The Carer Digital - Issue #81

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W W W. T H E C A R E R U K . C O M

The Carer Digital



Issue 81

Government £1.4bn Social Care Funding “Nowhere Near Enough”

Industry leaders have expressed concern that the government’s £1.4bn to help local authorities move towards a “fair cost of care” is “nowhere near enough” to make the social care market financially sustainable. Earlier this week the government announced that care providers, residents and staff will all benefit from additional funding to support the social care sector. A total of £1.4 billion will be made available over three years to help increase the fee rates local authorities pay to care providers. Further funding of more than £1 billion will be available for local authorities in 2022/23 to fund

social care. This will help councils respond effectively to rising demand and cost pressures. This is on top of the £300 million announced last week for workforce recruitment and retention – taking the total to £462.5 million.

FAIRER COST OF CARE Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It is vital we continue to do all we can to protect social care during the pandemic and it is more important than ever the sector takes advantage of its priority booster status since the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“At the same time, we need to plan for the longer term – and this money and the details confirmed will help do that.” Many local authorities pay care providers less than the cost to deliver the care. This results in higher fees for self-funders and a lack of investment. This needs to be addressed to make social care more accessible and payments fairer – which is one of the pillars the ten-year vision for adult social care reform – People at the Heart of Care – is based on. This £1.4 billion will help local authorities to support a fairer cost of care.



EDITOR'S VIEWPOINT Welcome to the latest edition of The Carer Digital! Merry Christmas!!!! First things first! We here at THE CARER would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!! Once again we have been overwhelmed with some fantastic uplifting Christmas stories from residential and nursing care homes throughout the UK, from Carol singing to reindeer's visiting, from knitting clothes to pantos, ballroom dancing and movie star themed red carpets! Once again a testament to the dedication and hard work and inspiration of those working in the sector to enhance the well-being of their residents, and after a very turbulent year for the sector what a way to go out. Well done! One also has to give credit where credit is due, and the government’s announcement of an additional £1.4 billion to support the sector, which some observers say is not enough, is still a much-needed boost. The immediate issue regarding the staffing crisis is one where the government appears to be dragging its feet. I note a story on page 13 which supports comments I made in my editor’s column early on this year. The story I am referring to is ICG Chair Mike Padgham’s comments regarding Migration Minister Kevin Foster. The Minister said, when talking about staffing issues in the sector, “businesses need to make long-term investments in the UK domestic workforce, including offering hardworking care workers the rewarding packages they deserve.” I remember a BBC breakfast TV presenter saying very much the same thing. He too was interviewing a care provider, who had raised the issue of Brexit and the impact it was having on care sector recruitment. The interviewer said “Well if you paid staff more perhaps recruitment would not be a problem”. (Yes, he did actually say that). Mr Padgham rightly lambasts the Minister, pointing out the “chronic underfunding”, the decades of lack of investment, and if I “might be so bold” I would add lack of clear leadership. Industry spokespeople I've often said it is a can kicked down the road. Nobody really wants to address the long term funding issue. To be fair, the Prime Minister has taking some action with the National Insurance increase, but sooner or later, I suspect, instead of using the industry as a political football, cross party consensus will lead to an adult social care tax to begin perhaps sometime during peoples mid 20s-30s.

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EDITOR Peter Adams SALES EXECUTIVES Sylvia Mawson David Bartlett Guy Stephenson TYPESETTING & DESIGN That doesn't address the current issues. However, the relaxing of rules for care worker jobs to alleviate “severe and increasing difficulties” the adult social care sector is facing with recruitment and retention would be a huge step in the right direction. In its annual report, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which directs the Government on immigration, has advised that the jobs be made eligible for the Health and Care Visa and placed on the shortage occupation list (SOL). To dismiss the staff shortages as a lack of reward by providers ready to show a clear standing! Once again thank you for all your support this year. We have enjoyed wonderful support from our readership, our advertisers, industry observers and organisations and we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you again for all your Christmas stories and we look forward to receiving your New Year’s Eve celebration stories so keep them coming!

Matthew Noades PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Shelly Roche Published by


Government £1.4bn Social Care Funding “Nowhere Near Enough” (CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) It is part of the £5.4 billion Health and Social Care Levy which will also, through charging reform, protect people from unpredictable care costs and move to a position where people who fund their own care to access the same fee rates for care in care homes that local authorities pay. The transformed social care charging system, which includes a significant increase in state support, will apply to people in both residential and at-home care and will set daily living costs at a lower rate than originally proposed, helping people save more money. It will mean nobody is forced to sell their home in their lifetime. Together with the money from the local government finance settlement this will sustain and develop the care sector in communities across England with overall local government core spending power increasing by four per cent.

ALARM BELLS Vic Rayner, chief executive of the NCF said: “This statement contains some alarm bells. Given we are only at the start of this journey in determining the fair price for care, it is hard to understand how the DHSC has already stipulated an estimate of £600m funding for each of the following two years to address the unfair cross subsidy issue and move to a realistic fully funded fair price for care. “More detail is also needed on how the DHSC views the likely progress of individuals in their ability to exercise their requests under section 18.3 of the Care Act. The ambition to enable more people who

fund their own care to ask their local authority to arrange care on their behalf to secure better value rests, fundamentally, on local authorities’ ability to pay a fair price for that care. Failure to do so will result in huge market instability and the closure of many services as they become financially unsustainable. “Local authorities must take the opportunity to work collaboratively with their social care providers to reset the dial on the fees they pay and reach an honest and mutual agreement about a fully funded fair price for care that delivers high quality and accessible care for all who need it.” ’If you don’t fund social care properly, it will fail’

“NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH” The ICG say local authorities are “not getting enough funding to commission care,” so it is vital both sides address the issue. ICG chair, Mike Padgham said: “Sadly, what the government is proposing to inject into social care is nowhere near enough to address the issues. “Here we have in black and white a clear admission that care is not being properly funded on the front line. “Local authorities will themselves argue that they are not getting enough funding to commission care, so it is vital both sides address the issue. “Social care has been chronically under-funded for a generation and the rigours of Covid-19 has left it on its knees, struggling to provide care for our oldest and most vulnerable in care and nursing homes and in their own homes.” “Financial cutback after financial cutback has left the provision of care

in tatters. “If you don’t fund social care properly, it will fail and today we have yet more evidence to prove that.” Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said: “The measures announced in the past six months, and those to come on integration early next year, will mean transformational change for social care. “Not only are we tackling the immediate challenge of COVID-19 but the longer term need to reform adult social care. “This is the start of the journey but one we will take alongside caregivers, providers, local authorities and those receiving care.” The workforce survey, published today (December 17), has also shown what was already known, staff shortages and the pandemic have combined to leave the social care sector struggling in spite of the incredible efforts by staff. This is why last week it was announced care workers will benefit from a £300 million extension, in addition to the £162.5 million announced in October, to support recruitment and retention. It can be used to pay for bonuses and bring forward planned pay rises for care staff, fund overtime and staff banks increasing workforce numbers up until the end of March. Grant conditions are being published today. This is on top of the £500 million for workforce training, qualifications and wellbeing announced as part of the levy. This is all part of the wider plans to improve social care and fulfil the ten year vision set out in the adult social care reform white paper – ‘People at the Heart of Care’. Further details on integration will follow early next year.

The Brother and Sister Bringing Christmas to Fleetwood Hall Residents and staff of Fleetwood Hall Care Home got into the festive spirit this week by putting on their own original pantomime – with the help of a brother and his sister. Andrew Snape and Helen Waite staged their version of ‘Cinderella at Fleetwood Hall’ yesterday. Andrew, who wrote the script, and Helen are the Activity Coordinators for the home. The cast of fifteen included staff from the home and a number of residents, including Susan, who played Cinderella’s father, and Fred and Sheila who were both Ugly Sisters. All the residents of the home joined in singing carols. Helen, who has worked at the home for nearly three years and has a background in care as well as being a talented seamstress, said: “It was a fantastic day and lovely that everyone in the home was involved. “I love working with my brother. Andrew is very musical and I’m creative so we make a good team. “Our mum developed Alzheimer’s when she was only 55 and we

have a lot of empathy for people in care.” Andrew, who has also worked in care for a number of years as well as being a primary school teacher, said: “I’ve been writing my own scripts for a number of years. I took the outline of the classic Cinderella story and gave it a unique Fleetwood Hall Care Home twist. “We invited everyone in the home to take part and a number of residents and staff signed up for roles in the play. It was a really special day and everyone felt very jolly. The whole event was filmed too so the families of residents can watch it.” Joanne Warren, Registered Manager of Fleetwood Hall Care Home in Chatsworth Avenue, Fleetwood said: “I’d like to thank all our staff and lovely residents who took part in the play and made it such a special occasion. “I think we’re pretty unique as a home in having a brother and sister as our activity coordinators. Helen and Andrew went to great effort to write and direct the panto, sort all the costumes and allocate roles to everyone who wanted to take part.”


A Groundbreaking Report by Quality Compliance Systems Reveals an Increased Reliance on Electronic Systems During the Pandemic The study, which sought to garner a real-world picture of the lives of professional carers in order to establish what they required to deliver the best care possible, revealed some interesting findings and trends. The ‘Building a Better Workforce’ survey, which was created to identify key challenges that frontline care workers face, found that technology improved the way that care workers did their jobs. The study also revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a technological seachange, which has highlighted the need for better communication in the way care is dispensed. As for electronic tools, the survey revealed that technologies – that made care planning, medication management, audit and risk assessment easier – were in great demand. However, it was those systems that delivered guidance and best practice – such as policy management tools – that they valued the most. Over 75 percent of people polled said they had come to rely on them and would continue to do so. Despite a recruitment and retention crisis in the sector, 90 percent of respondents said they were “happy and satisfied” in the work they do, while nearly half of those who were interviewed stated that they had worked in the social care sector for more than a decade. What’s more,

70 percent reported that they enjoyed a good work life balance – a finding that is perhaps at odds with the national trend. Maybe this is due to working in a profession where carers are making a genuine difference to those they support each day. The survey identified several findings, however, that care providers should not ignore. Career development was an area that it was felt

could be improved for social care staff with 14 percent reporting that they felt that opportunities to further their career in social care were very limited. Nikki Walker, QCS’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “At QCS, our number one priority is to support and empower people working in social care. To achieve this, we need to provide them with tools to deliver the best care possible to those they support regardless of the setting they work in or the challenges they face. Only by listening to the views of frontline carers and their managers, can we truly understand their ‘painpoints’ and respond to their needs. The findings from this survey and the others that follow will ensure that we can continue to make a difference in the products that we provide.” You can download the report for free at For more information on QCS, contact our compliance advisors on 0333-405-3333 or email us at A series of blogposts with top tips on building a better social care workforce is also available to download at

Classic Car Fan Jim ‘Grins from Ear to Ear’ as Dream Machines Come to Visit A classic car aficionado was left ‘speechless and grinning from ear to ear’ when a collection of vehicles from different eras turned up outside the door of his Dorset nursing home. Knowing of his long-standing hobby, team members at Colten Care’s Newstone House in Sturminster Newton arranged the surprise birthday treat for resident Jim Atkins. They contacted local owners’ club Sturminster Newton Car & Bike Enthusiasts who brought along nine of their muchloved vehicles to display at the Outstanding-rated home. The models included a beautiful early 1950s Alvis limousine, various cars from the 1960s, a Normandy Landings US army jeep and a Porsche 911 sports car. Jim was especially taken with a red Sunbeam Alpine, a British marque made famous in popular culture through appearances in 1960s films such as the James Bond blockbuster Dr No and the Michael Caine-Shirley MacLaine comedy heist caper Gambit. Weymouth-born Jim, a retired farmer, has been a classic car enthusiast all his life with a particular fondness for red models, so the Sunbeam was a definite draw.

After touring the collection and speaking with club members, Jim said: “There were so many cars I wanted to drive them all. It was wonderful. Thank you so much to everyone who helped to make this happen.” Club founder Chris Spackman, who arrived in the Porsche 911, said: “It was an absolute pleasure and very rewarding for us to meet and bring pleasure to Jim and a fellow resident, and for them to have the opportunity to enjoy our vehicles.” Karlene Duffy, Companionship Team leader at Newstone House, said: “Jim always talks about car shows he has been to, and he has a passion for classic cars, with lovely memories of red ones in particular. “When the owners’ club kindly offered to bring some of their collection over for Jim to see we thought it would be a lovely early Christmas present for him and a chance to rekindle memories of driving on the open road in years gone by. “We weren’t disappointed – Jim was speechless for most of the time and grinning from ear to ear.”


Vaccine Mandate "Hits Health & Social Care Hard"

The number of people applying for jobs in the UK dropped 25% in November as vacancies continued to increase, putting future economic growth at risk Broadbean Technology. This decline in applications comes at a time when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported another record increase in hiring, with vacancies in September to November 2021 rising to a new record of 1,219,000.

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE HIT HARD According to the data, social care saw a 5% increase in vacancies between October and November and is up 50% year-on-year. This is in line with the ONS which revealed that the human health and social work sector has reported its greatest quarterly growth in vacancies. In comparison, Broadbean’s statistics indicate that the number of people applying for roles in healthcare dropped by 25% between October and November and is down by 42% year-on-year. This is indicative of the

impact of the Government's recent decision to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for those working in the health and social care sector. The data has also shown a similar trend for medical and nursing vacancies, with a 4% increase in available jobs between October and November and a rise of 45% year-on-year. Comparatively, applications saw an 18% decrease between October and November and a 63% year-on-year decline last month. As Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology explained: “The ongoing shortage of talent is a concern for the UK. We’re experiencing a significant and sustained increase in hiring activity that is draining already limited talent pools, with some sectors certainly feeling the impact more than others. The decline in applications across social and healthcare is worrying at a time when the Omicron variant is putting further pressure in the care and medical professions. The vaccination mandate across social care and planned mandate for the general healthcare sector has only exacerbated the dearth of talent at a critical time.”

Local Care Home Hosts Red Carpet Event

Moors Manor Care Home in Ringwood entertained their residents with a red carpet experience. The team all dressed up as their favourite movie characters for the residents to guess who they were and have a front seat row and they walked the red carpet.

On the day the stars took to the red carpet to walk down and have a photo taken by the paparazzi whilst being cheered on by their fans. This was followed by some wonderful homemade canapés from our chef and entertainment from Paul Hammond for us all to sing and dance along to. Tracey Aldin, General Manager of Moors Manor Care Home said “We do our best to provide a wide range of activities and entertainment at Moors Manor as part of the lifestyle enrichment programme for residents, Christmas is such a busy time so it was nice to do something slightly different ahead of more festive events.” Moors Manor care home is run by Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, which is committed to delivering personalised care across its care homes and hospitals. Moors Manor provides residential care and dementia care for 66 residents from respite care to long term stays.

Memories Shared Thro’ Song. Joan Palmer: Soprano. A CD with songs from ‘My Fair Lady’,‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Cats’ and many more, together with an accompanying booklet which describes how the programme can be used for: • An interactive music and group participation entertainment. • One to one music and conversation. • Musical reminiscence therapy for dementia sufferers. Mobile: 07393 961388


It is a Question of When, Rather Than If, Further Restrictions Will be Needed

Responding to the Prime Minister's latest comments about the possibility of further restrictions, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders are not calling for further restrictions as they know these can be very damaging to people’s health and wellbeing but given the rising cases of coronavirus and the rapid spread of omicron, they feel it is now a question of when rather than if they will be needed. “If the Plan B measures and boosters prove not to be enough, they expect the Government to respond quickly and pre-emptively in the national interest to the range of advice and modelling it has. This

includes recalling Parliament over the Christmas break if that is needed. This is not just about protecting the NHS and its workforce but about protecting public health and reducing illness. “Currently, hospitals in England are seeing over 800 admissions with coronavirus every day and around a fifth of national intensive care beds are occupied by people with the disease. On top of that bed occupancy generally is around 93%, November saw record levels of 999 contacts and ambulance call-outs, and mental health, community and primary care services are all seeing high levels of demand. Also, staff sickness levels across the NHS are rising, particularly in London. This is all hap-

pening before January which tends to be the busiest month for frontline

NHS services. “The NHS is working incredibly hard to keep disruption to patient care to a minimum and its teams will continue to prioritise essential services alongside vaccinating at record levels against coronavirus but it is likely they will need further support. “The best thing the public can to is to continue to behave in ways that will keep themselves and others safe, including taking up the offer of a vaccine or booster if they are eligible.”

C&C at 95: “Move For Care” Fundraising Initiative Launched To Provide Sensory Gardens In Care Homes With 2021 marking 95 years since a public meeting chaired by Ada Chesterton helped raise £5,000 to launch predecessor company Cecil Houses, Central and Cecil Housing Trust (C&C) is announcing a special fundraising project to raise over five times that figure, with the aim of installing sensory gardens at each of its four care homes. The “Move for Care” initiative will invite C&C residents, colleagues and wider supporters to take part in two separate challenges that intend to attract donations and sponsorships which could enable the gardens to be built at the homes, which are situated in Richmond and Camden. The challenges set by C&C are: • January 2022: a month-long step challenge. This encourages participants to stay active and keep moving throughout the month of January, and also to raise awareness of the ‘extra mile’ our carers go daily to support residents. Participants will be encouraged to set realistic targets for themselves across a day, week, or the whole month – and C&C is hoping to record at least 9.5 million steps (equating to over 3,300 miles) across all who take part. • February 2022: a fortnight-long dance-a-thon. This will comprise in-per-

son and virtual dance activities, including two dedicated Facebook Live events. Participants will be given opportunities to take part in new activi-

ties such as Latin dance and freestyle dancing, along with more established styles including seated dance exercise classes and Zumba Gold. The aim of the initiative is to raise £25,000. Sponsorship and fundraising donations can be made online, while individuals and businesses keen to find out more about the project can get in touch by emailing Julia Ashley, C&C Chief Executive, said: “To celebrate 95 years of building communities and providing affordable homes in London, we really want to do something that residents, colleagues and the public alike can get involved in, while raising money for something special and life-changing for our care home residents. “The physical and mental health benefits associated with staying active cannot be overstated. In addition, “Move for Care” will be encouraging people of all ages to try something different and get moving at a time of year where it’s so easy to do little or no exercise. And there’s a huge fundraising incentive as well – as we hope the sensory gardens, which would provide amazing therapeutic outdoor spaces for residents to relax and enjoy, can become a reality.”

Residents at Local Worthing Care Home Get into the Festive Spirit Last Friday, residents at a local Worthing care home started to get into the festive spirit by celebrating Christmas Jumper Day. Caer Gwent, a residential nursing care home, saw lots of the residents participate in the day, donning their festive fleeces and jazzy jumpers to kick start a busy month of Christmas activities. Marking the 10th annual Christmas Jumper Day, this provided a great atmosphere and festive buzz in the residential care home. Clare Feest, Care Home Manager at Caer Gwent, said: “Everyone in Caer Gwent, whether a resident or member of staff, loves getting involved in anything Christmassy, and Christmas Jumper Day was no exception. Our residents get excited and really enjoy the events and merriment in the run up to Christmas. It’s lovely to have an opportunity to do and wear something different, come together for a good cause, and really turn up the festive feeling in our home.” Celebrating Christmas as an older person can provide many great benefits, whether living independently or in a residential care home.

Samantha Paynter, Activities Coordinator at Caer Gwent said: “Ensuring that our elderly loved ones are included in Christmas celebrations is so important, as it can have such a huge effect on their wellbeing.

“By arranging lots of activities and events over the Christmas period, we help to keep our residents entertained, in good company and high spirits and prevent loneliness or a decline in their mental health.” Sammy continued: “We aim to have several events every month to give our residents something to do and look forward to, but Christmas Jumper day is great for getting everyone in the spirit, and lots of our residents love children too, so they are thrilled to be doing something for a good cause that they care so much about.” The rest of the staff at Caer Gwent like to make Christmas an especially enjoyable time for the residents. Henry who works for the care home’s maintenance team, had previously built a dedicated Santa sleigh for residents and loved ones to use during visitations. Making it all by hand, Henry said: “Working in a care home is a real privilege, you get to meet lots of lovely people and their families and get to know their stories. Marking the start of all Christmas activity at Caer Gwent, this sleigh has already brought so many smiles to their faces so it is a gift that keeps on giving.”

Nursing Home Residents Delighted with Christmas Carol Visit from Sheffield School Children Northfield nursing home in Sheffield was the venue for a Christmas carol concert this week as students from Walkley Primary School visited to provide some festive cheer for the residents. 21 children attended after spending weeks practising the carols on their school lunch breaks and sang for the residents in the garden of the home. The children, aged 9-10, also made individual Christmas cards addressed to each of the residents which were delivered in person as a surprise for the delighted audience. Nicola Merriman, Housekeeper at Northfield nursing home, said: “The residents were thrilled to have a visit from local school children and their own carol concert in the home’s garden and they were absolutely over the moon with the Christmas cards. Some said they couldn’t wait for their families to visit so they could show them. It’s been another challenging year for our elderly and it was wonderful to see them all enjoy the visit from the children.” Jean Horton a resident Northfield added: “Wasn’t that a beautiful carol concert from those little children, I can’t get over

how good they were.” Sally Travis, Teacher at Walkley Primary School said: “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in some festive singing at the nursing home and delighted to be able to connect with our local community and spread some festive cheer to all the residents and staff. The Year 5 pupils have shown fantastic dedication by attending a choir practice during their lunch breaks. They’ve all been very excited to take part in the event!” Children from Walkley Primary School added: “I loved doing the singing because it’s a very generous things to do” – BW “I know how hard it is in care homes as I’ve been to visit people in care homes before and I did this to wish them a Merry Christmas” – TL “People say I’m good at singing and when I sing I’m happy and I wanted to put a smile on other peoples faces” – LM “It was a very nice thing to do and I wanted to make them laugh and smile when they can’t be with their own families” – KP


It Really is Time for a Fair Price for Care Says NCF The National Care Forum (NCF) the leading association of not for profit care and support providers welcomes the written ministerial statement from the Rt Hon. Gillian Keegan, MP – Minister for Care and Mental Health The statement relates to the Fair Cost of Care and Market Sustainability Fund: Purpose and Conditions for 2022-23 and provides the detail on how the Government will provide the £1.4bn over the next three years to support local authorities to prepare markets for reform and move towards paying social care providers a fair cost of care. Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the NCF says: “It is positive to see a clear narrative from the minister which recognises that the move to a fair price to care is an essential part of the reform to social care and a clear acknowledgement that ‘a significant number of local authorities are paying residential and domiciliary care providers less than it costs to deliver the care received’. “The statement is also clear about the Government’s determination that local authorities begin to take a firm step on the journey to move towards a fair price for care. The NCF have campaigned for this and highlighted just how the current system puts a huge burden on those who need, and are required to pay, for their own care and support under the existing means-testing arrangements. This has created and sustains a fundamentally unfair situation where people paying for their own care cross-subsidise the state. “The fair price for care cost exercises outlined in the statement are important and need to be done well, with an inclusive, open and transparent approach to recognising the full costs of high quality care. It is essential that this exercise is not simple tick box exercises. Local authorities must take the opportunity to work col-

laboratively with their social care providers to reset the dial on the fees they pay, and reach an honest and mutual agreement about a fully funded fair price for care that delivers high quality and accessible care for all who need it. “This Statement does however contain some alarm bells. Given that we are only at the start of this journey in determining the fair price for care, it is hard to understand how the DHSC has already stipulated an estimate of £600m funding for each of the following two years to address the unfair cross subsidy issue and move to a realistic fully funded fair price for care. Other estimates to address the shortfall in care funding have arrived at a figure closer to £7bn a year. The funding required to achieve this must be urgently reviewed in light of the outcome of the fair price for care cost exercises – not set before they are even carried out! “More detail is also needed on how the DHSC views the likely progress of individuals in their ability to exercise their requests under section 18.3 of the Care Act. The ambition to enable more people who fund their own care to ask their local authority to arrange care on their behalf to secure better value rests, fundamentally, on local authorities’ ability to pay a fair price for that care. Failure to do so will result in huge market instability and the closure of many services as they become financially unsustainable. “As the leading voice for the not for profit sector, we welcome the DHSC plans to work closely with the sector to develop the approach to the fair cost of care exercises. These are the foundation of the ambition to move to a fair price for care and we are looking forward to shaping an inclusive, accurate & honest approach to these.”

Ayrshire Care Home Staff Buy Presents for More than 40 Vulnerable Children STAFF from a Kilmarnock-based care home are organising a ‘Toy Drive’ which will see more than 40 local children get Christmas presents they would otherwise not have. Argyll House, which is part of Mansfield Care, are donating presents to East Ayrshire Women’s Aid, who will distribute them to children who suffer from domestic abuse. There are more than 200 children in the East Ayrshire area alone being supported by East Ayrshire Women’s Aid this Christmas. The charity aims to offer support and refuge for women, children and young people who have suffered directly or from the knock-on impact of domestic abuse. The idea came from the home’s team leader, Elaine Martin, who proposed the staff swap their Secret Santa giving for the charitable donation. Elaine of Argyll House, said: “We don’t need a Secret Santa, but every child deserves a Christmas. “I thought it was a good idea to get everyone involved in a good cause this year and to ditch the Secret Santa in order to really benefit children around East Ayrshire. “East Ayrshire Women’s Aid do incredible work – we have a very giving set of staff at Argyll House so it wasn’t hard to convince our 40-strong team to get involved and contribute to spread some festive cheer to those who may not get any presents at all. “We’ve already seen a great mix of presents from bath bombs to kids toys and pyjamas. We’re so pleased to have made a little difference this Christmas

with the help of East Ayrshire Women’s Aid.” Staff at the Ayrshire care home have picked tags from a bucket that has age and gender information on them and have purchased presents for the child described on their Toy Drive tag. Team Leader at East Ayrshire Women’s Aid, Caroline McKenzie said: “It’s amazing how generous people are. We’re so grateful to the staff at Argyll House for their incredibly kind donation, it really will go a long way. “By putting their money, time and effort into helping those suffering, they are going to make Christmas so much better for carers, parents and children suffering from domestic abuse. “Special occasions like Christmas often hold bad memories for children who suffer from domestic abuse as tensions often rise around this time of the year. East Ayrshire Women’s Aid are trying to change the perception of what Christmas means for these children. “We want to create new memories for the children who don’t usually get the best Christmas.” Children up to 16-years-old in and around the East Ayrshire community will benefit from the care home’s kindness this year and will have presents to open on Christmas Day. Elaine of Argyll House added: “All going well, this is something we are going to try to do every year instead of Secret Santa. It’s brought us closer together as a care home knowing that we’re improving so many children’s experience of the festive period.”


Potential Good News for the Care Sector By Jennifer Simpson, Senior Associate at Fragomen (

SHORTAGE OF CARE WORKERS The impact of the end of EEA Free Movement and the Coronavirus pandemic have led to a chronic scarcity of workers, particularly in the Social Care sector. As the shortage has deepened, it has become even clearer that employers need access to workers from overseas, to prevent more vulnerable people missing out on vital care. In March 2021 Senior Care Workers were added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), making it easier for employers to sponsor overseas care workers. It was a positive step towards making the immigration system accessible to the Social Care sector, but only a first step. As welcome as it was, it also highlighted that other care workers are not eligible for sponsorship under the current UK immigration system since they are not considered sufficiently skilled. Employers have had to find their workers locally or leave vacant jobs unfilled.

THE MAC’S RECOMMENDATION In its annual report published in December 2021, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) put the government on notice that policy needs to change. They recommended that “Care Workers and Home

Carers” be immediately added to the Health and Care Worker Visa route and to the SOL. Care workers account for over three quarters of the adult social care sector and therefore the potential impact of this is huge. It would, for example, allow for employers to sponsor care assistants, care workers and home care assistants. The MAC has almost completed a fuller independent review of the impact of the end of EEA Free Movement on the social care sector and will report back in April 2022. It sounds a lot like that final report will repeat their recommendation, potentially in even stronger terms. The MAC report also detailed the following historical difficulties faced by the sector: • Recruitment and retention is challenging; • Demand for care has increased due to an ageing population and increased prevalence of disability among working-age adults; • “Live in Carers” relied heavily on short term EEA workers to fill roles and now struggle to recruit and retain domestic workers due to the nature of the job and difficulties balancing it with family life. Since Senior Care Workers were added to the SOL in March 2021, the MAC has found a marked increase in applications under the immigration system during the course of 2021, up to around 400-500 per month. The MAC’s recommendation to add care workers to the SOL, if implemented by the government, is likely to also contribute to easing the current pressure many employers are facing. Navigating the requirements of a Health and Care Worker visa for care workers if the recommendations are implemented If the government implements the recommendations, sponsor licence holders should be able to sponsor care workers on the Health and Care Worker visa provided that: • the job on offer is at the required skill level – RQF 3 or above (A Level and equivalent); • the applicant works in an eligible health or social care job for an approved employer, and is a qualified adult social care professional; • the individual speaks English to the required standard; • they pay the minimum salary for the visa and the job – if care workers are added to the SOL that would be set at £20,480; and

• most likely, the candidate provides a criminal record certificate.

REDUCED VISA FEES Similar to senior care workers, other eligible care workers would be able to benefit from reduced immigration costs, and would not be subject to the immigration health surcharge if they meet the requirements of the Health and Care Worker visa.

THE DIAGNOSIS Whilst the Home Office would need to adopt the MAC’s recommendations into law in order for them to become effective, this represents a potential lifeline for many in the care sector and it is hoped the Government will adopt the MAC’s recommendation to help balance the supply and demand of care workers.

Rudolph Visits Local Care Home There was huge excitement at Hugh Myddelton House as Rudolf Santa’s reindeer came by to visit the residents ahead of their big night delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Staff and residents at Barchester’s Hugh Myddelton House care home, in Southgate, had a wonderful time learning about the very friendly reindeer with Kelly and Des from Performing Pets, finding out about his habits and what he likes to eat. Several of the residents got to feed the reindeer some of his favourite treats. Reindeers are natural foragers and would normally eat moss, ferns, grasses and leaves so a carrot is a rare treat for reindeer in the wild. General Manager, Ramona Stanciu said: “We had the best time with the reindeer, he is such gorgeous creature. Our residents loved spending time with him, I do hope he will come back to visit us soon.” John, resident at Hugh Myddelton House said: “It was so lovely to see the reindeer and get to stroke him, he was absolutely beautiful. We all loved feeding him carrots, which he devoured! I hope we haven’t made him too fat to take off on Christmas Eve!”

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree The gift of Christmas trees to a specialist dementia care home in Wellington has sparked a lot of enthusiasm for the upcoming festivities among residents. The two trees, which arrived courtesy of Langford Lakes Christmas Tree Farm, are now standing in the gardens of Camelot House and Lodge, in a spot close to the buildings where they can be viewed by residents through the lounge windows. Activities co-ordinator, Richard Dempslake, said: “We were just delighted to receive these trees as an early Christmas present and we are thankful to the good folk at Langford Lakes. “They are both lovely sturdy Nordman Fir trees which will withstand the wintery weather and be so beautiful to look out at. “Staff and residents alike thoroughly enjoyed decorating them, and being able to see all their lights glowing through the darkness is making us all feel very Christmassy.” Residents are also enjoying an engaging schedule of activities throughout December, including a visit from Wellington parish church, and many traditional creative activities that take people back to familiar pleasures

they enjoyed in their younger years, such as making Christmas cards, wreaths and baubles, and decorating gingerbread. Richard Dempslake said: “Music, which can play such an important role in the lives of people with dementia, is something we make the most of all year round but Christmas, of course, offers us the opportunity to join in with all the old festive favourites. “We are enjoying socially distanced visits from regular performers Rodney and Kelvin, as well as local saxophonist, Jeremy Huggett, who has been serenading us with seasonal music. “Plus Christmas karaoke, a nativity, a Christmas market, games and quizzes, lots of delicious food and drink, and – of course – a visit from Santa himself. “It keeps us on our toes!” The residents have also enjoyed visits this month from Poppy, a Pets As Therapy dog, and her owner Carole Taylor. Such visits are organised as often as possible because of the great therapeutic value stroking animals and birds is known to have for people living with dementia.


LGA Responds to New Community Funding to Encourage Vaccine Take-Up Responding to the Government’s £22.5 million funding announcement to help areas with low vaccine uptake encourage hard to reach people to come forward, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils continue to do all they can to keep their communities safe, while encouraging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and this extra funding will be helpful in persuading more people to come forward. “Rising Omicron cases mean that COVID-19 remains a serious public health threat and it is vital we all continue to do everything possible to protect ourselves and each other over the Christmas period. “Councils know their communities best and play an essential role in working

to reach people and groups who might be hesitant or least likely to come forward for a vaccine. “Getting our booster jabs will help minimise the spread, keep us on course for as close-to-normal Christmas as possible and prevent the NHS from coming under unsustainable pressure. “Directors of Public Health, working in councils, also need the necessary support, long-term resources and proper joint planning and agreement in advance of what is needed, to respond effectively to local outbreaks, ramp up local contract tracing efforts and increase vaccination uptake.”

Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL Says Thank You to All at the Lawn Care Home

At The Lawn, the Alton-based residential care home run by charity Friends of the Elderly, residents had a lovely surprise when TV gardening royalty and national treasure, Alan Titchmarsh, dropped in to say hello. Mr Titchmarsh was visiting The Lawn’s residents and care team in his official capacity as Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire to say thank you to everyone on behalf of the Hampshire Lieutenancy for all their hard work during the COVID pandemic and resulting lockdowns. During his visit, Mr Titchmarsh enjoyed a tour of the care home and its beautiful grounds, admiring the plants, shrubs, flowers and, of course, the lawn. Mr Titchmarsh, who made sure he had plenty of time to chat with residents, is no stranger to The Lawn as he last visited three years ago and said that: “The Lawn is just as bright, cheery and welcoming as I remember it.” For one Lawn resident, Kathie Baines, seeing Alan Titchmarsh during his visit was a reunion of sorts. She said: “Alan and I used to be neighbours – we lived next-door to each other on the beautiful Isle of Wight. I absolutely love gardening and always watched his TV programmes, so finding out he was my next-door neighbour was incredibly exciting. It was lovely seeing

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him again. He is extremely friendly, and it bought back many happy memories of my old home. Another resident, Dorothy Cory added: “Mr Titchmarsh looked very smart in his official uniform. I do so enjoy gardening and it was a pleasure to meet him.” Alina Gutu, the Care Home Manager at The Lawn said: “It was lovely to host Mr Titchmarsh during his visit. All the residents were so happy to meet him and were over the moon when he said how wonderful and well cared for the grounds – and especially the lawn – were. We did ask if he had any gardening tips for us and he graciously said “Keep on doing just what you’re doing,” that was such a compliment. “Like everyone, we have experienced difficult times during the pandemic, but we have worked hard to keep our residents safe, in touch with their loved ones and busy with activities. I am beyond proud of my team here at The Lawn as they have gone above and beyond to keep the resident’s spirits high whilst providing exceptional care. To receive thanks and appreciation from Alan Titchmarsh for our efforts really meant the world to all of us here.


Social Care And Recruitment: How Can We Reverse The Crisis?

With over 110,000 vacancies across the social care sector, we’re currently facing an acute recruitment and retention crisis. Vaccinations becoming a condition of deployment, Brexit, and burnout thanks to the pandemic have all contributed to people leaving the sector and a struggle to recruit new talent. Sam Rhodes, Recruitment Manager at the UK’s leading provider of specialist dementia care Vida Healthcare, shares her top tips for care home operators to develop a strong workplace culture and recruit and retain talent effectively. Invest in career opportunities: Employers who understand why providing opportunities for career development is important will be more successful in recruiting and retaining talent. Showing compassion and interest in the personal development of employees will create a positive workplace culture and working environment which retains existing staff and attracts new talent. Employers could invest in a training platform to provide learning resources and career development tools to help staff deliver best practice and identify new skills. Protecting mental health: Investment in mental health initiatives, such as a counselling service, mental health wellbeing sessions, or appointing a mental health leader, will ensure the health and wellbeing of staff is easier to maintain, and reduce pressures on services and the workforce. A mental health crisis within a care setting can lead to ineffective care

delivery, high staff turnover, and a place of work which doesn’t attract new talent. Keep staff connected: Connectivity with residents and their family members is crucial for staff. Opportunities to develop personal relationships with residents is important to engender trust and reduce stress,

while connectivity with family members enables staff to showcase the crucial work they’re doing. Connections with family members are also likely to drive positive testimonials which provide carers with a sense of achievement and purpose in what they’re doing. Connectivity can be generated in a number of ways, for example apps where staff can share pictures and videos of residents with their families. Understand recruitment: Social care employers which invest time in understanding the role of the recruitment process will generate greater opportunities to source and employ talented individuals. The recruitment process is also a key factor in confirming what potential staff and current colleagues are looking for from their workplace, whether it be mental health support or opportunities to socialise with service users, so that they can be supported effectively. Although recruitment and retention has been irreversibly changed, if reasonable steps are taken to ensure new and current staff are adequately supported and sufficiently supervised, we should begin to reverse the current crisis. We must take advantage of the progression we’ve experienced during the pandemic and ensure it doesn’t slow to reduce staff turnover and attract new talent to the sector. For more information about supporting carers at work and initiatives that can be put in place, please visit

St Fillans Care Home Achieve TikTok Fame! The team at St Fillans Care Home have recently started to use TikTok, a content-based application where people post videos, that mainly contain a voiceover or backing track. Over the last year, the app has become very popular, especially the videos of people dancing. With many keen dancers and singers around the home, the team at St Fillans decided to start creating TikTok videos to spread some of the love and cheer that they witness inside the home each day! After posting a couple of videos and receiving a few thousand views, the team realised how much people like to see this content. So they continued to make videos and involve the people they care for. Recently, the team filmed a video of Sally and her friend Sylvia dancing in the corridor to Neon Moon by Brooks and Dunn. The video helped to showcase that despite the current climate and concerns in the world at the moment, people living in St Fillans still remain happy and find moments to have fun together!

This video became popular very quickly, with thousands of views on the video appearing in a very short space of time! The supportive comments from people all over the world were so pleasing to the team and people living at St Fillans. Since being posted, the video has now received an incredible 1.2 million views and over 122,000 likes. This is a huge achievement for the home and the people who live there, so they will be continuing to post clips of the wonderful things that take place at St Fillans every day. Sam is a Lifestyle Coordinator at St Fillans Care Home and the person who films all of their TikTok content. In response to this latest video reaching over a million views, she said, “I just can't believe it! Sally loves to be a part of these videos and is also astounded by how many people have watched them. Sally’s daughter saw the video when she was scrolling through TikTok one day and she couldn’t quite believe how much of a star her mum is.” Go here to see St Fillans latest Tik Tok. -

TLC Benefit from Tympa's All-in-One Hearing Health Assessment System TLC Care provides care to hundreds of residents across North London, Hertfordshire, Cambridge and Surrey. Many residents in care homes suffer from hearing loss without being diagnosed, they may be completely unaware of their condition. Sometimes the residents who suffer from hearing loss are at risk of withdrawing from activities in daily life as they find it hard to engage with other residents and family members. One of the biggest problems faced in the care sector is access to specialist services, such as ear and hearing health services. Care home staff lack the training and tools necessary to assess residents’ ears, so they must organise GP and hospital appointments. This requires extra staffing time and cost, increases the risk of falls, outside infection and distress to the resident, especially if they have dementia. What’s more, because the NHS is under a lot of pressure at the moment, most patients are facing substantial wait times before they can attend their appointment. “There has always been a problem getting any sort of services because they are not classed as emergency services, getting somebody's hearing loss checked, it can take weeks, or even months.” – Pradeep D’Cruz, TLC Care Home Manager TLC Care continuously strive to deliver outstanding care and enhanced wellbeing to their residents. They were the first care operator in England to look for a better way to deliver this care to their residents. They wanted an innovative solution to provide in-house ear and hearing healthcare for their residents. As a result, TLC decided to trial the Tympa system – a portable, allin-one hearing health assessment device. It enables residents to undergo digital otoscopy, microsuction wax removal and a hearing screener all in the comfort of the care home. TLC team members deliver the service so the resident already knows and trusts that person, and is happy to undergo an assessment. What’s more, residents can receive this care from anywhere within the home, whether that be from an arm-

chair, a wheelchair, or in bed. In doing so, many of the associated risks of attending outpatient appointments can be avoided. “The familiar surroundings is what really makes her comfortable…every time we mention the hospital to her, it’s no, no I’m not going to the hospital. So having it looked after here and having some people that understand what the problem with the ear is, is a great thing for me.” – Son of TLC Care Resident Delivering this service not only helps to provide an extra level of care for residents but offers a unique upskilling opportunity for care home staff. TLC team members were directly trained by TympaHealth, who are a team of Audiology and ENT experts. Once signed off, TLC team members are empowered to deliver this service to their residents. What’s more they are accredited by ENT UK, The British Society of Audiology (BSA) and The British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA). Arguably, the most important part of this in-house service is the

“remote review” feature. If required, TLC team members can call upon expertise from Tympa’s team of Audiology and ENT experts. If a review is requested, an Audiologist or ENT will look at the patient’s images and video and can provide support with diagnosis, and guidance given. This means residents have access to specialist care without the need to wait for and attend an outpatient appointment. It is even possible to send images and video of a resident’s ear directly to a GP, who is then able to prescribe directly, without the need to assess the resident in person or wait for an appointment. Thanks to this innovative new solution TLC can now provide an extra level of care to residents. It’s not just wax removal, but cleaning and maintaining hearing aids, carrying out regular hearing assessments, and providing instant access to care when needed. Residents remain engaged and active in the care home community and staff can more easily communicate with residents, making their job much easier. After a successful trial using the Tympa system, TLC are now expanding from 3 homes to all TLC Care homes. It has been an overwhelming success and the residents, staff and family members all approve of the new service. The Tympa system is revolutionising the way care home residents access ear and hearing health services. Bringing these services into the home ensures residents receive outstanding care whilst minimising any risks. The aim should be for this approach to be adopted more widely across the care sector so more residents can benefit from vastly improved ear and hearing health. Find out how you can bring TympaHealth services to your care home at or by contacting and one of the Tympa team will be in touch. You can see the Tympa system in action at


New Data Analyses Adult Social Care Workforce, Pay and Opportunities By Region New data released by Skills for Care breaks down vital intelligence about the adult social care sector and workforce for each region in England. Following the release of the latest ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report in October, the organisation has now released specific data insights for each region. The insights include mean pay, turnover rates, number of jobs, vacancy rates, qualifications, and the demographic make-up of the sector for each region in England. The data finds that the South East has the highest number of people working in the sector, at 241,000 people. The South East also has the highest number of adult social care jobs (filled posts) at 260,000. Vacancy and turnover rates across the country paint a mixed picture. In London, the vacancy rate is highest at 8.9%, closely followed by the Eastern region with 8%. However, in Yorkshire and Humber the vacancy rate for 2020-21 sits at just 5%. Turnover rates proved highest in the Eastern region at 30.9% and lowest in the North East at 25%.

Looking at mean pay rates, London offers the highest mean pay rate for care workers and managerial roles, both within local authority and independent provider roles. The mean pay for a care worker employed by the local authority in London is £13.55 while for independent providers this is £9.70. For mana-

gerial roles the mean pay for local authorities is £27.01 or £14.74 if working for an independent provider. It’s not unexpected that pay rates would be higher in the capital, but outside of London, it’s the South West and South East regions who offer the highest pay rates. For independent provider care worker roles the South East offers the highest mean pay at £9.46. The South East also offers the highest mean pay for managerial positions outside of London across both local authority and independent provider roles at £20.99 and £14.51 respectively. The South West offers the highest pay for local authority care worker roles at £10.92. Skills for Care produces this intelligence from the crucial contributions that care providers make to the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set. This data helps adult social care stakeholders understand the workforce on a local level and helps them to make informed decisions around regional support.

Newcastle Care Home Residents Go Global Residents at Ashton Court care home in Newcastle have ‘gone international’ after their partnership with an Australian nursery school prompted a ‘friend request’ from a Spanish secondary school. After engaging on the Christmas Card Exchange Worldwide 2021 Facebook group the care home received many responses, from as far away as the USA, Netherlands, and Australia. Residents will be exchanging Christmas cards with everyone who replied to the home’s post and are creating special Newcastle-themed cards and calendars for the youngsters at the Barngeong Reserve Kindergarten in Croydon, Victoria. Now IES La Fresneda, a secondary school in Asturias in northern Spain, has contacted the home to exchange Christmas cards as the first step to forging a partnership to

enhance both the residents’ and the students’ experiences. They hope to keep in touch through online chats to exchange stories that bridge the age gap and help the pupils learn to communicate with people in different languages and from different cultures. Nikki Foggin, activity co-ordinator at Ashton Court said: “We were delighted when Carol Rodriguez from the school’s English department got in touch. “We’ve had such fun creating Christmas cards for all of our international friends and to take this one step further with the young people from IES La Fresneda will be wonderful for our residents. “I think we will learn as much as the students from the interaction and am really looking forward to hearing all about life in Spain. Perhaps we will even be invited to visit!”

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Ministers Accused of Failing to Understand Care ANGRY care providers have accused Government ministers of failing to grasp the crisis facing the care of the country’s oldest and most vulnerable. The Independent Care Group (ICG) said Care Minister Gillian Keegan and Migration Minister Kevin Foster should spend time on the frontline of care before making ‘ill-judged’ remarks. Providers want the Government to allow them to recruit staff from overseas again, as other sectors now can, to ease a growing staffing crisis. But Mr Foster told the BBC, “businesses need to make long-term investments in the UK domestic workforce, including offering hardworking care workers the rewarding packages they deserve.”And Mrs Keegan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there was always about 100,000 vacancies in social care, because of the growing demand for care. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “These comments show a total lack of understanding and disregard for social care providers. “Mr Foster clearly does not see that care providers would love to reward their staff better but, thanks to his Government, are instead facing a fight for survival. “And Mrs Keegan suggests that 100,000 vacancies in the sector is due to increasing demand rather than a

lack of funding within care to help us fill them.

“Social care has been chronically under-funded for a generation and the rigours of Covid-19 has left it on its knees, struggling to provide care for our oldest and most vulnerable in care and nursing homes and in their own homes. “Financial cutback after financial cutback has left the provision of care in tatters, with £6bn cut since 2010, 1.5m people living without the care they need and closer to 120,000 staff vacancies. “The Government, and previous governments before this one, have failed social care time and time again, showing the same failure to grasp the simple equation that if you don’t fund social care properly it will fail. “Instead of supporting the sector, the Government has robbed social care of the ability to recruit staff from overseas, post Brexit, to bail out the sector as it struggles with its worst-ever staffing shortages. “And by imposing the ‘no jab, no job’ policy, it has added up to 60,000 more staff vacancies to the 120,000 that already existed. “I would urge Government ministers to spend some time on the frontline of care delivery before making any further ill-judged and unhelpful remarks.”

Pet Therapy Provides Lift to Hamilton Care Home Residents Elderly residents at a Hamilton care home have had a surprise visit from mobile petting zoo Bunny & Co, which had previously visited the home to the delight of residents. Staff at the Avonbridge Care Home arranged for a menagerie of pets, with rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, ducks and chickens to spend the afternoon at the home being petted, fed treats and generally doted upon. Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Interacting with a friendly pet has been proven to help improve physical and mental wellbeing and even reduce blood pressure. Spending time relaxing with animals causes people to release endorphins, a hormone which produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain,

reduce stress, and improve overall psychological state. Emma Duffy, home manager at Avonbridge, said: “It was so nice to see the smiles on our residents faces when they found out that Bunny & Co was visiting. There is nothing better than enjoying a cuddle with a fluffy animal, especially when some of our residents have not been able to enjoy as much physical contact with their own family pets as they would have liked due to the Covid restrictions. “I’ve seen first-hand the lift that pets give to residents. Even those who aren’t able to hold the animals enjoy just being in the same room and watching them interact with other residents.”


Tackling Social Isolation Needs Education and Collaboration

By Glen Ocskó, Head of Local Government, Made Tech (

Social isolation affects individuals, friends, families and communities all over the UK and it’s an issue that’s heightened over the festive period and long winter months. Though friends, families, neighbours and charities all help reduce the impact of social isolation, one of the biggest challenges to local government is tackling this issue while experiencing increasing pressure on social care services. Services and budgets are increasingly strained and, even with the recent funding announcements from the government, we’re unlikely to see this pressure release. Combined with an ageing population that is becoming more reliant on self-funded care, this will lead to many deciding that they can't afford to seek help. This perfect storm will only increase isolation and make it harder to address. The recommendations from the recent People at the Heart of Care white paper does provide guidance and actions to help councils tackle adult social care challenges. One of the major announcements in it was investment of at least £150 million over the next three years to drive digitisation, which was welcomed by Alice Ainsworth, the Deputy Director for Adult Social Care technology policy at NHSX, who believes that digital technology is making the provision of social care more efficient.

LEARNING FROM OTHERS There is a lot that councils can do to quickly identify those that need or can’t afford support and intervene at the earliest point. If local authorities want to find new ways to tackle social isolation, digital platforms are a great place to start, particularly when looking at how they have been used in other sectors. For example, at the height of the pandemic, hospitals used video technology to allow patients to still see friends and family virtually. These tools let ward staff schedule digital meetings between patients and loved

ones through video links so they can see and talk to each other, no matter where they are, while staying safe from COVID. The success of virtual visits in hospitals could easily be replicated elsewhere to tackle social isolation. Councils can give at-risk residents technology such as laptops or tablets, and put in place a scheduling system of volunteers and council staff to keep in contact. Then, valuable social interactions can happen easily and safely.

THE POWER OF DATA At the same time, local authorities can take advantage of the wealth of valuable data they already hold from services to identify people who may be isolated. This allows them to act before the situation worsens. Services such as housing repairs can give us invaluable data that can be used to help people most in need. By analysing data to find those who haven’t asked for repairs in some time, and checking it against lists of vulnerable adults, we can identify people who may be in urgent need of housing help, but who, for whatever reason, have been unable to ask for it. With a more joined-up approach to data, those who may be socially isolated can be helped much sooner.

WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE GREATER GOOD Finally, collaboration with the voluntary community is important to tackling social isolation. Charities and voluntary groups work hard to tackle similar issues to local authorities, including social isolation, but all too often this work isn’t as joined up as it could be. This shouldn’t be the case. By pooling capabilities and funding, these sectors could work better to help isolated people. Social isolation affects so many people. Despite the limitations forced on them, councils must find ways to provide support quickly, and with minimum effort for those in need. By combining data and digital services, learning from other sectors, and working with charities and the voluntary community, local authorities can take huge strides in reducing social isolation in their communities. Let’s kick off the new year by asking ourselves this question: how can we make our data work harder to help those most in need?

Social Care Charity Launches Free Wellbeing Toolkit for People with Learning Disabilities One of the UK’s largest social care charities, Community Integrated Care, has launched a free wellbeing resource for people with learning disabilities and autism, inspired by the Rugby League World Cup. Created in collaboration with the Rugby League World Cup, the toolkit provides guidance to support people to create special Walking for Wellbeing groups and shares top tips to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. From mindfulness techniques to meal planning, the toolkit also provides a month-by-month guide to help people build upon skills that can lead to improved physical and mental wellbeing. The toolkit has been specifically designed to engage people who access social care and support services, however people of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from this guide – including schools, community groups, amateur rugby league teams, or simply groups of friends who want to get active together. The guide kicks off in January, where users are challenged to reflect on the past year, set themselves New Year’s Resolutions and plan their first ‘Walk for Wellbeing’ for 2022. John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said: “We’re excited to share our Walking for Wellbeing Toolkit for 2022

best lives possible.” Oliver Thomason, Sports Inclusion Assistant at Community Integrated Care shared his thoughts on the guide: “Our new Walking for Wellbeing toolkit is a fantastic way to get started on your New Year’s Resolutions and try something new – there’s something for everyone to get involved with. I found the guide really helpful as there are some great ideas on how to live a healthier and look forward to seeing the people we support and our wider communities getting involved in the exciting challenges that we’ve created for people throughout the year. We hope that this will be a valuable resource, not only for people in our charity, but for anyone who would like to improve their mental and physical wellbeing as one of their New Year’s Resolution too. We already have groups across the country participating in the project, who began their wellbeing journeys last year, and it will be fantastic to see this initiative reach even more people over the coming months. We’d like to say a huge thank you to our partners at the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and Sport England, for making these opportunities possible – and as a result, helping us ensure that the people we support have access to incredible experiences and live the

lifestyle – from getting enough sleep to being outside more and looking after your mental wellbeing. It’s also really good fun to take part in the activities each month and I am already excited about setting myself some new goals in January. I can’t wait for others to give it a go too and to see how different walking groups take on the monthly challenges.” The resource has been created as part of Community Integrated Care’s ground-breaking partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and Sport England, which aims to change lives, promote inclusion and create greater opportunities in communities for people with care and support needs. The guide is free to download at

Cleva Launches to Bring Fintech Revolution to the Care Sector Cleva, a fintech developed for the home care sector, has launched its payments system for home care agencies – bringing a safe, quick and easy way for carers to shop and handle expenses for people under their care using a single card, and removing the hassle and admin of using cash. The new system brings proven technology developed by a leading UK-fintech to a whole new market, enabling care agency staff to spend more time looking after the clients they care for, and ensuring transparency of payments for both those under care and their families. Cleva is available for care agencies today and additional information can be found at Cleva provides every client with a digital wallet which can be loaded and monitored by them and their family. Each care worker then has a single Cleva Mastercard prepaid debit card which they can use for all of their clients, and an app which allows them to select a client’s digital wallet and spend on their behalf. Until now, carers have had to juggle petty cash, paper receipts and allocating correct change for each of their clients – which is complex and time-consuming to manage when buying items for multiple clients at once. “The core business of care agencies is to look after their clients and dealing with petty cash means they

have less time to do that. In particular, when looking after multiple people, the manual payment reconciliation alone creates piles of unnecessary admin,” said Tom Bishop, CMO at Cleva. “We built Cleva to solve this issue using the same fintech approach which has revolutionised payments for consumers in the UK. Cleva delivers a better way, saving time and hassle for carers while also giving peace of mind to agencies, their clients and their families.” Cleva significantly eases agencies’ time and cost of managing a remote team of care workers by providing the care agency with a comprehensive web-based management system that allows full oversight of all payments and usage. The prepaid debit cards can be activated, deactivated and topped-up with funds without the need to divert the care worker to visit the local office. Security features include a range of payment restrictions, preventing payments being made across certain controlled areas including gambling and adult services, alerts when payments are made on the card, and full oversight of card usage by both the client, their family and the care agency.About Cleva Cleva is the first fintech developed specifically for the care sector bringing a safe, quick, and easy way for carers to make payments and buy things for the multiple people under their care all using a single managed prepaid card - removing the hassle and admin associated with using cash. Cleva brings proven technology developed by a leading UK-fintech to the care sector, enabling carers to spend more time looking after the clients they care for, and ensuring transparency of payments for both those under care and their families. Cleva is available for care agencies today and additional information can be found at The Cleva card is issued by Transact Payments Limited pursuant to licence by Mastercard International Incorporated. Transact Payments Limited is authorised and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.


Restoring Confidence in Care Professor Martin Green OBE is an Expert Advisory Council member for P&G Professional and the Chief Executive of Care England As we move into a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is seductive to think that it is now all over - but that is far from the truth. COVID-19 is still with us, and even though we now have vaccines and improved treatments, there is still a significant danger to people who are older, frail, or living with a longterm condition. It is absolutely vital that care providers do not lower their guard, but continue to focus on rigorous infection control and cleanliness regimes. The events of the last 18 months have thrust the issue of hygiene and infection control to the front of people’s minds. This is particularly true in the care sector, which has seen some of the worst consequences of this dreadful health emergency. One of the most important changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has produced in our sector is the way in which cleanliness and hygiene,

which was always important, has now become a top priority and moved to the centre stage for every single care provider. Care providers know they have to deliver high levels of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control not just as this is the key to the protection of their residents and staff, but also because it gives families and loved ones peace of mind. Families and loved ones have been so concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the people they love and have not been able to go into care homes to see their family members because of the fear of bringing Covid-19 into a care service. The Care Quality Commission, the regulator for the care sector, has also focused on the issues of hygiene in care services, and is asking care providers to prove that their cleaning regimes are offering the maximum protection for people who use services. Customer confidence has also been significantly hit during the last 18 months and it is now important that care providers build back customers’ trust by showing that care services are safe, providing the best possible environment for people with long-term conditions and complex needs. A recent report revealed 31% of the public would be less likely to choose residential care for their loved ones - this was partly as a result of the pandemic, which has had a huge impact on care services. The research also showed a heightened awareness of cleanliness and hygiene among the public - these were issues they were going to ask care providers specifically about when making decisions about which care service to choose.

The pandemic has really changed people’s views on cleaning and infection control. Previously, cleaning was sometimes seen as a supplementary activity, but now it has to be part of any businesses long-term plan. The training and development of the cleaning team is also an important part of ensuring that there is a systematic approach to infection control. As well as all the issues around ensuring services are safe, there is also a need to deliver a homely and familiar environment for residents. Many of the products that care homes use are familiar to residents and their families. This really helps to create a feeling of normality and homeliness, particularly for those who may be living with dementia. If a resident or family goes into a care home and sees familiar brands - such as Fairy Professional, Ariel Professional, or Bold Professional - it brings a feeling of familiarity. The smells associated with particular products are also very important for establishing a normal existence, particularly for people living with dementia. Brands such as P&G Professional have a long history of working in the care sector, and not only do they provide products that are good value, but they also ensure that the highest level of infection control and cleanliness is delivered in a way that is easy to administer. Products such as Flash Professional give real assurance around infection control because residents and families know and trust the product and its efficacy. This enables care providers to develop a planned and systematic approach to the cleaning of hard surfaces, improving efficiency and giving confidence to the cleaning team that the war against infection is being won, in turn helping businesses to thrive.

Signature At Ascot Care Home Set To Welcome ‘Voice Kids’ Star On Christmas Day brations with gift-giving, followed by champagne and canapes to accompany Leah’s singing taking the necessary COVID-19 precautions. As the day progresses, they will sit down to a traditional Christmas lunch prepared by the wonderful catering team at the care home, before enjoying a festive film in the afternoon. Throughout the day residents will also be visited by loved ones to celebrate the festivities with one another. Speaking ahead of Leah’s visit, General Manager at Signature at Ascot, Raina Jordan, said: “Leah has visited our home before, and the residents loved hearing her beautiful voice. We are so happy and appreciative that Leah is giving up part of her Christmas Day to sing for our residents.” Pam Gyngell, a resident at the care home, added: “It’s lovely to hear young people sing and it lifts the spirits, especially at Christmas time.”

Signature at Ascot will be welcoming ‘Voice Kids’ UK star Leah Jewel this Christmas, with the former contestant set to sing for residents on 25th December. Leah was the youngest contestant in the ‘Voice Kids’ UK Series 1, where both Pixie Lott and WILL.I.AM turned around in their famous red chairs during her blind audition in a hope that she would join their team. After joining pop star Pixie Lott, Leah progressed through to the battle round of the show. And now, the singing star is set to perform for residents at Signature at Ascot after her Manager got in touch with the care home. Following the challenges of the pandemic, Leah was eager to do her part to make their Christmas as special as possible, whilst using the occasion to build her own confidence back up after the lockdown period. To mark the big day, residents will start off their Christmas cele-

Moneypenny Launches Free Inbound Call Handling Guide For Care Professionals A free guide has been launched to help care professionals improve their approach to inbound call handling. Moneypenny, the leading outsourced communications provider which handles 50,000 interactions for UK care providers each year, has compiled the handy eight-step guide to help care providers review inbound call handling practices and find ways to improve efficiencies and reputation. Stephanie Vaughan-Jones, head of the health and care sector at Moneypenny said: “Lots of care providers view answering the phone as something that just happens, rather than an important communications activity that requires a strategy of its own. “This guide is intended to help domiciliary providers as well as nursing and care homes think more closely about the caller journey and how the quality of call handling can impact their ability to attract customers and project a professional and caring image. It’s also super important

when trying to recruit new staff – a challenge the care industry is really grappling with right now. If phones are ringing out or not being answered quickly enough, care providers could lose out on interested new recruits and the best talent.” The guide’s contents address why effective inbound call management matters, the importance of goal setting and benchmarks and the eight strategic steps to devising a call management strategy. Stephanie added: “We know first-hand that many care providers find call handling difficult. Often, they don’t have adequate resource and so

care givers are expected to chip in with answering ringing phones. This just isn’t effective use of their time, particularly for a sector which is already understaffed.” The guide is available to download for free on Moneypenny’s website Moneypenny provides telephone answering, live chat, outsourced switchboard and customer contact solutions to hundreds of care providers across the UK, thanks to its dedicated team of 41 healthcare receptionists. In total, more than 13,000 businesses across the UK benefit from Moneypenny’s mix of extraordinary people and ground-breaking technology. For more information about Moneypenny’s work in the health and care sector visit:

Celebrating 25 Years of Commendable Service at Old Gates On 9th December, everyone at HC-One’s Old Gates residential, nursing and nursing dementia care home, in Blackburn, celebrated with Home Manager Helen and her 25 years of service. On behalf of Old Gates, colleagues would like to say how grateful they are to have such a well-respected and wonderful person leading the team. She is kind, caring and compassionate; determined and dedicated to her whole team. Helen has been a pillar of strength and support to Old Gates colleagues and its residents. She inspires those who work for her, with her knowledge and wisdom, warm heart, and unimaginable strength. One reception colleague commented, “We are privileged and proud to have our very own wonder woman! Thank you Helen and we hope that we have many more

years. Enjoy the champagne, it’s more than deserved!” The residents liked how happy Helen was and seeing how appreciated she is. They enjoyed being part of congratulating her on such an achievement! Tommy, who is a resident at Old Gates admired all the gifts and balloons, commented, “Oh my goodness, that’s lovely that is, how nice! Hope someone got a picture.” Helen commented, “I have been involved with Old Gates Care Home for several years and returned on a fulltime basis as Home Manager in 2018. I love this care home and hope to be here for many more years. Let us see what the future brings for Old Gates together.”


NHS Leaders are Preparing for a “Dangerous Situation” Responding to the Prime Minister's confirmation that further restrictions in England will

NHS leaders are preparing for a dangerous situation in which rising patient numbers

not be brought in before Christmas but that further measures after Christmas cannot be

coincide with rising numbers of NHS staff off sick. That is why we must monitor the situa-

ruled out, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

tion daily and stand ready to respond to changing evidence.

“It remains a question of when rather than if further restrictions will be brought in to curb the rapid spread of Omicron.

“The best thing the public can do is to continue to behave in ways that will keep themselves and others safe, including taking up the offer of a vaccine or booster if they are

“While it is for the Government to decide national policy on Covid restrictions, many


Dancers Wow Dorset Care Home Resident Joan with Ballroom and Latin Show A dazzling afternoon of ballroom and Latin dance performances has brought back happy memories for a former dancer living at a Dorset care home. Joan Whelan was even inspired to revisit a few moves herself under careful guidance from staff at Colten Care’s Brook View in West Moors. The show by Bournemouth dance duo Just the Two of Us - otherwise known as Tanya Hutton and Graham Cooper - was organised specially for Joan after she expressed a heartfelt wish to see a live performance and possibly dance again. Tanya and Graham describe themselves as ‘social dancers’ and have been performing seriously for around three years, giving them the confidence to dance in front of care home residents. At Brook View, they split the afternoon into two sessions. The first focused on ballroom and featured demonstrations of waltz, quickstep, foxtrot and tango while the second was devoted to the Latin rhythms of rhumba, chachacha and jive. Their soundtrack, played over a smart speaker, featured well known tunes such as Nat King Cole’s Let There Be Love and Brenda Lee’s

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.

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Asked what she thought of Tanya and Graham’s dancing, Joan said: “It was absolutely spot on. I give it a definite thumbs-up.” Joan, whose favourite dance is the foxtrot, had dance lessons when she was growing up in Birmingham and went on to perform in a troupe that went on national tours, taking in hotels, village halls and seaside resort venues. After retirement and a move to Ferndown, Joan continued to perform at events such as community tea dances. After their show and taking time to help Joan revisit some dance moves herself, Tanya and Graham said the visit had been hugely enjoyable. Tanya said: “It just goes to prove that dance really is for everybody, no matter your age. Dance is a great way to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing as you get older while having fun at the same time. It can be both invigorating and therapeutic.” Graham agreed, adding: “You’re never too old to try out a move or two. We loved meeting Joan and the other residents and hopefully brought back some happy memories for them.”


1.5 Million Top-Up Jabs Recorded in NHS ‘Blockbooster’ Weekend The NHS in England gave out more than 1.5 million booster jabs over Saturday and Sunday in the biggest weekend for the COVID vaccination programme so far. With 830,403 top-up doses registered during an all-time record 24 hour period on Saturday and a further 726,195 yesterday, the nation’s top medic hailed people for coming forward to get protected against Omicron and urged the country to ‘keep up the pace’ in booking boosters. In the week since the Prime Minister declared the fight against Omicron a national mission, NHS staff and volunteers have stepped up and delivered more than 4.6 million doses of the COVID booster vaccine, a full 85% more than the previous seven days. The NHS has also delivered over one million first and second doses in December so far. Some 443,919 first doses and 568,129 second doses in December have been delivered as people continue to come forward for their initial jabs with vaccinations offering the best protection against coronavirus. Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “We’ve seen a remarkable response from the country in the past week as people surged forward for boosters, and soaring public enthusiasm has been more than matched by NHS staff and volunteer effort, with over 4.6 million boosters given in the past week.

“A record week has been topped off with a blockbooster weekend but the job is not done and my message to the country is keep up the pace in coming forward and booking your top-up, as it’s the best weapon in the arsenal against omicron”. The 1,556,598 booster doses recorded over Saturday and Sunday far

outstrips the next highest delivery weekend, seen on December 11 and 12, with the booster blockbuster 48 hours seeing 90% more top-ups registered. More than 107 million vaccinations, including more than 24 million boosters, have been delivered since the NHS in England made history when Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial, in Coventry in December 2020. The NHS is urging everyone who is eligible – 3 months on from their second jab – to get their booster as soon as possible Every eligible adult can now book in for their lifesaving jab online and given some sites remain busy, the NHS is encouraging people to book in to guarantee their slot. Appointments continue to be available over the festive period. The NHS has outlined detailed plans to accelerate the COVID-19 booster programme with extended opening hours as part of plans to protect the nation against the new Omicron variant. More pop-up sites will be coming online with local areas looking at the most convenient sites for their communities – from trucks and buses in parks and cathedrals to football stadiums and leisure centres. There are now around 3,000 sites across the country, which includes double the number of hospitals offering jabs to the public – going from 30 to 71 in two weeks.

Friends of the Elderly’s Care Home Residents Enjoy a Festive COVID-Safe Pantomime In the run up to Christmas, residents at Little Bramingham Farm, the Luton-based care home run by charity Friends of the Elderly have been getting into the Christmas spirit and enjoying a wonderful Christmas tradition – a festive COVID-safe pantomime performance. Thanks to specialised screens installed in the home, residents were able to enjoy the performance safely. Karen Charity, the Activities Coordinator at Little Bramingham Farm said: “Everyone here loves to make sure our residents have a lovely Christmas and thoroughly enjoy engaging with them in a wide range of yuletide activities. We wanted to give our residents the opportunity to enjoy a live pantomime show whilst ensuring their safety and wellbeing at all times. “To accommodate a COVID-safe performance and alleviate any physical contact, we put up large, Perspex screens between our Conservatory and Dining Room, with windows and doors open for ventilation. The actresses provided us with proof of vaccination, negative lateral flow tests and performed in the Conservatory area – all wearing microphones and clear face masks – and our residents were all comfortably seated in the Dining Room. Our Conservatory was a perfect location as the performers were able to access the stage area directly

The Little Bramingham Farm care team arranged for the residents to be treated to a magical production of the panto classic, Aladdin. It’s a story of the lovable street urchin who meets Princess Jasmine, the beautiful daughter of the Sultan of Agrabah. Aladdin gets entangled with the wicked sorcerer Jafar who sends him into the mystical Cave of Wonders to retrieve a coveted magic lamp. However, Aladdin outsmarts Jafar and unleashes the trapped genie himself who grants him three wishes. It’s an epic tale of good versus evil which ends with Aladdin saving the kingdom and winning the heart of Princess Jasmine. Emma Lawrance, the Manager at Little Bramingham Farm said: “It was a great show, it really got us all in the Christmas spirit. All our residents had a great time and joined in with the traditional panto gags and heckles. I love the good old panto jokes and a few had me laughing out loud. ‘What kind of pet does Aladdin have? A flying car-pet’ and ‘What kind of car does Aladdin drive? A LamborGENIE’. It was fantastic from the garden and didn’t need to go through the care home.”

to see and hear all our residents having a lovely afternoon. It was a real Christmas treat for everyone.”

Dementia-friendly Video Platform Alive On Demand Nominated for Technology Award for Markel’s 3rd Sector Care Awards Alive On Demand has been nominated as a finalist for the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards under the category of “Technology Award”. This nomination is in recognition of the dementia-friendly video platform, created by Bristol-based activities charity, Alive Activities. The prestigious awards recognise the hard work, dedication, innovation and excellence of those working in the not-for-profit sector who are making a positive impact on people’s lives. Alive On Demand is a video streaming platform with over 200 unique videos designed by and for older people. This platform has been designed with activities staff, care staff, carers and loved ones in mind to better engage, spark conversation and learn more about individual and group interests. Each video comes with a variety of additional activity resources to maintain and nurture engagement. These resources turn an engaging video into well rounded activity. The platform allows you to search for content based on the viewer’s level of dementia, their personal interests and the amount of time they have to enjoy the video. The videos are designed to be a mixture of learning, entertainment and reminiscence with questions that guide group discussion and one to one conversation. Alive On Demand is accessible through a browser on the internet and can be enjoyed through both Android and iOS apps. Viewing these through the apps also means that each video can be viewed offline, in areas with no WiFi.

The platform was born out of the need for specifically curated video content for older people, that is available whenever suits the busy lives of carers, both at home and in care homes. Following extensive consultations with older people, including specific information on what places and activities they would like to engage with, Alive On Demand was built with its audience at the centre. The platform has already been successfully running at several care homes, including Holcroft Grange Care Home in Culcheth, Warrington. Activities Coordinator Nicola shared that after watching the video “Will’s Cigarettes”, "the conversations that came after (the video) were incredible. It's absolutely brilliant for reminiscence because, of course, everyone smoked back in the day". She also shared that after watching this video, the residents yearned for more and asked if they could then watch the slow TV video of a steam train. In response to being nominated, project Manager Emma Dyer shared that, “It’s a real honour to be nominated for this award. Alive On Demand is the culmination of many years of delivering activities and having adventures with older people. When lockdown hit, we knew we didn’t want people to lose touch with what is important to them. It’s fantastic to see how much joy Alive on Demand has been able to bring to people through a screen. Whether we win or not, we are grateful for the recognition of the efforts we are making to improve the lives of older people.” See page 35 for further details.


BMA Warns NHS Could Face Almost 50,000 Staff Off Sick with Covid-19 by Christmas Day There could be almost 50,000 doctors, nurses and other NHS staff in England off sick with Covid-19 by Christmas Day, if the Government fails to introduce any further measures1 to stop the spread of the virus, the BMA warns today. This would have a devastating impact on the ability of the health service to provide even the most urgent care. Based on an analysis2 of current case numbers and trends, and applying these to the total NHS workforce in England, even in the best case scenario, the BMA estimates that more than 32,000 staff could be off sick with the virus on 25 December, having tested positive in the 10 days before. In the worst case scenario, almost 100,000 more than this could be affected – with more than 130,000, or almost 1 in 10 staff, off sick. This also does not take account of additional staff who would be self-isolating due to being a household contact of someone with Covid19. To avoid such extreme workforce shortages that would severely limit the health service’s ability to guarantee care to patients both with Covid-19 and with other equally serious conditions, the BMA says the Westminster Government must now introduce further measures, above and beyond its Booster strategy, to stem the spread of the virus – including reducing levels of social contact. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “After almost two years into the pandemic, no one wants to introduce further measures limiting what people are able to do, especially at this time of year, but these stark figures on levels of NHS staff absence show the devastating consequences of what could happen if the virus is

left to continue spreading at the current rate. “The Booster rollout is incredibly important, but with daily cases on Thursday more than three times higher than the same date last year, the Westminster government’s strategy of relying solely on vaccinations is not enough, is poor public health practice and is already causing preventable harm not only to the NHS but also to education and the economy. “The reality is that MPs have broken up for Christmas leaving the NHS brutally exposed to suffer the consequences of surging case rates and without the restrictions needed to bring these under control. “Amid the surging case-rate, driven by the hugely transmissible Omicron variant, doctors are not only incredibly worried about the potential impact this could have on hospitalisations, but also about what it would mean for patient care across the NHS if we have vast swathes of staff off sick with the virus. “We’re already seeing services being affected by staff absences, and these estimates show it could get far, far worse. Without enough staff, appointments and treatments will need to be cancelled or postponed, and waits for care in both GP surgeries and hospitals, will rise even further, compromising the level of care remaining staff can offer. This is not to mention the impact it could have on the NHS’s capacity to deliver the Booster programme itself. “If our estimates of staff absence are realised – which we honestly hope they are not – this would be truly devastating, leading to an inability to provide even some of the most urgent services.

“But hope alone will not change the trajectory of the pandemic, which is why we need action now. As doctors, it is our moral duty to protect patients’ lives, and therefore speak out when they are put at risk. “The Government should recall MPs next week to give the NHS the protections it needs. These would mean cancelling large indoor gatherings, re-introduction of the two-metre social distancing rule and sending a strong message to the public to limit social mixing, especially ahead of Christmas when we know people will want to see their families and loved ones. “There should also be clearer messaging to take a lateral flow tests before mixing, in addition to mask-wearing, distancing and ensuring adequate ventilation for gatherings. “Additionally, we believe that the Government should provide financial support to businesses affected by additional restrictions, so that employers and staff do not suffer detriment in contributing to the national effort to contain the virus. “Without targeted action, infection rates will continue to rise to unprecedented levels. We need action now to prevent a new lockdown becoming the only way to protect the health service from being overwhelmed. “The NHS is not just an acronym, but a life-saving service made up of dedicated , hard-working and loyal staff – and without these people, it fails in that most basic function, and the consequences do not bear thinking about.”

Past Chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Joins Bidfood Neel Radia, immediate past chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) and current Meals on Meals lead, has joined Bidfood as National Account Manager in Healthcare. He will be responsible for managing a portfolio of accounts in the Health Care Sector. Neels role will include supporting clients as well as business development. With over 20 years’ experience in foodservice, Neel brings a wealth of experience to the role and an extensive network in the health and care sector, He has been recognised for his contribution to the health and social care sector with awards including, CATEYs Public Sector Award, CATEYs Food Service Extra Mile Award and the Cost Sector Catering Public Sector Award. He was also named in the Public Sector Catering

Top 20 most influential for four consecutive years. Neel comments: “I am very excited to be joining Bidfood and working alongside the team and in close partnership with our healthcare customers to deliver service excellence and help our customers to grow. My passion for the health and social care sector and the importance of good nutrition has always been at the forefront of all the work I do in the industry and I look forward to taking this further with my role at Bidfood for the benefit of our customers.” Neel is also a Trustee for St Luke’s Hospice, Harrow and Brent. In his spare time, Neel has also been known to fundraise for various charities, which has seen him skydive and run the London Marathon raising over £100k so far during his career.


Lost In Translation: How Carers Can Improve Communication with Patients with English as an Additional Language The UK is made up of a vibrant mix of ethnic groups meaning that carers face challenges with communicating with those who don't speak English as their first language. How do these language barriers affect care and what translation services are on offer to support communication? Joe Miller, general manager of the Americas and Europe, Pocketalk ( looks at the issues that the care industry faces and the solutions on offer to help.

A GROWING DIVERSE NATION The latest stats on immigration show that there are now 9.5 million people living in the UK who were born outside of the country and are therefore highly likely not to speak English as their first language. Of these 11 per cent are over 65 meaning there are around one million people in the UK, approaching retirement age or retired, who were born in another country. As a result, it’s important that carers are aware of the challenges that can arise consequently for both the patients and their loved ones.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES? Patients who have neurodegenerative diseases or are hard of hearing can already experience difficulties with verbal communication. When you add in the additional factor of English being a second language for some of these patients, communication becomes even harder. Ineffective communication leads to confusion, frustration and upset from the patient and staff members. It makes it harder for patients to form relationships with staff and other residents in a care home setting. If a patient can’t converse with others it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness as they struggle to connect. With dementia it becomes even more complex. Alzheimer’s Society found that as the disease progresses it's often the case that those who speak English as a second language revert to their first language.

CURRENT TRANSLATION SOLUTIONS Ideally those who speak English as a second language will have someone who can always communicate with them in their first language. However, practically it can be impossible to always have a staff member on duty who can translate 24/7. One of the most popular ways to address this is the language line which provides access to translators over the telephone, who are available 24/7, and with calls answered within minutes it’s a convenient service. However, a telephone can cause confusion for some. Others may also feel uncomfortable having sensitive conversations with a person they don’t know over the phone. Translation agencies have team members who are available to visit care homes or accompany carers to home visits. But this service carries high costs making 24/7 access to translation not possible for many. The pandemic has also meant restrictions on visitors can impact this service.

CAN TECH BE A TRANSLATOR? One solution being explored by the care industry is the use of technology and the cost-effective role it plays in addressing the issue. Google Translate is one platform that has been utilised that facilitates instant translation between patient and carer. That said, there are issues with the effectiveness of the translations. It doesn’t offer a high standard across all languages and it’s often those who speak minority languages that are most impacted by the disconnect. Google Translate also doesn’t always take into account regional dialects and slang. Today there are digital translation devices proving to be a great success in care homes. These devices instantly translate a large amount of languages and tend to just need WiFi, mobile data or a hotspot. Digital translators are also an effective way to help build relationships. We’ve found that digital translators foster meaningful conversations that allow carers to bond with the patient, which helps to create trust. It also allows patients to converse with other residents. Of course, when it comes to language translation there is no one size fits all approach. Each care home, its team and residents will have different and individual needs. At a time when English as a second language is becoming more commonplace it’s great that there are options available to make conversation easier for both carer and patient.

Christmas 2021: Festive Fun at Royal Star & Garter baubles and candleholders. There were also music activities, which filled the Home with festive songs. Residents in High Wycombe have also been enjoying a number of different craft activities, including Christmas wreath-making and other decorations. Residents have also been discussing their favourite Christmas foods and songs, and their wishes for 2022. Women’s RAF veteran Lily

Residents have helped decorate Royal Star & Garter’s three Homes, and are taking part in fun activities in the run-up to Christmas. They have been busy making festive cookies, enjoying Yuletide singalongs and creating seasonal arts and crafts, in the charity’s Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. At the Surbiton Home, residents are taking part in a range of activities, which have included Christmas tree decorating, making eggnog and mince pies, carol singing and creating their own tree decorations from clay. Award-winning chef Rida also led some mince pie cookery classes. At Royal Star & Garter in Solihull, there have been Christmas crafts, with residents making little Rudolphs, miniature Christmas trees,

Wippet Xmas Giveaway To celebrate its first Christmas, Wippet, the healthcare marketplace, has got together with some of their suppliers to promote the Great Wippet Christmas Giveaway. It’s a prize draw whereby every time somebody buys anything at all from before midnight on December 31st 2021 they are automatically entered into a draw to win more than 100 prizes and amazing discounts. Prizes and discounts have been contributed by Care Shop, Renray Healthcare, Bayliss Mobility, and Social-Ability – even from United Fresh Consortium which is only in the process of joining the platform – contributed to the prizes which also include up to a £500 credit on Wippet is a new website where people in the care sector can get all the things they need, from weekly essentials to specialist equipment and furniture, all in one place. Wippet was the talk of the Care Show in October and is set to grow and grow.

IT’S ABOUT TIME With most care services under resourced and care professionals always short on time, Wippet has developed a time-saving website

said: “I want good health for myself and everybody else.” The charity’s Starlight service, which celebrates the lives of residents past and present during the Christmas season, was also shown in the three Homes in the run up to the holiday season. Pauline Shaw, Director of Care at Royal Star & Garter, said: “After another challenging year, and the disappointment of a national lockdown last Christmas, its lovely to see residents in such good spirits and looking forward to the festive season.” Royal Star & Garter is welcoming new residents to its Homes. For more information, go to

designed to make is easier and simpler for care providers to buy for healthcare. Features like a “favourites” function allow you to identify the things you need once - and then add them all to your basket for regular essentials. And the repeat ordering function allows customers to do the same with multiple shopping lists. Matt Oxley, the CEO of Wippet who had the idea for the company said: “We only launched in October and already we’ve had thousands of care professionals visiting our site. The response has been fantastic. So our Great Christmas Giveaway is a way we can thank everybody for their enthusiasm for Wippet and do something to help the people we’re all in this to help – the residents!”

GIVING RESIDENTS A HAPPY CHRISTMAS More than 100 lucky homes will be able to win a 50% discount from Social-Ability’s Happiness Programme worth £450. Oxley continued: “Having worked in two of the biggest elderly care providers in the UK I understand the difference this sector makes to people’s lives, so we’re thrilled to be able to give these prizes away and the Social-Ability Happiness Programme is just amazing. It’s a unique initiative helping to change the lives of people living with cognitive challenges. It uses interactive light technology to provide engaging and meaningful activities

for residents in care settings.”

CHOICE AND EFFICIENCY By bringing on suppliers to a single website, Wippet brings choice and efficiency to a sector we all know could benefit hugely from both. Suppliers can upload their entire catalogue and sell directly through so customers don’t have to go from site to site. Customers can even compare products side-by-side, fill their basket from multiple suppliers at the same time and then pay in one order with one invoice. See for details.


£22.5m of Funding Announced in New Community Push to Get Nation Boosted Now An additional £22.5million in funding and an army of vaccine ambassadors have been deployed across the country to encourage vaccine uptake in the run up to Christmas and the New year. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has today announced it will be giving £22.5 million to councils to encourage people to come forward and get vaccinated. The Community Vaccines Champion scheme will target 60 local authorities with the lowest vaccine uptake. It will be used to run events in communities across the country to make sure everyone has access to the most accurate and up-to-date health advice, and fund pop-up vaccination centres in places of worship. This includes in North Lincolnshire where an Imam has run pop-up vaccination clinics and information sessions in his Mosque, and in Great Yarmouth, Community Champions have made doorstep calls in areas where vaccination rates are low. The community Vaccine Champions will tap into their local networks to provide advice about COVID-19 and the vaccines. Champions will also work with councils to identify barriers to accessing accurate information and to provide tailored support, such as phone calls for people who are digitally excluded, helplines, and linking to GP surgeries. Around 900 people will also form ‘street teams’ and visit 21 popular areas across England, including Liverpool One Shopping Centre, King’s Cross Station and Brighton Pier, every day from today [19 December] to Christmas Eve to urge people to get their jabs to secure vital protection against the virus amid rising cases of Omicron. A series of initiatives, such as a travelling vaccine bus, extra pop-up sites and new vaccine centres in prominent locations will make it as easy as possible for people to get their jabs. The teams will be distribut-

ing leaflets on the Get Boosted Now campaign, as well as information on testing and advice to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the run up to Christmas. It comes as the UK hits 26 million boosters and third doses administered following a rapid acceleration of the vaccination programme. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are in a race between the virus and vaccine and we are doing everything in our power to get jabs in arms as quickly as possible. “We are calling on people to Get Boosted Now as part of our national mission to reinforce our wall of defence against the rapid spread of Omicron. “I want to thank the thousands of people who have heroically stepped up to support our vaccine drive. We’re all in this together - please play your part.” Each team of vaccine ambassadors will have a branded van, six staff, banners and leaflets containing information on vaccines and COVID-19. The teams are comprised of people who speak 33 different languages between them. They will cover the entire country – from Newcastle to Brighton – in areas where there is likely to be a large number of people, including council-organised Christmas activities, supermarkets, train stations. Vaccines Minister, Maggie Throup said: “It is extremely important everybody gets their COVID-19 vaccine now – whether this be your first, second or booster dose. “Vaccines are the best way we can protect ourselves and a booster will strengthen your immunity against the new variant which is quickly spreading across the country. “Thank you to all the selfless people for stepping up to join this cru-

cial national mission.” More than 14,000 volunteers have joined the Community Champions scheme – helping the vulnerable and isolated across the country throughout the pandemic. The government is now building on this success and launching the Community Vaccine Champions scheme – with local people using their trusted voice to encourage people in their community to come forward and get vaccinated. Faith Minister Kemi Badenoch MP said: “In the past year I have seen first-hand the outstanding work of councils, faith groups, the community and voluntary sector up and down the country helping the people in their local areas during the pandemic. “It is vital we now build on that success as we encourage everyone to Get Boosted Now in the fight against Omicron.” The funding will also support areas to tackle misinformation and encourage take-up as the vaccination programme continues across the country. Data publishedby the UK Health Security Agency shows vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection is substantially reduced againstOmicron with just two doses over time, but a third dose boosts protection back up to over 70%. In response the government and NHS England launched an urgent national appeal to Get Boosted Now. This includes advertising across TV and out of home calling on people to book their jabs. A total of 750 armed forces personnel have been drafted in to support deployment of booster vaccines across the UK and extra vaccine centres and pop-up sites have opened to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated.

Festive Christmas Photoshoot at Kesteven Grange Residents at HC-One’s Kesteven Grange, residential and residential memory care home in Hull, have some models in the making.

Residents have been preparing for Christmas these past couple of weeks and have enjoyed making Christmas cards and taking part in their own festive photoshoot. With the support from the amazing staff at Kesteven Grange, this year Residents were able to give their relatives a very special handmade present. Organised by the Wellbeing Coordinator, Zoey and her care team, Residents enjoyed posing and being in front of the camera, the photos were taken to make the homemade Christmas gifts. Using props and backdrops, Residents enjoyed seeing the outcome of their pictures to send to their families. Resident Christopher is a keen photographer and helped Zoey take the photos with his professional camera. One Resident said: “It is so nice to be able to send a surprise gift to our lovely families this year.” Another Resident commented: “It was so much fun! We have loved how these have turned out.” Kellie Moore, Care Home Manager, “The residents have had a great time as well as the staff, families will love the cards.” Located in a tranquil residential area, just outside Hull, Kesteven

Grange is a purpose-built, 54 bed care home, offering residential and residential memory care, for those living with dementia.

Care Sector Comes Together to Tackle Loneliness with Ambitious Christmas Singalong The Big Christmas Care Singalong, featuring care providers across the UK and abroad, is set to return for a second year this Christmas. The hour-long online concert will be broadcast in care homes, hospitals, hospices, and people’s own homes on 20th December to celebrate all those who live and work in social care. The video has been spearheaded by Big Ian Donaghy, a wellknown and outspoken advocate for the social care sector who has published numerous books on kindness and dementia. Big Ian has been developing the video in partnership with everyLIFE Technologies, provider of PASS, a care management platform for all care settings. The partnership with everyLIFE Technologies began last year when the inaugural Christmas Singalong faced huge challenges amid the pandemic and was almost called off. With everyLIFE’s support, however, the show came together just in time for Christmas and was a huge success. Last year’s event was watched by thousands of people who live and work in the social care sector, with viewers coming from the UK and further afield in Australia, New Zealand and Venezuela. The online concert, which was described as “funny, heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure”, was created in response to the

isolation experienced by many vulnerable people during the festive period. With COVID-19 causing significant disruption to the social care sector, the Big Christmas Care Singalong was a welcome reprieve from the challenges of the pandemic. This year’s online Singalong is set to be bigger and bolder, with Big Ian and his team pushing through adversity to make a concert to remember. Many of the performances were recorded in a purposemade barn studio during Storm Arwen. Recalling the recording sessions, Big Ian said “it was freezing, snowing outside and we were unsure if the roof was going to hold out, but sometimes adversity brings us even closer together.” The free-to-watch concert will feature care home residents and team members performing their favourite Christmas songs and wishing festive cheer to all, across the country. Viewers will also hear a brass performance of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, arranged and performed by one of the UK’s most recorded musicians, Johnny Thirkell. Johnny has previously toured and recorded with the likes of Kylie Minogue, George Michael and Bruno Mars. The video will be available to watch on-demand at from 20th December 2021.


Keep a Close Eye on Cognitive Impairment Following Long-COVID, Charity Warns UK researchers have found linked markers of inflammation to poor cognition or ‘brain fog’, in those with ‘long-COVID’. A total of 807 study volunteers hospitalised with COVID-19 completed both five-month and one-year follow-up assessments, with 27.8% of volunteers having received invasive mechanical ventilation as part of their treatment while in hospital. The most common ongoing symptoms were fatigue, muscle pain, physically slowing down, poor sleep and breathlessness. Risk factors for not reporting full recovery at one-year were female sex, obesity, and having had invasive mechanical ventilation. Participant blood samples at the five-month visit were analysed for around 300 substances linked to inflammation and immunity. The researchers compared the blood profiles across groups of people and identified higher levels of substances associated with whole-body inflammation, in participants with very severe long-COVID compared to mild disease. They also found these substances were associated with symptoms including poor cognition and ‘brain fog’. Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on people living with dementia and their families. As we move through the pandemic, still little is known about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on brain health. People who had COVID-19 and had blood inflammation were more likely to have poor cognition or brain fog five months after hospitalisation. “We must continue to monitor the emerging evidence linking long-COVID and cognitive problems and investigate whether these persist or lead to an increased risk of dementia. “However, this research has not yet been peer-reviewed by other experts, so we need to treat these results with a little caution. The research does suggest that factors like obesity are linked to long-COVID and we know keeping your heart healthy will also help support better brain health. As well as maintaining a healthy weight, the best current evidence to look after our brains and reduce the risk of dementia as we age is to keep our cholesterol levels in check, keep physically and socially active, to not smoke and to only drink within the recommended limits. “If anyone is worried about their memory or thinking or persistent effects of COVID-19 they should consult with their doctor.”

Doorstep Carols Bring Joy to Care Home Residents, Team Members and Families Residents and team members at over a third of Care UK’s homes enjoyed a wonderful festive evening taking part in the national Doorstep Carols initiative. In the gardens and outside the front doors, residents in homes from Aberdeen to Dorset sang along using the song sheets and backing tracks provided by the national organisers. In many homes, families and friends were also able to wrap up warmly and join them – all socially distanced outside. In true Care UK style of fulfilling the lives of residents, the fun didn’t just involve singing for an hour. Across the country, colleagues and the residents they support, arranged rehearsal sessions in advance to make sure everyone was in good form on the night. Chefs and kitchen teams got involved too by creating delicious treats to add to the party atmosphere. Mulled wine, mince pies, hot chocolate and even a full festive buffet were on the menu, all carefully designed to appeal to residents’ chosen preferences.

Care UK’s dementia expert Suzanne Mumford was instrumental in spreading the word about the opportunity to people in the homes. She said: “When the organisers of Doorstep Carols invited us to join in, I knew it would be lovely to be part of a much bigger movement bringing joy to thousands of people. Residents in our homes love music and singing and I’m quite sure the evening, and all the preparations, brought back lots of long-forgotten memories of carols and Christmas when they were younger. Events like this not only bring pleasure but have all sorts of therapeutic benefits for older people, especially those living with dementia.” Suzanne has also produced some free useful advice about how to make Christmas happy and comfortable for anyone who has a family member living with dementia here.


Data and Social Care: How Do We Break Down The Barriers?

By Mark Robinson, Chief Innovation Officer at Imosphere (

The new draft health and social care data strategy (Data Saves Lives) marks the next steps in a wider conversation about how data will be utilised to support social care providers, service users and commissioners. It looks to ensure that the data and technology architecture underpinning the health and care system can work easily together to make better use of data. The new data strategy emphasises sharing and interoperability over consolidation. For many social care providers and organisations working with limited budgets and resources, data is often stored on various systems and spreadsheets. It's easy to interpret a single source of truth as a 'single system' but doing so can hamper innovation and the adoption of best of breed solutions. A key consideration when looking at any system is the needs of its users. For instance, a GP may want to view a single patient under their care and see a detailed medical history. In contrast with this, commissioners who are working more at the population health level will require aggregated results so they can examine trends and effectiveness of public health initiatives. So, a single source of truth might be a lofty goal but having a source of truth that encompasses the main data points is a more achievable one. But how do social care providers such as local authorities go about achieving this and what considerations need to be put in place to make it a success and not another failed IT programme?

UNDERSTANDABLE, ACCESSIBLE, AND STANDARDISED DATA Simply put, it's vital that any new system has buy in at all levels. From the top of the organisation to technical staff and those on the ground. Previously, there has been the view that if you put all the data you have in

one place, that will solve the problem. But that data needs to be understandable, accessible, and standardised. It's important to think about terminology, to ensure key words and phrases can be understood by everyone who will be accessing the system. It's best to start small and pick the highest value data sets first. Focusing on them and then building and investing on top of that. By bringing the highest value data sets together into a centralised repository, it's then possible to use a best of breed tool to put that data into the hands of commissioners and directors but also the people on the ground who will need to access it daily. Try to avoid implementing a new system with a big bang. By slowly building and taking an iterative approach you get early warning signs if certain aspects are straying off course. Projects like this aren't just about bringing the data together, it's really about what that data allows providers and organisations to do, things like answering questions and making services better.

ACCESS TO BETTER INFORMATION Digital tools are most effective when they are accessible to everyone in the organisation, regardless of their technical capabilities. Any new system needs to be easy to use, secure, requires very little training and comes with the ability to apply appropriate user permissions. Although some users might not need the same level of sophisticated analytics as commissioners or those at director level, exploratory capabilities can empower all users to find the information they need. It's not a case of swapping out systems but rather the ability to bring data together where you need to, so that you can deliver a 360-degree view. By putting the power to search for information in the hands of users, it stops technical people being the information gatekeepers and free's them up to work on more high value projects. Look towards systems that offer self-service reporting and analytics while, at the same time, placing tight controls on what data and what actions the user is allowed to perform. The beauty of making analytics self-service is that is allows for the user to explore ideas with minimum friction and cost to the organisation. When you combine this with the ability to collaborate, share and review, you have a route to removing bottlenecks, promoting innovation, and improving patient care.

Back to the 1950’s at Local Walsall Care Home Residents at a local Walsall Care Home, The Watermill, have been celebrating the opening of their new 1950’s inspired diner. Complete with bright pink booths, jukebox playing hits from the 1950s and 60s and checkerboard floor, Care Workers at dementia specialist care home The Watermill, took the initiative to raise funds and created the space during the pandemic. Joy Sumner, Care Manager at The Watermill, said: “Reminiscence is really important for people living with dementia. A lot of our residents were going out to dances in the 1950s and 60s and the idea behind this is taking them back to a time where they will have enjoyed socialising, going to the cinema and then to

the diner for some food “I’m so proud of Cath and Andrew for creating this space. They had the idea and thought it all through, raised the funds that were needed and went to pick up the decorations.” Previously an under-used quiet room, Care Workers Cath and Andrew took the initiative and decided they wanted to turn it into something lovely for residents during the pandemic. Now residents enjoy using the space, to sing along to tracks such as ‘don’t step on my blue suede shoes’ and have a milkshake.

‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly At Local Care Home Barchester’s Ashcombe house care home, in Worting road got in the Christmas spirit with a Christmas party for residents. Ashcombe’s Christmas party was in full swing with staff and residents in festive dress, special themed menu and music. Residents enjoyed a feast of festive foods prepared by the home’s chef, Mark Winwood. After Lunch residents gathered in the homes lounge for music and a special guest visitor, who managed to take time out of his very busy schedule to pop in and surprise residents with gifts. Activities Coordinator Michelle Martin said “Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year and this year we wanted to spoil our fantastic residents that little bit more so we’ve pulled out all the stops. It is so lovely to see them all getting into the Christmas spirit, it’s definitely my favourite time of

year.” Douglas McCann resident at Ashcombe said: “It has been a lovely day, the food was fantastic and it was wonderful to see everyone go to so much effort to get in spirit. I really enjoyed meeting ‘Santa’ and we got some wonderful gifts” December has been a full on month of Christmas festivities and our varied life enrichment programme keeps residents active, and provides a daily choice of engaging physical, mental and spiritual activities tailored to residents’ interests and abilities. We’re making our home as safe as possible and will ensure that all new residents and staff are vaccinated before moving in or working in our homes. All of us at Ashcombe house would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Christmas At Meadow View Residents at local residential home, Meadow View, which is managed by Kathryn Homes, have enjoyed getting into the festive spirit throughout December. From baking and designing gingerbread houses to making their own Christmas cards, decorating the home, adorning Christmas accessories, and giving back to the NHS with a free coffee morning, residents have embraced the holiday season. Lisa Gray, Home Manager, said: “At Kathryn Homes, we are passionate about delivering person-centered care that recognises special occasions in the lives of our residents. “Christmas is one of our favourite times of the year and the team develops a range of activities and events to ensure we make the most of it for all our residents. “We have channelled our creativity this year to celebrate in line with the government guidance. Fortunately, the families of our residents have been able to visit and spend time with their loved ones.”


Care Group Prepares for Growth and Relaunch Expanding social care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG) has announced two new and exciting appointments as it prepares a relaunch. The ICG has appointed a new Chief Executive and new Operations Director as it prepares to build its membership and influence. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “This is an exciting and pivotal moment for the ICG as we look to expand our membership and influence within the social care sector. “The sector is going through a tough and challenging period and providers have never needed support more than they do today. “Next year we will be expanding our reach, improving and growing our services and increasing our influence. These two key appointments will help us to do that. “Social care providers have been on their knees for too long. It is time that we raised our voices and fought for the proper recognition our amazing sector deserves. “Social care looks after more than a million people and employs 1.6m people – it is time we got the recognition for that.”

Nick Swash has joined the ICG as its full-time Chief Executive. Nick has worked in the business environment for some years and has extensive experience in many commercial environments which he will bring to the ICG and help it to expand and become more self-sufficient. John Pattinson has joined as the new Operations Director. John has spent many years with the NHS and brings vast experience of health and social care to the ICG. “These appointments mark a very exciting move forward for the ICG as we continue our growth and development.” Mr Padgham added. “The ICG has achieved great things in recent years. We have become an influential and listened to organization. We are now in an excellent position to move forward and grow in terms of size and influence in the years ahead.” The ICG is campaigning for: • 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.

UK Secures Millions More Antivirals To Help Fight Omicron Millions more cutting-edge antiviral treatments for COVID-19 have been secured for NHS patients as the UK Government signs two new contracts to help tackle Omicron. The significant new deals have been accelerated following the emergence of the Omicron variant to protect vulnerable people over the coming months. The move will help reduce hospitalisations and therefore ease pressures on the NHS. Antivirals are treatments used to either treat those who are infected with a virus or sometimes protect exposed individuals from becoming infected. They target the virus at an early stage, preventing progression to more severe, or even critical, symptoms. The two new contracts are for 1.75 million additional courses of Merck Sharp and Dohme’s (MSD) molnupiravir (Lagevrio®) and 2.5 million additional courses of PF-07321332/ritonavir (Paxlovid™) from Pfizer which will be available from early next year and are both expected to be effective against Omicron. The 4.25 million courses are in addition to the procurement of 480,000 courses of molnupiravir and 250,000 courses of PF07321332/ritonavir announced in October this year. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our COVID-19 booster programme continues at unparalleled pace

and it’s vital we further bolster our national response to the virus by ensuring access to the world’s best treatments too. “This is a mammoth deal for the UK Government and for patients across the country that are set to benefit from these antivirals over the coming months. “If you’re aged 50 and over or have an underlying health condition

and test positive for COVID-19 - sign up to the study as soon as you can and take advantage of this remarkable treatment.” Chair of the Antivirals Taskforce Eddie Gray said: “Both antivirals in our current portfolio could be vital tools against Omicron – with current evidence showing they will be effective against the variant. “The Antivirals Taskforce will continue its work to ensure vulnerable people who test positive for COVID-19 can rapidly access these medicines. “Signing up to the study is a simple and easy way you can protect yourself once you contract COVID-19 – if eligible, please sign up as soon as you test positive.” The Antivirals Taskforce will continue to look at a number of further treatment options, spanning a range of different antiviral mechanisms. Alongside the work of the Therapeutics Taskforce, this will ensure as many people as possible can be protected from COVID-19, future variants and other future diseases. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the UK has proven itself to be a world leader in identifying and rolling out effective treatments for COVID-19 – including the world’s first treatment, dexamethasone, which has saved over a million lives worldwide.

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




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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

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“… Never Did I Think An Apron Could MOWOOT II for Constipation Free Life Be Game Changing, But I Do Now!” These are the words of a Limon Attire customer, Alexandra, about their specially designed Dining drApron®. The rest of her note read - "I can't tell you the difference it has made at mealtimes! We have no more arguments, nothing has seeped through, comes up brilliantly and, most importantly, Mum can put it on herself! Until Mum fell ill, never did I think an apron could be game changing but I do now! Sometimes it really is the little things in life." Barbara Lewis designed the Dining drApron® for her mother who had dementia and was having difficulty eating. She didn’t want to ask her stylish mother to wear an ugly, demeaning bib so she designed an attractive and practical apron for her to wear at mealtimes. Mum was quite happy in an apron to protect her clothes; she had

worn aprons all her life and there was no stigma with them. They have no unnecessary straps to get tangled in the wash, fit neatly around the neck and have a hidden towelling layer to soak up spills and, best of all, they are attractive. Barbara was inspired to make them with the pattern facing Mum as she had seen her interacting with the design and realised how frustrating it must be to see everything in her closest environment upside down. Wearing a Limon Dining drApron® a person can retain their dignity, identity and individuality whilst protecting their clothing. There are lots designs to choose from to suit differing interests for both men and women. Go to to learn more and see the other helpful products they make or see page 9.

Irish Coffeetini Headlines New Fortified Cocktail Recipe Resource A tempting Irish Coffeetini cocktail is one of five new fortified cocktail recipes which are available to claim free from Lakeland Dairies’ brand-new fortified recipe and activity resource. Dairy experts Lakeland Dairies have launched the second of their fortified recipe series specifically for care sector caterers in time for this year’s festivities, Fortified Focus: Festive Tipples. Packed with delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic festive tipple recipes, thefortified drinks have been carefully crafted by the company along with a dietitian and a specialist care home chef. Together they have successfully overcome some of the enormous challenges faced by care caterers when fortifying drinks, namely that of how to devise recipes which are high in protein and still delicious to consume. Dietitian Rachael Masters who was involved in the creation of the recipe’s comments, “I can assure you, these festive tipples not only taste amazing, they are also nutritionally loaded in both protein and calories. They provide a higher percentage of protein than many prescribed nutritional supplements and taste amazing!” Jean Cattanach, marketing controller at Lakeland Dairies adds: “It’s our ambition to help care caterers deliver fortified food and drink in a delicious, appetising, and engaging way. Our 100% Dairy Skimmed Milk Powder, which is used to fortify the new recipes is full of the goodness of milk and recommended by dietitians for fortification because it has the ideal combination of protein and calories.

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This ensures the recipe are delicious whilst also providing a proven health benefit for residents at risk of undernutrition.” In addition to the fortified cocktail recipes, it includes a series of engaging activity resources created in conjunction with wellbeing experts NAPA. Claim the free fortified recipe and activity resource at Every entrant who requests the guide will receive a free roll of Millac piping bags F lakelanddairiesfoodservice T @lakelandFS #festivetipples

to the NHS. With 9 different sizes of T-Rolls and Log Rolls, in a removable and machine washable, Waterproof Titex or Soft Knit material. These rolls are used to control posture and position of the body in either supine or side lying. Our Knee & Leg support wedges are available in 2 sizes. C&S Seating is the sole manufacturer of the

Alternative Positioning Support - ideal when more control of the abducted lower limb is required (see photo) which has removable side cushions and middle pommel; this is available in small or large. Our popular range of Soft Knit covers in a choice of 5 vibrant colours provide a softer alternative that fit easily over our standard Waterproof rolls. Soft Knit material provides maximum comfort – ideal for the colder seasons and can also fit snug over our waterproof rolls for maximum protection. Contact us on 01424 853331 or visit to request or download a brochure, pricelist or order form, request an individualised quotation, speak to an advisor or to place an order.

The Carer Reader Exclusive Offer Celebrate 30 years with C&S, when you purchase a Waterproof or Soft Knit covered T-Roll or Log Roll you can purchase a spare cover for just £30.00 inc VAT. This offer will run until 21st December 2021. Quote offer code CARER30 when placing your order. It is recommended you seek professional advice to select the correct product depending on your needs. Please visit our website for full returns policy and further information.



‘People at the Heart’ – Some Positives But More Needed says Charity Vegetarian for Life However, VfL believes that there is more to be done regarding training for care workers. The APPG Report recommends mandatory training, which the White Paper has not committed to. While the commitment to greater support for the development of care workers is seen is a step in the right direction, it is not enough to ensure that minimum standards of care, including providing appropriate meals, are met. Gareth Lloyd-Johnson, VfL Head of Research and Policy, says: ‘The White Paper, “People at the heart”, is a starting point towards better standards of care. We want to see a care system that respects the individual and ensures that long-held values will be respected. “The Government needs to listen to people receiving care and providers of care to fully understand how its vision can become a reality. This has to be more than words; we need a concrete plan that will have a real and practical impact on the quality of care that individuals receive.” To read a copy of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism’s report, ‘Respect for religious and philosophical beliefs while eating in care’ visit

Vegetarian for Life (VfL) has responded to the Government’s White Paper, ‘People at the heart,’ which sets out a ten-year vision for care. The White Paper looks specifically at the principles guiding how care is given. VfL, the leading charity supporting the rights of vegans and vegetarians in later life, has cautiously welcomed much of the White Paper. Particularly welcome is the focus on ‘person-centred care’ and better training for care workers. In November, VfL, working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism, published an Inquiry Report highlighting how the ethical views of individuals receiving care are often not respected. The Report documents tragic stories of life-long vegans being served meat and the struggles that individuals face to have a proper meal provided. As such, the commitment in the White Paper to assess whether care is, “personalised and culturally appropriate” ensuring “dignity and respect” is welcome. If carried out correctly, this vision for care could provide greater rights for individuals, helping them maintain their values, identity and dignity in care.

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Are You in Need of Dysphagia Training*? *This training is intended for healthcare professionals only. Did you know that between 50-75% of nursing home residents suffer from dysphagia1? Nutricia has a training solution for you, a FREE e-learning covering the fundamentals of dysphagia management using Nutilis Clear. The training is divided into 4 sections and has been specially designed for busy health and social care staff caring for people living with dysphagia. It takes 60 minutes in total to complete, however you can complete one section at a time.

HOW CAN THIS TRAINING HELP YOU? • Easy & convenient online solution to dysphagia training • Visibility to track progress in your care home • Raise the quality standard of dysphagia care in a consistent way

See the advert on the previous page for details.

The quality standards aim is for all new health and social care staff members caring for patients with Dysphagia to complete the modules as part of their induction programme. Existing health and social care staff members should also complete the learning to support their continuing professional development. There is a certificate that can be downloaded once the training has been successfully completed. Use the camera on your phone to scan the QR code to access the elearning and get started! For any questions contact your local Nutricia sales representative or our Resource Centre at Nutilis Clear is a Food for Special Medical Purposes for the dietary management of dysphagia and must be used under medical supervision. Reference: 1. O’Loughlin G, Shanley C. Swallowing problems in the nursing home: a novel training response. Dysphagia 1998; 13, 172-183.(

Maintaining A Healthy Balanced Diet Can Support The Immune System The media is full of advice on how to ‘boost’ your immune system, with many claims of certain supplements or foods doing just this. But how much of this is based in science? Rachael Venditti, Registered Nutritionist from allmanhall ( looks at how diet can help us remain healthy as we move into the winter months, and whether there is anything to support the mantra that food alone can ‘boost’ the immune system.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF NUTRITION? The complexity of the immune system means that it cannot be modified acutely by a specific nutritional intervention. There is currently no convincing evidence that any food or dietary pattern can ‘boost’ our immune system and prevent or treat Covid-19. Rather, adhering to a healthy diet provides ongoing support to the immune system and may even delay the process of immunosenescence (the natural gradual deterioration of the immune system as we get older).

WHAT SHOULD WE BE EATING THIS WINTER TO BOOST OUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS? There are many nutrients that are involved with the normal functioning of the immune system, which is why maintaining a healthy balanced diet is the best way to support immune function. No single, one food is recommended over another. Eating a variety of foods will help to maintain a healthy balanced diet. The immuno-protection of many nutrients is based on their antioxidant capacity (oxidation is a chemical reaction that can damage cells) which is in fact lost if consumed in excess. In addition to healthy eating, being physically active, reducing stress and getting enough sleep will also all help support immunity function.

ARE THERE ANY SUPPLEMENTS THAT ‘BOOST’ OR PROTECT US FROM COVID-19? There is currently no evidence nor EU approved health claims that any supplement can ‘boost’ our immune system and prevent or treat viral infections, like Covid-19. Making sure we meet our dietary requirements for many vitamins and minerals is important for good health and normal immune functioning. Eating a healthy balanced diet should provide all the necessary nutrients

we need. In case of specific challenges in meeting the dietary requirements, supplements can be used to add nutrients to our diet.

GUT HEALTH AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM Another area covered in the media relating to immunity is gut health. Gut microbiota has been a hot health topic for a while now. The gut and its microbiota have been shown to impact metabolism, immunity and even behaviour. It is thought that the predominance of the beneficial bacteria, referred to as the probiotic bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, ensure good health and prevent diseases of the gut and other organs in the body. Probiotics fight harmful foreign substances and can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria by producing organic acids that lower the PH in the intestine. To support good gut health, the advice is to eat a wide range of foods, a diverse microbiota is a healthy one, a diet including different food types can lead to a diverse microbiota. High fibre foods promote microbiome diversity such as fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, and Wholegrains. Live plain natural yoghurt, and fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchee and kombucha, are also thought to support a healthy gut.

FOOD AND NUTRITION ADVICE FOR THIS WINTER • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – try to get a large variety, especially of vegetables, set yourself a challenge to have 30 different vegetables in a week • Eat a diet high in fibre – fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, beans and lentils • Include food with good bacteria (probiotics) live yoghurts, kefir, and fermented foods such as kimchee and sauerkraut. Try to ‘eat something living every day’ • Take Vitamin D supplements from October – April (all year round if you have darker skin, have little exposure to sunlight or are over 65). To summarise, using a statement recently published from the British Dietetic Association “Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet, and no specific food or supplement will prevent you catching Covid-19 / Coronavirus. Although eating a well-balanced diet can help ensure the normal functioning of the immune system, no individual nutrient, food or supplement is going to “boost” it beyond normal levels. Good hygiene practice remains the best means of avoiding infection”. For further advice about nutrient provision in menus, it is important to seek advice from a Registered Dietitian or other healthcare professional and that you follow the current advice set out by the Government, NHS and Public Health England.


HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Research Into Infection Prevention Control In Care Homes Reveals How To Make Improvements Post COVID-19 A new study has investigated measures used to control infection in care homes for older people. The study involved analysing data and previous research from 2007 to 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to understand the reasons how viruses spread and identify how to influence this both now and into the future. The research was published in the journal, Health Expectations, and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR GM PSTRC). The Centre is a partnership between The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Maria Panagioti, lead of the GM PSTRC’s Safer Care Systems and Transitions Theme and an author of this study, said: “In England, Government policy around the discharge of patients from hospitals into care homes has been used to explain how COVID-19 spreads though care

homes. “However, we believe this is only part of the story as less attention has been given to investigating the role Infection Prevention and Control played. In conducting this research we’ve analysed a large number of studies to identify some of the reasons why Infection Prevention and Control might not always be effective in stopping COVID in its tracks and how this can be improved to make healthcare safer in care homes for older people. The research identified that one of the challenges faced by care homes is uncovering how an outbreak begins. Then, once an infection begins to spread, identifying who is responsible for the necessary control measures is not always easy. High staff turnover was also found to be an additional challenge. The need to bring in external health care professionals such as GPs to diagnose or treat an infection effects Infection Prevention and Control (IPC). Researchers concluded that training staff repeatedly could support them in ensuring IPC is effectively practiced across care homes as this would help to, overcome one of the key reasons why IPC in care homes has not been as effective as it could have been, i.e. high staff turnover. However, the success of this measure depends upon managerial commitment and organisational improvements being made within care homes. Dr Panagioti, continued: “Our research has identified how important it is

to understand the unique challenges care homes face regarding IPC. We believe repetitive staff training in IPC is key in helping to improve safety for care home residents and we look forward to seeing these recommendations being acted upon.” An experienced public contributor, who is an informal carer, was involved in the research, and said: ‘‘Having previously inspected acute hospital inpatient and mental health inpatient wards for their condition and cleanliness as a Public Member throughout Northwest England, and previously having family members / family friends admitted into care homes, I was genuinely interested in assisting with this much needed research study. “The findings from this study on effective Infection Prevention and Control in care home settings if adhered to by owners, managers and the staff working within care homes, should make a positive difference to the safety and welfare of care home residents by reducing the risks of any potential infections that may originate and then spread. A particular strength of the study was that the voice of those with lived experience of care homes and their family members/ family carers was both listened to and incorporated into the recommendations.”

Far-UV Sanitisation For Care Homes Means Staff, Residents and Visitors are Safer From Viruses, Bacteria and Pathogens An outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is an increased need for safe, disinfected public spaces. BiocareUV have been working with the government, education and healthcare sectors to provide a solution to the ongoing health issues in the UK and the rest of the globe. Our Far-UV products safely sanitise rooms and high touch areas leaving them free from pathogens, bacteria and viruses such as Covid 19, MRSA & Norovirus. The UV light at 222nanometers is safe to be around humans and animals whilst also being effective at destroying unwanted germs, leaving the room safer for your staff, residents and visitors in these uncertain times. Manufactured in the UK with government support, BiocareUV strive to make day to day living safer. The products come in various forms, from a hand held Biowand unit which sanitises the area manually, to a Biolume which fits into the ceiling and sanitises the room throughout the day, BiocareUV have the right solution for you. Businesses nationwide are struggling with the cost and inconvenience of absent staff members due to covid, flu or other winter viruses, BiocareUV can help to reduce this. The Biotile and Biolume products fit into the ceiling fixtures and are specifically timed to make sure the room is constantly sanitised, leaving it safer for your residents, their guests and your staff, significantly reducing the risk of staff illnesses and sick days. Your residents are the most important part of your business and keeping them

safe is your priority. Here at BiocareUV, the safety and wellbeing of everybody is our priority! Ultraviolet light (light at wavelengths between 100 and 400 nanometers) has well-known disinfection properties and have been used for many decades in the food and water industry. Most UV disinfection systems use germicidal lamps of wavelengths 240nm-280nm, with the most common being 254nm. Unfortunately, exposure to 254nm UVC light also causes damage to skin and eyes in humans. However, recently published studies have demonstrated that UV light at 222nm has the same germicidal capabilities of 254nm light without damaging skin or eyes and has increased efficacy for killing bacteria and viruses. Regulations permit the use of UV at these wavelengths within occupied spaces, properly controlled. Our products & systems ensure those regulations are never breached. “We’re justifiably proud of our products and our innovation and genuinely believe they will become a part of the global response to not just this pandemic, but how we deal with global health for the future” says Mike Humphreys, BiocareUV’s Operations Director. BiocareUV are here to help, to learn more about the products visit our website or get in touch with our team today by emailing BiocareUV – Your Health is Our Priority!

Medi-Clean Technologies: Innovative, Sustainable Hygiene & Cleaning Solutions Exactly one year ago we were on the brink of full-scale national lockdown for the third time and Christmas was soon to be cancelled for many. In just 12 months the United Kingdom has turned the Pandemic on its head and celebrations and festivities can go ahead as normal. With visitors to care and nursing homes likely to increase dramatically during the lead up to Christmas, we at Medi-Clean are hoping to provide “best in class” equipment to keep people Covid-free and safe. If there’s one thing the Pandemic has taught us, its how important correct hygiene and cleaning practices are in keeping bacteria and viruses at bay.

Medi-Clean has developed a complete range of systems aimed at providing “best in class” premium products, enabling customers to overcome any short- term or long-term hygiene issue. We have developed products to disinfect, purify and sanitise any surface of any environment as well as remain hygienic for people and animals. Some of the high-tech premium products in our catalogue include the following… • Electrostatic Fogging Equipment that sprays a fine, atomised mist carrying decontaminating compounds, such as anti-toxins, disinfectants or sanitisers. The foggers are powerful, compact, and quiet for continuous operation and sprays up to 3 times more than conventional foggers on target. • UVC Air Sterilisation Units clean the air that we share and provide extra confidence and re-assurance when gathering in confined spaces, we have three different types to choose from, dependent on individual customer requirements.

• Portable & Intelligent Disinfection Unit is a unique, innovative and revolutionary channel, developed to provide an extra layer of safety and hygiene when allowing people access care facilities, whilst also providing staff, visitors and residents confidence and reassurance. The system can also be used as an advanced clocking in and out system for all members of staff and visitors.

Another aspect that the Pandemic opened our eyes to is the current state of the environment and the climate crisis. It forced us to reflect on old practices, and to find new ways of doing things in a more sustainable and ecoresponsible manner. As a result, we developed a sustainable product range to not only protect people, but the planet too. Innovation and sustainability are paving the way for a new type of care giving, allowing us to use technological solutions to repeatedly improve the level of care that we can provide.

Our Solupak daily cleaning system is the perfect solution to regular, single use plastic cleaning products. Within our own laboratories we manufacturer a range of water- soluble daily cleaning and disinfectant products for commercial, domestic and leisure use across many industries. The watersoluble products are effectively contained within PVOH films until the point of use… simply just add water when required. The product offering is extensive, with a full catalogue available upon request and the benefits of this product both in terms of environmental cost effectiveness are endless. The Solupak Daily Cleaning Range… • Without requiring large, expensive dosing systems. • Without relying on operatives dosing correctly. • Without having expensive ready to use products. • Without waste; just add water... and they dissolve. • With the highest possible environmental accreditations. • With the guarantee that the active ingredients are optimally dosed. • With a product for all applications.

“We are fully committed to the utmost hygienic and cleaning safety standards for all.”

Contact us at 01514 595 955


HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Robust Testing for Airborne Illnesses Urged Across the Care Industry This Winter to Protect Residents and Staff Airborne illnesses beyond COVID-19 and influenza must be part of prevention strategies in care homes to reduce hospitalisation of residents this winter, according to healthcare company Abbott. While the nation is increasingly familiar with COVID-19 symptoms, as well as influenza, there are airborne diseases that are also putting people at risk. Respiratory Syncytial Virus – known as RSV – is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. While COVID-19 and influenza testing are becoming common practice, visitors entering care homes with RSV may go undetected. The vital role testing plays in protecting both care home residents and staff is supported by Care England, the leading representative body for care providers in England. "It is helpful to raise awareness of other airborne diseases that care home staff, residents and visitors might be unfamiliar with. Before the pandemic, not many people had heard the term ‘coronavirus’, but increased awareness has helped most understand why safety precautions and testing are of paramount importance in the care sector," commented Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive at Care England. "We are fully aware of the immense pressure care homes are under as we head into the winter season, but the first line of defence against lesser-known airborne diseases – like RSV – is ensuring care staff are aware of it, increasing education on the symptoms, and ensuring testing is in place wherever possible," added Green. RSV symptoms may include a runny nose, cough, temperature, sore throat, and wheezing[i]. For those aged over 65, RSV accounts for 175,000 appointments with general practitioners, 14,000 hospitalisations and 8,000 deaths per year in the UK[ii]. There are currently no specific treatments for RSV infection and management is purely sup-

portive through oxygen supplementation; therefore, prevention of contracting the disease is essential. To detect RSV, care home providers should look to utilise kits that scan for airborne diseases – like Abbott’s ID NOW – a portable instrument used for front-line testing in health settings. It quickly provides results for COVID-19, influenza A & B, strep A and RSV, with positive results shown in a little as five minutes, and negative results in 13 minutes. Gabriela Zackova, director of Dementia and Wellbeing at Loveday & Co Care Homes has recently added an ID NOW testing device. Gabriela said: "We’re excited to be using this point of care test for our staff, residents and their visitors. Last year, winter was one of the hardest times for our sector, not only due to the increased pressure to keep people safe, but also for our residents, who were separated from the people they love which had a significant impact on their wellbeing and mental health." "ID NOW is a small, lightweight machine, about the size of a toaster, that will allow us to make even better decisions about risk levels for numerous viruses, enabling us to provide a more robust screening process for everyone at the facility." Abbott has been a global leader in COVID-19 testing throughout the pandemic. "While many staff and visitors will self-test for COVID-19 at home before entering the premises, it is vital precautions are taken for other airborne illnesses. By utilising a diagnostic testing device on-site, we can slow the spread of illness, better protect vulnerable residents, and minimise the risk of catching potentially life-threatening illnesses this winter," added Sam Lloyd, general manager, Infectious Diseases at Abbott’s rapid diagnostics business in the UK and Ireland. For more information on Abbott’s ID NOW testing instrument, visit: or see the advert on pages 18-19.

Waterless Bathing Products Could Help Nurses Reduce the Risk of Infection Transmission

By Yvonne Carter, Clinical Director at GAMA Healthcare ( and previously Head of Infection Control at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (

For both nurses and carers, helping patients with their personal hygiene and bathing are essential components in quality of life and quality of care. Bathing has been argued to have a strong effect on patient well-being and patient comfort. For immobile patients, sometimes, a body wash in bed is the only option. Traditionally, the bed bath is performed with water and soap. However, alternatives are increasingly used in health care. Washing without water is one such alternative that has been claimed to provide several advantages, such as improved hygiene and skin condition. In practice, it is fast, minimises discomfort and results in less mess. In two studies, nursing staff have significantly preferred washing without water over traditional bathing.i

Built on the experience from GAMA’s founders, the Carell wipes are an easy-to-use bathing solution to clean, moisturise and refresh. Delivering a full body wash in a single product and no need to spend time gathering supplies. They contain aloe vera and active moisturisers to promote healthy skin. They're dermatologically tested, alcohol, lanolin and paraben free with a patented skin-pH neutral formula.

SPEED AND EFFICIENCY Wipes replace the need for traditional cumbersome patient cleansing methods, which include preparing bowls, washcloths, soap, lotions and water. They require no towel drying which decreases waste, increases staff compliance and may save money. A time in motion study comparing traditional bed bathing with waterless bathing in elderly care wards was carried out in practice, finding that staff saved 40 minutes whilst delivering care to six patients.i

PATIENT COMFORT AND PREFERENCE In the previously mentioned study, it was found that the experience was preferred by patients and improved staff practice due to the simple one pack one person formulation.i The drying time for the wipes is minimal, reducing the need for abrasive towelling, whilst the wipes themselves are soft. A study showed the prevalence of skin abnormalities in the traditional bathing group increased overtime, whilst the waterless bathing group observed a decrease in abnormality prevalence.i Additionally, another study showed a significant difference in skin dryness, favouring the waterless group.ii

INFECTION PREVENTION Carell wipes also remove the risk of microorganism transmission associated with wash bowl contamination, risks from re-using washbowls between patients, spillage, non-drying of washbowls or less than effective decontamination

between washbowl uses. Improved patient cleanliness reduces the number of microorganisms present to transfer to healthcare workers, visitors and the environment The wipes are designed for use on each area of the body and can be used and disposed of safely, breaking the chain of transmission via bath basins. Once waterless bathing has been completed, wipes can be resealed in their original packaging and safely disposed of. This reduces the risk of outbreaks and HCAIs associated with drainage systems. A randomised trial into the cost-consequence of washing without water revealed there is no difference in costs verses traditional bed bathing, making waterless washing the more efficient alternative.i Find out more about Carell Wipes and access to dedicated training/resources on waterless bathing i ii

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 and clicking Hospital, Health and Hygiene or by using the Quick Response code.


DEMENTIA CARE Alive On Demand – Apps Release – Video Streaming Platform for Older People Designed to Engage and Spark Conversation With Loved Ones and Carers Alive On Demand is a video streaming platform with over 200 unique videos designed by and for older people. This platform has been designed with activities staff/care staff/carers and loved ones in mind to better engage, spark conversation and learn more about individual and group interests. Each video comes with a variety of additional activity resources to maintain and nurture engagement. These resources turn an engaging video into well rounded activity. Alive On Demand is available through a browser on the internet and can now be enjoyed through both Android and iOS apps. Viewing these through the apps also means that each video can be viewed offline by everybody, in areas with no WiFi. Alive On Demand was born out the need for specifically curated video content for people with varying levels of dementia,availablewhenever suits the busy lives ofcarers,both at home and in care homes. Following extensive consultations with older people, including specific information on what places and activities they would like to engage with, Alive On Demand was built with its audience at the centre. Before COVID forced care homes to close their doors, many local

Silent Memories

Music therapy is a well established form of treatment for patients, particularly those suffering with dementia. It can help evoke memories and create a deeper sense of coherence and communication, whilst allowing residents to communicate on a different level with care workers and family members. Here at Silent Memories we offer an innovative form of music therapy, whereby rather than playing the music out loud for all to hear, it is played through our wireless headsets directly to the patients. All music is carefully selected by the residents, care workers, family members and our DJs. When listening to music through our headsets we have noticed a distinct increase in engagement, animation and stimulation amongst patients. Often the music seems to evoke memories and allows the

attractions had contributed to Alive’s various projects by allowing visits and providing outreach sessions. Since lockdown, Alive has been delivering online zoom activity sessions to care homes in Bristol and now nationally.Some of these were ‘Out and About’ sessions. Care homes were taken on tours of attractions or areas, so they were able to feel like they had been out of the home and explored parts of the city. As the severity of COVID has increased Alive has observed that homes are no longer able to attend live activity at a fixed time. This led to homes asking for a way of accessing our unique content on demand whenever it might suit them. The platform allows you to search for content based on the viewer’s level of dementia, their personal interests and the length of time they have to enjoy the video.The videos are designed to be a mixture of learning, entertainment and reminiscence with questions that guide group discussion and one to one conversation. “What makes Alive On Demand stand out is really the fact that we have designed the content to be watched with loved ones, to create conversation and spark memories. The content is designed to support people in engaging with people living with dementia as well as allowing those living with dementia to enjoy things that are meaningful to them.” – Emma Dyer, AOD Project Manager. To see Alive on Demand in action watch our promo video at Sign up to the newsletter at to find out more about Alive On Demand and keep up to date with new releases and features. Take a look at Alive’s sample videos at or contact Alive Activities for more information.

residents to become completely immersed in the sessions. Using headsets allows residents to opt in or out of the sessions. The silent disco can be taking place in a communal area and anyone not taking part won't be distracted by the activity. With a long transmission range it also allows patients with limited mobility to take part in the sessions in their own rooms. For more information on how we can help your clients recall memories and help to enhance the quality of life through the enjoyment of music please get in touch.:, call 0203 727 5382 or visit


01202 552333


LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS Forbes Delivers a Streamlined Solution for National Care Groups

A national care group needs to know that they are delivering a consistently high standard of care and in order to do this they need to ensure that they are working with service partners that they can trust. When it comes to laundry provision, centralised procurement and management teams want to know that they will have access to a streamlined process for all account and service management. Established in 1926, Forbes Professional offers a nationwide delivery of a local-based service, with the security and reliability that comes from being a multiaward winning, CHAS approved business. We have an expansive network of depots and field engineers including our own in-house Gas Safe engineers. This enables a highly responsive service and maintenance response, which is mobilised via a dedicated hotline at


LaundryTec is the culmination of 40 years’ experience in the laundry equipment market by its founder Jeremy Hartigan. Based in Chester we offer support for our own Lavamac brand and all other makes. Uniquely LaundryTec will offer support for any laundry equipment, with reliable, cost-effective after sales support across the UK via our in-house service department Supported by Alliance Laundry (The World’s Biggest manufacturer) we distribute the Lavamac range of equipment that’s unique range of features include, Data Tracked Operation, Auto-Weight loading, Automatic chemical control, Simple to use controls and market leading efficiency in energy consumption make it a market leader The Air Sourced Heat Pump Dryers cost less to dry

our head office. We work closely with clients to devise the solution best suited to their requirements; conducting comprehensive site-surveys, offering detailed CAD designs and always specifying the most appropriate, industry compliant machines. We choose our manufacturers extremely carefully to ensure that we are offering the highest quality of both product and service. For the care sector, hygiene is always of paramount importance and our commercial laundry equipment fully adheres to the relevant WRAS and CQC guidelines for infection control. We are proud to be Miele National Partner which enables us to offer market leading, energy efficient machines including a wide range of heatpump dryers. All of our laundry equipment is available for rent, lease or purchase with maintenance. Our Complete Care rental solution gives access to premium equipment without upfront capital outlay and with no repair or replacement bills for the life of the contract. Clients are assigned a dedicated account manager who remains their point of contact, centralising all account management for a highly efficient process that keeps things simple for both procurement teams and care management staff. 0345 070 2335 18kg of washing than boiling a kettle! Auto- Chemical control and Auto weight Control calculates the energy required to the actual load and can control the chemical usage and offer reduction of up to 50% in chemical usage! Every replacement machine includes Installation, commissioning and as standard 24 months Parts and Labour Warranty. CMM customers will receive a 36-month warranty as Standard. If you want a friendly amenable face that can deliver on their promises let LaundryTec offer you the kind of support we offer Bupa, Care UK, Abbey Healthcare, and many others to your home? From Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) to fully comprehensive cover and reactive support properly maintained, and supported laundry equipment should be a cost effective, relaxed part of the care homes operation? Check out our website to see what of customers say

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

LaundryTec Ltd offer a unique approach to laundry equipment

We don’t want to replace equipment or sign you into a long-term agreement. LaundryTec want to support your existing equipment, through PPM, Gas Safe Compliance and Quality emergency support.

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We are also Lavamac distributors

0151 317 3127



LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS Keeping Care Homes Hygienic Textile Services Association provides support for care homes looking to improve laundry hygiene The Textile Services Association (TSA) has released guidance aimed at the care home sector to help explain how laundry helps control infections and how commercial laundries can help to raise hygiene standards. This is part of the ongoing effort the TSA has made during the pandemic to help encourage high standards for hygiene in a number of sectors, including healthcare and hospitality. The advice is based on research carried out by De Montfort University, in association with the TSA, which was aimed at determining the survivability of coronaviruses on various fabric types and laundry processes. This research demonstrated that while model coronaviruses can survive in water at 60°C for ten minutes, when combined with the agitation washing machines impart and detergent, no trace of the virus was found at 40°C and above. However, other pathogens like C.difficile, B.cereus, E.faecium and so on will require further thermal disinfection. For care homes looking to maximise their hygiene, the knowledge that professional wash processes effectively eliminate the infection risk from pathogens and coronaviruses is good news. However, it was also determined that the tested strain of coronavirus can remain infectious on polyester fabric for up to 72 hours, and 100% cotton for 24 hours. It’s also possible for polyester fabric to transfer the virus to other surfaces for up to 72 hours. With this in mind, the TSA recommends that care homes review procedures for laundry, including the loading and unloading of washing machines and the handling and storing of soiled and clean textiles, focusing on the need to reduce the chances of cross

contamination. While each care home will have its own processes, common areas to focus on include bagging soiled items, separate storage areas for soiled and clean textiles, ensuring that collection and delivery times for laundry are different, and putting in rigorous procedures for sanitising all at risk areas. The pandemic has hugely increased the importance of maintaining the strictest hygienic standards in care homes. While some care homes may be able to implement the kind of systems required to guarantee the safety of their laundry needs, from resident’s bedsheets, clothes etc. to staff uniforms, the services offered by commercial laundries provide a simple solution to these logistical issues. The TSA has created a technical bulletin outlining the government’s advice, as well as breaking down the kind of steps care homes should consider as part of any risk assessment they take to improve the hygiene of their laundry procedures. As well as this, the TSA will be running an interactive webinar later in the year allowing operators to ask a panel of industry experts questions related to laundry hygiene. The bulletin can be downloaded on the TSA’s website, from the healthcare section of the documents library, and further details about the webinar can also be found there. The TSA is the trade association for the textile care services industry. The TSA represent commercial laundry and textile rental businesses. Membership ranges from family-run operations through to large, multi-national companies. Visit for more information.

Cash’s Labels- “The Name Behind the Name” 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.

Southern Contracts Industrial Equipment Suppliers

Contact us now on 03301 222888 Follow us on : Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Southern Contracts is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of industrial laundry, catering and commercial cleaning equipment. We work with many care homes, hotels, restaurants, holiday parks, cruise lines, offshore platforms, marine companies and local authorities, the NHS, the MoD as well as schools and colleges. Founded in 1964 to initially supply and maintain commercial laundry equipment, we are still family run today and are proud to have become a global supplier of not only laundry equipment, but also professional kitchen appliances and commercial cleaning equipment, to well known independent and national clients. We pride ourselves on delivering the very best products and service to our customers. By stocking the leading commercial washing machines, industrial tumble dryers, cleaning, HEPA vacuum and catering equipment, we are able to offer

independent and unbiased advice to ensure your purchase precisely meets your requirement and budget; our expert team of technical staff are on hand to ensure your business is supported through every aspect of your purchase. From initial advice on current government standards (eg. infection control for commercial washing machines and meeting government legislation for kitchen appliances) we understand the importance of minimal disruption to operations for our clients whilst covering all aspects of installation, customer training, ongoing maintenance, service and repair. For more information regarding our services for : • Laundry equipment • Kitchen appliances • Commercial cleaning equipment Contact us now on 03301 222888 Follow us on : Facebook, Twitter, Instagram LinkedIn


NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION Introducing Intercall One – Building Lotus Care Technology on our Bestselling Legacy System Intercall is a leading UK manufacturer of nurse call systems used in healthcare facilities across the UK and around the world. Known for their innovative products, including the Touch and 600/700 series, Intercall’s latest development is One, a modern affordable nurse call system created for the digital age. Installed on the robust Intercall framework, it provides an opportunity for a nurse call system upgrade with minimal disruption with interconnected call points that supply unrivalled reliability while assisting in the smooth running of the care facility. The Intercall One system delivers real-time accurate call data to the right people at the right time, ensuring a prompt response. Furthermore, the system is supported with Intercall Care Cards to control access to sensitive areas, while integrating with care management functions.

Launched at this year’s Care Show in Birmingham, the One series underwent rigorous testing, including the successful installation into trial sites at Brooklands Nursing Home in Ashdown Forest and Sutton Court Residential Home in Nottingham. Initial feedback for the One series has been extremely positive, with the facilities impressed by the ease of installation. Intercall One has been developed to help reduce alarm fatigue, while the stylish, clean design integrates seamlessly into modern décor in a discreet, unobtrusive manner. During 2020, Intercall installed an inhouse state-of-the-art training facility, which has allowed them to offer COVID-safe product training and demonstrations to colleagues and clients across the world. If you’d like to arrange a demonstration or simply find out more about the One series, visit

How Flexible Is Your Nurse Call System? Touchsafe® Pro Wireless Nurse Call is an essential communications system for alerting staff to calls, visually and audibly, from patients to other members of staff. Fitting a nurse call system can often be disruptive, time consuming and expensive; but not with Aid Call’s wireless system. Aid Call utilise wireless technology because there is no need to install cables to any of the call points and the impact is minimal, which is reassuring at a time of increased pressure on resources and environments. Wireless systems also have lower installation and operating costs over a traditional hard-wired system, as well as being quicker and easier to install. Wireless configuration offers complete flexibility and mobility, which makes our system infinitely changeable and expandable, allowing for

the constant ability to deal with ever changing priorities and demands. Our system is safe, reliable and cost-effective. It can be designed to suit individual requirements and needs and adapted to work within your budget. It also has a variety of features which can help to maximise staff efficiency and improve the overall quality of care offered to your clients and patients. Aid Call pagers also work seamlessly with our Touchsafe Pro wireless Nurse Call system, they can be integrated with your existing system, or they can be used as a stand-alone system. So whether you need 2 pagers or 12, our products provide the ultimate flexibility for healthcare facilities. For further information visit or see the advert on page 15.

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 for details.


NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION Fall Savers - Affordable Fall Monitoring Solutions Fall Savers®, are an experienced market leading healthcare provider of resident safety solutions for over 15 years.


Eliminate all cables with our new generation falls management solutions! Upgrade your falls programme with the latest technology from Fall Savers®. The NEW Fall Savers® Wireless eliminates the cord between the monitor and sensor pad. This results in less work for nursing staff, improved safety for patients and reduced wear and tear on sensor pads. Wireless advantages include the ability to use one monitor with two sensor pads simultaneously and support for many new wireless devices.

Benefits include:

Safer for patients; less work for staff Bed and chair pads available One monitor works with two sensor pads Integrates with most nurse call systems A variety of options, including: Call button Pager

Floor sensor mat Wireless door/window exit alerts

TREADNOUGHT ®FLOOR SENSOR PAD The TreadNought® Floor Sensor Pad is built to last with a durable construction that far out lasts the competition. Our anti-bacterial floor sensor pad is compatible with most nurse call systems or can be used with a portable pager to sound an alert when a person steps on to the sensor pad. Caregivers typically place the sensor pad at the bedside, in a doorway or other locations to monitor persons at risk for falls or wandering. An optional anti-slip mesh reduces the potential for slippage on hard surface floors.

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 or visit

The New MPCSA11 from Medpage

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Medpage is a family ran company, with a huge heart and resources gathered over our 35year 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 suc-

cessful 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


NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION Edison Telecom - Specialist Solutions For Your Nurse Call Systems 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.”

Silent Running - Tranquility in Care Homes Quiet and calm care homes ensure that residents are able to live in a more relaxing and pleasant home environment. Similarly, carers and staff find that they too benefit from reduced stress when working in a home where noise levels are kept to a minimum. There are many environmental factors that can affect those sensitive to their surroundings, particularly those suffering from dementia, these can be fluctuations in ambient temperature, light, and of course noise. Repetitive and high levels of noise can originate from a number of internal and external sources, for example, telephones ringing, loud conversations in corridors, and call bells sounding, often one of the largest contributors to increasing the levels of stress and discomfort in residents. A published study by the University of Stirling stated that unanswered Nurse Call (Call Bell) alarms can be one of the most common causes of stress in dementia sufferers. The University recommends “fitting call alarms which alert nurses but do not resonate throughout the whole building. Alarms can be particularly disconcerting as they may encourage the person with dementia to respond or investigate what the matter is. At the very least the loss of sleep will compromise a person’s ability to concentrate. It can affect their attention levels and capacity to cope, as well as being detrimental to their overall state of wellbeing. Personal paging systems are preferable to bells and buzzers.” Modern Nurse Call systems can incorporate a number of methods to reduce their impact in a care home. These include zoning whereby there are sepa-

rate alarm types used depending upon the location of the call. In these circumstances, dementia sufferers and those vulnerable to noise can be located in one “zone” whist less vulnerable residents live in an alternative “zone”. Each “zone” can operate different call tones, warning lights or other methods to alert when help is required Reducing noise levels is essential to create a tranquil environment for residents. Pagers have been around for many years, are a relatively simple and cost-effective measure in reducing the levels of noise, and can be added to most Nurse Call systems. Smart Mobile Devices are now becoming more commonplace for care home staff and hold a variety of apps for care planning, e-medication, etc. Many Courtney Thorne clients are now utilising the “Go” app with their Nurse Call system. With the “Go” app, nurse call alarms are delivered immediately and silently straight to the handsets, alerting the individual carers to all Nurse call alarms without creating any general alarm sound and rarely disturbing the rest of the residents in the home. Calmer residents ultimately means that staff are less stressed also, this creates a happier workplace where morale is greatly improved, staff are retained and CQC ratings improve. Clearly, the positive ramifications of a quiet Care Home run deep. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your home become a quieter, calmer, and more tranquil environment. For more information email us at:




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


TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE New Fintech Helps Healthcare SMES Combat Late Payments Small businesses are being given free access to a new digital payment platform to help them get outstanding debts paid more quickly. Debt Register is giving healthcare SMEs in the country the opportunity to load and collect up to five free outstanding debts every year by using its platform which it claims can resolve debts anything up to 10 times faster than ‘traditional’ legal action and without the unnecessary cost. Businesses simply log onto the Fintech platform using one of their five free credits and the system takes over. It automatically contacts their debtor and in the appropriate language and time of day, requesting that the payment is settled, and ensuring the invoice is cor-

Oysta Intelligent Care Technology

Giving Vulnerable Independent People (VIP) the option to remain in their own homes and out of expensive long-term care, Oysta’s telecare technology enables carers to monitor well-being and provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from any location. “The cost savings that we are seeing are immense. We are now in a position where we are more streamlined, yet just as effective in our care provision. From a management point of view, we are able to prioritise the time of our teams, whilst still providing the care where it is needed. This is enabling us to provide better care, for more people, all within the familiar surroundings of their own home”. – Care service provider with Oysta, Telford, Shropshire. Continually, and securely, monitoring activity and patterns of behaviour, Oysta care solutions provide carers, family and the VIP themselves with peace of mind and support. Should an alert be raised, everyone within the VIPs

care network is notified. Responding to emergency alerts triggered by the VIP, or detected by a sensor within the home, Oysta technology kick starts a connected-care process to prevent a problem becoming a crisis. Digital tracking technology also enables fast finding of a VIP who may have wandered out of preset safe zones. The ‘cloak of care’ for the VIP from Oysta contributes to reduced feelings of isolation, fewer falls and emergency A&E admission. Oysta solutions also enable patients to be discharged from hospital sooner. Combining mobile technology with the latest digital communications, Oysta provides easy to use, easy to install, data-rich systems all connected to Oysta’s innovative IntelliCare platform. An invaluable management tool, care providing teams can understand quickly what the issues are, or will be, based on trends and metrics collated by IntelliCare, for each VIP in their care. Enabling better use of care resource, staff time and care budget, IntelliCare supports a more intelligent care service. Enabling faster and more targeted care, Oysta telecare solutions are in use within Care agencies and prescribed by Social care authorities around the country, protecting 10,000’s of Vulnerable People. Flexible and reliable, Oysta solutions are digital, freeing VIPs from the confines of the home. Allowing greater freedom, VIPs can rest assured that they are always connected to Oysta care, wherever they may venture. For further information on Oysta and their range of solutions, please visit:

rect and not in dispute. Should the debtor not respond or payment is not immediately forthcoming, the matter is reported to the Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) and the debtor’s credit score negatively impacted. It is this ‘consequence’ that provides the leverage for an outstanding debt to be addressed, and on launch, initial data shows 80% of debtors engaged through the platform paid their clients directly within seven days. Gary Brown, Founder of Debt Register, said the product and platform were created out of necessity: “SMEs often don’t have the luxury of time or a dedicated team to chase debts and they can quickly become overdue. Whereas some might eventually try to legal action, its time-consuming and costly, and outcomes are difficult to predict. “With the accelerated payment platform we have developed, we hope to play our part in helping SMEs

get paid for the work or services provided, and keep the cash flowing.” Debt Register provides a series of tools for users including auto-translation for companies recovering debts from overseas customers. The system is intelligent, to recognise different time zones, working days and cultural nuances including national holidays or religious festivals, and times the despatch of any communications accordingly. The platform has also been designed to streamline the payment process for the debtor with a specially designed portal providing three points of payment resolution as well as a series of tools including messaging services and payment acknowledgement tools. Debt Register is available globally and designed to suit any business regardless of industry. For more information or to sign up for a free trial, please visit:

Global Software Solutions from Leecare Leecare’s comprehensive Platinum 5.0 program is easily customised to meet specific organisational needs. Offering as much or as little flexibility as desired, P5 assessment content across the suite and linked Apps can be modified to provide clients with reassurance that the software is fit for purpose. Integral to the program is a specialised form and report builder which enables easy tailoring of the program. Organisations can build or modify assessments, monitoring charts, care plans and reports as well as change default and individual resident settings ensuring optimal function and success. Mobile Apps which link to the program can also be modified at the push of a button. Layers of permissions built into the programme ensure staff can only read / write in particular resident files or assessments and do what they are mandated to. Our comprehensive understanding of the legal and political environments that govern each of the markets in which we operate means we are able to expediently add required forms / functions to the program to ensure our clients stay abreast of any changes. The Leecare platform incorporates a resident/client-centric care system comprising over

150 aged / social care expert assessments and monitoring charts designed with the latest evidence-based tools and the sector they serve in mind. We also provide over 100 meaningful, quality and system analysis ready reports. One source of truth is ensured and duplication is eliminated through linked data which maps throughout all relevant assessments in the program. Whenever an assessment is completed and saved the information entered will trigger a number of functions including the mapping of the information to another relevant assessment in the program, the generation of an automated progress note, a prompt to update a resident goal; the need to update other related clinical information in the program such as neuro obs post fall, the updating of any one of three different resident care plans, an update of relevant resident and management reports. As the system can be used from any device and accessed via Wi-Fi from anywhere, data can be entered in a timely manner at the point of care or when it is convenient, streamlining and simplifying workflow for nurses and care staff be it assessment data at the bedside or downloading maintenance reports from the workshop. Visit for further information.


TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Check EU Employees Right To Work, Warns Bizimply Care employers will need to keep clear records of their team members’ immigration and right-to-work status as the UK moves into the post-Brexit ‘hostile environment’ from 1 July. Care workforce specialist Bizimply is warning businesses that they need a clear and accessible record of every employee’s status in order to demonstrate compliance with the regulations. Under UK law, employers face imprisonment and unlimited fines for knowingly employing someone who does not have the right to work in the UK. Employers using Bizimply’s suite of workforce management software can easily and confidentially record all the necessary status confirmation and supporting documentation for employees, and make it available to check if required. Employers can be jailed for five years and pay an unlimited fine if found guilty of employing someone who they know or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK.

Details of the Settled Status regulations are at An employer toolkit is at See the advert this page or visit

Eliminate Paper & Payroll Stress

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

Reliant Care Solutions provides Time & Attendance systems for Care Homes using Face Recognition technology and mobile communications with your employees. Accurate, fast and easy to use for staff and Management. We have been in the business of Time Management for over 20 years, and have a vast experience in software development. DutyHours™ and TimeCap™ are easy to use and will dramatically reduce management time to produce Rosters, staff payroll and collect data. It is suitable for a single home or for organizations that may have multiple homes with centralized payroll. With our Employee Portal staff can check their rosters by using their Mobile or other devices to quickly view, past, present and future shifts. They can quickly request holidays and if you need someone for an open shift the Portal will display them and the employee can

request to work the shift. Approve or Reject any requests direct to their Mobile Phone, Laptop, text or email and eliminate paper, phone calls with instant communication that will save everyone time and money. The system creates an electronic timesheet of which job, where, when, which department and accurately calculates and controls pay hours including Bank Holidays, Vacation, Sickness and other absence. It will identify allowances such as overtime, weekend and night shift working and export the hours and Gross Pay for your payroll or to send to your accountant. Call Workforce Group on 03333 4444 562 for more information and a demonstration of the system, or visit our web site at



Care Staffing Crisis Tackled with Comprehensive Recruitment, Retention, and Fully Funded Nationally Training Pathway Programme Recognised and Accredited Qualifications

We are a Company that finds learners for Colleges and Learning Providers. MSD Independent offer market-leading fully funded

Courses for a wide range of Certificated Health and Social Care qualifications.

These cover a diverse mix of subjects, such as Autism, Mental Health, Mental Health First Aid, Dementia Awareness, and the

Safe Handling and Administration of Medicines as well as many

more. Also we have fully funded courses in Safeguarding, Business Administration, and Digital Services. The courses are available

through several Colleges we work with so staff will get

access to qualified tutors to help them if needed, plus longer submission times than many providers.

Staff shortages in the care sector are well-documented and Staffordshire-based Acacia Training has responded with the launch of a new Professional Care Pathway programme. Structured as a flexible sixyear package, the training programme provides learners with the opportunity to progress to a Level 5 qualification with the option to additionally complete a teaching qualification in the final year. It is open equally to those new to the sector, those already following a career within it, and those considering a return to health and social care. For employers, the pathway commences at the recruitment stage making it the most comprehensive and advanced programme of its kind in the care sector. Created in direct response to the needs of care employers, Acacia’s Professional Care Pathway has been developed to transform how care workers are perceived, through the raising of standards and provision of professional qualifications to degree level and beyond. Lisa Davies, speaking on behalf of Acacia Training, said: “The pandemic shone a spotlight on the vital role of those working in care, but recruitment and retention combine to pose the sector with its biggest challenge of all and there are now in excess of 100,000 positions vacant. “Care employers are under immense pressure to deliver their core services, yet they’re also battling to keep their existing staff empowered and invested in their careers AND attract new talent. They’re superheroes but they can’t do it all - our Professional Care Pathway addresses this.”

Starting with recruitment, the Professional Care Pathway allows employers to hand their vacancies over to Acacia’s dedicated recruitment service to manage all aspects of advertising the vacancies, vetting applications and recommending an interview shortlist. Acacia Training then delivers sector specific pre-employment induction training for successful candidates before they commence on their professional career training. The Professional Care Pathway not only offers flexibility to the learners but is also entirely flexible to meet the needs of the sector. Acacia’s first partner in the programme is Home Instead which provides care at home services nationwide. Lisa Davies concludes: “When Home Instead approached us to support on its recruitment and training needs, it quickly became apparent that the challenges it faces are far from unique. “Acacia can relieve the pressure for care providers across areas including engagement, motivation and promotion. Starting with recruitment and onboarding, through our in-house careers guidance service, our impactful employee engagement strategies, and our rich heritage in all areas of care sector training, we can provide the most comprehensive and professionally focused recruitment, training and retention programme to meet the needs of every UK care provider.” To find out more about Acacia’s Professional Care Pathway programme, contact the team on 01782 646 346 /

FUNDED LEVEL 3 DIPLOMA in ADULT CARE At Step Up Training and Care we offer: • Tailored learning journeys and programmes • A flexible blended approach of one to one, in-house, classroom, practical assignments and online assessment methods • Training that will lead to higher quality of care delivery

Learners are able to further their own continuous professional

• Training led by tutors and assessors who are specialists in health and social care

can then progress on to further qualifications in Health & Social

• Level 3 diplomas that are accredited to Highfield Qualifications

development which may also improve their career prospects and care or other related subjects.

Visit our web site

Email us at Call us on 01656 502059 and speak to one of our dedicated Team We are here to help

T : 0121 794 1532 or 07384 698553 W : E :


EDUCATION AND TRAINING How A Tailored Regional Approach Is Tackling Critical Social Care Skills Shortages In The West Midlands By Clare Hatton, Head of Skills Delivery, West Midlands Combined Authority (

If nothing else, the global pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of the roles of health and social care workers. Despite this, the social care sector faces a critical skills shortage, with more than two thirds of care managers reporting limited services due to a lack of qualified staff. Impacting the sector’s ability to effectively operate, the shortage has already seen more than 5,000 requests for care being denied since the beginning of September. Responsible for the West Midland’s £130 million Adult Education Budget since 2019, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has implemented sustainable solutions to regional skills shortages across all industries. Despite strong economic growth and improving employment rates, the impact of the pandemic has hit the West Midlands particularly hard, resulting in record-high vacancies in the care sector and more than 1,500 expected NHS vacancies. Effective and adaptable training initiatives are needed to proactively fill vacancies, meet employers’ needs and ensure the continuous delivery of high-quality care. To achieve this, the WMCA has developed an agile and responsive skills ‘roadmap’ that offers residents the opportunity to upskill, retrain and move into care sector roles; all whilst supporting wider economic and sector recovery. This roadmap provides training across all levels allowing upskilling and

progression for those already within the sector and in turn creating greater availability of entry-level positions. This mobility, and the alignment of the programmes’ content with regional employer skills needs, are key to the roadmap’s success; meaningful engagement with employers throughout the training process allows local skill demands to be met and ensures a consistent source of qualified talent – a model that can be replicated in other areas.

It’s important to embed training at each level – a strategy we’ve adopted in the West Midlands which has seen opportunities to gain nationally recognised Level 3, 4 and 5 qualifications in care expanded. As a result, this builds a stronger and more resilient workforce, with the longevity to enhance existing capabilities and offer new pathways for existing employees, while also creating gaps for prospective employees to gain the entry level positions made available.



In partnership with Jobcentre Plus, Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) help people enter or re-join the workforce, fully equipped with the skills and abilities tailored to the requirements of regional employers. Offering a flexible opportunity for local unemployed people to retrain in a new industry, and with no cost to learners or partner employers, thanks to funding from the AEB, care-sector SWAPs engage with employers at all stages, from curriculum consultation to the guaranteed interviews upon completion. As a result, this collaborative approach helps participants gain a strong understanding of the realities of the sector whilst shaping and building the skills, attitudes, and experience that industry needs.


Whilst SWAPs provide a new wave of qualified entry-level talent, higherlevel skills training is vital to address critical skills gaps amongst more senior positions such as care home managers. More upskilling opportunities address the higher-level skills scarcity and prevents career stagnation within the industry, simultaneously solving skills issues and presenting the sector as a more attractive, sustainable career choice.

Why Train Beyond the Care Certificate It can be tempting to think that once the Care Certificate has been achieved it’s the end of training. The Care Certificate can demonstrate that staff have the minimum level of required training. Training to Level 2 and beyond will therefore improve abilities to cope with the challenges presented by working in a difficult sector. Obviously one of the most significant challenges was dealing with Covid but there will be new and different challenges ahead However, it is the clients who will benefit from the improvement that additional training will bring. Whilst these may include advances in the treatment of dementia, or changes to the legislative framework, there will undoubtedly be any number of other issues that will create new and complex problems that need to be dealt with. So, if you think the Care Certificate completes all the training, it might be time to think again.

Smaller employers face additional recruitment challenges, struggling more than their larger competitors to attract skilled staff and lacking budget to provide training in-house. Leveraging the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund is useful when addressing these issues, helping cover the costs of apprenticeship training for SMEs. The WMCA’s levy transfer funds – one of the largest in the country – has supported 56 health and social care SMEs gain the qualified workforce needed to maintain services, as well as helping over 300 individuals begin a new and exciting career via an apprenticeship. The effective and adaptable training models provided by comprehensive skills initiatives offer a flexible solution to many employment challenges within social care. They also help develop a substantive and reliable talent stream, preventing future shortages or interruption to services. The success of these programmes demonstrates how a skills delivery system developed in coordination with industry partners can effectively and proactively meet sectoral needs, whilst providing residents with greater employment opportunities – a model that holds great promise for other areas facing similar critical skills shortages.

SO WHY CHOOSE STEP UP TRAINING AND CARE? We provide training services that will build implicit trust, leading to confidence by clients looking to use your services. At Step Up Training and Care, we know people are busy, work long hours and that a set 9-5 timetable will not work for most care homes and providers. We can tailor our learning programmes to meet individual needs, time our training to meet business commitments, working shift patterns and around family life. Zoom Boom is here to stay, and we can accommodate teaching and learning through blended learning such as classroom, remote, assessor based, one to one training sessions. Our trainers have personal experiences of working in the health and social care sector, hence our flexible approach. We empower people to learn. Training beyond the Care Certificate - Can you afford not to? Call 0121 794 1532 or 07384 698553 or visit for details.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 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

Power Of Attorney Considerations For Carers By Ashley Partridge, Head of Wills, Probate & Estate Planning, Parker Bullen solicitors ( THE MENTAL CAPACITY ACT The Mental Capacity Act is essential when dealing with those individuals that may be losing or have indeed lost capacity to make important decisions for themselves. Under the Act, a person is considered to be incapacitated to make a particular decision if he or she suffers from an impairment of the mind or brain, and that impairment makes them unable to reach decisions on their own. This could apply when a person has trouble understanding or retaining information. Where a person is considered to be incapacitated to make a particular decision, a decision may need to be

made on their behalf. The Act states that the decision must be one that is made in their best interests. So, who can make the decision on their behalf? This depends on whether there is a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

HEALTH AND WELFARE LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY (LPA) A Health and Welfare LPA enables an individual to grant someone they trust the power to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. This is the only way to grant those powers. Being a family member or friend doesn’t allow you to make decisions unless an LPA is in place. If there is a decision to be made about treatment, medicine or care more generally and an individual is considered to be incapacitated, then you must establish LPA is in place for that individual and who their attorney is under the LPA.




Power Of Attorney Considerations For Carers (CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE) The LPA does not only grant the power to make important decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual, it also places a duty on that individual to make decisions that are in the best interests of the individual. Many attorneys of an LPA may not realise the powers they have or the duties imposed on them by law. That is why is it so important that the attorneys are brought into the process as soon as it becomes clear that an individual may soon lose or has lost capacity.

POWERS OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS In the circumstances where an LPA is not in place, healthcare professionals may have the power to make decisions on behalf of an individual that has lost capacity.

THE COVID-19 VACCINE The Covid-19 vaccine is yet to be made compulsory, so it is an individual’s choice whether they receive the vaccine or not. Whilst a person has capacity, they are entitled to refuse the vaccine. It may be that this decision is objectively an unwise one, especially if they are in a high risk category for Covid-19. However, the fact that an individual is making an unwise decision does not mean that they are incapacitated to make that decision. Both an LPA and the healthcare professional’s powers should not be used to override a person’s decision whilst they retain capacity. If an individual has lost capacity, it may be that the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine seems to be in the individual’s best interest. There are a few things to consider before coming to that conclusion. Healthcare professionals, close family members and the medical history of the individual should be taken in consideration. For example, if an individual had never received any vaccinations before, or was strongly against the vaccination this should be taken into account when evaluating their best interests.

It is possible for an individual to make an advanced decision to refuse treatment. This decision must be appropriately recorded and be specific to the treatment that they wish to refuse. Where an individual has denied certain treatments whilst having capacity, it would be good practice to ask whether they wish to make an advanced decision regarding that treatment to ensure that if they ever lost capacity, their decisions would be respected.

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR CARE HOME MANAGERS - ASK Ensure that all residents consider whether they wish to put in place an LPA. Many people value the knowledge that if they lost capacity, someone that they trust would be making decisions on their behalf. This is particularly relevant if a resident is likely to lose capacity in the short to medium term. - ASK Where relevant, ask residents if they would like to make an advanced decision. This can make attorney’s decision making easier in the future and can give the resident peace of mind. - RECORD Keep a record of who the attorneys are for each resident. Keep their contact details on file so that they can be contact quickly in the case of emergency. Similarly, keep a record of their advanced wishes, easily accessible in the case of emergency. - INFORM Keep attorneys informed and up to date. Lay out clearly their powers and duties and any considerations that they should especially have (such as advanced decisions, healthcare professionals' advice, previous medical history and choices).

USEFUL RESOURCES FOR CARERS LPAs and the COVID Vaccine LPAs and attorney duties – Making decisions on behalf of someone –

Moneypenny Launches Outbound Calling Service For UK Care Providers

Leading outsourced communications provider Moneypenny has launched an outbound calling service to help time-poor UK care providers keep on top of customer care and recruitment. The newly launched service has two key functions – to handle new customer enquiries requiring bed availability and care provision and to follow up CVs and providing first stage candidate vetting for current vacancies. Stephanie Vaughan-Jones, head of the health and care sector at Moneypenny said: “We’re well aware of the huge demands on care home staff the moment – particularly when recruitment is still such a challenge. Our outbound calling service is designed to help care providers by alleviating some of the time-intensive every-day duties such as making follow up calls.” The launch is particularly timely as the care sector faces the worst recruitment crisis it has ever seen. Stephanie added: “People make evidence-based decisions when choosing their care provider, whether for themselves or a relative and first impressions are often one of those factors. How you handle calls,

including follow-ups, speaks volumes about you as a business and a care provider. It can make the difference between whether a new customer chooses you or a great candidate comes for interview. “By providing call follow-up, we’re able to make sure that care provider’s very first impressions are as positive as possible and importantly, that we save time for in-house teams so they can focus on greater endeavour. Finding ways to help an already-stretched sector operate more efficiently is a key priority right now.” Moneypenny’s outbound call service follows the recent launch of a dedicated call handling guide for care providers, which is intended to help review inbound call handling practices and find ways to improve

efficiencies and reputation. Stephanie concluded: “Lots of care providers view answering the phone as something that just happens, rather than an important communications activity that requires a strategy of its own. We hope that the launch of our free guide and now our outbound calling service will really demonstrate that we’re here, ready and able to help the care sector – whether you’re an independent care home, a multi-site group or a domiciliary care provider.” Moneypenny provides telephone answering, live chat, outsourced switchboard and customer contact solutions to hundreds of care providers across the UK, thanks to its dedicated team of 41 healthcare receptionists. In total, more than 13,000 businesses across the UK benefit from Moneypenny’s mix of extraordinary people and groundbreaking technology. For more information about Moneypenny’s work in the health and care sector visit:

Specialist care home insurance We arrange tailored insurance programmes for care and nursing homes, hospices and domiciliary care providers, for both staff and business owners. Our extensive knowledge of the care market will help to ensure you have the right protection in place for now and, for the future. Secure robust cover that’s right for your business. CALL NOW FOR A QUOTE

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