous occasion with the couple and we are looking forward to creating many more happy memories with them.”

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PAGE 8 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

Managing Staff Welfare During the Pandemic By Neil Russell, chairman of PJ Care (www.pjcare.co.uk)

2020 was an extremely challenging year for the care sector and support from employers and managers has been vital in helping sustain nurses and carers. Neil Russell is chairman of PJ Care, a family-run business which provides specialist neurological care to adults with progressive conditions and those with acquired brain injuries. Staff care is something that was already high on our agenda. We had been recognised as one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2019 and we’d achieved Investors in People Platinum status the year before. We’d recently put in place a Head of Joy and Wellbeing so when the pandemic hit, we had a strong base on which to build. A constant flow of information has been key. We felt it was better for us to tell staff as much as we could, as soon as we could, in order to counteract ‘fake news’ and speculation that could cause unnecessary worry and stress. We couldn’t do this face to face so we used email – from centre managers to part-time housekeepers, everyone now has an email address.

And information is a two-way thing. My inbox is always ‘open’ and if a member of staff has a question or concern, I make sure I answer. While social media can be a source of misinformation, we harnessed it to bring staff together. Ours is a very close-knit team and our closed Facebook group has helped to maintain relationships in the absence of being able to physically see each other. We’ve been aware of the need to be proactive on this channel, to let staff know their welfare is our priority alongside that of our residents. We sourced messages of appreciation from a host of celebrities which really gave a staff a boost and we run a monthly live show which the care centres tune into. I’m a key part of that. It’s important they see my face regularly so they feel I’m approachable. And it never hurts to see the boss make a bit of a fool of himself in his attempts to join in with songs! I would hate to think that a member of my team was struggling because they didn’t feel they could ask me something. We quickly moved those staff who were able, to working from home. It did mean that our Head of Joy and Wellbeing wasn’t able to be physically accessible to staff at a time when her support was so important. Again, email has been a key tool, but she has also organised volunteer ‘Wellbeing Angels’ so each unit has someone who can be a listening ear. They also have a proactive role, checking in on staff and making sure problems aren’t going un-voiced. Meals have been provided for staff since the lockdown began as staff rooms were closed and we have introduced scrubs for every member

of the team. It didn’t make sense to bring clothing from home onto the units so they are given fresh uniforms at the start of each shift which we then launder on site. That’s included hijabs for our Muslim staff, as well as underscrubs so they have their arms fully covered. This is a good example of how the pandemic has forced us to think harder about what people need in these new situations. We’ve also created safe areas where staff can remove their masks for a brief respite or to have a drink. Night staff needed somewhere they could remove their masks to get some rest so we set aside an office and put in camp beds so they can lie down comfortably. Prior to this pandemic, we carried out staff surveys once every four to six months, but now we run the survey every month. Because the situation changes so quickly, we want feedback from the team more frequently so we can respond in a timely manner. Happily, the lowest positivity rating we’ve had from staff (the number of people rating how we’re doing between ‘ok’ and ‘really well’) is 85%, and the highest was 97%. While policies and procedures keep them safe, it’s often the small gestures that make the biggest difference to their sense of wellbeing – a small box of chocolates, a birthday card, a personalised thank you recognising all their hard-work. We hope that what we’ve put in place now will help to mitigate some of the impact of working through Covid, and will give us a good base from which to provide support in whatever way our staff need.

Loved Ones Enjoy Heart-Warming Reunions Across Excelcare – David, Husband of resident (Fitzwilliam House Care Home).

The past week has been an emotional journey for residents and their loved ones across the Excelcare group, as after a long time, many of the people we care for have finally been reunited with their loved ones and have been able to hold their hands once again. The government’s latest guidelines have allowed each individual living in a care home to nominate one person to visit them regularly, until full visitation is allowed once again. There have been many smiles, happy tears and heart-warming moments as residents welcomed their first face-to-face visits with loved ones since the first lockdown in March 2020. While people visiting care homes are required to wear full PPE, nobody allowed this to dampen their spirits and share time making joyful new memories together. “What a wonderful day! I wondered a little how the visit was going to go, but it went beyond all expectations and I came away very happy and contented. These things do not happen by accident, and so as always, thank you very much indeed. It was also nice to say hello in passing to some of your cheerful staff.”

The Excelcare family has been witness to many magical moments over the past week, including seeing couples hand-in-hand once more, and residents spending valuable time catching up with their children. They had lots to talk about and certainly appreciated the more ‘normal’ nature of these face-to-face visits. Relatives have been delighted to see their loved ones again in person and there has been some wonderful feedback received. “Thankyou you so much for arranging my visit with Paul this morning; What a fantastic ‘indoor’ visit, super and relaxed’ - Peggy, Wife of Resident (Rheola Care Home) They hope to support more family members in reuniting with their loved ones as we get through the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions ease further. Until then, Excelcare will continue to support their special families in all the ways they can, be this through face-to-face visits, visits within their safe visiting spaces, or through the power of technology.

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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 9

£7 Billion For NHS and Social Care for COVID-19 Response and Recovery A funding package of £7 billion has been confirmed for health and social care services, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced. The NHS will receive £6.6 billion in additional funding over the next six months to support the continuation of the NHS response to COVID-19, and the recovery of elective services as hospitalisations continue to fall. This brings the total package of additional support given to our health services for COVID-19 to £92 billion, with £63 billion this year and £29 billion for next year. The NHS has faced significant challenges this winter and health and care staff have worked tirelessly on the frontline caring for thousands of COVID-19 patients while continuing to provide urgent treatment for those who need it. Today’s £6.6 billion package willenable the NHS to continue to provide this level of support and capacity as the pandemic continues. The funding will support the hospital discharge programme, primary care costs, infection control measures and Long COVID services. It will also ensure the NHS can continue to provide the mental health and occupational health support services it has put in place to for nurses, paramedics, therapists, pharmacists, and other staff working on the frontline during the pandemic. In addition, the government has announced an extra £341 million for adult social care to enable the continuation of rigorous infection prevention control measures and to support rapid testing to keep staff and residents safe in day care, respite care, care homes and other community

care settings. This will support the protection of some of the most vulnerable in society as we begin to cautiously ease restrictions and reintroduce visits to care homes. As hospital admissions fall and our successful vaccination programme continues, the NHS will be able to start increasing elective care procedures, such as hip replacements or cataract surgery, ensuring people across England get the care and treatment that they need. To support this, £594 million has been ring fenced to continue the hospital discharge programme so staff will have the resources needed to enable patients to leave hospital as quickly and as safely as possible, with the right community or at-home support. This will free up thousands of extra beds and staff time to help the NHS recover services. Alongside this, an additional £87 million will provide enhanced discharge from inpatient mental health care, enabling people who are well enough to leave hospital with additional support to help them recover in the community. Funding will be available over the next nine months for short-term support, and may be used to offer support in homes, to help people cope with things like daily routines, tenancy, finances, personal care or employment, to provide temporary accommodation or to adapt homes. This funding forms part of the £500 million for mental health and the NHS workforce announced at spending review. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’ve backed the NHS at every point in this pandemic, so they can treat patients, stay safe and save lives.

“We’re backing them again today with a further £6.6 billion of funding for the first half of this financial year, including £594 million towards safe hospital discharge. “I can announce £341 million to support Adult Social Care with the costs of Infection Prevention Control and Testing that will make sure visits are safe for everyone. “We will also be extending enhanced discharge arrangements for mental health patients.” The additional £341 million for adult social care takes the total infection control fund to almost £1.35 billion and support for rapid testing to £288 million, with the money helping to keep residents and staff safe while supporting visiting in line with the latest guidance. This funding is in addition to free PPE and further support for designated settings to ensure safe hospital discharge. Today’s announcement is on top of the £3 billion announced at Spending Review 2020 to support the NHS. It is also additional to thehistoric long-term settlement for the NHS, which is enshrined in law and will see NHS funding increase by £33.9 billion by 2023-24 as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. The government is continuing to support the NHS in its fight against this virus. Taken together with this new funding, the government has provided £63 billion in 2020-21 and £29 billion in 2021-22 to support health services and increased the NHS core non-COVID budget from £130 billion to £136 billion.

Essex Care Scheme Garden Will Bloom Thanks To Gardener Joe and Local Businesses Home grown vegetables will be on the menu for residents at a Brightlingsea care scheme after a call for help to create a garden and allotment was answered by local businesses. Scheme support worker Joe Dines decided to put his love for gardening to good use at the Adjuvo Care scheme on Church Road by creating an allotment and garden for residents to grow their favourite vegetables and plants. He contacted local businesses to ask for support with gardening material for the project and has now started work with his willing team of residents. All the vegetables grown in the garden will be used at the scheme. Joe, 23, who has worked at the scheme for almost three years, said: “I have been a keen gardener since I was a child and wanted to share this knowledge and pass on my skills to the residents.

“Getting outdoors in the fresh air after months of lockdown to create this garden will really cheer up the residents. I know they will get a lot from a sensory perspective out of planting the seeds and just watching them grow. “They have chosen a wide range of vegetables to grow so they really will be enjoying a feast when they have all grown. The response from local businesses has been great and we would like to thank everyone who has supported us.” Businesses donated raised beds, compost and vegetable seeds to get the garden started in the grounds of the care scheme which provides support and accommodation for people with learning and physical disabilities. The raised beds were donated by off-shore wind farm company Ørsted and the compost and vegetable seeds from B&Q in Clacton.


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 11

Dementia the Second Leading Cause of Death in February Dementia remains our greatest long-term health challenge, says Alzheimer’s Research UK – as new figures reveal the condition was the second most common cause of death in England last month. The Office for National Statistics has revealed that of the 55,489 recorded deaths in England in February 2021, the second-most common cause was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, with 4,841 people dying from the condition. The leading cause of death was COVID-19, with 11,421 people dying from the virus. Almost one million people in the UK are living with dementia today, yet there are no treatments to slow, stop or prevent the diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, that cause it. Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on government to deliver on its promise to double funding for dementia research to over £160 million a year, to help in the search for a cure. Susan Mitchell, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Today’s figures highlight the ongoing threat dementia poses to our society and puts a spotlight on the

desperate need to find life-changing treatments. Even in midst of the current pandemic, it is clear dementia remains our greatest long term health challenge. We must take action now by investing in research to save people from the heartbreak dementia causes. “Through the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, we’ve seen the incredible progress that can be made in medical research with the right investment and attention. Tragically, we do not yet have a treatment that can slow, stop or prevent dementia. While we’ve been making progress in dementia research, that is now at risk due to the pandemic – with a lack of funding opportunities forcing researchers out of the field. “That’s why Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on government to save the progress being made in dementia research, by delivering on its 2019 election promise to double its funding investment to over £160 million a year. So far, over 45,000 people have signed our petition, holding government to account on its pledge, and we urge everyone to lend their voice by visiting alzres.uk/sign-our-petition.”

Are YOU The Carer’s Next Unsung Hero? Once again we here at The Carer are looking for an Unsung Hero! A super Deluxe luxury hamper for the lucky winner!! We have to gain absolutely wonderful, uplifting and heartwarming stories from residential and nursing care homes around the country, and as always a delight to publish them! Fundraising, engaging with local schools and communities, baking, candlemaking, knitting, poetry, recitals, fancy dress, Chinese New Year you name it we and have been receiving fun stories! Behind the scenes we have also received stories of the dedication commitment and devotion staff have shown in particular during these testing times. However, this the hard work and dedication that those working in the sector often in extremely challenging situations can go unnoticed!

Over the past couple of years we have sought to redress that by inviting residential and nursing care homes to nominate somebody in their home who they believe is that “unsung hero” Every care home will have somebody who goes that extra mile, and often receives little recognise or reward, and, since we launched our unsung hero award we have always had a phenomenal response, with some absolutely heartwarming and uplifting stories. They can be from any department, frontline care, laundry, maintenance, kitchen, administration we will leave that up to you. We will be drawing a winner in April 30, so please get your nomination with a short paragraph on what your nomination has done deserve recognition and please send to:nominate@thecareruk.com

Martyn Davies, our last Unsung Hero


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 13

Reuniting Families Threatened Without Adequate Funding The easing of the national lockdown has meant that care homes across the country have opened their doors to enable much needed visits from loved ones. The National Care Forum (NCF) – the association for not-for-profit care providers – surveyed its members on 15th March to find out what is happening on the ground one week in to the implementation of the new government guidance on care home visiting. The response to the survey was overwhelmingly positive and reinforced the importance and impact visiting has on residents in care homes and their loved ones. However, grave levels of concern about how visits could be sustained without the continuation of government funding was echoed among care providers. Emergency funding made available through the Infection Control Fund and the Rapid Testing Fund has made it possible for care providers to facilitate visits due to the added costs associated with the administration, testing and infection prevention and control measures required to manage visits, and to minimise the risk of virus transmission in accordance with government guidance. However, the emergency funding comes to an end on 31st March 2021, and to date the government has remained silent as to whether or not this funding will continue. It is essential that the government commits to extend this funding or there is a risk that all the fantastic

progress made to reunite family and friends will be affected. Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum says:“It is impossible to understand why the government, with less than two weeks to go before the end of March, is remaining silent about continuing the funding that has been central to enabling the reintroduction of visiting at pace and scale and the ongoing programme of rapid testing for visitors, staff and residents. “In our survey of NCF members, 83% of care homes were using the Infection Control Fund to facilitate visits including providing additional staff, cleaning, and space for testing and visitors. 85% of respondents were using the Rapid Testing Fund to provide staff to carry out and record the testing of visitors. This heavy reliance on the emergency funding to make visiting happen, means that without this money, the return to regular visiting is being put in jeopardy. The government must immediately confirm that this funding will be extended or risk breaking the commitment to an ‘irreversible’ step forward around visiting.” The survey also shows that providers have positively embraced visiting and the new approach to regular visitors. In over 60% of homes, the majority of residents have identified people that they want as regular visitors and those visits are taking place. There is also a growing cohort of people who are being assessed and identified as an essential care-

giver. Alongside these new approaches introduced by the government guidance care homes are continuing to use pods, and outdoor visits to enable people to have a growing breadth of visitors. The survey results also show that care homes are embracing the new Partners in Care resources that has been produced by the NCF in partnership with relatives and residents organisations to help providers implement the government guidance in facilitating meaningful visits. Rayner continues: “The challenges of introducing indoor visiting is well expressed by a member who talks of the ‘very delicate balance between our residents’ mental wellbeing and any further risk of their catching COVID-19’. The government has in its gift the ability to ensure that those scales are firmly tipped towards supporting wellbeing by ensuring all the necessary resources are in place to safely facilitate the meaningful visits that is laid out in the guidance, and that all residents need and want. Leaving decision making to the wire is never the way to treat people, but particularly not those who have waited nearly a year to be reunited, only to have that precious connection put in jeopardy as we wait once more for the government to prioritise the funding of social care.“

St Patrick’s Day Gets The Green Light At Local Care Home General Manager, Octavian Stanciu said: “Our residents have all had a

Residents and staff at Magnolia Court in Golders Green celebrated all things Irish for St Patrick’s Day this week. The home was decorated with shamrocks and everyone got dressed up in green to mark the day. Held on March 17th, Saint Patrick's Day actually observes the death of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, but the day has come to be a huge celebration of Irish heritage and culture. Staff and residents at the home marked the day by making shamrock decorations, learning some Irish words and phrases, learning Irish dances, going on a virtual tour of Ireland, listening to Irish music]. Head chef [insert name] prepared a fantastic Irish spread with Irish stew, soda bread, and black pudding all washed down with Guinness or an Irish whiskey.

brilliant day today, everyone has enjoyed the festivities – I think we all agree St Patrick’s Day is the best of all the saints days! We had a fantastic time listening to Irish music and watching Irish dancing, we sampled some lovely Irish whiskeys too.” Joseph Testa, resident at Magnolia Court Care Home said: “It has been a lovely day. I really liked making the shamrock decorations and the virtual tour of Ireland brought back so many memories of holidays, it was wonderful to reminisce about the trips we had all taken.”

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PAGE 14 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

Keeping Care at the Core of the Health Sector

By Lisa Botterill, corporate partner and care sector specialist at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau (www.shma.co.uk)

The coronavirus pandemic has left its mark on individuals and businesses across the UK, none more so than the care sector. In the past year, government guidance and the legal framework around the choices care home providers have to make has shifted dramatically, but one thing has stayed the same: ensuring good quality care is top priority. While the Care Quality Commission (CQC) temporarily suspended inspections in March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, they have since resumed in the interest of preventing and controlling infection in care homes. The CQC has a duty to ensure that the highest standards are met, without exception, and particularly if tackling an outbreak of covid within a home. Any breaches associated with an outbreak carry a risk that the rating of the home will be significantly downgraded, and allowances won’t be made for any staffing shortages due to workers isolating. So, if necessary, agency staff will need to be brought in, despite the risks also associated with introducing new staff who may have been working in other care settings. Care providers and workers in the sector should also be aware of the questions and prompts inspectors use to look at how well staff and people living in care homes are protected from infection. These guidelines have changed almost continuously over the past year and it is more important than ever to remain informed and up to date. Under the Government’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions in England, residents are now allowed to hold hands with visiting loved ones. While this goes some way to improve resident wellbeing and min-

imise the effects of isolation, particularly for dementia sufferers, it also increases the risk of infection at a time when residents have only received one vaccination and the visitor does not need to have been vaccinated at all. This ongoing balancing act is one the Director of Public Health (DPH) and MPs have been trying to manage through the provision of frameworks and guidance. Equally, pressure from families who are concerned about their relatives in care has led to an opening up of the visiting arrangements while the rest of the country remains in lockdown. While care homes have a duty to allow access to healthcare professionals and statutory bodies, it is also important for providers to understand that they’re able to exercise discretion, based on their own circumstances. There have, however, been calls from MPs for a law to end blanket bans on care home visits, highlighting the importance of safe visiting. It’s interesting to contrast the position with that of hospitals where visiting is still not permitted, except in end-of-life situations. There hasn’t been the same outcry in relation to hospital visiting as hospital stays are much shorter duration but the risks and consequences of infection spreading are the same in both settings. Above all, it is vital that care homes continue to reassure both staff and families and seek to find safe ways to allow residents to have some social contact with their families and loved ones. Since the pandemic began, better understanding of the virus and how it is transmitted has allowed for testing regimes to be implemented, as well as the rollout of the vaccine to care home staff and residents as a priority. However, there are additional solutions that can be put in place; for example, pods or screens for socially distanced meeting can be installed where the fabric of the building allows. Improved technology in care homes is also crucial to enabling residents to communicate with family via WhatsApp, Teams or Zoom. While the initial costs may be high, these solutions will help ensure that the devastating effects of isolation for residents from families, particularly dementia sufferers, can be minimised – now and in the future. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has raised questions on public perception and future viability of care homes. There have been an

increasing number of cases where fears around safety in the current climate have prompted families to begin caring for elderly relatives at home, leaving empty beds in care homes. With reduced income and hugely increased expectations of the sector, there is an urgent need to rebuild public confidence and restore financial viability for care businesses. So far, the response from government has been additional and extended grant funding and eventually additional PPE provision, while the pandemic continues to affect the care sector. This has allowed more providers to pay staff their full wages, supporting those who need to isolate and deal with the increased measures needed to prevent and control infection, as well as with the increased administration around testing and supervising visits. While this is positive in the short-term, questions remain around how long this funding will last and what rates will look like in the future. While there is not much evidence of it yet, there is also the spectre of claims from families whose relatives have caught or died from covid. It is essential that providers and staff protect themselves by ensuring they always adhere to government guidelines and best practice. This includes having a clear understanding of accurate testing methods, effective use of PPE, and knowledge of the cleaning products used in the home, as well as ensuring the highest standards are maintained at all times. Throughout the pandemic, care home staff have been asked to deliver similar levels of care to fully qualified nurses; it is therefore essential that they receive the ongoing support and training to enable them to achieve this and to improve confidence in the sector. From 12 April 2021, the Government is considering allowing two visitors per care home resident. While this is subject to the effectiveness of the vaccine on the most vulnerable and infection levels in the local community, care homes need to be prepared. By staying up to date on any changes in guidance, providers can help ensure resident safety is front of mind and staff are equipped to deal with any additional challenges. While the UK has a way to go before normality returns, keeping care at the core of the health sector remains a priority.

Supreme Court Rules That Care Providers Do Not Have To Pay “Sleep-In Shifts” The Supreme Court has this morning (March 19) dismissed appeals to pay hourly renumeration for sleep-in shifts. The Supreme Court has held in Royal Mencap Society v TomlinsonBlake that employees are not entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW) for the full duration of their sleep-in shift. It agreed with the Court of Appeal’s previous decision in Mencap that this is because the work they are carrying out is “time work” and they are therefore only entitled to the NMW when they are awake and carrying out duties. Ms Tomlinson-Blake, who cared for two men with autism and learning difficulties, was paid a flat rate of £22.35 plus one hour’s pay of £6.70 for a sleep-in shift from 10pm to 7am. However, as part of her duties, she was required to keep a ‘listening ear’ during the night in case her support was needed. The carer’s claim to an Employment Tribunal found she was entitled to have all hours spent sleeping-in count as working time for minimum wage purposes. The lower courts had found that Tomlinson-Blake had been working throughout her sleep-in shift and should have been entitled to the NMW for the entire shift. However, the Court of Appeal ruled that she was only entitled to the NMW when she was actually carrying out her duties, such as helping a patient or doing other work – and not when she was sleeping or resting. Tomlinson-Blake took her appeal against this judgment to the Supreme Court, which heard her case in February 2020, which today was dismissed. The decision will come as a great relief to care providers and provides welcome clarity in a sector which has been in a state of uncertainty for some years. The threat of extensive back-pay claims by employees claiming up to 6 years’ pay for sleep-ins has now disap-

peared. In a 2018 survey undertaken by VODG, Trowers & Hamlins and Agenda Consulting 68% of care providers responding said that paying the back pay due would threaten the viability of their organisations. This threat has now gone. While the legal certainty surrounding sleep-in payments will be welcomed by those operating in the care sector it still leaves some difficult issues to consider: • Wil commissioners currently paying for sleep –ins continue to do so? • Should care providers who have paying for sleep ins at the NMW now stop? This may give rise to employee relations problems and employment tribunal claims. Matt McDonald, employment partner at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, said: “This ruling will be disappointing for any care worker who believes they should be paid minimum wage for the entirety of the time spent on ‘sleep-in’ shifts. The case has been in the pipeline for some time and if the Supreme Court had sided with Mrs Tomlinson-Blake, the shockwaves would have been felt throughout the care sector. “By contrast, care providers will be mightily relieved that their longstanding approach of paying a fixed rate for ‘sleep-in’ shifts has been confirmed by the Supreme Court as legally sound. “If the Supreme Court’s decision had gone the other way, the bills facing care providers for historic underpayments would have been substantial and, in some cases, devastating. Many simply couldn’t have afforded to pay and we would therefore seen a large number of providers teetering on the brink of financial ruin, putting further pressure on UK care standards.” Siobhan Fitzgerald, partner at UK law firm TLT, says: “In a landmark judgment for the care sector, the Supreme Court

ruled that workers are not entitled to count each hour of their sleep-in shift when calculating if they have received the National Minimum Wage (NMW), leaving care providers breathing a sigh of relief. “The Supreme Court has agreed with the Court of Appeal’s 2018 decision that a sleep-in was working time only when the worker is awake to carry out any relevant duties. The reasoning behind this decision is that care workers who are required to sleep at, or near, their workplace and be available to provide assistance were only ‘available for work’, rather than actually working. “However, while the decision has gone in Mencap’s favour, it is important that all care providers address their approach to payment for sleep-ins, to help ensure they remain competitive in the market while still working within their financial means. From an administrative point of view, employers will need to ensure that systems are accurately recording time spent working during sleep-in shifts, so that workers’ pay does not fall below NMW levels. Failure to accurately record and pay NMW can not only lead to claims for back-pay, but also liability for fines of up to £20,000 per worker. “The Supreme Court’s decision will certainly be welcomed by employers in the care and social housing sectors as, if it had gone the other way, it may have left many providers in a financially perilous position. The potential cost to the sector could have been in the region of £400million, so this decision will undoubtedly protect jobs and the care industry as a whole –particularly at a time when they have been hard-hit by the Covid pandemic. This ruling is the final word on the question of underpayment of NMW for sleep-in staff; there is no further route of appeal for the claimants, providing much-needed certainty for the affected sectors.”

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PAGE 16 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

One Year On: Ashgate Hospicecare’s Frontline Workers on Continuing to Care Through COVID It's been a year since the pandemic was first declared. And while it brought much of the UK to a standstill, the vital care that Ashgate Hospicecare provides to patients and their families has never stopped. The hospice’s frontline workers have been working tirelessly since last March, continuing to provide quality end-of-life care and supporting NHS colleagues in the COVID-19 response to ease pressure on the healthcare system. Few hospices in the country have supported as many end-of-life COVID patients as Ashgate, with one in three beds being used by patients who had tested positive with the virus during the second wave. Demand for its care had never been greater and staff from across the organisation were redeployed to their busy inpatient unit. From the tireless housekeeping team who kept the hospice safe and clean, to the community team providing essential care to patients at home – nobody could have anticipated how the pandemic would unfold. But they’ve continued to work with dedication and professionalism through three national lockdowns; so that patients receive the very best care possible at the end of their life. As we approach the one-year anniversary since the pandemic was first declared, we hear about the highs and lows that Ashgate Hospicecare’s frontline workers have experienced over the past 12 months. To ensure that Ashgate Hospicecare can continue to respond to the pandemic in months to come, donate at: https://www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/donation/

CARING ON THE FRONTLINE DURING COVID-19 Hannah Botsford is a Healthcare Assistant working on Ashgate Hospice’s Inpatient Unit, here she tells us how life has changed for her since the pandemic unfolded: It has been a challenging journey so far but I’m proud to be representing Ashgate during the pandemic. The impact that COVID-19 has on my dayto-day job has been huge. There’s been lots of new policies and procedures we’re having to follow to ensure everyone is safe, which can often change daily. In fact, I feel safer coming in to work at Ashgate than I do visiting a supermarket! It can feel daunting at times because I am constantly checking that I am following all procedures to ensure the risk is reduced, but ultimately, we’re still doing our best to make sure everyone gets the best care possible, regardless of COVID. Personally, I have suffered with anxiety and depression myself for years and the pandemic has had a huge impact on this. However, there is a lot of support at Ashgate; we are encouraged to take time out to gather our thoughts. My colleagues are the best source of support as we can understand what each other is feeling and help one another. Some shifts are stressful and sometimes we shed tears – we’re only human – but we carry on with a smile on our faces. We all pull together as a team and we couldn’t do it all without each other. I work 12 and a half hour shifts, sometimes during the day and sometimes a night shift. It’s hard work but I start each shift thinking about the patients’ families and how they would want their loved one to be cared for, that’s what I strive to do. I take care of them like I would my own family. For some people, it’s a tough decision to come to the hospice because there’s a stigma behind it. And the end of someone’s life is always a tough time – even before the pandemic – but the hospice is such a lovely place, one filled with laughter, smiles and a chance to make special memories. The biggest challenge for me since the Coronavirus outbreak is not being able to hug! I love to give my patients a cuddle when they’re upset or scared. A cuddle between staff goes a long way too, sometimes we need that support and comfort throughout a tough shift. Ashgate has a special place in my heart as they cared for my grandad; it means the world to me! My family motivates me, they are so supportive and if I have a bad day, they always manage to cheer me up. When I first applied to work at the hospice, admittedly I was very scared! I thought it would be all doom and gloom. How wrong could I be?! It’s a much happier place than a hospital and we can offer care that isn’t accessible to patients in a hospital. We get more time to spend with patients to talk and create lasting memories. Each patient has access to be outside even if they are bedbound, which I think is lovely! The thing I miss most about life before COVID is getting to see my friends and family. The girls and I have planned a mini–Mamma Mia themed food and drinks festival for when we can get together. We’ve started finding our outfits already!

CARING IN THE COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19 Amanda Hall, a Palliative Care Specialist Nurse at Ashgate Hospicecare, tells of the challenges of caring for patients and their families in the community during the COVID-19 crisis: Caring for patients and families in the community has been a real challenge over the past year for myself and the community team. We’ve had to adapt to a new way of working from home whilst continuing to visit people in their homes, some of whom have tested positive for COVID. Demand for our services rose overnight by over 50 per cent during

the first lockdown but due to staff sickness and other resource pressures, our team is often scaled-back. We are tired; the hours are long; the work is relentless, but we’re part of an awesome team and the support everyone offers one another is absolutely world class. We are limiting visits as much as possible, but still responding to the needs of our patients and families with the aim to provide the best possible care to people in their own homes. This is made all the more challenging with new and different barriers and guidelines in place, which are ever changing too, we’re having to adapt all the time. Trying to do the job in full PPE is problematic for us, particularly when we’re trying to have those difficult conversations with patients and their family members. It is instinctive to offer grieving families a hug and that would be something we would have done before the pandemic but we just can’t now. I'm a very tactile person so that’s hard for me – when the love of someone’s life is dying and you just want to comfort them. It is incredibly difficult. Understandably, some people are uneasy about us visiting their homes and ask us not to visit, others are desperate to see us because they haven’t received specialist care from a professional for a long time. Wearing the PPE is obviously uncomfortable but protecting our patients and their families is the biggest priority. It can get very hot, and that’s going to get even worse again in the summer, but it means we’re still able to do our jobs. For me, palliative care is about making sure we do the best we can for these people. You’ve got one chance to get it right, you can’t go back and change anything or do it differently after. It is our mission to ensure that those being cared for are as comfortable and pain free as possible. Often, it’s about listening to someone and just giving them time to talk about their problems. It’s about giving that reassurance to people that they’re not alone. I just want people to have the best experience they can – that’s what motivates me to get up to go to work in the morning. I went to visit a relatively young gentleman recently; he had been keeping all support available to him at arm's reach because he’s tried to come across as strong as possible to his family. He ended up having finance troubles, was in pain and needed help supporting his children and his wife. I just listened, offered all the advice and support that I could. By the end of the visit, he said he felt so much happier as his family now had a plan in place. End of life care isn’t a one size fits all approach. It’s a bit like being a detective; you have to unpick the case and get to the root of what the problem is. If you’re nosy like me, you get to know what’s going on! I’m immensely proud to be representing Ashgate throughout this time. As hard as it is at times, I still love my job and I’m very proud to be part of a team doing everything it can to support people at the end of their life in the best possible way. And despite the numerous challenges the community team has faced, they have all demonstrated huge dedication and professionalism throughout.

VOLUNTEERING DURING COVID-19 Debbie Hasland, a volunteer receptionist at Ashgate Hospicecare, from Dronfield, tells of her experiences volunteering for the charity throughout the pandemic: I feel very proud to be volunteering for Ashgate during the Coronavirus pandemic. My role as a receptionist has changed quite a lot since the outbreak started – now I check people’s temperatures when they come through the door, ensure everyone sanitises their hands, as well as the usual responsibilities of welcoming families and answering the phones. I first started volunteering exactly three years ago to get some admin experience; I hadn’t had much contact with the hospice before that until a few months later when my sister Amanda was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She ended up on the Inpatient Unit in November and died seven weeks later. She was only 55. It was a complete shock. But the care she received was brilliant, and there was always someone there to care for her. I came to visit her every day because we were very close. That must be the hard part for families during the pandemic. To prevent the spread of the virus, patients are only allowed one designated visitor until they reach the very end of their life, which I imagine must be sad. I compare it to what I felt like – I can’t imagine me being able to visit my sister and my mum not. It’s great that families at Ashgate do get to see relatives being cared for because that’s not the case in hospitals. At Ashgate, everything is very organised. I come along on Monday afternoons to volunteer on reception and feel very safe. I don’t feel like I’m putting myself or my family at risk. Most importantly, after the care my sister received, I just want to work hard and do my bit to give some-

thing back. I’m a busy person and always like having something to do as well. There’s lots of nice people that work and volunteer for the charity. Some of them have been here for 15 years or longer. I’m looking forward to continuing to do my bit throughout the lockdown and beyond, hopefully for some time to come.

SWAPPING THE SHOP FLOOR FOR THE HOSPICE WARD Andrea Farmery, Deputy Store Manager at Ashgate’s Hasland Furniture Store, has been redeployed to the hospice ward whilst her shop is closed. She’s now working as a Ward Assistant and supporting doctors and nurses on the frontline by making sure PPE is available to everyone and welcoming families to the hospice: If you’d told me before the pandemic outbreak that in a year’s time I’d be working on the inpatient unit instead of in a retail role I’d never have believed you! It’s fair to say I’m most familiar selling household goods as Deputy Store Manager at the Hasland Furniture Store, rather than helping doctors and nurses as a Ward Assistant. The transition has been a learning curve to say the least, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge so far and I’m pleased to be doing my bit to support my hospice colleagues during these difficult times. Admittedly, I was quite apprehensive about being redeployed onto the ward after being furloughed since the start of the lockdown. But I like to be busy and keep some structure to my week; being on furlough I found I was losing track of the days and had too much time on my hands, so jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at the vaccine centre at first. And then when the call from the hospice went out to support the inpatient unit I felt it was my duty to help and give something back. I’d never worked in a healthcare environment before, the only experience I have of working in any type of care role was when I was looking after my dad in the last few months of his life. It’s all been completely new to me, but the support from the frontline staff on the ward has been fantastic and the training from them has really helped me to feel more confident in the tasks I’ve been given. I’ve been doing lots of different things – from ensuring enough PPE is always available and cleaning down rooms when patients have been discharged, to working on the reception and answering calls from families of patients receiving care. Despite working in an environment where there’s COVID patients, I still feel completely safe as the measures that Ashgate has in place are excellent. Everywhere you go feels very clean. Ultimately, I’m just pleased to be able to offer my help to take the pressure of some jobs away from the busy team, so they can focus on providing vital care to the patients at Ashgate. Everyone working at the inpatient unit is very busy, but they always manage to do their jobs in such a calm manner, which creates a warm and relaxing environment for the patients and their family. I’m hoping to learn from them whilst I’m here and take that calmness and pace of work back to my role in retail. I’m very proud to work for Ashgate Hospicecare and I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to help my colleagues at the hospice during the pandemic. It’s lovely to be able to do a job that helps people when they need it most.

KEEPING US SAFE DURING COVID-19 Jane Woodhouse, Housekeeper Supervisor at Ashgate Hospicecare, has been working for the charity since 2006 and her team’s responsibility is to ensure the hospice is a clean and safe space for everyone. Something that has been even more important during the pandemic. Our roles as housekeepers are more important now than they have ever been. It’s up to us to make sure that the hospice is a clean and safe environment for everyone who works, visits or is cared for here. With COVID-19 patients receiving care in our inpatient unit, it is our responsibility to stop the spread of the virus and prevent people from being infected. We have introduced many new processes to keep everyone safe. This includes intensive cleaning of patient rooms, routinely changing the curtains, wiping down door handles and surfaces – the list is very comprehensive, and we do most things three times a day. It’s a physical job, especially when wearing PPE, but it is essential to ensure that we can continue to provide our care and services. One of the most challenging parts of the job is not being able to make that human connection with a patient, as the PPE can act as a barrier. It makes having conversations difficult, particularly as we are trying to be in and out of a room as soon as possible. Every day is different throughout the pandemic; there can be days that seem particularly tough but everyone working on the ward is there for one another. We look out for each other and do our best to help one another out – that's what keeps you going. I’ve been working at Ashgate since 2006 and I’m so proud to be part of this team. Everything we do is for the benefit of the hospice. My team and I go above and beyond; and it's all to make sure patients receive the best end of life care that’s possible.


PAGE 18 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

Why Every Care Provider Should Complete the DSPT Self-Assessment By Philippa Shirtcliffe, Head of Care Quality, QCS (www.qcs.co.uk)

prompts, also covers compliance. Care providers, for example, must demonstrate that their policies and procedures legally conform to data protection and data security standards in line with Care Quality Commission KLOE W2.8.

Looking for even a single shaft of sunlight in a pandemic is challenging. Every life lost in the pandemic is a human tragedy and it is likely that Covid-19 will claim many more lives before it is tamed. Indeed, those “broad, sunlit uplands” that Winston Churchill talked about in the last great national emergency some 80 years ago seem a long way off. That said, there have been some bright spots which have emerged from the gloom. Take the national immunisation roll-out, for example. One of the most effective and fastest vaccination roll-out programmes in the world is ensuring that the UK is slowly but surely sending Covid-19 into retreat. As we begin to hopefully contain Covid, it is only natural that we’ll begin to look to the future. But as Albert Einstein once said, “If you want to know the future, look at the past.” Out of respect to those who have lost their lives to Covid, and the families who mourn them, I don't want to look too far ahead or too far back. But, what is clear is that this pandemic has mirrored others by accelerating change in our society.

Having written and researched the DSPT extensively for Quality Compliance Systems, the leading provider of content, guidance and standards for the social care sector, my advice is to not to leave the self-assessment to the last minute. Why? Well, it is not a tick-box form. Instead, it requires providers to evidence how their service conforms to each of the ten data security standards. To help providers to navigate the DSPT, QCS has produced a full suite of up-to-date UK GDPR compliant policies and other templates and guidance, which are specifically designed to help front-line managers provide the necessary evidence required. We have also written customised policies including one detailing the role and responsibilities of the Data Protection Officer, and also best practice advice to how staff can flourish in a data-driven environment. In addition to polices, which are constantly being updated, QCS is creating a range of surveys and auditing tools, which enable providers to plot their DSPT journey, monitor progress and continuously drive improvement. Finally, we’ve published a free Information Asset Register, which is free to download from our website.

INFORMATION SHARING WILL PLAY A KEY ROLE IN INTEGRATED CARE SYSTEMS

THE DSPT: OTHER RESOURCES

Covid-19 has shone a spotlight on our battered health and care systems, ruthlessly exposing the many fissures and deep-lying cracks. It has highlighted the need for urgent reform – and an integrated health care system – where resources are shared equally. Finally, after years of inertia, it seems that the Health and Care Bill, which will be discussed later this year in Houses of Parliament, will be the catalyst for profound and sweeping change. In my opinion, the touchstone of these exciting reforms lies in information sharing. The more that data is shared between the NHS and the care sector, the greater the collaboration and the better the outcome for patients and service users. During the pandemic, secure communication between health and social care providers became more important than ever, which was one of the reasons why the NHS fast-tracked care providers to use its secure NHSmail system, without requesting they conduct the full Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) self-assessment.

But QCS recognises that even for QCS members, who have access to our leading-edge content and compliance tools, DSPT self-assessment is not an easy task. Therefore, for anybody struggling, Digital Social care has some excellent audio and visual resources, which are free to access on its website (www.digitalsocialcare.co.uk). Care providers wishing to seek advice by phone should contact ‘Better Security, Better Care’, a national support initiative, which is helping adult social care providers to store and share information safely. ‘Better Security, Better Care’ can be reached by calling the Digital Social Care Helpline on 0208-133-3430, or by emailing help@digitalsocialcare.co.uk. Compared to the visceral horrors witnessed by some care professionals during the pandemic, completing the DSPT may seem a small, inconsequential and incongruous step. But, it represents huge stride forward and is worth persevering with. Indeed, seeing the bigger picture is crucially important, even if we can’t yet see it in sharp detail. If every provider in the country has access NHS digital resources, it will herald the dawn of a bright new age, an age which will forge closer ties between the health and social care sector. But as Winston Churchill once said, “The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time”. Collectively, let's make the DSPT the first link in that chain. To download the Information Asset Register, please click on the following link: https://www.qcs.co.uk/information-asset-register/ To find out more about QCS, contact our compliance advisors on 0333-405-3333 or email sales@qcs.co.uk.

THE DATA SECURITY AND PROTECTION TOOLKIT For anybody not familiar with the DSPT, it is an annual self-assessment for the health and care provider. In a nutshell, it shows providers what they need to do safeguard their organisation and staff from the risk of security breaches and cyber attack. As we start to move out of the shadow of pandemic, the cultural sea-change sparked by Covid, which will see greater integration between care professionals and their NHS counterparts, has prompted the NHS to introduce a bespoke DSPT self-assessment for social care too. In addition to providing best practice protocols around data security in relation to IT systems and devices, the DSPT, which contains 45 questions and/or

THE DSPT: HOW TO APPROACH IT

Home is Where the Art Is

Older people and those living with dementia at Belong care villages are reigniting their creativity by teaming up with critically acclaimed artists to explore the wellbeing benefits of using the arts at home, through a series of sound and clay workshops. The ‘We Belong Together’ project is being run in conjunction with Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts. Artists will be leading regular virtual art sessions for small cohorts of apartment tenants living in Belong’s state-of-the-art care villages across the North West, with the initiative also serving to help tackle lockdown isolation by providing a vehicle for wellbeing and social interaction within the tenants’ support bubbles. Focusing on sound, artist Alan Dunn will exercise the brain and ear muscles of participants to unlock the hidden narratives from noises derived from everyday life. Once a variety of sounds have been explored, including those made by bubbles, tongue twisters and even from elastic bands, the sessions will culminate in the creation of a 30-minute ‘live’ concert. Meanwhile, sculptor Brigitte Jurack delves into the creative use of clay and ceramics, encouraging Belong tenants to gently improve dexterity by using their finger and arm muscles to roll, push, pinch and pull clay in the making of tablets pots, plates and animals. Speaking of her first sounds workshop, Mary Britcliffe, apartment tenant at Belong Crewe, said: “It’s great to be involved in the project; it’s given me something new to look forward to each week. I’m definitely having lots of

fun and I’m really enjoying the tongue twisters!” Betty Ritchie, Participation Manager at Bluecoat and coordinator for the project, also spoke of the unique arrangement: “We Belong Together has got off to a great start; participants are reporting how much they enjoy interacting with the artists and each other, discovering new things and how much they look forward to seeing their work brought to life – it's all very positive.” The We Belong Together project is funded by Arts Council England through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and is the latest collaboration between Belong and Bluecoat. The organisations have worked together since 2019 as part of ‘Where the Arts Belong’, a wider three-year research partnership, which has already demonstrated a range of positive outcomes in engaging people with dementia through the arts, including enhanced cognitive capacity, improved mood and an increased sense of community. Tracy Paine, deputy chief executive at Belong added: “Isolation has been a huge challenge for everyone over the past year and we’re excited to be extending our collaboration with Bluecoat to be able to connect tenants of our independent living apartments through the arts. We’ve already seen significant wellbeing benefits following projects working with household residents in our 24-hour care settings, as well as home care customers in the wider community, so this is a very welcome extension to the arts initiatives we are able to offer.”

Open Your Fire Doors to Residents When someone is no longer able to live alone their self-esteem can be severely affected and can sometimes lead to depression too. This is turn can have a negative impact on general health and happiness. Promoting independence within your care setting can have a massive impact on someone’s happiness, health and wellbeing. Care facility providers for the elderly have to make some incredibly important decisions to ensure that residents are safe and often make decisions on behalf of residents too. Providing a care setting that ticks all the right boxes to offer independent living can

sometimes feel like a bit of a juggling act. On the one hand you must adhere to fire safety legislation and on the other hand heavy fire doors that close automatically when opened, hinder your goals of promoting the highest levels of independence for your residents. Finding a solution that achieves both of these goals is not as hard as you may think. Fitting battery-operated door retainers, such as Dorgard, Dorgard SmartSound and Freedor SmartSound could not be easier and they provide you with a legal solution to holding your fire doors open. Easily installed by your own handyman they can be fitted to

existing fire doors. These devices ‘listen’ for the sound of your fire alarm and on hearing it will automatically activate and allow your heavy fire door to close, preventing the spread of fire. Heavy fire doors can pose a problem for frail and less mobile residents, as they try and negate heavy fire doors just to move from one room to another. By fitting a fire door retainer, your fire doors will open with ease or be held in the open position to make corridors and rooms easily accessible, even for those who are wheelchair users or who use walking aids. To ensure that you can fit the right fire door retainer for your setting Dorgard have a range of products to chose from. For quieter areas, such as bedrooms or snugs Dorgard is ideal and for areas that are a little noisier, such as recreation rooms or dining rooms the Dorgard SmartSound is ideal and Freedor SmartSound offers the ability for a fire door to behave in the same way as a normal door, and can be pushed open with ease or will stay open at any angle. Open your fire doors to your residents to give them their independence back. If you would like to discuss your needs further with our knowledgeable customer care team please call 0800 612 6287 or visit www.safelincs.co.uk/dorgards.


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“It’s Not Over For Data”

If you think that you have just become comfortable with the GDPR, know the lawful basis of all your processing, and you can respond to subject access requests in your sleep, then think again. The first whispers of the Government’s intention to redesign the UK’s data protection laws have come from Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, commenting that there were opportunities to use data for ‘economic and social goals’. There seemed to be some veiled complaint that businesses and organisations were reluctant to use data. Given the intention behind the GDPR to restrict the use of data and hand back control of a person’s data to the subject themselves, the questions provoked inevitably must be, what else could and should data be used for? And, how should care providers be alive to another new frontier in the

data landscape? Without a blueprint for what the changes may be, it is difficult to anticipate exactly how much of the drawing board we will need to wipe through. The European Commission only recently published the draft data adequacy decision for the UK on 19 February 2021. The draft essentially confirmed that, at this point, the EU considered that the protection of personal data in the UK was “essentially equivalent” to the standards demanded by the GDPR. The draft decision relies on the UK’s continued commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights as a particularly important element of the assessment. But, what does this really mean? One would hope that any changes made would not materially affect the substance of the obligations in the care sector, as the collection, storage and use of personal data, along with the safeguarding of service users data ought to remain steady. By contrast, the reference to ‘economic and social goals’ suggests that any new framework will encourage the freer flow of information between commercial entities, with wealth generation at its heart, and the freer sharing of information between and with public authorities. The latter may mean it is easier to share medical information between care homes and GPs, without data sharing agreements, for instance. However, the management of personal data undoubtedly creates challenges for care providers which are not regularly shared by commercial entities. In addition for managing the data of employees, care

By Saara Idelbi, barrister at 5 Essex Court (https://5essexcourt.co.uk)

providers are entrusted with the personal data of vulnerable persons

and sometimes of those who have no capacity to comprehend the complexity of data decisions a person can make in the modern world or object to use of their data. The safeguarding of those, who rely on others to preserve their dignity and privacy because they are unable to do so themselves, will be at the centre of any adaptations in the care sector to the application of the data protection framework. Thus, changes in practice need to be commensurate with the wider regulatory requirements overseen by the Care Quality Commission. Until more detail is forthcoming on the potential changes, is there any way to be proactive in anticipating changes? Current data protection law requires organisations have technical and organisational measures to ensure the security of personal data. Where change is on the horizon, it will be those technical and organisational measures that will facilitate a smooth transition. Maintain a rigorous training on data protection, review policies for regulating data protections so they are proactive and relevant to services provided, ensure that data is held securely and clearly delineated between service users, and - as far as possible keep service users informed and support their choices about their data. However the UK’s bond with the GDPR may change, maintaining the bond of trust between providers and users will remain central.

Real Risk that Thousands of NHS Staff Will Leave Unless They Are Allowed to Recover The NHS risks losing thousands of nurses, doctors and other key workers in the longer term unless they are given the time and space to recover from the pandemic. Without this, the Government will fail to meet its key manifesto target of recruiting an extra 50,000 nurses, and it will take even longer for the NHS to address the impact of the pandemic on waiting times and other services. The NHS Confederation, which represents the whole health system, is calling on the Government to act now to avert a staffing crisis in the NHS as the country prepares to emerge from a year of restrictions. With the NHS still facing the threat from coronavirus and a massive backlog of treatment, there is a real risk that exhausted NHS staff may leave their roles unless expectations of their workload mean they are allowed time to recover. While the NHS is starting to see an increase in applications to degree level courses, this is set against the backdrop of levels of stress and burnout due to the last 12 months, which threatens to increase NHS vacancies. The NHS has close to 90,000 vacant posts, and results from the biggest survey of NHS staff, published earlier this month, show that almost two thirds of NHS staff believe there are not enough people in their organisations to enable them to do their job properly. More than four in ten say they feel unwell as result of their job, a figure that rises to half of all staff working in frontline COVID care. The NHS Confederation is warning the Government that the NHS cannot bounce back from a year-long COVID crisis into full recovery mode unless NHS leaders are given the tools and resources they need to locally support and nurture the health service’s most valuable resource - its people. This will need to include targeted support for staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds on whom the pandemic has taken its greatest toll. The government must also give

teams in the NHS hope that there is a longer-term plan which will fill the vacancies in their organisations. Finally, the Government must level with the public about the scale of the challenge ahead when it comes to tackling lengthening waiting lists and responding to the expected surge in mental health support that is widely anticipated. Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The people who work in the NHS are at its heart, and we must acknowledge that they have experienced a year like no other. We know that many staff will have been traumatised by what they have seen and experienced in recent months. “There will be a temptation – not least amongst the teams themselves - to dive straight into tackling the waiting list for care that has ballooned to 4.6 million. But NHS leaders are clear that the NHS cannot bounce back without first giving NHS staff the time, space and support they need to properly recover. If we don’t look after them, then we cannot hope to look after patients. “If we are going to get the NHS back on track, then we have to put the wellbeing of staff at the centre of our recovery plans and give them everything they need to get themselves back on track. This must be underpinned by urgent investment to address long-standing vacancies in nursing and other key professions - this is at the root of the long-term workload pressures facing the NHS and its people." The NHS Confederation report sets out a series of actions needed to protect staff health and wellbeing in the recovery phase of the pandemic: • Rest and recovery: NHS staff are not able to undertake a period of decompression in the same way that armed forces personnel do after military deployments. But building in time for staff to rest, recuperate and recover will be essential. Some staff will have built up leave that they will need to take, so NHS organisations will need to deploy tailored approaches for local staff that provide the right balance between enabling staff to rest and for

managing ongoing demand. • Health and wellbeing: Continued national investment is needed which enables NHS organisations to supplement their local support to staff. Recent investment in creating wellbeing hubs, which support staff to stay mentally well, and the rollout of interventions such as restorative supervision, are hugely welcomed. But many of these nationally funded initiatives are due to come to an end in late March. Much of this support has been invaluable during the pandemic and needs to continue. • Recognition and reward: Valuing and recognising the contributions and sacrifices made by NHS staff over the last year will be crucial to retaining staff. This must be underpinned by a sustainable, funded and modern total reward package which supports both the long-term attraction and retention of NHS staff. The Government’s recent announcement that it intends to provide NHS staff with a 1per cent pay increase risks demoralising workers and harming efforts to retain staff. • Improving staff experience: We must take this opportunity to improve the day-to-day experiences of staff working in the NHS. This includes providing high quality places for staff to take rest, eat and hydrate; ensuring that staff have time to take breaks within their shifts; and ensuring they have more control and autonomy over how they organise their work. We also need concerted efforts to develop a compassionate and inclusive culture which tackles wide disparities in staff experience, especially among BAME staff. • Tackling vacancies: All of this must be met with investment to address long-standing vacancies across nursing and other key professions. Vacancies lie at the heart of the workload pressures staff face. Only 40 per cent of staff believe their organisation has enough staff for them to do their job properly. Overlay this with an increase in demand for care, and it is clear the pressure on NHS staff will not subside. The Government has ambitious targets to recruit 50,000 nurses by the end of this parliament, but failure to act on the issues outlined here will result in this target being missed. We need a fully costed and funded long term workforce plan that addresses supply and vacancy issues. The Health Foundation estimates this will require £1 billion of additional investment by 2024.

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 stressful 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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NCF Proud to Support the National Day of Reflection The impact of the pandemic and lockdown has meant that we have had to find different ways to say goodbye to the people we love as we grieve for our loss. Championed by Marie Curie Cancer Care and supported by the National Care Forum (NCF) Tuesday 23rd March was set aside for a National Day of Reflection, as people from across the country join together in a minute’s silence at 12noon to reflect on those who have died and show support to the millions of people who are bereaved. Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum said: “Sorrow lays heavy on us all as we head to this anniversary of a year since the first national lockdown; a year where so many have lost loved ones, friends, colleagues and valued members of their communities; a year when so many have not been able to enjoy the very human connections – of touch, kiss, love, hugs and affection; a year when so many have had to stay away from community – whilst shielding or protecting and caring for others more vulnerable than themselves; a year when a virus that we can’t see has seemingly taken control of almost every aspect of our lives, bringing our community, and those of others across the globe, to

a standstill. “In amongst all of this the country has turned its focus to social care

– often because that is where the epicentre of impact of this deadly virus has hit home. It has been care workers who have borne the brunt of supporting people in homes and communities – day in day out – seven days a week. It has been care providers who have had to change and flex the way that they provide care to cope with the ever-changing understanding of how to provide care in a COVID-19 environment. Critically, it has been people living in care homes who have lost so much – so many of whom have tragically lost their lives to COVID, while huge numbers have been unable to see loved ones throughout this terrible year. “In the glare of this sudden spotlight of attention, something amazing has happened – something that should give us all hope for a better and brighter year ahead. In each and every one of these communities that have been hit so hard, there has been fantastic leadership, community and care, demonstrating just what incredible value social care brings to the people and families that it serves. As we reflect and remember, let us also take a moment to reflect on light and hope in a time dominated by sorrow and darkness.”

Care Homes Mark Day of Reflection with Flowers, Trees and Heartfelt Messages Residents and staff at Colten Care homes joined millions of people have a tree to remember Jim by as we all miss him.” across the UK for the National Day of Reflection, marking a year since Woodpeckers Home Manager Jess Brolan said: “The Day of the start of the first Covid lockdown. Reflection has been an important opportunity to take a moment to The family-owned provider’s 21 homes in Dorset, Hampshire, process what has happened over the past year. It has been so fastWiltshire and West Sussex all observed a minute’s silence in honour of paced at times. Planting the tree was a fitting tribute to Jim as he loved those who have died during the pandemic. spending time in the garden and being a And many homes were turned into a ‘sea member of our gardening club. The tree of yellow’ with hundreds of daffodils, the will be in easy view of our main lounge so symbol of reflection, carefully placed on residents can watch its progress whenever view. they wish.” At Outstanding-rated Woodpeckers in Abbey View in Sherborne was particularBrockenhurst, members of the home’s garly resplendent in yellow after a large delivdening club paid a heartfelt tribute to felery of daffodils by nearby garden centre, low resident and club member Arthur ‘Jim’ Castle Gardens. Risso who passed away during lockdown. As at other homes, residents were invited Doreen Risso, Jim’s widow, joined them to write poems and messages on ‘reflection in a Covid-safe garden visit to plant a cards’ which were read out in the lounge. strawberry tree in his memory. Then, in what was another emotional Resident and club member Frank moment, residents applauded staff memCoumbe said: “It has been a horrible year bers for all the care given to them over the Doreen Risso visited Woodpeckers on the Day of Reflection to plant a but we have all become a family here, the past year. tree in memory of her husband Jim, who lived at the home. With Doreen is gardener Chris Marsh. staff and the residents. It will be so nice to Home Manager Sarah Harper said: “It was

very touching to have a round of applause for how we have all got through the year together and are looking forward to a brighter year ahead.” At St Catherines View, Colten’s dedicated dementia care home in Winchester, staff and residents planted a cherry blossom tree in a new ‘remembrance corner’ of the garden. Laura Sheldrake from the home’s Companionship Team said: “As soon as the tree was planted the grey clouds broke and the sun came shining through for us. It was a very touching moment for everyone involved.”

Bridget Jackson, a resident at Colten Care’s Abbey View home in Sherborne, with daffodils, the symbol of the Day of Reflection.

One Year On: National Day of Sea of Yellow In Heartfelt Covid Tribute Reflection at Gracewell of Weymouth

On the National Day of Reflection, one year since the UK entered the first Covid-19 lockdown, Gracewell of Weymouth reflected on the last year and how far they have come. Team members at the care home wore yellow Tshirts with Marie Curie pin badges to mark the day. Families, friends, and the team at Gracewell of Weymouth placed a daffodil at the entrance to the

home’s car park as a sign of remembrance for everything they have overcome. The Dash, a poem by Linda Ellis, was read out before everyone took a one-minute silence. Gracewell of Weymouth’s gardener, Adam, will be planting a daffodil bulb for each daffodil laid on 23rd March, so by next spring the garden will have many bright yellow daffodils. Rachael Craig, Activities Coordinator at Gracewell of Weymouth said: “We would like to thank all the local schools who got their local pupils involved in hand-making daffodils, as well as all our team members, residents, and their families who also made or brought fresh daffodils to lay. “It is really important we take time to reflect and remember those who sadly are not with us anymore.” Esther Sheppard, Home Admissions Advisor at Gracewell of Weymouth added: “We are so moved by the community spirit. Thank you so much to everyone who laid a daffodil today

ARTISTIC residents turned their care home grounds into a sea of yellow in a show of love for the thousands of people in Wales who have died with Covid-19. Large bright yellow hearts are adorning the entrances to Pendine Park’s two sites in Wrexham to mark the first anniversary of Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the United Kingdom would be entering lockdown. Each of Pendine Park’s seven homes in Wrexham will see their windows decorated with smaller yellow hearts, complete with fairy lights. In a further commemoration, the trees in the

grounds of the two complexes on Hillbury Road and Summerhill Road are being festooned with yellow ribbons. A small group of residents worked tirelessly to create the striking hearts in time for the day of remembrance, under the guidance of artist in residence Sarah Edwards. “When we were approached about taking part in Light up Wales to Remember we thought it was a lovely idea,” said Sarah. “Creating the hearts seemed a fitting commemoration to remember all who have died. “Although it is a sad occasion, we hope the use of yellow will symbolise there are brighter times ahead.” Sarah praised the diligent art class members from the Bryn Bella and Penybryn homes on Summerhill Road, who have spent time ensuring the hearts are ready to go on display. “The residents have enjoyed being involved and having a positive role in creating something that remembers those who have lost their lives,” she said. “Everybody has done an amazing job in getting them ready. I wish to thank them for all their hard work.”

Saint Cecilia’s Remembers the Lost and Thanks Carers A North Yorkshire care group marked the year’s anniversary of lockdown with a day of reflection for the lost and of thanks for key workers. Saint Cecilia’s Care Group joined in the Day of Reflection to mark a year since the Covid-19 lockdown began. At each of its five centres in Scarborough and Pickering, a candle was lit and a minute’s silence observed to remember the lost. A poem, specially commissioned from Scarborough writer Karen Noble, was also read out. The care group has also put up signs at all its five care centres to thank care workers, the NHS and other keyworkers for risking their lives to care for others. Managing Director Mike Padgham said the Care Group wanted to remember the lost and also say thank you to those who have sacrificed so much over the past 12 months. “This was a very sad and poignant day for all of our residents and staff across our centres,” he said. “Every loss has been a tragedy, the loss of a

loved one – a father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, aunt, uncle or friend. “I know it was a very emotional day for us and for everyone across the country. “It was also a time to think of those who have done so much to save lives too, putting their own lives and health at risk to care for others. We say a huge ‘thank you’ to them, to our own staff and also to all our fellow care workers and all the NHS staff and other keyworkers for an amazing year of selfless, compassionate and outstanding hard work. “It would be nice if the Government could recognise that hard work and give all carers in England a bonus, like the £500 administrations have given to carers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” The signs are at Saint Cecilia’s Nursing Home on Filey Road, Saint Cecilia’s Care Home on Stepney Road, Normanby House on Belgrave Crescent and Saint Cecilia’s Day Care Centre at Eastway, Eastfield, all in Scarborough and at Alba Rose Care Home on Middleton Road, Pickering. They read: ‘To the doctors, nurses, carers and all keyworkers we say a huge Thank You!’.


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 23

Local Government Finance In The Pandemic - Outlook “Concerning” A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) finds that while effective action from government has assisted local authorities in surviving financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many authorities face significant funding gaps and the financial outlook for the sector is concerning. Local authorities in England have made a major contribution to the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working to protect local communities and businesses, while continuing to deliver existing services. In the process, local authorities have reported combined cost pressures and income losses (excluding tax losses) of £9.7 billion, equal to 17.6% of their total spend in the year before. Local authorities forecast that the COVID-19 pandemic will create £6.9 billion of additional costs in 2020-2021 because of the need to deliver new services and the increased cost of delivering some existing services. There have also been fewer opportunities to deliver savings programmes. The pandemic has caused a forecast loss of £2.8 billion of income for local authorities in 2020-21, as a result of a reduction in their sales, fees and charges, commercial and other income streams. Authorities expect to lose £695 million alone from reduced car parking income, and £554 million income from facilities such as leisure centres, theatres and museums that they run. Further losses of £1.3 billion in council tax and £1.6 billion in business rates are expected but will not affect budgets until 2021-2022.1 The sector needs to be able to absorb these pressures. System-wide financial failure would undermine the delivery of public services that many vulnerable people rely on. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has engaged extensively with local authorities to gather data on the financial impact of COVID-19. Alongside other departments, it has so far announced £7.9 billion in grant funding to address the pressures facing the sector. The NAO estimates that authorities will also receive £1.23 billion in compensation for lost sales, fees and charges income. Despite this, 75% of local authorities have a reported gap between their financial pressures and the NAO’s estimate of financial support from government.2 In some case these gaps are substantial; 30% of authorities have reported funding gaps equivalent to more than 5% of their spending last year. Many local authorities still need to take further steps to ensure that they fulfil their legal requirement of balancing their books in 2020-21. Some 26% of sin-

gle tier and county councils (local authorities with social care responsibilities)3 that responded to a NAO survey4 said they were forecasting a year end material overspend relative to their budget.5 In most cases these authorities plan to use their reserves to balance their books. Overall, 46% of single tier and county councils had either used their reserves, or planned to, in response to COVID-19 pressures in 2020-21. A combination of high funding gaps and low reserve levels means that some local authorities are at risk of financial failure. By 10 February 2021, MHCLG had provided exceptional financial support totalling £50.5 million to four authorities.6 Local authorities will continue to be under serious financial pressure in 2021-22and are setting their budgets with significant uncertainty, which risks poor value for money. The local government finance settlement only provided certainty on a short-term, time-limited basis, until the middle of the financial year. Many finance directors the NAO spoke to regretted that the settlement is not on a multi-year basis. Overall, 94% of single tier and county councils and 81% of district councils who responded to the NAO’s survey expected to reduce service budgets in 20212022. Examples, provided by local authorities, of how this could impact services included reviews of adult social care and special educational needs packages; the closure of, or restricting the opening hours, of libraries, information centres and theatres; and reductions in subsidies and grants. Some 53% of single tier and county councils do not expect their finances to recover to their pre-pandemic position until 2023-24. The NAO recommends that MHCLG learns from 2020-2021 and clearly communicates whether the sector is likely to receive further funding or support. In addition, it should look for ways to reduce financial uncertainty in local authority budget-setting processes. Gareth Davies, head of the NAO said: “Government’s support to local authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic has averted system-wide financial failure. Nonetheless, the financial position of the sector remains a concern and authorities are setting budgets for 2021-2022 with limited confidence. “Authorities’ finances have been scarred and won’t simply bounce back quickly. Government needs a plan to help the sector recover from the pandemic and also to address the longstanding need for financial reform in the sector.”

Mum’s the Word at Magnolia Court

Residents at Barchester Healthcare’s Magnolia court Care home, in Hampstead, celebrated Mother’s Day with a tea party. The home was beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and bunting for the occasion. Activities team at Magnolia court arranged a piano afternoon played by our wonderful care assistant Sam which the residents really enjoyed.

Our manager Octavian Stanciu was happy to give the flowers for every female resident and staff. Our residents were also happy to share to their golden memories about Mother’s day with their families and the different ways of celebration due to different cultures and traditions. Chef at the home, Alfred, our head chef prepared a special menu according to our resident’s likes and preferences in addition to a yummy cake to mark the day. General Manager Octavian Stanciu said: “We’ve all had a really lovely day. Although Mother’s Day has had to be a bit different this year, our mums have had a proper party and face to face visits and video calls with family, we did our best to make as joyful as possible.” Tzvetana at Magnolia court, commented: “I am so grateful to the staff here who try so hard to make days like this extra special for us all and it was wonderful to be able to see my daughter safely face to face and hold her hand. I was delighted also to cut the mother’s day cake, thank you everyone”

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Digital Technology Driving Greater Efficiency For Care Homes In care settings introducing digital solutions to replace manual paper-based auditing makes a lot of sense. Digital processes can remove a potential infection risk, apps can encourage staff to share best practice with colleagues, which empowers them to take ownership of quality and remove the ‘them and us’ feeling of being judged. Rose McNeill, Head of Strategy, at Perfect Ward explores the potential of today’s emerging technology www.perfectward.com Life is challenging enough for care home staff without the pressures of inspections, especially during a pandemic. Unfortunately, the traditional picture of visiting regional teams or even the care home manager armed with clipboard and pen, is still very much in evidence. It can take weeks or months for the results to come back and when they do, often the frontline staff feel unsympathetically judged. The care sector is a people business, one where treating staff with the same levels of care and empathy as residents, can boost staff morale and reduce labour churn. Automating the quality process with the latest technology is a quick and effective way to make life easier for staff. There are many additional benefits not apparent at first glance.

LOW UPFRONT COSTS & SIGNIFICANT TIME SAVED Mobile apps run on your existing infrastructure, and with the right security in place can even run on people’s own smartphones, so your upfront investment is kept to a minimum. Our own experience tells us that care homes who use apps to remove the paperwork, speed up the auditing process by at least 60%, valuable time that can be released back to resident care and fixing, rather than simply identifying issues.

DEMOCRATISE THE AUDITING PROCESS Modern apps engage staff and support collaborative working by involving everyone. For example, if auditing Infection Prevention and Control is a top priority, domestic staff are often best placed to identify potential issues and make pragmatic suggestions for improvement because they have an eye for detail. This democratic approach encourages the whole team to own and actively participate in the quality agenda.

REDUCE INFECTION RISK Adopting technology that removes the need for paper creates a more COVID-secure care environment. The ability to take photos during the inspection and attach to a report means there is less need for external inspection teams, another good COVID measure.

HELP STAFF TO REALISE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL Completing quality audits via a mobile app means there is no delay in getting the data into your system and offers immediate access to up-to-date information. Not only on the standards being met but also any additional key information you wish to share with staff, from the Government or the latest guidelines from the British Geriatric Society. This vital intelligence can help staff to excel at their jobs and make a real difference to resident care.

ENABLE CONTINUOUS LEARNING Make ‘compliance for compliance sake’ a thing of the past. When staff see the immediate results of using digital technology, auditing is no longer viewed as a tick-box exercise for specific events like CQC visits. Modern technology encourages frontline staff to share knowledge and best-practice learning with colleagues and other care homes, essential to continuous improvement.

BIRDS-EYE VIEW FOR MANAGERS The best emerging technology is highly tailorable to each care home’s unique requirements. This means that care organisations can run a centralised system with the flexibility to accommodate the audits and reports applicable to each site. With information all in one place, managers gain real-time visibility of quality standards across their care home or even their entire portfolio of homes. Critical quality data provides evidence to make quicker, more informed decisions, focus on key areas for improvement or support the homes that need it most. All without investing in expensive hardware or additional headcount.

PATIENTS ARE ASSURED OF QUALITY CARE Faced with the current momentous challenges, care homes can save considerable time by streamlining audit and inspection processes. Mobile apps provide a seamless way to evidence that our most vulnerable members of society are receiving the best possible care and attention by professionals who are motivated, dedicated and proud to serve. Going digital will enhance staff engagement and team collaboration while delivering the highest levels of care to residents as well as supporting a care home’s greatest asset – its people.

Groundbreaking Lion Hen Welfare Training Now Compulsory A groundbreaking new Lion Training Passport scheme has been introduced by The British Egg Industry Council as a compulsory requirement for all members, revolutionising training practices and ensuring the highest standards of hen welfare industry wide. Created to ensure stockspeople are all trained to the same consistent high standard across all UK egg production farms, pullet rearing farms and pullet hatcheries, the programme covers topics including bird welfare, biosecurity, food hygiene and health & safety. The Lion Training Passport then follows individuals throughout their career in the industry, regardless of the organisation they are working for. Established by an industry-led working group comprising the British Egg Industry Council, Poultec Training and Lantram, the training scheme costs just £20

plus VAT per person per year, and further details are available on www.liontrainingpassport.co.uk. BEIC chairman Andrew Joret said: “With this new scheme we are revolutionising the way we are able to deliver hen welfare training in the egg laying sector by ensuring stockspeople all receive high quality training and are measured against a consistent standard of best practice. Good stockspeople are vital to good hen welfare so the introduction of a compulsory passport that can be tracked throughout an individual’s career is a significant achievement and fantastic news for the industry and its customers. “We’re always exploring new ways to develop the Lion Code to ensure the highest standards. Introducing the Lion passport as a compulsory scheme is a sign of our ongoing commitment to deliver and build on those standards.”

Hertfordshire Care Home Launches Gentlemen’s Lunch Club to Promote Companionship Amongst Male Residents A Hertfordshire care home has launched a Gentlemen’s Lunch Club to provide a space for its male residents to come together and form new friendships – while enjoying a tipple or two. Attended by six residents and a staff member at Foxholes Care Home, near Hitchin, the inaugural lunch event was hailed a great success, with one resident welling up after enjoying an afternoon of camaraderie with like-minded fellow residents. Foxholes, a thriving and active care environment that promotes inclusivity, which is evident in its range of clubs and events for all residents, is always on the lookout to trial new initiatives that enhance resident wellbeing. Following keen interest from a number of male residents to have a space where they could come together in the home, which has a 70/30 female to male ratio, the newly formed club was launched to provide them with a platform where they could discuss anything from their mental health to hobbies and interests, as well as shared experiences with other men over a two-hour lunch. The residential home’s head chef, Manuel Tovar Angulo, provided the club members with bespoke dishes of Cajun chicken and vegetable curry to alongside a selection of beers and single malt whiskies. One of the key themes of the new weekly event, which took place in Foxholes’ orangery overlooking sprawling countryside, was discovering talents amongst the members, which revealed a former poet who agreed to write a poem to share at a future event. While another club member, a former musician, said he would bring in his guitar to play at future lunches. Neil Gandecha, Estate Manager at Foxholes, who also attended the

club’s launch event, said: “We’re always open to new ideas on ways we can improve our residents’ quality of life and with several men reporting that they’d like to have a little space to gather and share their thoughts and experiences, we decided to trial the lunch club. It was a way of providing somewhere where they could form new friendships and share like-minded interests, whether it’s sport, cooking or favourite destinations, and I think it’s really benefitted them from a mental health stance.” He continued: “One resident was tearing up after our first event. He

would often sit in his room and watch sport on TV but after finding out that others shared his sporting interests, they all plan to watch future events together in the lounge, and that’s what the club is all about; promoting companionship and fostering new friendships. Whilst all residents interact, in an environment that’s predominantly female, we realised there were some differences in interests and preferred activities, and the lunch club is just a way of trying to strike the right balance. We’re really pleased it's gone down so well with residents.” 89-year-old resident Roy Purton, said: “I thought the lunch was fantastic and it was a pleasure to meet with other like-minded men to discuss a variety of topics and talents. While fellow resident 96-year-old Bryan Orchard, added: “The food was excellent, and the company was even better. I can’t wait for the next one!” After the success of the first event, the club is expected to grow in attendance week on week, with future events set to incorporate the local Hitchin community. Neil said: “We’ve already reached out to the local Hitchin Priory Probus Club and plan to get in contact with the Rotary Club of Hitchin Priory to explore opportunities to collaborate in the near future. We also plan to expand to include the family members of residents who wish to join the fun. “When the pandemic subsides, we’d love to take the club on the road and have days out on walks or at the golf range. In fact, we already have future plans to launch other clubs such as birdwatching, indoor bowls, and healthy juicing. If the demand is there, we’ll aspire to fulfil it – the possibilities are endless!”


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 25

Covid-Related Care Home Resident Deaths Continue to Fall The number of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes continues to decline sharply according to the latest

Deaths involving COVID-19 in hospitals as a proportion of all deaths in hospitals fell to 22.5% in Week 10

figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

(28.2% in Week 9). Deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes accounted for 12.5% of deaths, a decrease from

According to its latest weekly update covering the week ending 12 March, the ONS said Covid -related

Week 9 (17.4%).

deaths in care homes were down by more than a third to 249, the sixth weekly decrease from the peak of

As well as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) provides num-

almost 2,000 deaths at the height of the second wave in January.

bers of deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes in England that are based on the date the death was noti-

The latest figure is the lowest since the week ending 5 November (week 44, 2020).

fied to the CQC. From 10 April 2020 (the first day when data were collected using the CQC's new method of

Between Weeks 9 (week ending March 5) and 10 (week ending March 12), the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased in hospitals (391 fewer), care homes (134 fewer), private homes (62 fewer), hospices (17

identifying deaths involving COVID-19) to 19 March 2021, there were 28,810 deaths of residents in care homes

fewer) and other communal establishments (1 fewer).

involving COVID-19. Of these deaths, 97 were notified in the week up to 19 March 2021.

Care England to be Part of Leading Brand-New Centre to Implement Evidence in Adult Social Care Care England will be partnering with the University of Birmingham, as part of a broader consortium of key stakeholders from across the four nations of the UK, to develop a brand new Centre for adult social care, which will aim to put evidence into practice to promote and maintain people’s independence and wellbeing. The new Centre called IMPACT (Improving Adult Care Together) has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Health Foundation, and will be the first Centre of its kind in the UK. The Centre will: • Lead the way in helping people working in adult social care, carers, and the people they support make better use of high-quality, practice-based evidence to support innovation in adult social care • Build capacity and skills in the adult social care workforce • Help develop sustainable and productive relationships between all of those working across adult social care • Improve our understanding of what helps or hinders when putting evidence into practice The Centre will receive funding of £15 million over the next six years,

with equal contributions from ESRC and the Health Foundation. Care England will be part of the IMPACT consortium, working with a wide range of academic, policy and practice partners and with people with lived experience of using social care services to help develop and lead a programme of innovation and improvement. Jon Glasby, Professor of Health and Social Care at the University of Birmingham who has been appointed as IMPACT’s director and will be working with a range of partners from across the UK to lead the codevelopment, establishment and delivery of the centre said: “Adult social care touches people’s lives in such important and intimate ways, and it’s crucial that it’s based on the best possible evidence of what works. “Good care isn’t just about services, it’s about having a life – and the ESRC and the Health Foundation are providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real difference.”. ESRC Executive Chair, Professor Alison Park, said: “The complex nature of the social care system means that frontline practice does not always benefit sufficiently from the evidence we already have about what works.

“The increased implementation of evidence-based innovations and improvements in adult social care are crucial to ensuring better outcomes for the many people who use these services, and their carers and families. Finding a way to make this happen is challenging – but the prize, in terms of improvements to adult social care, makes it essential.” Will Warburton, Director of Improvement, the Health Foundation, said: “The fragmented nature of the adult social care sector poses real challenges for ensuring the consistent provision of evidence-based, high quality care and support. “The IMPACT Centre will work alongside people with experience of care, carers, commissioners and providers to develop practical support that will increase the use of high-quality research evidence in the adult social care sector across the UK.” Recognising the combined value of good practice and robust evidence from different sources, the Centre will bring together people with lived experience of social care, those providing unpaid care, people working in adult social care, experts in the mobilisation and implementation of evidence, social care providers, commissioners and policy experts, and academic teams from across the UK. Together with stakeholders in adult social care and beyond, the IMPACT team will agree priorities and design, establish, deliver and evaluate the Centre’s work programme, aiming to lead to sustainable change in the use of evidence in adult social care.

Why choose SANOZONE? ■ SanOzone generates Ozone and completes a deep and accurate sanitation cycle ■ Ozone sanitisation is cheaper and faster than alternatives like fogging ■ Swiftly cleans and sanitises rooms of all sizes, removing harmful microorganisms ■ Reaches every corner of location, acting more rapidly than other disinfecting agents ■ Machine generates ozone from the air, which decomposes to oxygen after use

SANOZONE CLEANS INDOOR SPACES OF ALL SIZES FOR COVID SAFETY Ozone sanitising is the most effective way to deep clean residential environments of all sizes and it is easier, quicker, and more cost-effective than manual cleaning or fogging. 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. The complete sanitisation of an average sized room will take approximately two hours. This includes the production of ozone, maintaining the required concentration for total cleaning and then returning the room to its usual habitation state. SanOZone is one of the most versatile and efficient sanitisation systems available to healthcare, commercial property owners and facilities management companies. It offers many benefits over manual cleaning and we believe that it is three times quicker and more efficient than alternatives like fogging.

THE MAIN BENEFITS OF SANOZONE ARE: • 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 • Automatic cleaning cycle; easy to move from room to room SanOZone units are fully mobile, easy to programme for hourly or daily cleaning 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 ongoing costs.

SanOZone Easybox systems are available from Barbel now, with prices starting from £1,750 ex VAT for the Easybox 5

For more information, contact Barbel on 01629 705110, email info@barbel.net or visit the website at www.barbel.net


PAGE 26 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Re-engineering HVAC Units for a Post-coronavirus World By Mark Kaufmann, senior copywriter at ADK Kooling (https://adk.co.uk/) As you likely know, a disproportionate number of global Covid-19 deaths occurred in care homes. And given the virus’s semi-airborne ability to drift through enclosed spaces on respiratory droplets, it’s no wonder that a growing amount of experts are calling for a review of ventilation practices in order to better protect people living and working indoors. This is especially important as we approach the ‘new normal’ life; one back to the regularity of frequent visitors — most of whom will need protecting before visiting to keep themselves and the most vulnerable safe. Because ventilation plays a role in how the virus can spread, the European Federation of Heating and Ventilation Engineers (REHVA) has set out some guidelines to help specialists and employers, so that they can optimise their HVAC units to limit the spread of the virus.

HEPA filters work by sucking viruses, fungi, dust and other pathogens through millions of particle-grabbing layers. This combined with a frequent flux of fresh air often means that an indoor environment can experience a near-total change of air up to 30 times an hour. HEPA filters are not currently a common feature in care homes or indeed in any environment beyond ultra-specialised situations such as planes and hospitals. But that’s not to say their implementation isn’t being discussed. At present, the biggest challenge is working out a way to implement them into traditional HVAC units in such a way that their many filters won’t “drag” on and reduce the efficiency of the airflow — a consequence that would actually be self-defeating. So watch this space.

AIR-CON FOR SAFER INDOORS

BLOWING VIRUSES AWAY A lot of people tend to think that if air conditioning units can help with the spread of viruses, then they should be turned off. But the opposite is true. They should be turned up. Way up. And that is the advice of REHVA. The ‘internal air’ of indoor areas should be diluted as much as possible to blow viral particles away before they can settle on any surface. What’s key is that air conditioning units be optimised to increase the rate at which air is pulled in from outside and supplied quickly and readily throughout the interior space, to get a good air exchange and frequent recycling of air. In short: if your air-conditioning system is normally on recirculation mode, then it should be configured to run on full outside air — if that’s possible. Of course, many experts argue that simply opening the windows will

also do the trick. But in care homes, we have to consider that this is not really possible during the colder months or in areas of high air pollution, and could do as much harm as good. And in some buildings, depending on the window type, it just isn’t practical. But even if you have the optimal environment to keep the windows open, air-conditioning units should still offer a better and cleaner alternative.

HVACS WITH HIGH-EFFICIENCY PARTICULATE AIR FILTERS The most efficient air-conditioning units have high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These filters operate on planes and in surgical theatres.

In the meantime, does coronavirus even spread via air-conditioning units? Actually, there is no confirmed evidence at present. But scientists have every reason to suspect it does. For example, in February of last year, when the Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined, many scientists suspected the ship’s air-conditioning to be behind the rapid spread of the virus on board. There are other outbreaks over the last year where scientists have pointed the air-conditioning as a likely assistant in the spreading of coronavirus. What is important, then, is that care needs to be taken going forwards, in how we optimise and adjust our HVAC units. For safety and efficiency, it is the duty of care home owners and engineers to carefully calculate the rate at which viruses have the potential to replicate, and to counter this with a more than appropriate rate of incoming, freshly circulated air. In short, adjust settings, and turn it up.

Care Home Industry Facing Customer Exodus Due To Infection Fears As care homes continue to contend with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, new research reveals that care homes across the country are facing millions more in lost revenues due to customer fears around infection risk. According to the nationally-representative survey into 2,000 members of the public, more than one in three Brits (34.5%) are less likely to trust care homes with their loved ones’ care due to fears around infection. The findings also revealed that the overwhelming majority of the public (80.5%) would be reassured by visible proof that a care home takes cleanliness and infection control seriously. Significantly, 10.7% would be less likely to use a care home that did not have this proof, and 6% would no longer use a care home that could not prove that they adhered to the highest standards of hygiene and infection control. The research was carried out by infection control specialist JLA, a trusted partner to thousands of care homes across the UK, as part of its “Infection Insights” campaign to improve industry standards, customer reassurance and peace of mind across the care sector. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was revealed that the events of 2020 have prompted a nationwide change in attitudes towards hygiene and infection control, with 77% of the public holding greater concerns in this area than a year previously – attributing this change directly to COVID-19. Concerningly, over a fifth (20.4%) of the public also currently hold a poor opinion of hygiene and infection control in care homes, and do not believe standards are currently at the levels required. Just under a third

(30.1%) of Brits feel confident that care homes are clean and sanitised, and a further 10.7% reported that they believed standards are “excellent”. According to the research, 87.6% of Brits now deem it important that a business has a good reputation for hygiene and infection control, and 58.1% of these proclaim a positive standing for hygiene “extremely important”. This indicates that hygiene ratings – traditionally a significant indicator of quality for many care home customers – have also become more important than ever before in the eyes of the public. Ben Gujral, CEO at JLA, commented: “The events of the past year have laid bare the need for care homes to do everything they can to reassure anxious residents over the coming weeks, with major growth opportunities in store for those that do invest what is needed now. “Expectations of the businesses customers will trust their money – and their loved ones’ health – with are virtually unrecognisable from even a year ago and, at a time where care homes need the continued loyalty of their customers more than ever before, it is crucial that they action all possible infection control measures to put the public’s minds at ease. “Care homes that take the time to do this now will reap the benefits over the coming months, providing reassurance to those who need it, and ensuring the loyalty of customers both old and new for years to come.” For more information about JLA, the research findings and for products which can help with infection control, please visit: https://jla.com/knowledge/icir-2021-care

ASAP Innovations Ensures Medi-Inn’s PPE Supply to UK Healthcare Sector is Maintained Throughout Pandemic Certified PPE manufacturer and leading supplier of medical and hygiene consumables join forces to ensure the UK healthcare sector continues to have access to certified PPE Following an unreliable and sporadic PPE supply during the beginning of the pandemic, supplier of medical and hygiene consumables, Medi-Inn partnered with ASAP Innovations, a leading manufacturer of medical PPE for the healthcare industries, to ensure dependable and trustworthy supply of critical equipment. Throughout 2020, Medi-Inn – which manufactures and distributes medical and hygiene products to the UK healthcare sector – saw its supplies of medical gloves became sporadic and unreliable due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many central governments were buying PPE directly from manufacturers and as a result, manufacturing companies were bypassing distribution companies, even suppliers they had worked with for years. At the same time, demand continued to increase throughout the summer of last year and Medi-Inn was in need of a reliable and certified PPE provider that could ensure it was able to keep serving its customers at this difficult time. Wayne Dobson, Managing Director, Medi-Inn explains, “In 2020 we were approached by ASAP Innovations as it was seeking a glove distributor in the medical field. While the brand was fairly new to us, we were familiar with its impressive presence in Asia and everything we had heard about the manufacturer was very positive. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as a partnership with ASAP Innovations meant

we were able to continue supplying certified and high-quality PPE to our loyal and longstanding customer base, at a time when they needed our supplies the most. “ASAP Innovations’ packaging stands out from other products on the market and it also incorporates a grading system so that the different glove types are easily identifiable, which – as far as we are aware – is fairly unique. In fact, this design feature of the products is something we leverage in our marketing activities as the colour coding certainly increases brand awareness. We have been particularly impressed with ASAP Innovations’ development initiatives and are looking forward to supplying its soon-to-be launched vitrile gloves and children’s face masks. “Despite the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in, the support levels we have received from ASAP Innovations has been second to none which has made our partnership run that extra bit smoother.

PPE is the sort of product where customers would complain if they had problems with the quality of the products and seeing as we have had no complaints about ASAP Innovations products, we have the reassurance that our customers are more than satisfied with its products. “When ASAP agreed to fulfil our requirement for the rest of 2020 and up until October 2021 we were delighted, and I believe this is just the beginning of a long-term relationship where Medi-Inn can help establish the brand in the medical and hygiene sector in the UK. We are excited for what’s to come from our partnership with ASAP Innovations and we look forward to expanding business with the manufacturer in the months ahead,” Wayne concludes. Sean Keller, Managing Director, ASAP Innovations adds: “We are delighted to have entered a partnership with a highly regarded supplier of medical and hygiene consumables to the UK healthcare sector. It goes without saying that healthcare workers have gone above and beyond to serve the public throughout what has been a very challenging year and we are very glad we have been able to continue supplying PPE to the people that need it the most, through our trusted partner, Medi-Inn. This is just the beginning of our partnership and we are thrilled to be able to continue providing certified PPE to the UK’s healthcare sector.” For further information, visit Medi-Inn at www.medi-inn.co.uk and ASAP Innovations at www.whyasapco.uk


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | 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

Regular Cleaning Plays a Vital Role In Limiting the Transmission of Covid-19 In 2020, TCFM completed over 500 nationwide Covid-19 decontamination and electrostatic sprays, in 4-hour response times National Coverage Over the last six months we have completed specialist Covid-19 cleans across a dynamic, nationwide portfolio of sites for clients in a variety of industries, ranging from retail, distribution to corporate. All calls for our Covid-19 cleaning solution have been attended to within 24 hours. Our electrostatic sprays kill Coronavirus on contact and offer up to 4 weeks protection from pathogens, providing you with: • A safe working environment • Employees which feel valued

• Credibility with your clients • Peace of mind TCFM is proactively working with a diverse portfolio of national customers to keep their sites safe including: Tesco, Yodel, Makro, RS Components, Travis Perkins, Wincanton and many others across a 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. See the advert below for further details.

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 wT TCFM CFM C Can an Suppor Supportt You You Thr Through ough Th The 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 ew wor orking environment ffor or 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 46

HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Angloplas Dispensers Help Reduce the Risk of Cross Infection Angloplas are a UK manufacturer who specialise in producing dispensers for the health and hygiene industry. Although these are designed to keep the workplace tidy and uncluttered they are, more importantly, built knowing the control of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) are a priority for healthcare providers, and who are employing a combination of infection prevention and control strategies, including hand hygiene, cleaning, training and the adoption of new technologies, to tackle the problem. As a result, a wide range of infection control products and technologies are emerging on the market, including antimicrobial technology. Angloplas’ range of dispensers are produced in the world’s first proven Antimicrobial PVC with silver ion technology and which is

exclusive to Angloplas. This helps reduce the risk of cross infection by stopping the growth of bacteria and mould and works continuously for the lifetime of the product, reducing levels of bacteria such as MRSA, E Coli, Legionella, Salmonella and mould by up to 99.99%. For non-clinical environments Angloplas has recently launched its new Budget Range of products which are made to the same exacting standards as the antimicrobial protected ones but with lower price tags. You can order Angloplas products directly from its website by going to www.angloplas.co.uk and clicking Hospital, Health and Hygiene or by using the Quick Response code.

Safe Infection Control Solution Gives Day Centre Residents Increased Reassurance Award-winning First City Nursing, provider of nursing care that is rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, was swift to develop a robust Covid-prevention protocol prior to re-opening its day-centres following the first lockdown of the current pandemic. Central to this protocol is MicroSafe® disinfectant, a new arrival in the UK, making First City Nursing one of the pioneers to adopt this 100% toxin-free, highly effective disinfectant and one that sets the gold standard in safe sanitisation. Covid-19 has forced us to look at infection control in a new way; none more so than in the care home and day-centre setting. There is mounting concern that many commonly used disinfectants may not be up to the job of dealing with a pandemic; contact time may be too long, efficacy questionable with often a moderate pathogen control and many include chemicals that could be harmful to health and the environment, especially when used with the frequency required to prevent spread of the virus. The vaccination programme has brought down levels of the virus substantially and in turn a reduction in cases; but with the opening of care homes to one visitor per resident from the 8th March, there is still a risk that residents could be exposed to a new variant which may be resistant to vaccines. Following the first lockdown, First City Nursing needed a disinfectant

that was effective, safe and easy to use around elderly and vulnerable residents in their care, particularly in day-centres where they gather for meals and socialising. It also needed to be kind to the environment and able to be stored safely. The day-centre environment, with a number of residents coming and going, could be a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria as well as contributing to the spread of Covid-19, therefore infection management is a top priority for First City Nursing. “The day-centres are essential to the residents’ mental as well as physical well-being and it is important that they feel safe, especially within the current climate. We are careful to disinfect everything that is touched by staff and residents right down to their bingo chips, cutlery and handrails so we have a handy spray for intermittent treatment between fumigation sessions before and after new groups enter the centres. It is super easy and time saving; we simply spray and leave it to dry naturally within about a minute. We will be relying on MicroSafe to help us reopen the day centres as soon as possible post lockdown” says Kerry Harris, Community Living Manager. MicroSafe is 99.9999% (Log 6) effective in killing viruses, bacteria and other pathogens within a contact time of 30 seconds, and has a proven track record of combatting epidemics around the world (MERS, SARS,

Ebola) as well SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in Australia and the Middle East. Purazine introduced MicroSafe to the UK in 2020 in direct response to the pandemic. The result of 20 years’ research, the patented and internationally approved Microcyn® technology that makes MicroSafe so unique, uses an electrochemical process to produce Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) similar to the natural HOCl produced by the human immune system to fight pathogens. This process results in a pH balanced disinfectant, that is free of harmful chemicals. MicroSafe can be ‘fogged’ as a fine mist to ensure that no surface is left un-sanitised. Historically, HOCl disinfectants’ shelf life was very limited but uniquely, MicroSafe remains shelf-stable for two years, needing no special storage, handling or disposal and is kind to the environment. Dr Hugh Martin, recent former Head of Agricultural Science at RAU and consultant with HOCl Trust said: “With this level of efficacy, contact time, shelf life and being non-corrosive, MicroSafe sets the gold standard in disinfectants making it ideal for use in clinical and care home settings as well as for general disinfection application.” Dr David Cox of Purazine who distributes MicroSafe in the UK says; “It is clear, with new variants still being discovered, that we are going to have to learn to co-exist with Covid-19 and other viruses in the future but it is vital that our solution to the virus does not cause additional problems. Increasingly, care homes are using MicroSafe as they have embraced the importance of putting measures in place to prevent Covid-19 that are free of harmful chemicals, efficient and easy to use, and most importantly limit the interruption in the vital care they provide for their residents.”

To book your Covid prevention protocol consultation please email staysafe@purazine.co.uk or telephone 03300 880660 or visit www.purazine.co.uk


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 29

HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL React-Air Pathogen Neutralisers

React-Air pathogen neutralisers have helped to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff in Britain’s care homes since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain. Designed for use in virtually any indoor environment, the React-Air range utilises the power of UVC, HEPA 13 and activated carbon filtration to clean air and surfaces, killing viruses such as Covid-19, norovirus, flu and the common cold. Manufactured in the UK it is the only system of its kind and has already been successfully utilised in the fight against coronavirus in many care homes across the country. There are 4 products in the React-Air range including

the React-Air X - a portable air sanitiser designed for use in hospital and care environments. Using a unique UV-C light array, powerful fans drive the airflow through the decontamination chamber, neutralising bacteria, viruses, pollen and odours, delivering clean and sterile air to a room. It can be used whilst people remain in the room and generates no harmful gasses, and at a fraction of the price of leading portable ozone generators. When used in conjunction with normal cleaning techniques, it is highly effective in the fight against bacteria and viruses. Deborah Blick of Parmenter Care said, “We realised it was a way of keeping our rrsidents, staff and visitors safe, primarily during the pandemic but going forward when this does pass. It won't just be Covid it can deal with, but other pathogens - flu, norovirus and many others.” For further information, see the advert on this page or contact the Reaction Group Limited: www.reaction-grp.com or Tel: 0203 885 2299

Haigh Engineering Resident and patient waste is a day to day practical matter that simply cannot become a problem for frontline carers and nursing staff. With the raised awareness of cross infection risks, the proven reliable waste disposal systems from Haigh are recognised more than ever as being a key part of the toolkit for ensuring that human waste is effectively and efficiently removed as a source of risk, day in day out, without the risks and complications of either washing pots or manual bagging waste for collection. The team from Haigh have been working hard to support this beyond just the manufacture of the

Incomaster and Quattro waste disposers here in the UK, but also developing innovative and safe methods to enhance the servicing provisions that are available to customers. The recently launched allinclusive rental proposition has proven particularly effective and popular with new and existing customers alike, not least as it reduces the operational, maintenance and financing headaches from sites which have more critical matters to address. For more information about incontinence and bedpan waste disposal please feel free to contact the Haigh team on 01989 763131 or info@haigh.co.uk


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CATERING FOR CARE

Convalescent Diets

By Jane Clarke, Dietician and Founder of Nourish Drinks (www.nourishbyjaneclarke.com)

EATING FOR RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY

As carers, it can seem an uphill challenge to provide the people most in need with the nourishment their body craves. It seems so cruel that when someone is at their weakest and most vulnerable – when recovering from illness, such as Covid-19, recuperating from a fall, or living with a critical health condition like cancer or dementia – getting the nutrients necessary for convalescence is such a challenge. You may find that, rather than sipping the vitamin-rich broth or soup you have provided, the individual you are looking after simply wants to eat a biscuit or piece of cake. It seems counterintuitive, but this is the body’s natural response to perceived threat. When the body is in crisis, or has digestive or other challenges, we instinctively crave the nourishment that is easiest to absorb - and top of the list is sugar. We know how delicious it is but also, because some of it is instantly absorbed through the roof of the mouth, we get an endorphin response soon after eating, which gives us an instant boost. Doctors worry about losing too much weight when we are ill. These shifts are not always down to the disease itself – sometimes medication and the anxiety around your illness can cause you to lose some of your appetite. The problem is that losing weight while we are undergoing treatment can alter our blood work and disrupt our body’s reaction to the drugs and therapies. My advice is not to be scared of giving a little sugar to someone who is convalescing. When a person is struggling to eat, some of the usual rules around healthy eating can be relaxed, or simply don’t apply. In fact,you can harness that energy-endorphin response to sugar to help tempt the appetite and help give the person you are caring for the energy, strength and willpower to move forward and get better.

When we are fighting a virus or infection, coping with cancer treatments or the high metabolic requirements created by tumour cells, or recovering from surgery, our body requires many more calories than usual. Without them, not only do we not have the physical strength to recover, but we run the very real risk of becoming undernourished and increasingly vulnerable to infection. Low-fat, high-fibre and sugar-free foods simply won’t give our body the fuel it needs to help build strength and endurance. Healthy fats give us energy and help the absorption of certain vitamins; too much fibre fills us up and, when the appetite is already poor, prevents us getting essential nourishment; and sugar provides a source of easily absorbed energy. This is why energy dense foods, where only a small quantity will supply a huge amount of much-needed calories and nutrition, come into their own. Fortunately, there are lots of delicious, easy ways to tweak he simple foods to super-charge the nourishment they provide. Don’t be afraid to use fats. They not only provide a great source of calories, but can also make a dish taste far better, which can be just what’s needed when you’re struggling with a jaded appetite. Add the classic butter, cream (single or double), thick, Greek-style, full-fat yoghurt, olive or avocado oil (one of my favourites), or some finely grated hard cheese such as Parmesan to puréed and mashed vegetables. Coconut cream or oil, or a nut butter, are also delicious if you want to use a non-dairy fat. Serve a thick creamy custard, cream or ice cream with easy to eat stewed fruits, and add a soft, melt-in-your-mouth buttery biscuit on the side. Make porridge with all milk (instead of water) and stir in some cream when serving. Top with brown sugar or a drizzle of honey. A small bowl of this classic is a great calorie-intense hit of a morning. Add a good layer of butter or nut butter to toast or crumpets. Not only will make it them taste delicious but they will also be easier to swallow and more enjoyable to eat, and the fat will help to boost the calories. Enrich favourite meals. Add a swirl of cream or yoghurt to a mug of soup, add some grated cheese to mashed potato, add avocado to a salad, or sip a smoothie or milkshake. Take the pressure off eating. Large portions can overwhelm someone who is struggling to eat. Try to ease back on portion size, serve foods in small portions, say in ramekins, so that you are more likely to think, ‘I can eat that’. You can always serve them seconds.

HEALTHY EATING FOR THE OLDER GENERATION

one you are caring for is generally well and has a good appetite, you should encourage them to eat five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day, have a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and the healthy omega 3 fats found in foods like nuts, oily fish and avocado, and opt for fresh, unprocessed ingredients over pre-prepared meals that can be high in sugar, salt and saturated fats. But there are a few key factors that can maintain or even improve wellbeing in our later years, and are vital if we face a health challenge and want to recover well.

TOP UP VITAMIN D Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because we synthesise it in our body when sunlight comes into contact with our skin. Not only does the ability to produce vitamin D this way decrease with age, but people in their later years may spend less time outdoors, exacerbating the problem – especially during the current lockdown and social isolation rules. It can lead to a deficiency in this vital nutrient, which is needed to maintain healthy bones and also has an important role in preventing respiratory infections and improving immune response – important factors in your later years, when you may be at greater risk of chest infections, and which could be crucial if you are infected with Covid-19. Older people are also recommended to take a supplement containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D daily.

GET YOUR VITAMINS Some older people in the UK, especially those living in care homes, have been found to have low intakes of micronutrients – so although they get all the calories they need from their food, it doesn’t necessarily give them the vitamins and minerals they need to stay fit and well. I’m a big believer in ordinary, affordable foods that just happen to be nutritional champions – apples, carrots, beetroot, cabbage and tomatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals and will bring valuable goodness to your diet.

KEEP A FOOD DIARY Weight gain and weight loss can become a problem in the later years. It can be easy to think someone has eaten less than they have, or to miss a meal without noticing. Keeping a food diary for a resident can help you track how often they’re really eating (don’t forget to make a note of snacks). Keep the diary for at least two weeks, then with the information to hand, you can tweak their eating so they feel stronger, fitter and more resilient.

ENJOY MEALTIMES Try to make mealtimes ‘occasions’ to look forward to. Spending time at the table together, chatting with fellow residents and carers, can be the highlight of someone’s day - and we tend to eat better when we feel happy and relaxed.

The general principles of healthy eating apply at any age, so if some-

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.


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CATERING FOR CARE Chefs’ Favourite Irish Food is Colcannon Finds Lakeland Dairies’ Survey for St Patrick’s Day Lakeland Dairies, a dairy farming co-operative steeped in Irish heritage has partnered with the UK’s leading Chef organisation The Craft Guild of Chefs, to survey their members during their annual Celebrate Green campaign. Celebrate Green incorporates St Patrick’s Day (17th March 2021) and runs for the whole month of March. Its focus is to celebrate the lush green grass of the Co-operative’s 3200 family farms, where Lakeland Dairies’ milk is made from contented cows grazing freely on lush, green pastures of its family farms, located on the beautiful Isle of Ireland. The survey found chefs’ favourite Irish food is Colcannon (25%). A delicious and popular side dish created with a comforting creamy mixture of buttery mash and greens. Colcannon was closely followed by Irish Coffee Cheesecake (20%) and Dublin Bay Prawns (17%). 40% of Chefs surveyed said they will be making a special dinner to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17th March 2021, with an additional 35% saying they normally make a special dinner to celebrate the day but won’t be doing so this year due to Covid. 56% of chefs said it is important (40%), or extremely important (16%) to buy dairy products that come from Northern Ireland (UK), or Ireland. And 97% of chefs said it is important (35%) or extremely important (62%) to them that their dairy products come from farms where cows can graze freely on green grass. Paul Chmielewski, Head of Marketing and International at Lakeland Dairies comments:

“Celebrate Green during the month of March is a fantastic opportunity to embrace our Irish heritage and dairy farming excellence. St Patricks Day is such a popular event throughout the globe, when many households will be creating some of their favourite Irish dishes and food. We were delighted to see Colcannon come out on top!” Lakeland Dairies creates professional dairy products for chefs including a range of creams which have been carefully crafted and treated to have great taste, and to provide a longer life for added convenience in busy kitchens. The survey found chefs top three valuable properties in cream were taste (86%), quality (83%), and performance (64%). With 91% of chefs agreeing that long life creams have excellent properties for professional cooking, with 16% of those ‘strongly agreeing’. The survey also found 70% of chefs use long life cream at work, with 24% of those chefs using them often.

THE CHEFS’ TOP TEN FAVOURITE IRISH FOODS Colcannon Irish Coffee Cheesecake Dublin Bay Prawns Irish Sone and Jam Boxty Pancakes Dublin Coddle and Chump Chocolate & Stout Cake Seafood Chowder Irish Stew Irish Porter Cheese

LAKELAND DAIRIES’ COLCANNON RECIPE Makes 12 portions

Ingredients 100ml Millac Gold Double 1kg Mashed Potato 150g Diced Leeks 200g Shredded Cabbage 100g Lakeland Dairies Butter Sea Salt Milled Black Pepper

Method Melt the butter in a pan and cook with the leeks without colour Add the cabbage and wilt Pour in the cream and then add the potato Add seasoning and serve

www.lakelanddairies.com

Care Home Catering Teams – Do You Need To Be Preparing For Natasha’s Law?

October 2021 will see new legislation, ‘Natasha’s Law’ come into effect, requiring all catering teams to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) on the premises. Tess Warnes BSc RD, from allmanhall (www. allmanhall.co.uk) the independently owned food procurement experts, explains how the new legislation will affect the labelling of foods, and gives advice to catering providers on how to prepare for these changes. Until now only foods which are packaged and are sold off-site (such as in a supermarket) have to label the ingredients. ‘Natasha’s Law’ is the first new legislation around allergen management passed in the House of commons since the introduction of the EU Food Information for

Consumers Regulation in 2014. ‘Natasha’s Law’ followed the tragic death of the teenager, Natasha Ednan-Laperou, who suffered a fatal anaphylaxis reaction as a result of eating a sandwich containing sesame seeds bought from Pret a Manger. Her parents subsequently fought for a change in the law to tighten up allergen management. With as many as 20% of the population experiencing an adverse reaction to one of the 14 allergens, the new law will require foodservice providers and catering teams to provide full ingredient labelling on foods that are prepared and packed on the same premises from which they are sold or offered, so protecting those with food allergies and giving consumers greater confidence in the food they eat. According to Tess, “With the law coming into force from October 2021, now is the time to plan and get ready to ensure the necessary training, processes, technology and support are in place. Firstly, it is important to understand which businesses and types of food will be affected, and whether - or how - the new legislation will affect you.” Now is the time to understand the intricacies surrounding PPDS and the solutions available to you, should you need them.

WHAT DOES FULL LABELLING INVOLVE? According to the new rules, PPDS food will have to have the following information clearly displayed on the packaging or a label attached: • The name of the food • An ingredients list including allergenic ingredients. The allergenic ingredients within the food must be emphasised every time they appear in the ingredients list (in the same way as labels on pre-packed foods). For example, the allergens in the food can be listed in bold, in capital letters, in contrasting colours or underlined.

Made For You Softer Foods For Dysphagia Made For You Softer Foods is a softer foods range of frozen ready meals. We offer a wide range of dishes, that are beautifully shaped and made with quality ingredients to provide a nutritious and satisfying meal, suitable for people who experience chewing or swallowing difficulties known as dysphagia. The Made For You range includes 80 dishes to choose from including chicken, beef, lamb, fish and vegetarian recipes. We also offer a tasty selection of lighter bites, desserts, and breakfast

options as well as mini meals for those with smaller appetites. All our meals have been prepared in line with the IDDSI Framework. • Delicious softer foods frozen ready meals • 80 dishes to choose from • IDDSI compliant • Suitable for a Level 4 Puréed, Level 5 Minced & Moist, Level 6 Soft & Bite-Sized diet. • No contracts – secure online or telephone ordering process • Clear and easy to use cooking instructions on every sleeve To find out more about Made For You and our softer foods range at www.itsmadeforyou.co.uk

HOW CATERING TEAMS CAN PREPARE FOR NATASHA’S LAW: The new law will mean that all caterers need to consider how to label any foods packaged on site to ensure the information is accurate. Now would be a good time to start thinking about what products would fall into the PPDS category and start to consider if any changes to process or any training or tech support will be required, so that you can be ready in advance of 1 October 2021. Foodservice and catering operations will need to consider how labelling would be done in the most accurate but time effective way, and the implications of labelling specific allergens in situations where there is any risk of cross-contamination, such as in the ‘May Contain’ statements on labels. Current law requires businesses to manage cross-contamination risks effectively but recognises that where risk cannot be removed it is acceptable to communicate this to consumers. A compliance and allergen audit may also be a consideration, once catering operations re-open. “As a leading independent food procurement provider, allmanhall offers foodservice consultancy to all our clients“ explains Tess. “We are able to provide advice and resources to support a range of operational and regulatory compliance issues, including Natasha’s Law. As part of our fully managed procurement solution, we give access to platforms and tech integrations that will facilitate labelling requirements. As one of allmanhall’s (www. allmanhall.co.uk) Registered Dietitians, I provide clients with expert advice on allergen considerations, with any necessary training and the provision of guides and materials.”


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HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 33

CATERING FOR CARE

Facing the Challenges of Catering for Care Article by Sophie Murray on behalf of the National Association of Care Catering (www.thenacc.co.uk) be especially significant for a person who has dementia and who may, at a glance, appear to be able to pick up a knife and fork and feed themselves. However, on closer inspection, little food may be reaching their mouth and they could need handover-hand support and gentle ongoing prompting by a member of the care team eating a meal with them. There have been in the past some less dignified functional dining aids but there are now many more on the market that enable a person to remain independent with dignity. the outcomes that can be achieved. The dining rooms and dining room teams will influence Our regulator requirement is centred around providing for front-of-house delivery and the experience enjoyed (or not) the nutritional needs of all residents, whilst ensuring choice. by residents. My biggest tip is to eat with a resident to know Food allergies, choking risk, religious or culturally influenced their needs and create an efficient hospitality style delivery. diets, special diets or any other therapeutic diet also need to The teams, whether from care or catering, need to have idenbe catered for. But our specialised service does not stop at tified roles at mealtimes. For example, they could be waiters delivering great food in a great environment. It relies on personalised knowledge of the individual receiving care. This is a to designated tables or servers trained to serve attractive complex area and, in my view, it requires participation by care food with the right implements. Washing up should not take teams in the dining experience to support those that have dif- place during service in front of the customer, and ‘back-officulty in eating a full meal. Sometimes, time taken to eat can house’ activities must not compromise the resource needed for resident support. be an indicator of difficulties with food consumption. The dining environment should also be as encouraging as Quality care relies on the skills of team members to assess people’s needs and be aware of their changing needs. This can possible, resembling the comfort of somebody’s home. Catering is a skill. Caring is a skill. Care catering is a doubly skilled combination requiring expertise and application from both areas. It is also doubly rewarding when you see

Carefully chosen curtains, chairs and furniture that perfectly balance this comfort functionality is important. Music and lighting, again, can be homely. For some people, finger foods are appropriate whilst others require increased support to eat the foods they like. In summary, establishments need to know what ‘good’ looks like and create systems, policies, procedures and working practices that align to catering in care excellence. Sometimes, for team members who have not experienced this excellence, taking them to different environments, such as restaurants that capture the vision, can be very beneficial. Whilst this is not a practical option in the current situation, we can use online restaurant tours, and educating and involving team members in the taste testing of food too. Dignity never needs to be compromised when catering in care. The skill of careful assessment to attribute the correct care levels can be the difference between good and poor care. This should be included in any procedure around care. In the same way that a service may have a food charter, it may also have dining and care standards, focusing on the environment as one specific area and the personalised support as another.

®

Radnor to Launch First Vitamin D Spring Water Drink in Tetra Pak Packages Wales’ leading family owned branded soft drinks company is launching a new product to help customers to get their daily vitamin D dose. Radnor Vits, which will launch on March 1st, is the first vitamin D flavoured spring water in Tetra Pak® packages. Designed to be straw-free, you can drink it straight from the pack. Public Health England and NICE advise that 10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed every day for healthy bones and muscles. Everyone is advised to take a vitamin D supplement between October and March, when the sun is too low in the sky for our bodies to naturally make vitamin D from sunlight. Vits is a low-calorie sugar-free drink which is also suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans. It comes in two flavours: Lemon & Lime and Apple & Raspberry. Radnor is targeting listings in supermarkets and health stores as well as care homes and hospitals. Vits is also available to buy as a three-pack from Radnor’s own online shop and also from Amazon.

Radnor Vits’ benefits include: Vitamin D – Contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function, cell division, teeth and bones. Copper - Contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissues. Folic Acid - Helps make healthy red blood cells Selenium - Contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, nails, immune system, and thyroid function. Zinc – Contributes to metabolism, brain function and normal. William Watkins, Owner and Managing Director of Radnor, said: “When we heard that 20 per cent of the British population is deficient in vitamin D, and that this is a growing problem thanks to Lockdown and people staying indoors, we decided to create a new daily drink to help tackle the problem. “Radnor Vits is the first functional drink of its kind in Tetra Pak® packages and, as well as providing your daily dose of vitamin D, it also contains other vital vitamins and minerals to help support a balanced diet. “Our new drink, designed as your once-a-day vitamin and minerals boost, increases your daily intake of vitamin D and other recommended vitamins and minerals up to 200%.” Over the past 12 months, there have been reports about vitamin D potentially reducing the risk of coronavirus and the Government is keeping a close eye on the results of trials currently underway. Trade samples are available on request by emailing sales@radnorhills.co.uk Radnor’s online shop https://www.radnorhills.co.uk/shop/ Radnor’s Amazon shop https://www.amazon.co.uk/Radnor-Hills/s?k=Radnor+Hills

Planning Your Catering Budgets with allmanhall Alain Bremond-Torrent mused, “Sardines or not sardines, that is the question.” Or indeed, some salmon, but what should it all cost? In the face of unprecedented and extraordinary cost pressures, planning your budgets for the coming year is challenging. allmanhall (www.allmanhall.co.uk) can help. Covid-19 has brought enormous pressure, with operational compliance costs and additional PPE taking their toll. Then there is Brexit – although a trade agreement has been struck, food costs are rising. All exacerbated by escalating business rates. Food and catering related costs are a significant element of any care home or group’s budget. Scrutiny of key areas will enable planning and ensure good due diligence. You may not have benchmarked your suppliers’ pricing for months if not years. How do your suppliers compare? Recipes should be accurately costed and areas for greater efficiencies and savings identified.

These unprecedented times present an opportunity - now may be the time to challenge long established ‘norms’, rethinking and reviewing your budgets for the better. Contact independent food procurement specialists, allmanhall to arrange your free of charge benchmark via www.allmanhall.co.uk See the advert on the facing page for details.

DISCOVER THE NEW MATCHING TOOL THAT WILL SHOW YOU WHICH BOUILLON IS BEST FOR YOUR NEEDS When it comes to creating great dishes for residents living in care settings, a quality base is key. With a good bouillon or stock at the base, chefs can transform everyday favourites into rich, flavoursome dishes. Knorr® Professional is the UK’s number one brand for bouillons in foodservice*. They’re passionate about providing chefs in the care sector with the building blocks to creating dishes which make mealtimes memorable. They believe that, when it comes to choosing a bouillon, getting the right format for your needs is fundamental. Their range includes Powders, Jellies, Cubes and Pastes – which are also available in a Rich and Roast formats for an even stronger flavour. But how you use each of these formats will depend on a number of factors. If you’re not sure which bouillon is right for your menu, then why not try Knorr® Professional’s new online matching tool. By answering just a few simple questions, the tool will help you discover the right bouillon for you in less than a minute.

Visit ufs.com/knorrprofessional to find out more

*Aggregated UK wholesaler value sales 52 w/e 21st August 2020


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 37

LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS

Laundry is Critical as Covid-19 Survives on Healthcare Uniforms for Up To 3 Days As reported below, scientists at the De Montford University have been conducting an in-depth study of viruses with similar structures and survival patterns to Covid-19. The research was led by a team of microbiologist and virologist experts who monitored the stability of virus traces over 72 hours and evaluated different infection control methods. The results strongly reinforce the need for all healthcare workers’ uniforms to be washed on-site and using appropriate commercial or industrial washing machines. The University discovered that the virus can survive on polyester for 72 hours, on cotton for 24 hour and on poly-cotton for 6 hours. The scientists contaminated various textiles with virus traces and analysed different wash methods, using varying temperatures with both domestic and commercial/ industrial laundry machines. The results demonstrated that domestic machines did not fully remove the virus from contaminated textiles and that the water dilution and agitation was insufficient as a means of infection control. Their findings concluded that it necessitated detergent and a temperature of at least 67C for the virus to be efficiently killed. Encouragingly, the research showed that the virus did not transmit to other items within the wash load. However, traces can transfer from uniforms to other surfaces and consequently it is crucial that uniforms do not leave the healthcare environment

and are processed in laundry machines that will reach the requisite high temperatures to ensure that there is no onward transmission. Dr Laird, Microbiologist and Head of Infectious Disease Research Group, is quoted on the University’s website as saying, Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk of transmission of the virus. If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could be leaving traces of virus on other surfaces. Forbes Professional provides healthcare compliant commercial laundry equipment to the NHS, care homes and private hospitals across the UK. As proud partners of Miele, we offer premium laundry solutions that adhere to WRAS and CQC guidelines whilst enabling both sluice and thermal disinfection. Our commercial washers hold validated temperatures of 71°C for 3 minutes and 83°C for 15 minutes, killing viruses and bacteria in adherence with the most stringent hygiene requirements. With our Complete Care solution, all laundry equipment is supported by our multi award-winning service support, with no repair or replacement bills for the life of the contract. Forbes Professional Telephone 0345 070 2335 info@forbes-professional.co.uk www.forbespro.co.uk

Infection Control and Laundry Cash’s Labels- “The Name Study Published Behind the Name” In a study looking at how coronavirus behaves on three fabrics commonly used in the healthcare industry, scientists at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have warned tthat traces can remain infectious for up to three days. Led by microbiologist Dr Katie Laird, virologist Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar and postdoctoral researcher Dr Lucy Owen, the research involved adding droplets of a model coronavirus called HCoV-OC43 – which has a very similar structure and survival pattern to that of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19 – to polyester, polycotton and 100% cotton. The results showed that polyester poses the highest risk for transmission of the virus, with infectious virus still present after three days that could transfer to other surfaces. On 100% cotton, the virus lasted for 24 hours, while on polycotton, the virus only survived for six hours. “When the pandemic first started, there was very little understanding of how long coronavirus could survive on textiles,” said Dr Katie Laird, Head of the Infectious Disease Research Group at DMU. “Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk for transmission of the virus. If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could be leaving traces of the virus on other surfaces.” In response, she advised the government that all healthcare uniforms should be laundered in hospitals to commercial standards or by an industrial laundry. She has since co-published an updated, fully comprehensive literature review which evaluates the risk of textiles in the transmission of disease, highlighting the need to for infection control procedures when handling contaminated healthcare textiles. “After the literature review, the next stage of our work was to evaluate the infection control risk of washing healthcare uniforms contaminated with coronavirus,” she continued. “Once we had determined the survival rate of coronavirus on each of the textiles, we turned our attention to identifying the most reliable wash method for removing the virus.” Using 100% cotton, the most commonly used healthcare textile, the scientists conducted a number of tests using different water temperatures and wash methods, including domestic washing machines, industrial washing machines, on-premise hospital washing machines, and an ozone (a highly reactive gas) wash system. The results showed that the agitation and dilution effect of the water in all of the washing machines tested was enough to remove the virus. However, when the team soiled the textiles with an artificial saliva containing the virus (to mimic the risk of spread from an infected person’s mouth), they found that domestic washing machines did not fully remove the virus and some traces survived. It was only when they added a detergent and increased the water temperature that the virus was completely eliminated. Investigating the tolerance of the virus to heat alone, findings showed that coronavirus was stable in water up to 60°C, but was inactivated at 67°C.

Next, the team looked at the risk of cross contamination, placing clean items of clothing in the same wash as those with traces of the virus. They found all wash systems removed the virus and there was no risk of the other items being contaminated. Dr Laird explained: “While we can see from the research that washing these materials at a high temperature, even in a domestic washing machine, does remove the virus, it does not eliminate the risk of the contaminated clothing leaving traces of coronavirus on other surfaces in the home or car before they are washed. “We now know that the virus can survive for up to 72 hours on some textiles and that it can transfer to other surfaces too. “This research has reinforced my recommendation that all healthcare uniforms should be washed on site at hospitals or at an industrial laundry. These wash methods are regulated and nurses and healthcare workers do not have to worry about potentially taking the virus home.”

With the support of the UK Textiles Trade Association, Dr Laird, Dr Shivkumar and Dr Owen have since shared their findings with industry experts across the UK, USA and Europe. “The response has been very positive,” said Dr Laird. “Textile and laundry associations around the world are now implementing our key messages in their guidance for healthcare laundering, to prevent further transmission of coronavirus.” David Stevens, CEO of Textiles Services Association UK, the trade association for the textile care services industry, said: “Going into a pandemic situation, we had the basic understanding that textiles were not among the top transmission media for coronaviruses. “However, we really had a lack of information about the stability of these viruses in different fabric types and in different wash programmes. This resulted in several misinformation floating around and excessive recommendations for washing. “We have considered in detail the methodologies and research practices used by Dr Laird and her team and find this research to be reliable, repeatable and reproducible. The conclusion of this work completed by DMU reinforces the vital role of contamination controls – whether it is domestic or industrial settings.” To further the research, the team is also working on a project in collaboration with DMU’s Psychology team and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, surveying nurses and healthcare workers about their knowledge and attitudes towards washing their uniforms during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At Cash's, we aim to capture, reinforce and communicate our clients’ brand equity through quality and innovation, from design to distribution. Our product range fully caters for the needs of both small and large retailers and brand owners alike comprising of woven and printed labels, woven badges, care labels, branded and promotional swing tags, garment accessories, packaging and barcoding. Our ground breaking labelling and security technologies are also able to provide an unrivalled level of protection to our customers'

brand by assisting to combat counterfeiting and grey market activity. Our industry leading eCommerce system is designed to reduce cost, improve efficiency and streamline supply chain management and will fully protect the integrity and accuracy of critical business data. The order entry process is very simple meaning suppliers and vendors can spend their valuable time on tasks other than ordering apparel labelling and accessories. See the advert this page for details.


PAGE 38 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

MEDICATION MANAGEMENT

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 reactions, 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 plan-

ning 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

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 44 for further details.

®

Well Pharmacy Partners with PainChek to Promote Person-Centred Care Well Pharmacy, the UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain, is pleased to announce a partnership with PainChek®, the world’s first AI-powered pain assessment tool to help people who are unable to verbalise if they have pain, such as those living with dementia. Sadly, pain often goes un-detected and under-treated in people with communication difficulties from medical conditions. The Well Care Home Services Team are actively signposting more than 350 care homes across the UK to use PainChek® as an effective solution to help measure pain in residents and promote the highest standards of care in residential homes. This secure medical device is simple and straightforward to use via mobile or tablet. It uses artificial intelligence (facial detection and analysis technology) and smart automation to detect and score pain in real time allowing informed clinical decisions around appropriate and effective pain management to be made. This partnership further highlights how Well Pharmacy are committed to offering a local community service with a real focus on person-centred care, quality and safety. Tandeep Gill, Care Home Business Lead at Well Pharmacy said: “Well Pharmacy is delighted to partner with PainChek®. At Well we strive to offer an outstanding local service to care homes and their residents. PainChek® uses innovative technology to help residents who are not able to communicate for themselves to identify

the presence of pain. “We’re delighted that through this partnership we are able to pass on an exclusive discount to benefit our care homes customers across the UK, so they can help improve the quality of life for their residents and offer person-centred care.” Pete Shergill, PainChek® UK&I Country Director said: “About half of people living with dementia suffer from pain, but they are often unable to verbalise they have pain, and sadly, it goes unmanaged and untreated. “Ensuring residents’ pain is assessed effectively is critical for care home operators, healthcare professionals and carers but it can be challenging. Therefore, we are really pleased that Well Pharmacy is partnering with us to promote and deliver a quick and easy-to-use solution that will allow carers and healthcare professionals to measure pain in residents, document checks and make informed clinical decisions for effective pain management. “By harnessing the power of medtech, care providers can deliver more efficient and effective care, streamline processes, and ultimately cut costs and save time – allowing staff to focus on delivering the highest standard of care.” For more information, about Well Pharmacy’s Care Home Service please visit www.well.co.uk/carehomes For more information about PainChek® email: info@painchek.com or visit: https://painchek.com/uk/


PAGE 40 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Antimicrobial Contract Fabrics Adaptawear Iona Nightie: Full Opening-Back Nightie 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 base-cloths, plain and woven designs. All Skopos fabrics are flame retardant and tested to the high standards required for contract interiors. Skopos antimicrobial fabrics have bacteriostatic, viralreducing and anti-fungal properties. Free samples of our fabrics are available online or via our customer services team: sales@skopos.co.uk. www.skoposfabrics.com

CareZips Dignity Trousers ™

CareZips™ preserve dignity and privacy of people receiving care during diaper changes. CareZips™ make diaper changes easier and faster, reducing workload, saving efforts, and saving time! CareZips™ help to deliver better standards of care! Fitted with unique 3-zip fastening system, the CareZips™ make changing of incontinence diapers more dignified and comfortable for the patients and easier and faster for the carers. CareZips™ feature 3 strategically positioned zips, 2 of which run from the waist to the knees on both sides of the body. The 3rd zip goes from the inside of one knee up to the crotch and down to the second knee on the inside of the other leg. This zip facilitates total opening of the trousers at the crotch during diaper changes. The 3-zip system ensures fast and easy access to the abdomen and crotch without having to undress the patients or pull their trousers down. CareZips™ are suitable for men and women. They

are available in 7 sizes for perfect fit. CareZips™ are soft and wrinkle resistant with stretch and give for extra comfort. Practical, durable, washable and noniron, the CareZips™ trousers are the perfect choice for daily use. Contact Win Health Medical Ltd - 01835 864866 www.win-health.com

Jolly Trolley Brings Therapeutic Activity and Entertainment to Patients That Are Isolating The Jolly Trolley® is an essential for any care establishment as it promotes social interaction between the service users and their carers. This innovative system is fully mobile and battery operated, allowing residents who may be unable to leave their rooms to also be included with ease. The Jolly Trolley® comes complete with its own videos, quizzes, karaoke and other content, but personal music, photos and films can then be added from a USB stick to really bring out the magic! Don’t just take our word for it here are just some testimonials from our very happy Health and Social Care clients:

Chester Park- Megan Allan, Activities “The fact that we can upload what is relevant to the specific Individual is so meaningful for that person and I can assure you we have shed some tears being able to be part of that residents memory journey. It has been an amazing addition to our care home – from staff and residents – thank you.” Pennine NHS Trust - Beech Ward“we have been able to provide therapeutic activity & entertainment with ease to patients that are isolating” To see what the Jolly Trolley® can do for you, call us for a free demonstration on 0800 093 8499.

Write Your Life Story! With Reminiscence Journal Game Imagine you’re playing a board game with your family and carers as you write the story of your life. You can do this Our mission is to help the silver seniors to become more creative in the using use of their imagination. To help them stay focused with their memory activity. To help them interact and avoid the feeling of loneliness and aloneness. To Help the seniors Preserve their stories through Print, video and Online publishing, keep record of their oral history with legacy building for future generations. To continue in making the life of the silver seniors relevant to the society. To help in bring out the hidden skills the Silver seniors may never know or recognize they possess. The Pack includes a 120 paged journal, 40 cardboard game, a timer, two reusable maze games including a water marker. Playing the 40 cards prompts seniors to write in their life journal. includes:, Moviefy 360 Website, 20 pictures flipbook photo album, 10 minute video, Life story flipbook with 4 paged Quiz. Visit https://storytellingforsilverseniors.com or Email: info@storytellingforsilverseniors.com Call Jean On +44 791 630 6888 today

Ideal for those bed-ridden, struggling with mobility or needing palliative end of life care - the Iona nightie from adaptawear.com has been specifically designed with these people in mind. This unique product comes with a fully opening back, shoulder openings on both sides, and easy poppers, which fasten quickly with limited effort. As the nightgown opens up completely flat, it can be put on from a lying or seated position, ensuring less stress for both the wearer and carer. The open back function with a generous overlap also ensures dignity when toileting and a quick drying cotton fabric is

comfortable and practical. As well as the Iona adapted nightie, Adaptawear have a range of other back opening nighties, including their popular Petal Back range, and also fully front button nightwear. Their men and women's ranges feature a full range of adaptive daywear, including front fastening bras and comfortable cotton underwear; with a customer recently sharing they had ‘regained their independence with such helpful items.’ All items can be found at www.adaptawear.com or call 0800 051 1931 for more info. Don’t forget to use code CR10M at checkout for 10% off

Care Homes Pilot Diagnostic Telemedicine Developed by GPs video consultation platform allows clinicians and their patients to communicate easily, discuss test results and agree next steps. The Hub reduces the need for clinicians to visit care homes and the need for residents to visit healthcare settings. In addition to improving patient safety, associated costs such as PPE and travel time and mileage are minimised. Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister and MP for Copeland (including Millom), said: “I’m delighted that some care home residents in my constituency will be among the first to benefit from remote diagnostics consultations with their GPs. Tools such as Teki-Hub have the potential not only to reduce infection risk during a pandemic Pathfinders Specialist and Complex Care centre for but also to help deliver care to more patients more physical health needs in Nottinghamshire and quickly and it’s great to see more organisations triKirksanton Care Home in Millom, Cumbria, are the lat- alling these new innovations.” est care homes to trial an innovative telemedicine unit To date Teki-Hub has been used to conduct which allows GPs to complete detailed assessments approximately 180 remote consultations. Initial evaluaon patients remotely – saving time and improving tion by NHS Arden & GEM CSU shows clinicians have patient safety during the coronavirus pandemic. been very satisfied with the quality of the audio and The Teki-Hub telemedicine solution, developed by images, and ease of system use, with an average satpioneering GPs Dr Stephen Katebe and Dr Omobolaji isfaction score of 4.7 out of 5. Over 90% of patients Iji, is already providing a solution to the additional risks who have responded to a post-consultation survey of in-person consultations during the COVID-19 panrated the overall treatment experience as excellent. demic in 18 care homes in England and Scotland,. Initial trials also indicate that use of Teki-Hub can Unlike standard video consultations, the Teki-Hub reduce the need for ambulance callouts and emerunit includes high quality diagnostic equipment, gency hospital admissions. enabling GPs and other clinicians to undertake virtual Dr Stephen Katebe, co-founder of Tekihealth care home rounds, and respond to emergencies Solutions, said: “As GPs ourselves, we fully understand quickly, safely and efficiently. Teki-Hub can use WiFi, the barriers to providing swift and comprehensive care mobile or satellite networks to connect reliably to GP to care home residents – particularly during COVID-19. practices, community services or hospitals, with care With Teki-Hub installed, clinicians can see up to six home staff administering tests as directed by the clini- patients an hour, with no lost time spent travelling, cian. and without the additional risks currently associated The equipment includes a no-touch infrared basal with in-person consultations. We’ve seen a significant thermometer, and set of digital stethoscope, otoscope increase in demand for pilots as NHS organisations and tongue depressor attachments, allowing GPs to look to enhance the quality and safety of care, particconduct thorough assessments of a patient’s respiraularly during the pandemic.” tory, ear nose and throat, and heart health. The in-built Visit www.tekihealth.com or @tekihealth

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. Visit www.yeomanshield.com for details.


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 41

TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE 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.

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. 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 selfharm. For more information: www.pinpointlimited.com or see the advert on this page.

Please Please mention mention THE THE CARER CARER when when responding responding to to advertising. advertising.

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 46 | PAGE 43

TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Imagine a Piece of Equipment for Your Care Home CARE VISION That Can Enhance the Experience of Your Residents Mentally, Physically and Also Emotionally Inspired Inspirations have been working directly with care homes in developing their interactive touch screen activity tables over the last few years, to provide a range of screen sizes and units to suit every care setting. Just think of a giant Android tablet built into a solid oak surround, on a base that houses a large battery to allow you to use it all day long and smooth running wheels for easy movement between rooms in your care home. "This amazing bit of technology is making a huge difference to our residents" Melanie Dawson Manager, The Lawns at Heritage Manor ' The screen is 5mm tempered glass for your residents safety and sealed against fluid ingress meaning a spill of a cup of tea won't ruin your equipment. It also means an easy clean solution to stop cross contamination using any normal surface cleaner.

How to enhance your residents experience Mentally - Brain training apps, memory apps, quizzes, board games, reasoning challenges.

Physically - Exercise for the elderly online classes, hand eye coordination, increased movement to move hands around a large screen. Emotionally- Reminiscence tours on Google Earth, past and present clips on YouTube of hobbies or interests, religious services and Group ZOOM calls to loved ones who cant get to visit in your residents person! "We use it daily and would not be without it now, even the residents find it easy and fun to use. Thank you!" Sandie Evans, Registered Manager, Oakland's Care Home, Crickhowell All tables are made to order, if you'd like to enquire on a price guide and time scales for deliveries, just visit their website www.inspiredinspirations.com or scan the QR code on the right. "We've noticed that quieter residents who didn't interact too much with others have suddenly been more active and more vocal." Lindsey Davies, Home Manager,Cwrt Enfys See the advert on page 10.

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-

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 44 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION Lotus Care Technology The New MPCSA11 from Medpage The NurseAlert pressure mat has been one of the most successful floor pressure mats due to it being non slip and carpeted which makes it feel very natural under a residents foot. Lotus Care Technology Ltd have many other fall saving devices that can give you peace of mind whilst caring for this at risk of falls.  Having many years of experience in

fitting and maintaining Nurse Call Systems helps the guys at Lotus Care Technology understand that every home is different and has different needs. They can specify not only the best system for the environmental factors in the home but also take into consideration the best products that will make your carers and nurses jobs that little bit easier. Visit lctuk.com for details.

Medpage is a family ran company, with a huge heart and resources gathered over our 35- year trading history. The majority of the technologies we design, manufacture and distribute originate from enquiries received from healthcare professionals and personal family care observations. Our product portfolio provides a wide variety of care solutions for epilepsy, dementia, senior care, special needs and sensory loss. Our latest innovation, currently in use in several Hospitals, presents an effective fall monitoring, detection and reporting solution. The MPCSA11 is a complex software driven sensor monitor made to be user and operator friendly. This device has already proven successful in hospital and care home trials by reducing patient falls while

also reducing false positives from a safe patient. The device can monitor and interact with up to three sensor products: bed and chair occupancy pressure pads, PIR movement detection sensors and proximity signal products. In use, a patient or resident rising from their bed would be considered a falls risk, but what if they are simply moving to sit in a chair close to their bed? A standard bed monitor would raise an alarm alerting care staff, who would arrive to find the person safely seated. The MPCSA11 would only generate an alarm if the person was out of their bed or chair for a selectable time duration. Learn more www.easylinkuk.co.uk/mpcsa11 Or see the advert on page 2.

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 antibacterial 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.

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 See the advert on this page for further details.


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 45

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 rigorous

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 fieldbased 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.

Nurse Call from 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

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 01252-330220 We can give most systems a new lease of life and maintain them into the future.

www.edisontelecom.co.uk Please Please mention mention THE THE CARER CARER when when responding responding to to advertising. advertising.

www.nursecallsystems.co.uk


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46 | PAGE 47

TRAINING & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Skills, Knowledge, and Skills Gaps in Health and Social Care Confidence Delivered Online By Nicole Bewley, Learning Curve Group (www.lcgonline.co.uk/carermag-skillsguarantee) It has been highlighted in recent years that the skills gaps within health and social care are set to be at an all time high with increasing numbers of vacancies across the sector. Nicole Bewley, Director of Skills at one of the largest providers of health and social care training, Learning Curve Group, explores the true impact that Covid-19 has had on the sector and ways that employers can adapt. I don’t think anyone can argue that the work of those across the health and social care sector has never been more appreciated. As Covid-19 has devastated care staff in many ways, it has also increased solidarity as our care workers across the country faced the crisis head on. For many years, health and social care has been tarnished as low skilled and low paid. Although care workers have not been afraid to show the harsh realities of Covid, with long shifts wearing PPE and losing patients and residents who haven’t seen their families in months, clapping for carers and praise for key workers has arguably glamorised the sector. University applications to study nursing were reported to be at a record high in February, increasing by almost a third. The work that carers have been doing for centuries has been under the microscope for all to see, and whilst the sector is incredibly rewarding, I think it would be wrong to suggest that it isn’t equally hard, both physically and mentally.

The Government launched a recruitment campaign to encourage people to re-skill and join the health and social care sector. Many sectors have been particularly hard hit from the pandemic; hospitality, aviation, travel and tourism, and it’s likely that they’ll take significantly longer to recover as we work through the easing of restrictions. With an aging workforce, and skills gaps left by brexit, if we don’t act now to fill vacancies, the sector is really going to struggle in the next few years. As vacancies are left unfilled and we see an increasing strain on services as people are living longer, Skills for Care have estimated a need for 650,000 to 950,000 new adult social care jobs by 2035. Employers across the sector need to look at how they are going to bridge the gap, and upskilling and reskilling is going to be key. Supporting individuals to transition into the sector would support the recruitment drive, however, a holistic approach to their training to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge for the job is vitally important. The government has announced a range of incentives for employers looking to support their staff with high quality training, and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee could be a lifeline for care providers looking for free training. Aimed at levelling up adults without an existing level three qualification, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee initiative from the government offers funding for a range of health and social care courses to individuals looking to progress their knowledge over and above the already free Level 2 qualifications. This is extremely welcome news from the government, as it means that employers in the care sector can really focus on upskilling any staff who aren’t already qualified to level three, and also recruit new members of staff who might not have any care experience, but want to get into the sector, narrowing skills gaps and providing better overall care. See the advert on the facing page for details.

With COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing and staff/employers looking ahead to a safer and more normal future, the Laser Learning team are proud to have supported both the large numbers of furloughed staff, as well as those in Care Homes and the NHS, who bravely worked on the frontline during the lockdown. Through the Laser Care Certificate course and Skills For Care endorsed CPD short courses, we are continuing to deliver skills, knowledge, and confidence online, to the sector which was undoubtedly affected the most during this pandemic. The Laser Care Certificate course provides knowledge to cover every standard included in the official Skills for Care specification. Every lesson includes bespoke video tutorials specifically for the Care Certificate course, as well as reading materials and good practice examples. Furthermore, a mandatory quiz at the end of each lesson (which requires a 100% pass mark) ensures both competence and confidence. Managers are able to create their own accounts to enrol staff on the course

and track their progress. All of the content is accessible remotely via computer, smartphone or tablet, enabling care professionals to make progress towards the certificate in a way that suits their circumstances. Additionally, Laser delivers CPD short courses to help the ongoing development of skills and expertise of both furloughed staff, who had the silver lining of time on their side, as well as those working through the pandemic amidst concerns of job security. Two courses in particular – ‘Causes and Spread of Infection’ and ‘Infection Control and Prevention’ – were especially popular during this period. Unlimited use subscriptions are available at affordable rates, for organisations wishing to take advantage of a large number of short courses. Whether you are an owner, manager or independent learner, please don't hesitate to get in touch for a free demo of the Care Certificate course platform, and/or the CPD short course offering. The Laser Learning team can be contacted on info@lasersys.co.uk or +44 (0)1753 584 112.

Engage With Your Residents - In-House Practical Training Workshop Scripts Bring About Happy Days Happy Days Dementia Activities & Design has created a new range of engagement training scripts for residential care and dementia homes. The workshops are designed to be presented in-house, saving time and costs. Easy to follow training scripts are practical in nature and help care teams engage with elderly and people living with dementia. Through activity, discussions, role-play and practise with nostalgic materials, carers can feel more equipped to engage and enrich social care. Packages include demonstration materials to use during your workshop. Training Scripts and engagement materials can be created to suit your organisation, care team requirements and resident interests. Ideal for home care services too - Help your carers engage and create meaningful

moments during visits. With Covid19’s restrictions and safety procedures, it makes sense to train your care teams on site. ‘Bringing your care teams together can build carer confidence, boost morale and uplift mood. If a carer feels good, this will reflect on the the person being cared for’ says Gillian Hesketh, MD of Happy Days Dementia Activities & Design. Passionate about helping people living with dementia to live well, Happy Days also supplies nostalgic displays, reminiscence baskets, conversation prompts and more - See The Carer front page or Shop Online: www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk - We accept NHS purchase order numbers and care home accounts. Phone Gillian direct on: 07971-953620 or see the advert on page 1.


PAGE 48 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 46

TRAINING & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Government U-Turn - Senior Care Workers Added to Shortage Occupation List By Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors (www.astonbrooke.co.uk) The Social Care Sector has long called for senior care workers among other key roles to be added to the Shortage Occupation List. Aston Brooke Solicitors has worked with Care England to ensure that the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations are adopted by the Government. Initially, the Secretary of State refused to add the role of senior care workers to the shortage occupation list and she was faced with widespread criticism from the sector. This prompted calls from the sector to legal challenge the decision. This recent announcement means that the Government has finally recognised the voice of the sector and this important change builds on the government’s delivery of the new pointsbased immigration system introduced in January 2021. Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said: “Every year we welcome healthcare workers from across the world to our United Kingdom, with many having played a key role on the frontline of the NHS during the recent pandemic. This latest set of changes, combined with our Health and Care Visa, will ensure they can easily get the immigration status they deserve.” Professor Martin Green OBE said: “I am pleased that the Government has acknowledged the challenges of recruiting senior care workers and residential day managers, this is something

Care Home Finance from Global Business Finance Global assists clients throughout the U.K. who specialise in the healthcare sector to achieve their objectives of purchase, development and refinance. We have organised over £1.8bn for clients in the past 30 years, providing clients with competitively priced funding to refinance existing debt, ease cashflow and develop businesses further. From helping clients make their first purchase through to allowing groups to grow significantly in size we assist at every stage of your business expansion. Every proposal is individual and deserves to be treated that way, so we hope you will allow us to be of assistance to you and call us to chat through your plans and requirements, I am sure we will be able to tailor a facility to your requirements. Call us on 01242 227172 or e-mail us at enquiries@globalbusinessfinance.net

we have long called for with our partner law firm Aston Brooke Solicitors. We hope that this is the start of a process towards the creation of a migration system which supports rather than undermines the development of the adult social care workforce”. Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors welcomed the announcement and said: “The addition of the senior carer position to the shortage occupation list means care providers are now able to recruit suitable candidates outside of the UK on a minimum annual salary of £20,480. Prior to this announcement, the minimum annual salary payable for this role would be £25,600, which is unsustainable in the sector.” As part of the points-based immigration system, people applying to come to the UK through the skilled worker route must reach 70 ‘points’ to be eligible for a work visa. A job on the Shortage Occupation List is worth 20 points. Combined with the mandatory criteria – having an acceptable standard of English, an offer from a licensed sponsor and the required skill level, which are worth 50 points – will ensure people in these roles reach the 70 points necessary. See the advert on page 17 for further details.

Giving Learning and Development the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ Treatment Jane Brightman, social care lead at the Institute of Health and Social Care Management gives some practical advice to help modernise approaches to learning and development. Hands up if you remember the BBC programme Tomorrow’s World? Back in the sixties and seventies it was accurately predicting that we’d all have home computers, mobiles phones and the information superhighway. In one episode in 1989, they told us that in 2020 we would have smart homes. Impressive to be predicting this pace of advancement 30-60 years before it happened. It leads me to think – what could happen if we gave the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ treatment to social care; in particular to learning and development in the sector? It’s an area we have allowed to become stale and outdated whilst the world that has changed so much. I’m really talking about all learning and development for everyone working in social care, but for the purpose of this article, let’s narrow that focus down to leadership and management. Firstly, we should ask why leadership and management development is seen as something important for those in charge only? Everyone, at every level of an organisation, should be supported to be a leader. If we only ever provide management development when people become managers, how on earth can we identify potential and expect people to be able to do a great job from the off? If we really examine the current offering for our social care leaders and managers, it is fairly limited. We also know that many managers struggle to find the time (and sometimes budget) to undertake training and development for themselves. They often feel responsible for ensuring the boxes are ticked for their staff to be trained, leaving little room for their own personal development. I’d go even further and say that many programmes available, for example qualifica-

tions and apprenticeships, are no longer fit for purpose, both being around five years old now. There are big gaps in content – digital and technological skills, entrepreneurial knowledge, confidence to support workforce wellbeing and a better understanding of green and sustainability issues to name a few. Training programmes can also fail to support innovation, creativity, collaboration, and often don’t look outside of the sector or explore the future. It’s time to remedy this and to demand more from learning for our social care leaders and managers, at all levels. And there are actions we can take in social care now: Spend time reviewing your current programme of leadership and management development, be brutally honest, what impact is it really having? Have conversations internally and externally. Talk to other care providers or leaders. Listen to staff teams, the people using your services and their loved ones. Find out what people want from learning and development in 2021 and beyond. Seek out learning opportunities that are different. Talk to training providers, colleges and universities but widen that field too, learning can be found in many places such as webinars, conferences, blogs and podcasts. Identify the things that people need to learn and then search for the solutions. For example, reverse mentoring, where someone in a junior role mentors a colleague more senior to them. This works really well for topics such as using technology or social media. Remember that often the best learning comes when things go wrong. Learning from mistakes (events, incidents, or failures) is incredibly powerful. Consider future skills and development needs. The past year has taught us to be prepared for the unexpected and unprecedented. It’s time to gaze into the future of social care. What do you want it to look like? Resolve to stop repeating training. It’s expensive, time consuming, frustrating and has no impact on practice or confidence. Look for different ways to reinforce or build on learning. Let’s apply the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ lens to social care learning and development and grow our ambition for the sector, its workforce, and the people we support.

Workshops & Webinars: Empowering Social Care with the Tools To Be Outstanding Meaningful Care Matters is a leading care and organisational development group that specialises in helping health and social care providers to access a variety of support services. The group helps 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’. Currently, care providers can make use of the group’s range educational and innovative online tools, including:

• Finding ways of balancing infection control and quality of life • Enhancing individual problem solving and communication skills in a safe environment What does the course involve? • Six 60-minute zoom sessions over a six-week period with teams of 8 to 10 participants • Specific resources and tools from Meaningful Care Matters to support learning and outcomes • Wellness and mindfulness support with tools from The Coach Approach

BACK TO PERSON CENTRED CARE – THE IMPORTANCE OF SELFCARE

These webinar sessions offer support materials on 5 key topics unique to each home The weekly group support sessions can accommodate teams of up to ten. A facilitator will oversee the live discussion, exploring the impacts COVID-19 and other lifestyle factors that can result in decreased resilience and compassion fatigue. Based on 5 sessions over 5 weeks, the forums cover ideas, strategies, and support mechanisms for how to achieve a meaningful connection. The group sessions are split into two parts: 1. Connections Matter A 40-minute session where five key challenges unique to each home are reviewed, before looking at how they have impacted the team and how members can make positive changes to improve their well-being. 2. A Practical Approach A 20-minute session where practical implications are explored before looking at how to support the learnings from the aspect of the live webinar. For more information on these online training sessions and other services Meaningful Care Matters provides, please visit www.meaningfulcarematters.com/

This online workshop will focus on the compassion fatigue that has become prevalent with frontline teams in this COVID pandemic. The course is all about person centredness and coming back to the heart and soul of what care culture is about. Achieved through an action learning process, participants can: • Reflect - consider the feelings and emotions as well as the practical implications of operating in a person-centred way • Recharge - look at strategies that will energise and maintain mindfulness and well-being to help support individuals and teams • Regenerate – refresh the passion, vision, and structure of a personcentred approach in a tangible, practical and meaningful way Key outcomes include • Renewing the care team by bringing members together and having space to reflect on the emotional impact of working in the climate of COVID-19 • Building an emotionally intelligent and self-aware leadership team that has the confidence and clarity it needs to support person-centred approaches in challenging times • Establishing resilient and reflective care teams

ACTION LEARNING TO IMPROVE PERSON CENTRED CARE THROUGH MINDFULNESS


Profile for The Carer

The Carer Digital - Issue #46  

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 #46  

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