The Carer Digital - Issue #83

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T H E P U B L I C AT I O N F O R N U R S I N G A N D R E S I D E N T I A L C A R E H O M E S

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

The Carer Digital

THECARERUK

THECARERUK

Issue 83

Volunteer Army Needed to Fight Care Staff Crisis

Worried care providers today repeated an urgent plea for an army of volunteers to be set up to tackle a growing staff crisis in the sector. The Independent Care Group (ICG) fears the shortage – fuelled by rapidly rising cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant – will leave providers unable to provide care. Its chair, Mike Padgham, has written to the Health Secretary for a second time,

appealing to him to tackle the social care staffing crisis. He has called for the Government to set up an emergency arms of volunteers to step in and help in care settings. “I wrote in August and I am writing again now as the situation is becoming desperate,” Mr Padgham said.

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EDITOR'S VIEWPOINT Welcome to the latest edition of The Carer Digital! “There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” ROSALYN CARTER

TELEPHONE: (6 lines)

Fax: 01202 552666 Email: sales@thecareruk.com

WEBSITE: www.thecareruk.com EDITOR Peter Adams

Editor

Peter Adams

RBC Publishing Ltd Roddis House, Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 1LG

01202 552333

Once again a very Happy New Year to you all! As I sit at my desk today Wednesday the 5th I can look out over blue skies, whereas here in Bournemouth every single day during the festive break we either had torrential rain or miserable fine rain. Nevertheless, I think it rained every single day! We start the New Year with some real hard-hitting comments from industry organisations and observers regarding the staffing crisis in the sector. As often reported the sector has been dogged by staff shortages for many years, in an article in this issue (see page 13) Care Forum Wales members have been reporting being down by up to 75 per cent in terms of staffing shifts, and in another article (see our front cover story) care providers have again repeated a call for an army of volunteers to be set up to tackle a growing staff crisis in the sector. According to a report in the Guardian newspaper today, more than 11,000 care home workers are off for Covid-19 related reasons. The report goes on to say that across England, 9.4% of care home staff are off work, according to government live data, with about 3% absent because of Covid. The figures, which may be an underestimation because of the festive break, are drawn from submissions by thousands of care providers. We have received reports that the government’s mandatory vaccination policy has not seen as many staff leave the sector as anticipated. That may have been the case for the November 11 deadline, but many staff left long before. According to analysis of government figures by Nuffield Trust more than 40,000 social care staff have left the sector over the last six months, amid what a think tank is calling a “toxic mix of workforce challenges”, adding that this is likely to be an underestimate due to not all providers submitting data throughout the six-month period. It certainly appears that the government has created a “perfect storm”. This crisis has not come out of nothing. Operators, industry organisations and observers repeatedly warned about this, and the Omicron variant has compounded what was already a very

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difficult situation. The real danger the sector faces, and this would happen in any sector, is falling morale and overwork. No matter how much money the government throws at training and recruitment, intolerable and stressful conditions will deter people from entering the sector and also see people leave for other less stressful jobs. Now maybe the time for the government to “bite the bullet” and to consider mandatory daily testing for non-vaccinated care home workers as an alternative to its mandatory vaccine policy. Once again, I would take this opportunity to thank you for your New Year stories when you take into account the above, and the real difficulties the sector is facing, there have been some wonderful and uplifting stories which give credit to the resilience and dedication of those working in the sector. One of the major parts of my job is attending residential and nursing care adult social care and dementia care training tradeshows seminars and one-day events. I get to meet people from all aspects of the sector, frontline care workers, line management and senior management, care homeowners, independent and groups, industry observers professionals, and suppliers of products and services into the sector. I get to see first-hand, particularly from frontline workers, just how truly dedicated they are, and, of course, our Unsung Hero award provides us with deep insight, with nominations from all departments highlighting the absolute limit staff are prepared to go to on behalf of their residents, so please do keep your stories coming! I can always be reached at editor@thecareruk.com

SALES EXECUTIVES Sylvia Mawson David Bartlett Guy Stephenson TYPESETTING & DESIGN Matthew Noades PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Shelly Roche Published by


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 3

Volunteer Army Needed to Fight Care Staff Crisis (CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) HOMES “ON THEIR KNEES” “Every day we are hearing from the operators of nursing and care homes and from homecare providers who cannot operate properly because they are so short of staff. “Before Covid-19 the sector had around 120,000 care staff vacancies. After the upheaval of Brexit, the compulsory ‘no jab, no job’ and escalating cases of Covid-19, we are on our knees and we need help before we have to start rationing care.” In his letter to the Health Secretary Mr Padgham says: ‘Since I previously wrote to you, in August last year, the situation has worsened considerably to the point where care providers are increasingly unable to provide care for our most vulnerable. I want to repeat my plea to you to consider setting up an emergency task force to step in to avoid situations where care simply stops being delivered. The staffing situation is now at the worst it has been throughout the pandemic and I can only see it getting worse. The rapid spread of the omicron variant means more and more nursing home, care home and homecare staff are contracting Covid-19 and having to be off work and self-isolate. This is leaving those care providers chronically short of staff at a time when they most need to be fully staffed. As you know, we need a fully functioning social care sector to ensure that NHS hospital care can function effectively and not be overwhelmed because people cannot be discharged to care settings. At the moment that cannot be guaranteed and I fear the setting up of surge hubs is not a long-term solution as they too will be struggling for staff.

TASK FORCE I repeat my belief that we need the Government to quickly establish a volunteer task force to ease the crisis and ensure we can get through the winter. This would draw upon retired nurses, doctors, and carers, to help out. This would need to be done quickly so that they can be DBS checked and trained before winter pushes us beyond tipping point.’

Mr Padgham said: “After I wrote in August, it took four months to receive a reply and little has been done to properly tackle the staffing crisis. “Care providers cannot go on as they are or the amount and the standard of care are going to be under threat and compromised. “The idea of a volunteer army for care – similar to that being set up to support the NHS – is a serious one and one that must be implemented immediately, before it is too late.” The government announced an extra £60m for local authorities to support the adult social care response to coronavirus earlier this month.

£500M COMMITTED TO STAFF TRAINING A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We appreciate the incredible efforts of adult social care staff throughout the pandemic and have provided record funding and support to boost the workforce during this difficult time." It said it had also "committed £500m to assist with staff training, qualifications and support as part of the £5.4bn from the Health and Social Care Levy".

CARE WORKERS ADDED TO THE SHORTAGE OCCUPATION LIST The Government also earlier this month relaxed rules to add care workers to the Shortage Occupation List (SoL). The decision followed a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that the care worker role coupled with home care workers are made eligible for the health and care visa and placed on the list, which is designed to help migrants get work visas to fill jobs where there are shortages. Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors, specialist in delivering legal advice to the UK health and social care sector, welcomed the announcement saying: “The addition of the carer position to the shortage occupation list is welcomed by the social care sector in its entirety. This means care providers are now able to recruit suitable candidates outside of the UK. However, the minimum annual salary of £20,480 for carers is the same set for senior care workers and this may become a pressing issue for care providers but it will interesting to see how the Government tackles this in the coming weeks and months.”


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Putting Winter Planning Into Action By Barry Price, QCS Care Specialist (www.qcs.co.uk) With the New Year comes a reminder of the constant risk of severe cold weather, icy conditions and heavy snow. Providers should have already created their winter contingency plans. But what planning points should they pay particular attention to when preparing for inclement weather? Firstly, and most crucially, winter planning needs to be centred around the business continuity plan. It’s all about knowing the business, the business location and being able to effectively forecast what to do when bad weather hits. Whether it is snow, floods or power cuts - they all need to be taken into consideration and adequately risk assessed. What’s critical to remember is it’s about ensuring people aren’t left in vulnerable situations, and managers not only support their service users but their staff too. The same planning principals apply to both residential, supported living and domiciliary care, whether the business is in one place or spread out over a larger geographic area. If a sudden spell of bad weather comes in, staff need to know what to do.

CARE PLANNING A key element is care planning, looking at vulnerable service users and reviewing their risk rating. The QCS business continuity plan has a dedicated section which outlines policies and procedures for supporting service users during adverse weather conditions. It covers vulnerability levels, contingency measures such as providing medication support in an emergency situation, and in domiciliary care and supported living settings, who to call when service users can’t be reached. Each service user is assessed in terms of risk and vulnerability. The plan defines who, in the event of bad weather, can check on them and provide support – whether its family, neighbours, or friends. If no one is available, then the next step would be to contact social services or police. In cases such as Storm Arwen providers should also seek advice and guidance from local authority civil emergency planning teams.

COMPLIANT AND SAFE VEHICLES It’s important to check that vehicles are road worthy and winter ready – for community-based staff who drive to support service users as well as residential care staff who commute to work. For those who drive for work providers should check that the MOT is valid, the insurance is up-to-date and staff have breakdown cover (in my

experience, many don’t due to the extra cost). All vehicles should have a first-aid kit and a professional car winter kit, which includes everything that’s needed if a member of staff breaks down in the middle of nowhere – from a thermal blanket and water, to a torch, a spade and a high-visibility vest. Contingencies should be in place for when they might be needed. It’s important to think outside the box. For example, I have known some providers who have used 4X4 vehicles in the winter when heavy snow prevents staff from getting to work. Check with staff that they can get to work in rural areas, which might experience more severe weather conditions than urban locales. Think about the process and action plan when staff do not respond or turn up where expected.

SUPERVISION Supervision Contracts need to be in place to ensure harmonious working relationships between staff and managers are maintained and strengthened. The contracts provide the ground-rules and include a section on work-life balance. This is where managers can discuss personal and health issues to provide an overall picture of the staff member’s home life. Understanding a person's life away from a care setting means you can provide better support. Many working in the sector face a raft of challenges. Some, for example, have elderly or sick relatives a home. Others have young children at school and can't therefore work outside the normal working hours. It's only by giving care staff a safe platform to talk openly about their problems that Registered Managers can put effective programmes in place to address them. By identifying challenges experienced by staff, managers have a better idea of what’s coming and can adjust plans accordingly. If a spell of bad weather hits, and local schools are closed, they will know that staff without childcare will be affected and so can put contingency plans into action. Wellbeing of staff, particularly in the challenging winter months, is critical. Make sure that they have everything they need and address their concerns. Set up one-on-one awareness meetings with staff to discuss their health and mental wellbeing worries and develop a wellness action plan as an extension of the supervision plan. Create a buddy system and nominate Mental Health First Aiders to be the first point of contact for any employee experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. Inform staff of self-referral portals to NHS counselling services. Talk about the measures in winter planning sessions. Many people struggle at Christmas so it is a good time to make sure staff feel valued.

STAFFING LEVELS Winter season pressures often impact staffing levels – from noshows due to bad weather to family care taking precedent. Providers need to ensure staffing levels are sufficient to meet requirements and

have a strategy in place via business continuity planning. Understand staff members personal circumstances and the implications for the service. For example, if a staff member has elderly relatives that they care for or children at school, they might need to be back at home straight after their shift. Providers can publish future rotas for a longer period than usual to make staff aware of when they are working. A contingency rota will help ensure that all shifts can be covered. If a provider uses an agency, they need to find out what contingencies they have in place to deal with winter weather related issues and ensure supply.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION Ensure there are emergency preparedness kits in place in the event of an evacuation. If policies determining what items should be included in the grab bag were developed previously, make sure the grab bags are fit for purpose and up to date. Suggest staff try putting in place emergency evacuation plans and strategies at home, especially if they have young families or care for elderly relatives. Collect feedback, make tweaks if necessary and update policy and bags. Make sure they are placed at the exit. Some service users might benefit from their own bag if they have specific health or medication needs. Someone who is Autistic, for instance, will likely better deal with the situation if supported with a social story and a bag containing key items. As part of the business continuity plan, and fire risk assessment, develop Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEP). These need to be kept up to date. Develop a list of places of safety such as hotels where service users can be taken.

CHECKLIST FOR PROVIDERS: 1. Review QCS Winter Planning Toolkit 2. Review Business Continuity Plan 3. Make sure staff are aware of the Business Continuity Plan and what to do in an emergency such as a severe storm or power cut. 4. Remind staff of appropriate policies such as: • Adverse Weather Policy and Procedure • Supporting Service Users During Adverse Weather Policy and Procedure • Business Continuity Plan Policy and Procedure • On-Call Policy and Procedure 5. Are emergency grab bags accessible and all PEEPS up to date? Try testing out your emergency evacuation plan at a team meeting. To find out more about QCS please contact their team of advisors on 0333405-3333 or email: sales@qcs.co.uk.


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Government Must Listen to Those Needing Care in 2022 THE Government must listen to the needs of older and vulnerable people who need care and start taking meaningful action in 2022, a campaigner said this week. Mike Padgham says the New Year should be the moment the Government turns its attention to people who have been forgotten. “There are at least 1.5m people who aren’t getting the care they need as we go into a new year – that is our mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends,” said Mr Padgham, Chair of the care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG).“And there are many, many thousands more who are only getting limited help. “All of these vulnerable people will start 2022 with a poorer quality of life than they deserve. “For too long, theirs has been the quiet voice too easily ignored as the clamour from others was louder. “We have a severe shortage of carers to provide care – at least 120,000 vacancies and growing every day. “In 2022, the Government must start to listen to what older people and those with physical and mental disabilities need and start responding. “In 2021, it made a start by injecting some limited funding and intro-

ducing a cap on care costs. But these were just tiny steps, just tinkering at the edges. “The care of our most vulnerable requires much greater action – a root and branch overhaul of the social care system; the way it is funded and the way we recognize, respect and reward those amazing people providing care.” “The Covid-19 pandemic took the lives of many older and vulnerable people in 2020 and 2021 and it exposed the care system like never before,” Mr Padgham added. “The message for 2022 has to be that social care has had enough and that this is the year that the Government listens to those who need better care and to those who deliver care. “There is so much expertise available in the social care sector and so many people willing to work with the Government to provide solutions. However, the first part of any constructive working relationship is listening. “The Government didn’t listen over the staffing crisis and has only now allowed us to recruit from overseas again – too late to help the appalling staff shortages we had warned about due to the impact of Omicron.

Care Home Celebrates First New Year

Residents and staff at Upton Bay care home, in Hamworthy, Poole, excitedly welcomed their first New Year over the weekend.

Having opened its doors to new residents in March 2021, Upton Bay navigated their first months in the midst of a pandemic. Across the home, ladies and gentlemen, who call Upton Bay, ‘home’, welcomed in the New Year with a celebratory party, hosted by the home’s hospitality team. Karen Grant A’Court, Activity wellbeing lead at Upton Bay, said, “It’s been a strange year, but we are all excited to be looking to the future! Our home has lots coming up in 2022, as do our residents.” For many residents who had been forced to shield since the pandemic began, the social side of the celebration was a refreshing change. “It’s been a hoot,” commented Rosemary, resident. “A nice excuse to get dressed up and clink a glass or two.”

“We have to work together to find a solution to a crisis that is only going to become more severe.” Some £8bn has been cut from social care funding since 2010. Experts say at least an extra £10bn a year is needed. There are at least 120,000 care staff vacancies. The ICG wants to see: • A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded • NHS care and social care merged and managed locally or nationally • Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation • Dementia treated and funded like other high priority illnesses • A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care • Proper pay, conditions and career structure for carers • Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.

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. www.dementiaandmusic.com joan@dementiaandmusic.com Mobile: 07393 961388


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Government Relaxes Rules to Add Care Workers to the Shortage Occupation List Aston Brooke Solicitors working in conjunction with Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, had urged the government to provide more support to stem the workforce crisis in adult social care, which included adding carers to the shortage occupation list. Care England wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, outlining the crisis in the sector and the steps required to be adopted by Government with immediate effect. Finally, the Government has relaxed immigration rules on care-worker jobs as the social care sector increasingly struggles to attract and retain key staff. This recent announcement means that the Government has finally recognised the voice of the sector and this important change builds on the government’s delivery of the new pointsbased immigration system introduced in January 2021. The decision follows a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that the care worker role coupled with home care workers are made eligible for the health and care visa and placed on the list, which is designed to help migrants get work visas to fill jobs where there are shortages. This was called for “immediately” to temper “severe and increasing difficulties” the sector is facing with recruitment and retention, the MAC said in mid-December. Home Secretary Priti Patel MP said: “The care sector is experiencing unprecedented challenges prompted by the pandemic and the changes we’ve made to the health and care visa will bolster the workforce and help alleviate some of the pressures

currently being experienced.” Health Secretary Sajid Javid MP said the measure would help to “ensure short-term sustainability” as he also urged care workers to get vaccinated. Professor Martin Green OBE said: “Care England has long called for care workers to be on the Shortage Occupation List with our partner law firm Aston Brooke Solicitors. Social care has a workforce crisis and the news that care workers are to be added to the shortage occupation list is very good news for a very hard pressed sector. Care England commends the work that Aston Brookes have done to raise this issue and secure this outcome” Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors welcomed the announcement and said: “The addition of the carer position to the shortage occupation list is welcomed by the social care sector in its entirety. This means care providers are now able to recruit suitable candidates outside of the UK. However, the minimum annual salary of £20,480 for carers is the same set for senior care workers and this may become a pressing issue for care providers but it will interesting to see how the Government tackles this in the coming weeks and months.” The Home Office confirmed that the Health and Care visa will allow applicants and their dependents to benefit from fast-track processing, dedicated resources in processing applications and reduced visa fees. The measures will be set in place for a temporary period of a minimum of 12 months and expected to come into force in January 2022. There will be a further review after 12 months and possible extension of the measures. As part of the points-based immigration system, people applying to come to the UK through the skilled worker route must reach 70 ‘points’ to be eligible for a work visa. A job on the Shortage Occupation List is worth 20 points. Combined with the mandatory criteria – having an acceptable standard of English, an offer from a licensed sponsor and the required skill level, which are worth 50 points – will ensure people in these roles reach the 70 points necessary. Aston Brooke is working tirelessly to address the recruitment crisis by assisting care providers. If any care providers require further information, please contact Mr Kashif Majeed at km@astonbrooke.co.uk

How Does Stress And Poor Sleep Increase Your Risk of Alzheimer's and Dementia There are a myriad of lifestyle changes a person can make to reduce their chances of developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Sleep deprivation and high stress levels are two of the most obvious yet simple to change to reduce the chances of developing these life changing diseases. To help you find out more, we have spoken to the UK’s leading nutritionist, Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD (www.marilynglenville.com), who offers her expert advice on how stress and poor sleep can increase your risk and what you can do to combat this. SLEEP Getting too little sleep can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. An adequate amount of sleep allows you to be more awake and vigilant and during sleep, your brain can make your experiences during the day more permanent, which is vital to being able to retrieve memories and recall information. Whilst our hectic and busy lives make it difficult to get enough sleep every night, you should try to aim for at least six to eight hours per night, to allow your brain time to recharge and prepare for the next day. So, give yourself time before bed away from screens and bright light to increase your chances of having a good night’s sleep.

Top tips for a good night’s sleep •Put away screens or devices at least an hour before bed •Use blackout curtains or blinds •Don’t have an alarm clock or night light that emits a light during the night •Get lots of bright light during the day and early evening – this can help prevent ‘sundowning’, an increased state of confusion towards the end of the day in people with Alzheimer’s •Do something relaxing before bed, such as taking a shower or listening to an audio book •Try a combination of natural ingredients, including Valerian, Hops, Chamomile or Sleep Support by NHP, https://www.naturalhealthpractice.com/sleep-support.html STRESS Excessive stress can also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia. When under stress, your body produces both adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone we all need and is there to keep us alert and protect us from danger. However, research suggests that the release of too much cortisol can lead to memory loss. It's so important to take care of your emotional wellbeing, and there are various ways a person can manage stress. Take a moment to evaluate whether your job is causing you too much stress, and whether you can perhaps delegate responsibilities, or lessen your hours. Ensuring you’re eating little and often throughout the day to regulate your blood sugar levels, which also reduces stress. You should also try taking certain vitamins can also help reduce stress, such as B vitamins and magnesium.

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 e-mailing getinvolved@ccht.org.uk. 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.”


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Welcome for Extra £60m to Aid Care Staff Crisis The government will provide an extra £60 million to local authorities to support the adult social care response to COVID-19 in January, Minister for Care Gillian Keegan has announced. The Adult Social Care – Omicron Support Fund is on top of the £388 million infection control and testing fund announced earlier in the year to prevent infections and provide testing in the care sector. As cases of Omicron rise rapidly around the country, the additional £60 million will help protect both those who receive care, the family and friends who support them, as well as the adult social care workforce. Local authorities can use the funding to support the sector and protect people from COVID-19 infection. This includes investing in improved ventilation, increasing the use of Direct Payments – which are offered to people with eligible social care needs so they have choice and control over their care and support arrangements – or paying for COVID-19 sickness and self-isolation pay for staff. Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said: “Protecting care staff and people who use social care services continues to be a priority, especially as cases surge and Omicron spreads rapidly around the country. “This extra funding will ensure that we continue to support adult social care to keep people safe and prevent outbreaks. A huge thank you goes out to care workers for all they are doing to care for people and keep themselves and others safe this winter. “I urge anyone who has yet to get a booster to come forward – vaccines are our best defence against this virus so Get Boosted Now.” The government has taken action throughout the pandemic to protect social care, including: • Continuing to provide free PPE to protect against COVID-19 to the adult social care sector; • Providing regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing; and • Continuing to support care providers to make best use of technology to help remote monitoring including making pulse oximeters available to care homes that have less than the recommended number of devices.

Care home guidance was changed recently to protect residents further by allowing each resident to have three listed visitors as well as an essential care giver, either a family member or friend, who may visit the home to offer companionship or help with care needs. People living in care homes are typically more vulnerable to severe illnesses as a result of COVID-19, and measures are in place to facilitate visiting while keeping care home staff and residents safe. Visitors should receive a negative lateral flow test result and report it on the day of their visit. Care providers have welcomed the £60m Government cash injection for the sector but wished it had come sooner. The Independent Care Group (ICG) says every penny of support is vital as care providers fight the growing impact of Covid-19 on care of the vulnerable. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We welcome the £60m the Government is providing to local authorities to support social care – it is absolutely vital. “Our only dismay is that the Government did not act at the end of the summer, when we warned of an impending staff crisis, and not now that we are in it. “This money will take time to filter through to the front line and in the meantime care providers are struggling to fill their staff shifts today, tomorrow and next week.” On Christmas Eve, it announced that care providers would also be able to resume recruiting overseas staff to provide care after that was halted following Brexit. Mr Padgham added: “Both of these moves are very welcome but long, long overdue. We warned in the summer that social care was heading into a very real staffing crisis and appealed to the Government then for help. “Only now is it responding with what many will agree is too little and too late.” Care providers looking after people in nursing and care homes and through homecare in their own homes, are struggling as the impact of the new omicron Covid-19 variant is felt. “With every passing day, providers are losing staff to the pandemic and finding it impossible to fill their shifts,” Mr Padgham added. “We need urgent help to prevent the care of our oldest and most vulnerable from suffering this winter.”

Revitalise Chief Executive Awarded CBE in New Year Honours List Janine Tregelles, Chief Executive of Revitalise, has been awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours list for her Services to Learning Disability. Janine has been supporting disabled people and their families for over 30 years. She began her career at New Era Housing Association, developing community-based housing for people with a learning disability. In 1996, Janine moved to Mencap where she set up Golden Lane Housing, a social housing provider, before being appointed Director of Personal Support, and then CEO in 2013. After leaving Mencap in 2019, Janine founded Access Social Care, a charity providing free legal advice and information to people with social care needs. In January 2020, Janine became Chief Executive of Revitalise, the UK’s largest specialist provider of respite holidays for disabled people and their carers. With a 24-hour care service, Revitalise is an important lifeline in the disability and care sector, with a vision that every disabled person and carer can enjoy the holiday they want, with the support they need.

Janine Tregelles, Chief Executive of Revitalise said: “I am proud and delighted to accept this recognition for the contribution that I and so many colleagues have made to the social care sector over the years. It has been a privilege to work alongside people with a learning disability and their families. Not only have I been touched and inspired by each of their personal stories, but the advocacy, dedication and ambition they have shown to fight for change in the sector has been instrumental in changing the lives of thousands of disabled people and their loved ones for the better”. George Blunden, Chair of Revitalise said: “My colleagues and I are absolutely thrilled that Janine has received such a hugely-deserved honour. Whilst we recognise that it has been awarded principally for her work at Royal Mencap Society, we are extremely fortunate that that same passion, skill, and dedication is now being reflected in her dynamic work at Revitalise, where she continues her tireless support of disabled people and their families”.


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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 www.vidahealthcare.co.uk

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. - https://www.tiktok.com/@excelcare_stfillans/video/7038962034377002246?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

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 tympahealth.io/TheCarer or by contacting enquiries@tympahealth.com and one of the Tympa team will be in touch. You can see the Tympa system in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDysiNR7_n0


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 9

Health Organisations Warn Pandemic Will Not Be Over for Anyone Until It Is Over for Everyone The BMA, along with other leading bodies representing the nation’s healthcare professionals, has signed a joint statement expressing concern at the ongoing inequity in access to Covid-19 vaccines globally. With 98 low-income and vulnerable countries due to miss the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) end of year target to vaccinate 40% of their populations, the BMA is now calling for the UK government to increase its support for COVAX, the global vaccination programme to save lives and prevent the emergence of further Covid-19 variants and surges. The Association believes that it is within the gift of high-income countries to achieve global vaccination. However, WHO targets for vaccine coverage have been repeatedly and drastically missed, with 56 countries failing in September to reach the minimum 10% coverage needed to protect healthcare workers and the most vulnerable groups. Even after accounting for the vaccines needed for the current booster rollout, in order to tackle Omicron, the UK will still be left with a significant surplus of vaccines as the government has purchased over 500 million doses of vaccines, some of which are not yet approved in the UK but are approved elsewhere. The Association wrote to the Prime Minister in September and again earlier this month to raise its concerns and now in the joint statement on global vaccine equity it is calling for the government to: • Raise its ambition and commitment to expedite vaccines reaching those most in need; • increase its overall commitment to COVAX, as well as urgently swapping places5 with COVAX in vaccine manufacturing and delivery queues; • publish a schedule for reallocation of doses to support COVAX; • support a TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organization during this global crisis; and

• encourage other G7 and G20 countries to increase their commitments to global vaccine equity. Commenting on global vaccine equity Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said: “It is appalling that the world’s richest countries continue to accumulate vaccine doses while the world’s poorest struggle with entirely inadequate supplies. The fact is that until Covid-19 is tackled as a global issue it will continue to threaten us all, including countries with high vaccination coverage – much like we’ve seen with the Omicron variant. “The government must now lead by example to help protect vulnerable populations globally as well as our own population from future variants. Hoarding surplus vaccines when others have none will only backfire as new variants will inevitably develop in countries that have limited access to vaccines. The total number of vaccines administered worldwide in the past year was more than sufficient to cover 40% of the population in all countries, if it had been delivered equitably. Instead, only 1 in 10 people in low-income countries and just 25% of healthcare workers in Africa have received a single dose. “In the UK, much like many other G7 and G20 countries, the government has secured vaccine stock that it is never realistically going to use or need. We are not asking the government to swap out the stock needed for the booster rollout but rather to give from the country’s pre-purchased surplus in order to truly see the end of this pandemic. There is enough stock to go around, and it is imperative that Covid-19 is tackled at a global level. “This pandemic is incredibly fast moving and it’s important to acknowledge that no one will be safe, until everyone is safe. We must end inequity in order to end the pandemic.”

Out With the Old, in With the New at Ashcombe House Care Home Staff and residents at Barchester’s Ashcombe House care home, in

noon celebrating the coming New Year, and to be waltzed across the room

Worting Road celebrated bringing in the New Year in style with early cele-

has really made my year! Im looking forward to see what 2022 has to offer us

brations for New Years Eve.

“.

Residents enjoyed drinks and Buffet before live singing with Lizzie Hayles

Although residents didn’t stay up until midnight to usher in the New Year it

from Reminisce entertainment had residents up dancing and singing togeth-

didn’t stop them celebrating the passage of the year. The afternoon finished

er to bring in the new year.

with Auld Lang Syne and a countdown to 2022.

Mary Dodsworth Resident at Ashcombe was a ballroom dancer for 50

At Ashcombe we provide a varied life enrichment programme giving daily

years so jumped at the opportunity to be lead across the floor once again by

choices to keep residents engaged. We have a variety of weekly clubs, bak-

fellow resident Douglas Mccann. Mary said: “It’s been a truly wonderful after-

ing, dominoes and Bingo to name just a few with something for everyone.

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PAGE 10 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

What Legal Challenges are Facing Social Care Providers in 2022? Social care providers have again faced a challenging year and 2022 looks to hold more of the same, says the market-leading Social Care team at the law firm Royds Withy King. Here are the three things the social care sector will need to address in 2022.

A WORKFORCE CRISIS Social care providers are facing one of the largest workforce crises in living memory and it is set to get worse, says James Sage, Employment law partner and Head of Health & Social Care at Royds Withy King. “It is estimated that the mandatory vaccination requirement for care home staff has resulted in 60,000 staff being dismissed. This will be exacerbated when the requirement is extended to the wider social care sector and the NHS with the pool of potential workers getting ever smaller. The Government estimates that 123,000 NHS staff will be dismissed when its policy is enforced, and experience tells us that a shortstaffed NHS will come hunting for workers in the care sector. “In addition, staff retention continues to be a challenge with attrition rates currently standing over 30% and for some providers considerably higher. This is likely to continue into 2022, not least due to staff burnout caused by the pandemic.

“Some providers are responding with increased pay rates and bonuses to fight off competition from the likes of Amazon, and we are likely to see more of the same in the new year. But this remains a real challenge for smaller care providers and those reliant on public funds to pay staff wages. An improved financial package for social care is required but it looks like the new money promised will now be diverted into the NHS with the pandemic continuing. “On a positive note, the Migration Advisory Committee has recommended that care workers be added to the Shortage Occupation List, opening the door to overseas workers. This is urgently needed and it is hoped that the Government will listen. We also wait to see the results of recent government funding for recruitment and retention and hope that councils pass this on to providers as they are best placed to find creative new ways to recruit and retain workers.”

INDEPENDENTS LEAVING THE SECTOR We have seen a significant lift in sales and acquisitions in the social care sector following the uncertainty of the last two years. It is being driven by providers disillusioned with the sector and lenders looking to exit, says Royds Withy King Corporate Partner Hazel Phillips. “We have seen several mainstream lenders lose their appetite for the social care sector in 2021 and adopting a more aggressive position with care providers forcing in some instances a decision to sell. This is matched with increasing disillusionment in the sector from independents and family-operated homes following two extremely challenging years. We expect this to continue to drive M&A activity in the new year. “On the plus side, there are lots of buyers and plenty of interest from

private equity investors. Price expectations do need to be managed, particularly for homes reliant on more expensive agency staff. Sellers looking to go to market are advised to be well prepared as due diligence will be as detailed as ever, particularly around staffing costs and liability. “The interest from private equity investors is likely to remain high throughout 2022 and despite recent criticisms surrounding their business model, we do not expect the government to introduce further regulation.”

CHANGE TO CQC RATINGS IN 2022 The CQC’s rating system is changing. But will it drop in 2022 its KLOEs for more streamlined quality statements, asks Royds Withy King Partner Mei-Ling Huang? “CQC appear to be heading towards slimming down its KLOEs and implementing a more numerically-based model. Scores on various criteria will be totalled to determine a rating. 2022 may see the introduction of more anodyne quality statements as the CQC tries to make standards more streamlined and comprehensible to the wider public. “There is a very real worry that ratings will change without inspection based solely on the feedback the CQC receives with little consideration of bias or fact. The biggest unanswered question is whether care providers will be given any right to reply or to challenge a rating? “We would urge care providers to engage with CQC in 2022 as much as they possibly can, either through their care association or inspection manager. It is vitally important that the voices of care providers are heard and that they fight for this right to reply.”

‘Alpaca Therapy’ a Success at Portishead Care Home Residents at a care home in Portishead were thrilled when they had a visit from friendly Alpacas as part of an ‘animal therapy’ initiative. Petersfield residents and staff welcomed their new friends Casper and Renegade, who live at Lane House Alpaca Farm in Chippenham, to the Shaw healthcare-operated home for the therapy session. For the less mobile residents, the furry duo paid special visits to their rooms, so they didn’t miss out. Alpacas are a close relative of llamas and live predominantly in South America. Their

calm and docile manner has been found to benefit elderly people and those with behavioral issues, and holding and stroking animals can help reduce blood pressure, lower pulse rates and alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety. Lin Rees, service manager, said, “We are always looking for new and interesting activities for the residents, but this one was really quite novel. “Friendly and furry animals always prove very popular and can be found to be very therapeutic for the residents. It isn’t every day we have Alpacas wandering around the home and everyone loved it, and will look forward to future visits.”

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FROM ALL AT THE CARER



THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 13

Care Homes On “War Footing” Because of Covid Crisis

Care homes in Wales are on a “war footing” because of desperate staff shortages caused by the skyrocketing Covid infection rate. According to Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales, the sector is facing its worst ever crisis with reports that 75 per cent of staff were off work in some homes, either because they had contracted Coronavirus or they were self-isolating. The situation is so bad that as a last resort homes were introducing “firebreaks” to temporarily restrict visiting as the highly infectious Omicron variant tore across Wales. Domiciliary care companies were also struggling badly and were often unable to provide the usual level of care. Mr Kreft warned that the situation was only going to get worse before things got better. So much so, that some care homes were likely to be forced to declare an NHS-style “critical incident” because they were unable to

cope. But he feared reinforcements might not be available because statutory organisations like local health boards and councils were also short of staff. Mr Kreft said: “The scale of the challenge is one we have never faced before. It’s really, really tough out there. “The First Minister reminded us in 2020 that the social care sector was in a fragile state before the pandemic because of its precarious finances and the shortage of staff. “After two year of this, the pressures have been building up and now we’re facing a completely different challenge because the Omicron strain of Covid is so prevalent and so transmissible. “As a result, we’re seeing problems we’ve not encountered before. “Care Forum Wales members have been reporting being down by up to 75 per cent in terms of staffing shifts. We’re on a war footing. “The social care workforce has been heroic right through this pandemic. It’s taken a pandemic for people to realise how essential these workers are – just in the same way as the NHS and other services. “They are rising to the challenge but it’s incredibly difficult and it’s probably going to get much worse before it gets better. “It’s quite possible that some care homes will have to call on the statutory services. There are plans in place and we have been working with Welsh Government and our colleagues in health boards and local government. “We may have to declare what the NHS would call a critical incident and in that case the only place you can go is the statutory agencies. “The trouble is that we all know they are suffering like everybody else at the moment so whether there would be people available to alleviate the crisis, I don’t know. “What we are talking about is making sure that people are as comfortable and as safe as they can be.

“This also applies to our domiciliary care workers who are facing similar challenges, so the visits to people’s homes may not be as long or as often as they might have been until we get through this. “Nobody understands the importance of care home visiting better than those that run and work in care homes. It’s essential to people’s wellbeing and we’ve had decades of open house visiting without any appointments. “The last two years have been incredibly challenging and I think people need to understand that safe visiting currently also requires a staffing input which makes it even more difficult if you are short of staff and don’t have the capacity to ensure safe visiting. “I don’t think there have been any situations where people haven’t been allowed to visit for people in very extreme circumstances. “I think what we’ll see is firebreaks or temporary pauses in terms of visiting individual care homes. “The responsibility is clearly with the registered manager and the organisation running each setting. “All the registered providers have legal responsibilities towards their residents and they also have responsibility for the health and safety of their own staff. “I think what we’ll see – and we’re starting to see it already - is that visiting will be restricted for a period of days or a week or so because quite simply there will not be the staff to ensure safe visiting. “The other added complication is that care homes are now unable to secure insurance against Covid-related claims so they really cannot afford to take any risks. “But as soon as we and ensure safe visiting again, we will revert to that. That’s what people have been doing over Christmas and New Year. All I would ask from people is understanding because it is such a difficult time.”

Tree Plantation Ceremony in Memory of Former Staff Member who Passed Away at Penarth Care Home Staff and residents at a care home in Penarth planted a memorial tree for a former colleague who sadly passed away. Jackie Osborn worked at MHA Morel Court for 14 years as a night carer and passed away earlier this year from cancer. In her memory the home has planted a blooming pink (Jackie’s favourite colour) flamingo willow tree outside the patio area at the home. Prior to the plantation, there was a eulogy and prayer ceremony, which was concluded with the plantation. The home, which has 36 places for residential care is situated in landscaped grounds a short distance from the seafront and one mile south west of Penarth town centre.

Suzanne Taplin home manager said: “Staff members and residents that knew her wanted to do something special for her, so we decided a tree would be the best way to keep her memory alive. “The service went really well and was very touching. It showed how important she was to us and the tree will be a comfort to staff and residents as they will have something to remember her by. “She was a very popular and a special staff member, she loved animals and was never afraid of doing hard work. “Jackie was always well presented, got along really well with the staff members and the residents, and will be sorely missed.”


PAGE 14 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

Leadership and Staff Retention in the Care Sector

By Brian Boxall-Hunt – CEO of the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society (www.royalalfredseafarers.co.uk)

Executive. Brian shares his thoughts for leading a happy and long-serving team, which he is currently privileged to have.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE As well as being a strategic thinker and hopefully one step ahead, a good leader in my opinion communicates well and listens to their team; making the necessary bold decisions whilst inspiring and empowering others to be the best they can be. At Belvedere House we have been providing housing, residential and excellent nursing care to former seafarers, their widows and dependants for 156 years. We know that this could not be achieved without having a strong leadership team and the right people in place who dedicate so much time and effort to caring for our residents with compassion, warmth and understanding.

A CAREER, NOT JUST A JOB According to the recent Skills for Care report, the adult care industry contributes £50.3bn to the UK economy and provides five per cent of all employment in England, however employers are struggling to meet the present demand, with 112,000 vacancies and 430,000 leavers in the last 12 months. The care sector is crucial for the wellbeing of our ageing population as well as the many careers that it provides, but how can leaders of care homes attract and retain talent? As an officer in the Royal Navy, Brian Boxall-Hunt developed leadership skills over a 35 year career that he has carried with him throughout his subsequent second career. For the last 15 years, he has been “commanding” a different ship at maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society – and its care home, Belvedere House – where he is Chief

The Royal Alfred is passionate about its people, and we understand that we could not do what we do without our excellent team of staff around us. We support our colleagues by investing in everyone’s careers from day one. We hire with a path in mind for each individual and ensure that every colleague has the tools to grow in their careers – and importantly, suitably reward progress and qualification. A key benefit for new recruits is a strong programme of training and wellbeing support. Having staff that are equipped with the necessary qualifications, skills and support not only increases efficiency, but can sustain high morale and enables colleagues to feel empowered and valued in their roles.

RECRUIT FROM WITHIN Recruiting for roles from within wherever possible is a simple way of

maintaining low staff turnover rates and showcasing to your team that you believe in their abilities and want them to succeed in their careers. This is a strategy that has enabled us to maintain consistently low staff turnover at the Society. Having an internal recruitment policy and a culture of support is important because it makes colleagues feel valued, lowers staff turnover and ultimately ensures a continual high level of care for residents.

RETAINING STAFF One of the keys to any successful care home is a capable, dedicated workforce, and building and nurturing a long-serving team plays a huge part in creating this. These people are integral to a care home environment because they foster relationships and trust with residents over time, getting to know them on a personal level, and can therefore tailor care to individuals based on this knowledge. Each year we are proud to host Long Service Awards celebrating colleagues who mark their tenyear, or more, anniversaries with us – we’ve even had some serve for over 30 years and up to 50 years! Conducting regular staff satisfaction surveys is one way the Society’s leadership team ensures colleagues are happy in their roles and feel fulfilled. The happier and more looked after employees feel, the more likely they are to consider their role a career and not ‘just a job’. We would encourage other care providers to put into place as much training and support as they are able to in order to recruit and retain colleagues. All in all, I have found that leaders must strive to create an environment where all employees feel valued, listened to and supported in their professional development in order to retain staff.

Local Care Home Joins Thousands of Other Care Home Residents For A Virtual Afternoon Of Festive Fun Barchester’s Moors Manor care home, in Ringwood, got into the Christmas spirit by joining a virtual afternoon of festivities along with the staff and residents at over seventy Barchester care homes across the south of England, Jersey and the Isle of Wight. Moors Manor’s staff and residents pulled out all the stops getting residents and staff to add a bit of festive sparkly with tinsel and elf ears to link up with all the other care homes in the south of the country for a whole host of different fun activities culminating in the Barchester Big Quiz of the Year. When they weren’t quizzing, residents enjoyed a cakes and mince pies prepared by the home’s chef, Gary King. General Manager, Tracey Aldin said: “We’ve all had a challenging year so we wanted to ensure the Christmas celebrations for our residents and staff were an extra special treat. ‘Meeting up’ with the other homes virtually has

given them all such a boost. We’ve all had so much fun letting our hair down, everyone really enjoyed the afternoon.” 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 homes as safe as possible and will ensure that all new residents and staff are vaccinated before moving in or working in our homes. Please do give us a call on 01202 863610 if you are looking for care or need any further help. Moors Manor is run by Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, which is committed to delivering high-quality care across its care homes and hospitals. Moors Manor provides residential, respite care and dementia care.

NHS Plans New Nightingale Facilities in Response to Omicron

The NHS is setting up new Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals across the country as part of preparations for a potential wave of Omicron admissions. Temporary structures capable of housing around 100 patients will be erected in the grounds of eight hospitals across the country, with work starting as early as this week. These Nightingale hubs will improve NHS resilience if the record number of COVID-19 infections leads to a surge in admissions and outstrips existing capacity. Placing the new Nightingale facilities in hospital grounds will make it easier to flex staff and equipment if there is a surge in admissions, providing access to diagnostics and emergency care if required. NHS trusts have also been asked to identify areas such as gyms and education centres that can be converted to accommodate patients and more Nightingale sites could be added to create up to 4,000 “super surge” beds across the country. The move comes as hospitals are using hotels, hospices and care homes to safely discharge as many people who are medically fit to leave as possible. NHS National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Given

the high level of COVID-19 infections and increasing hospital admissions, the NHS is now on a war footing. “We do not yet know exactly how many of those who catch the virus will need hospital treatment, but given the number of infections we cannot wait to find out before we act and so work is beginning from today to ensure these facilities are in place. “We hoped never to have to use the original Nightingales and I hope we never to have to use these new hubs. “Staff across the health service are working around the clock to provide the best possible care to patients and rollout the NHS COVID vaccination programme. “The public can play their part by following the guidance to limit the spread of infection and by getting boosted now. “The science is clear. Two doses of vaccine do not provide enough protection against Omicron so if you have not yet had a life-saving booster do not delay any longer”. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said: “We’ve backed the NHS at every turn throughout this pandemic to make sure it provides the care and treatment people need. I want to thank the tireless efforts of our health workers on the frontline who are delivering for patients every day. “We hope the Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals will not have to be used but it is absolutely right that we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity”. NHS staff have been working over Christmas on the plans to create 4,000 “super surge” beds across the health service. By comparison, a large district hospital might typically have around 500 beds. If hospitals need to activate the new beds after exhausting every other option, equipment previously used for the original Nightingale hospitals will be rapidly distributed to them. The new Nightingale facilities would take patients who, although not fit for discharge, need minimal support and monitoring while they recover from illness, freeing up regular ward beds to provide care for those with more intensive needs. Patients may include those recovering from COVID-19 who are no

longer infectious and do not need intensive oxygen therapy. The units would be led by hospital consultants and nurses, but with other clinical and non-clinical staff brought in with rapid training to be able to perform routine checks and other tasks. The Nightingale surge facilities are the latest in a series of actions taken by NHS leaders in the last couple of weeks in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant and the prospect of another major wave of people needing hospital treatment for the virus. Local NHS teams are already working closely with councils, social care and hospices to support as many people as possible to be discharged safely from hospital, either to other local facilities or with support to recover in their own home. A national deal with Hospice UK will see up to 4,800 people a day who need ongoing monitoring, but don’t need to be in hospital, be supported either in a hospice bed or through Hospice@Home teams. Local leaders have also been told to consider using hotels and care hubs in care homes to provide places for people to recover before going home, rather than in hospital wards. The use of virtual wards, where patients get monitoring technology and regular check-ins from clinicians to allow them to return home earlier safely are also being ramped up by hospital teams, while GPs also have access to up to 250,000 pulse oximeters so that COVID-19 positive patients can monitor their own blood oxygen levels at home ensuring only those who need to be are admitted to hospital. The first eight of the Nightingale surge hubs will be at the following hospitals: • North West – Royal Preston • North East and Yorkshire – Leeds, St James’ site • Midlands – Solihull Hospital and Leicester General Hospital • East of England – Lister Hospital, Stevenage • London – St George’s • South East – William Harvey Hospital, Ashford • South West – North Bristol



PAGE 16 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

Feeding The Elderly Population Matt Goodman, Catering Manager at The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society discusses the challenges his team faces when catering for elderly residents and the importance of finding a balance between food, nutrition and taste The UK has an ageing population, with almost 20% (18.2%) being 65 years of age or older . As we reach the later years of our lives, our personal circumstances may change, with some of us requiring supported living to help meet our needs. One thing that remains the same for residents within a care home setting is the routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner. As the Catering Manager at The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society’s care home, Belvedere House, it is my responsibility to ensure not only that residents receive the correct nutrients for their specific dietary requirements, but also enjoy their food. We also work hard to make mealtimes a sociable event for residents. We understand that everyone is different and we take time to cater for all diets including vegetarians, vegan, pescatarians, diabetics and those living with coeliac disease, with specialist menus for each different food specification. In later life, there are many reasons why mealtimes can sometimes become tricky for residents; tastes can change, appetites can deplete, and we tend to become less mobile as we age. Mealtimes can also be an area of concern for those living with dementia, when communication and motor difficulties can seriously affect how food is consumed. At The Royal Alfred, we have a specialist dementia annexe which cares for 36 residents living with the disease. I work with my catering staff to ensure that we make mealtimes as easy as possible for these residents and their carers. Sometimes, simple changes such as altering mealtimes where sleep patterns are disrupted can have a big impact as residents may become hungry and only want to eat at midnight, rather than at teatime. This ensures that whatever the individual’s personal circumstance may be, we can deliver on our key responsibility of providing the residents with the correct nutrition, around the clock. Dementia can also change our tastes, so it is recommended that we use strong-flavoured or sweet foods to entice these residents to eat and enjoy their food; one of our chefs, Janice is famous in the care home for her cakes and sweet treats! There is also the issue of dementia patients thinking they have already eaten, so refusing food is common, or forgetting that they have just eaten and wanting to eat again. Belvedere House

has nutrition and hydration stations in all lounges, which encourages the residents to help themselves if they are peckish. Helping residents to physically eat food is also an important element of caring for our residents with dementia. Some will struggle to understand when food may be too hot to eat, or have difficulty chewing, so it’s important we follow personalised instruction cards to see how an individual’s meals will need to be prepared. Communication is vital between the catering and care staff and it’s our job to work together to make sure residents are properly fed and watered. One of the elements I love so much about my job is creating the menus, as I am passionate about providing the best quality food and catering experiences. We utilise quarterly resident meetings to discuss menus, have tasting sessions and use catering surveys for feedback on our ideas, ensuring all residents are very much involved. We also alter residents’ menu plans after monthly weigh-ins, according to their health needs. The catering team attend a large number of trade shows from which we draw menu inspiration, but we also love watching TV cooking shows and creating recipes inspired from these. The feedback on food we receive from the residents and families is very positive and the fact that diners can choose their meals from a detailed menu ensures an element of independence for residents and a feeling of normality One of the hardest parts of the job is trying to please 68 residents! Another is ensuring residents get enough calories and fluids, when caring for vulnerable adults is such a massive responsibility for us. As with all adults, it is recommended that we eat a balanced, varied diet containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre, protein and calcium. Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for over-65s as they may also help to alleviate joint issues and arthritis which are common in later life and can also help protect against heart disease. To maintain good bone health, older adults are recommended to eat a diet rich in calcium , which comes from dairy products like milk and cheese and can also be found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and bread. We ensure we fortify menus for residents where it’s necessary, using full fat milk, butter and cream in recipes to increase the calorie content for people with small appetites. Vitamin D is a key part of an over 65s diet, as it helps the body to absorb calcium more easily – this is found in oily fish, red meat and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals. We have weekly roast dinners and fish on the menu each Friday which proves very popular with the residents and helps to boost their vitamin D intake. All in all, we think it’s important to remember that it’s our role as members of the catering staff to help residents lead happy and healthy lives and meals contribute to this. Having a resident’s favourite meal on the menu gives them something to look forward to and can bring a smile to their face. Allowing residents the simple chance to choose (within reason) what they would like to eat that day and supply those living in our care home with the nutrition that is important in all stages of life, but especially in later life.

National Charity Helps Older People in West Lothian Stay Connected

A housing development in West Lothian has teamed up with a national charity to help older people in the local area log on and stay in touch with loved ones. Scottish charity, Cyrenians has donated a brand-new desktop computer following its work to help customers at Blackfaulds Court learn digital skills. Customers at the Fauldhouse development, which is operated by Bield Housing and Care, have been extremely enthusiastic about the classes as the modern world digitises, they don’t want to be left behind. The classes have been a massive learning experience and shown immense value, especially throughout the last 18 months to keep in contact with family and friends. Cyrenians, which is largely known for its homelessness prevention efforts, runs more than 40 different preventative services including its ‘Older People Active Lives’ (OPAL) programme which aims to help older people be independent and remain in their own homes for as long as they can. Pauline Moffat, Service Manager at Cyrenians OPAL said: “The team has been involved with Blackfaulds Court for over five years now and it’s amazing how much has changed digitally in that time and we’ve been able to pass this knowledge onto the customers there.

“Sessions are always engaging and each visit we see an increase in confidence and positive benefits that is coming with the new skills. “It’s a really rewarding project as we hear lovely stories how the new skills have helped make life better, especially as many were able to keep connected during the pandemic. Our sessions provide skills that people of retirement age often wouldn’t get a chance to learn. “There is a big demand at Blackfaulds for this type of equipment and teaching so we’re glad we are able to fund it through the Tormywheel Wind Farm grant fund in association with Fauldhouse Community Development Trust.” Prior to covid, OPAL also facilitated an activity group in Blackfaulds Court where residents and locals could get together to have fun, make new friends and look after their physical and mental wellbeing. This group will return in January 2022. Cheryl Baillie, Development Manager at Blackfaulds Court said: “Both staff and customers are so thankful for everything Cyrenians OPAL and Fauldhouse Community Development Trust has done for the development. “Since the digital learning classes started the customers have learned so much and gained the know-how that many were able to independently connect with their families during a tricky 18 months – which was a proud moment as many couldn’t previously have done that. “As well as learning new skills, the club has also encouraged social engagement”. Cyrenians take the customers through one-on-one group sessions to inform them on how to use the computer in order to do online shopping, video call families and use email. Margaret Hendry, Bield customer, said: “To be able to learn new digital skills like this at no extra cost really is a great benefit of where we live. It’s also going to make a big difference having our own computer in the development.” Bield has been providing high quality housing and related services in Scotland for 50 years, promoting a ‘Free to Be’ ethos that allows older people to live independent lives with help on hand. Bield is a registered charity dedicated to providing flexible housing solutions and support for older people. Bield Housing and Care has 74 developments across Scotland, providing independent living for those over 60 years old around the country. To find out more about Bield, visit www.bield.co.uk/housing-and-other-services or follow on Facebook @bieldhousingandcare and Twitter @BieldScotland.

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 https://www.moneypenny.com/uk/resources/blog/8-step-guide-tobetter-call-management-for-care-providers/ 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: www.moneypenny.com/uk/healthcare-answering-services/


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 17

UK Marks 132 Million Life-Saving Covid-19 Vaccinations in 2021 Around 132 million COVID-19 vaccinations were administered across all four nations of the UK in 2021, as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history. It marks the end of a monumental year for the NHS, with over 1.6 million people in the UK receiving a booster or third dose in the final week of 2021 – meaning almost 34 million people now have the protection they need from the Omicron variant at the start of the New Year. Around 50 million received a first dose this year and over 47 million received a second of a COVID-19 vaccine. Over 90% of those aged 12 and over have now had their first dose, and 82.4% have had their second. This week, the government confirmed it had met its target to offer all eligible adults in England the chance to get a COVID-19 booster jab by the end of December – with the latest data showing 28.4 million adults in England have received a top-up dose. 3 in 4 eligible adults in England have now received a booster. Recent data published by the UKHSA shows just how important it is to get the jab, with people who haven’t been vaccinated being up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 and the booster vaccine was shown to be 88% effective in preventing people from ending up in hospital due to Omicron. COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country and the world – ONS data published on Friday shows 1 in 25 people in England had COVID-19 last week, which increased to 1 in 15 in London. The government is urging people to exercise caution as they begin to make post-holiday plans, by doing regular testing and making sure to get their booster as soon as possible to protect against the variant. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges our health service has ever faced and our historic vaccination programme has been vital in helping us step up to meet this challenge. “132 million vaccinations in a single year is astounding and a true reflection of the fantastic work of our NHS and its volunteers – I want to thank each and every one of them. “But we need to make sure people continue to come forward for their life saving jab. As we go into the New Year, make sure you Get Boosted Now to kick off 2022 with the best possible protection from Omicron.” The COVID-19 booster vaccination programme has been a national effort for both the NHS and the public, with tens of thousands of volunteers stepping up to support NHS staff and millions of people queuing up to secure the protection for themselves and others.

On 30 November, the government set out its ambition to offer all eligible adults the chance to get their top-up jab by the end of January. This target was brought forward by the Prime Minister and the NHS last month through the national Get Boosted Now campaign, aiming to offer all eligible adults a booster by the New Year in response to the emerging threat of the Omicron variant, to protect the public as quickly as possible. The campaign led to a huge increase in vaccination rates, with over 8 million top-up jabs administered in just over two weeks in England (a 45% increase), between 12 December when the Prime Minister set out the new ambition and Thursday 30 December. The NHS in England has broken record after record in that time – including the highest number of vaccinations ever recorded in a single day: 830,000 top-ups reported on Saturday 18 December. This was also the day the UK hit over one million vaccinations in total, including first, second, third and booster doses – jumping from 928,000 the previous day. This week, the NHS ensured over 1.5 million appointments were still available between 27 December and Monday 3 January, allowing anyone eligible who hadn’t yet had the booster the opportunity to book their appointment. Millions more slots are available beyond 3 January. To meet the ambitious target and ensure the country was offered protection against the new variant, the COVID-19 vaccination programme was accelerated and scaled up significantly over the past month. This included:

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• opening over 3,000 vaccination sites, with 180 new sites having opened in December – including at football stadiums, shopping centres and at Christmas markets, with extended opening hours and some sites working around the clock; • sending over 30 million people invites from the NHS during 2021– including over 3.9 million letters, 26.7 million text messages and 14.7 million emails inviting people to book online; • sending a text to everyone in the country urging them to get boosted; • drafting in 750 armed forces personnel to support deployment, alongside a renewed drive that has meant the recruitment of tens of thousands of volunteers; and • temporarily suspending the 15-minute observation period following Pfizer or Moderna booster jabs, where clinically safe and appropriate to do so, in order to get more jabs in arms. Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “The UK COVID-19 vaccination programme is something we can all be proud of – having provided tens of millions of people with protection from this deadly virus over the past year. “I want to thank the NHS and volunteers who have worked incredibly hard for this achievement. “To those eligible who have not yet come forward – Get Boosted Now to keep yourself and your loved ones safe as we begin the New Year.” While two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provides strong protection against the Delta variant, data from the UK Health Security Agency shows two doses is not enough to protect people from Omicron – but a third dose provides around 70% protection against symptomatic infection from Omicron two to four weeks after the booster is given. It is vital to get a first and second jab, in order to be eligible for a booster to get the vital protection against Omicron. Recent UKHSA data shows people who are unvaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who are fully vaccinated. If someone has contracted COVID-19 and has not yet received their booster, after 28 days have passed they are encouraged to book their jab as soon as they can. Those eligible for a booster vaccine who have delayed making an appointment because of other acute illnesses are also encourage to book as soon as they are fully recovered. All adults can get the jab by booking online through the National Booking Service or by visiting their nearest walk-in vaccination centre.




PAGE 20 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

Over 41 Million Cases of Dementia Go Undiagnosed Across the Globe – World Alzheimer Report Reveals A groundbreaking report has found that an estimated 41 million cases of dementia across the globe are undiagnosed, and new treatment breakthroughs could result in an oncoming ‘tsunami of demand’ for diagnosis, which could overwhelm unprepared healthcare systems worldwide, say Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), the global federation for over 100 Alzheimer’s and dementia associations across the world. McGill University in Montreal, Canada was commissioned to deliver ADI’s annual World Alzheimer’s Report 2021 ‘Journey through the diagnosis of dementia’, which finds that 75 percent of 55 million people with dementia are not diagnosed worldwide. This figure is as high as 90 percent in lower-to-middle-income (LMIC) countries. For the first time in decades, a new drug treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is on the market in the US, with the FDA conditionally approving aducanumab for use in early Alzheimer’s patient populations. Without a diagnosis many people living with dementia worldwide may not be able to access new treatment breakthroughs. Furthermore, blood biomarker testing for dementia diagnosis is expected to be available in the coming years, making diagnosis more accurate than ever before. McGill University Professor Emeritus and World Alzheimer Report author, Serge Gauthier says these new diagnostic tools will increase pressure on healthcare systems to provide diagnoses. “The emergence of quicker, easier, cheaper, less invasive blood biomarker diagnostic tools will combine with emerging drug treatments and the global ageing population to create a tsunami of demand for diagnosis putting extreme pressure on healthcare systems,” says Professor Gauthier. “Now that for the first time in decades, an Alzheimer’s drug treatment targeting a key protein involved in the disease process is available in the US and may soon be available in other parts of the world, people will not be able to access them without an accurate diagnosis.” According to the new World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, dementia is the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases worldwide. Concerningly, stigma is still a major barrier to diagnosis, with the World Alzheimer Report survey revealing that one in three clinicians that nothing can be done, making diagnosis futile. Paola Barbarino, ADI CEO, says that “lack of awareness and stigma within healthcare systems is hampering efforts to support people living with dementia". “This misinformation in our healthcare systems, along with a lack of trained specialists and readily available

diagnosis tools have contributed to alarmingly low diagnosis rates,” says Barbarino. “We need healthcare systems across the globe to ensure that their national dementia plan includes specialist dementia training and adequate diagnostic equipment.” “For over 20 years we have been calling on world government to implement national dementia plans, and frankly, progress has been too slow,” says Barbarino. “Now the tide has turned, and demand is set to skyrocket. Governments must respond now.” The WHO global action plan on dementia stipulated that half of countries should be diagnosing 50 percent of the expected number of those living with dementia, however ADI data suggests that the diagnosis rates in Member States could be as low as 25 percent in HICs and 10 percent in LIMCs. Furthermore, 90 percent of clinicians identified additional delays and wait times for providing diagnosis due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Just one in three people with dementia and their caregivers have had in-person access to a clinician throughout the pandemic. Emily Ong, a woman from Singapore living with dementia and member of Dementia Alliance International, says that diagnosis is an incredibly important part of the journey for people with dementia and needs to be done right. “My initial diagnosis period was very difficult. I was provided with nothing except being told to come back in 6 months’ time,” says Ong. “Without support, my family and I had to figure out what young-onset dementia is and how it would impact my family and me. I was robbed of hope twice, once during the diagnosis and the second time through the absence of support after the diagnosis.” Current dementia diagnostic methods are notoriously complex, involving expensive PET or MRI scans, or spinal fluid tests. The resources for these diagnostic methods, and the specialist healthcare professionals trained to provide these services, are in limited supply around the world. Three in four clinicians ranked the increasing number of people seeking a diagnosis, as global populations age, as a major challenge in the future, followed by people seeking diagnosis due to self-testing. Barbarino says that this shows that it’s more important than ever for world governments to be planning appropriately for the oncoming dementia diagnosis demand. “People with dementia have a right to know their diagnosis, so they can know what to do next,” says Barbarino. This is a progressive disease, and figures are growing every year. There is a perfect storm gathering on the horizon and people will not be able to access them without an accurate diagnosis.”

Local Care Home Joins Thousands of Residents for Annual ‘Pub Quiz’ Barchester’s Upton Bay care home, in Poole, got into the Christmas spirit by joining a virtual afternoon of festivities along with the staff and residents at over

Big Quiz of the Year. General Manager, Mevin Sohorye, said: “We’ve all had a challenging year so we wanted to ensure the

seventy Barchester care homes across the south of

Christmas celebrations for our residents and staff

England, Jersey and the Isle of Wight.

were an extra special treat. ‘Meeting up’ with the

Upton Bay’s staff and residents pulled out all the with their party props, to link up with over 2,500 resi-

other homes virtually has given them all such a boost. We’ve all had such fun waving streamers and

dents in the south of the country for a whole host of

wearing silly hats, even our Companion Puppy Milo

different fun activities, culminating in the Barchester

couldn’t resist the party poppers!”

From Café to Care Village – Coffee Shop Manager Finds Calling in Social Care A former coffee shop manager has progressed to one of the top roles at the Belong care village in Newcastle-under-Lyme after leaving her previous job to pursue a career in care. Josephine Mollison has been appointed Support Manager of Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme, on Lower Street. As the registered manager with the Care Quality Commission, she is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of nursing and dementia care for residents of each of the village’s households. She also makes sure that Support Workers receive the right training to meet these requirements and are up-to-date with best practice. Josephine’s journey in care started in 2013 when she became a Support Worker at nearby Belong Crewe. Previously she was the manager of a coffee shop but felt that she hadn’t found real job satisfaction. Progression to becoming a Senior Support Worker came just a few months later. She credits her quick learning and development to excellent training and mentorship from the Belong team around her and went on to become Lead Senior Support Worker. A little over a year ago, Josephine took on the temporary role of Assistant Support Manager at Belong

Newcastle-under-Lyme, and this year she successfully interviewed for the Support Manager post. Josephine sees this as being about meeting emotional needs and helping people to lead a fulfilled life as much as it is about clinical support. On what she enjoys most about her role, Josephine says: “It’s achieving the best outcomes for residents and helping them to live in the way that they want to live. What I love most about Belong is that care is about individuals rather than providing a general care environment.” Over the past eight years, Josephine has developed particular expertise in dementia care, which led to her being named Dementia Champion at the organisation’s annual internal awards, the Belong Champion Awards, last year. Commenting on Josephine’s contribution to the Belong Newcastleunder-Lyme team, general manager Peter Norman said: “I’ve seen her progress steadily in her career at Belong as a result of her commitment and caring nature. She has come to embody Belong’s values, and this continues to inspire those around her and manifest itself in improved outcomes for customers.”


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 21

NHS Confederation Responds to Covid-19 Vaccination Progress The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that over 90% of the UK population aged over 12 have now received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and that there has been a surge in first doses. In response, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “There can be no doubt how hard the NHS has worked to deliver the significantly expanded Covid vaccination programme, including over Christmas Day and Boxing Day and has continued into the new year. “How the NHS has been able to ramp up this activity in less than a month since the JCVI updated its guidance on the gap between second doses and booster shots is truly remarkable and it is a testament to the system’s ability to act at pace in the national interest. “It is encouraging to see people still coming forward for their first and second doses, as well as the massive achievement on boosters.

“However, cases of omicron are rising rapidly and for the first time since the spring, hospital admissions have topped 1,000. Health leaders are worried about the level of illness and demand that their staff across the NHS could have to respond to in January and so, it is vital that everyone who is eligible takes up the offer of a jab or booster shot. “Some primary care leaders are telling us their vaccination clinics are only a third full and that people are not turning up to as many as 40% of their booked appointments. While walk-ins continue to be on offer, they are calling on people to stick to their scheduled vaccine appointments and if they can’t for whatever reason that they cancel with notice as this will help manage pressures, particularly given the staffing crisis we are facing currently.”

Lesley and the Chocolate Factory – Witney Care Home Resident Wish Comes True Team members at a care home in Witney made a resident’s wish to visit her favourite chocolate factory come true. Sweet-toothed Lesley Davies, who lives at Care UK’s Millers Grange,

Lesley said: “I really enjoyed the trip to Cadbury World – I was amazed by the amount of chocolate I saw that day!” Alison Parry, Home Manager at Millers Grange, said: “We had a fan-

on Curbridge Road, is a lifelong fan of Cadbury’s chocolate and had

tastic day learning about all things chocolate at Cadbury World with

always dreamt of having a peek behind the scenes of the UK’s largest

Lesley.

chocolate manufacturer. With restrictions starting to lift, the care home team got busy making

“Since the day she moved into Millers Grange, it was clear Lesley had a sweet tooth, especially for chocolate – but Cadbury’s is a definite

Lesley’s sweet dream become a reality, and organised a special visit to

favourite of hers. Once restrictions were eased, we knew we could

Cadbury World. On the day, she was able to learn all about the manu-

make Lesley’s wish to go to Cadbury World happen and got busy plan-

facturing process as well as the history of her favourite treat.

ning.

As part of her visit, she also travelled 1,000 years back in time as she went through the museum’s Mayan section, tracing back the roots of

“Lesley had a massive smile on her face all day – though a definite highlight was visiting the Cadbury shop at the end of our visit! We’re

where cocoa came from, ending the day with an all-important taste

looking forward to going on many more adventures with residents

test of some of her favourite chocolate bars, including Dairy Milk.

soon.”


PAGE 22 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

Improving Care And Patient Outcomes with Data

By Lee Williams, Chief Technology Officer at Radar (www.radarhealthcare.com)

It’s not news that care providers have a challenging job. Funding cuts, crippling staff shortages and a confusing interface with primary and acute care have all added complications to the sector. On top of this, the way the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates care homes is under review. This is a lot for providers to manage during normal operation, let alone during a pandemic. For many care homes, implementing data capture and analytics is low down on the priority list when they are – understandably – focusing on the day to day. It is often seen as a tick box activity or necessary evil to help with compliance. But intelligent technology can be the solution to many of the challenges the sector is currently facing. With so many things to think about, it’s easy to forget that many care providers are already collecting data across multiple different departments, and often multiple different sys-

tems. Whether it is training records in paper employment files, payroll in Excel spreadsheets, and staffing rotas in scheduling software, data collection is already being done. The difficulty is getting meaningful insights from that data, and then using that to change things for the better. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore how data can make a huge difference when it’s used to its full potential. In individual facilities, an analysis of staff rotas and health records could indicate a positive infection and prevent it being spread to other residents. While this might sound simple enough, it is almost impossible to do with such disparate databases, and even if it was possible, in many organisations there was little awareness of how to collate and understand the data. Although it’s more challenging, where data can be useful is when it is collected, analysed and shared between departments, and even organisations. We saw the heart-breaking outcome of managing vulnerable patients with siloed systems during the pandemic and it’s vital we learn from this. The events of 2020 were unprecedented, so talking about what could have been done isn’t going to change what happened. But we should be having those conversations in order to learn what we can from it to prevent it happening in future. Could better access to, and use of, data have helped predict the spread in some areas? And would that have enabled care homes to be more prepared? Organisations might think this needs complicated technology, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Seemingly simple data, when analysed, shared, and used to inform decisions, can be not only useful but transformative. Imagine a patient who is ready to leave hospital but still needs intermediate care. The facility can make the best care decisions if the staff and doctors have access to hospital and medical records. Conversely, the hospital could make the best decision about where to send the patient if it had access to information about COVID protocols, bed avail-

ability and infection rates. Once the right decision is made, it would benefit the facility staff and local GP to be able to see hospital and medical records. All this information is already recorded, but the challenge is collating and sharing it when it is stored in different formats. If the same protocols were standard across all organisations, or even within an organisation, it would make data management and analytics much simpler. On a basic level, this could be for compliance purposes, where monthly reports to Public Health England are automated instead of manual. More proactively however it can be used to predict trends and improve patient outcomes. Data has the potential to transform the care sector, but there are barriers to making the most of it. Not only does it need to be collated and analysed, but the outputs also need to be turned into something meaningful to drive positive change. The technology exists to do this, so now is the time to reap the benefits.

CASE STUDY: DATA ANALYTICS IN PRACTICE - FOUR SEASONS HEALTH CARE One of the UK’s largest independent health care providers, Four Seasons Health Care, cares for more than 100,000 people across the UK. The team implemented Radar Healthcar to allow them to offer intermediate care to NHS patients, while fitting their existing processes. The software helped staff create a journey for each patient based on the Barthel index which is used to measure performance in everyday living activities, such as feeding and bathing. The index indicates when patients are ready for discharge. The journey included workflow tasks in the software to support things like patient mobility and nutrition, and the data tracked along the journey fed into the Barthel score. Not only does this improve patient outcomes and experience, it also allows Four Seasons to deliver successful NHS contracts and gives oversight of the facility. Radar Healthcare was initially implemented in nine locations but has since been rolled out to 172 sites.

Order of St John CEO, Awarded an OBE in Queen’s New Year’s Honours List OSJCT. It’s my great good fortune to represent literally thousands

Dan Hayes, OSJCT Chief Executive, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2022 New Year’s Honours for his services to the social care sector. OSJCT is one of the UK’s leading not-for-profit care providers. The rank of ‘Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ is awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to their respective fields. It is the second highest ranking award behind the rank of commander (CBE). Dan joined OSJCT 19 years ago as HR Manager and progressed within the organisation through to his appointment as Chief Executive in 2015. Dan said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this recognition, but also clear that the award would not have been made if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to spend my social care career with

of OSJCT colleagues who deserve similar recognition for what they continue to do, and who have carried me to the honour. In the truest sense, this OBE is for them, and it is in recognition of the lives they make better through their love and professionalism every day.” Mark Everall, Chair of Trustees at OSJCT, said: “This OBE is welldeserved, and the Trust could not be more proud of Dan. He has skilfully guided the organisation through this pandemic and has been a passionate advocate of the sector for many years. His leadership epitomises the compassion, resilience, and commitment of all those across the Trust working so hard to provide loving care for those we look after.”

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 www.clevacard.com. 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 www.clevacard.com. 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.

Hallmark Care Homes promotes Martin Murphy to Operations Director Multi-award-winning care provider, Hallmark Care Homes, has promoted Martin Murphy to the role of Operations Director. Martin joined the industry-leading care group in November 2020 as Regional Operations Manager, following a lengthy career in the healthcare industry. He has previously held roles in the NHS Trust and at numerous care providers including Four Seasons Health Care. He will now oversee the operational direction of the group’s entire portfolio. In addition, he will drive consistency across the group, which currently provides residential, nursing and dementia care to over 1100 residents across 19 locations in England and South Wales. Martin Murphy said: “I am so pleased to have been promoted to Operations Director at

Hallmark Care Homes. We have a fantastic team who go above and beyond to support the residents and provide high-quality, relationship-centred care every day. “I firmly believe in the core values of this family-run group and I look forward to working closely with the newly promoted COO, Aneurin Brown, to drive the business forward and achieve our company vision.” Aneurin Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Hallmark Care Homes said: “Martin Murphy is an asset to Hallmark Care Homes and I’m delighted that he has been promoted into this position. I’m looking forward to working together to grow the business and enable older people to live life to the full.”



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

By Mark Robinson, Chief Innovation Officer at Imosphere (https://imosphere.com)

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.

the diner for some food “I’m so proud of Cath and Andrew for creating this space. They had the idea

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

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.

Care’s Biggest Crisis – Is Youth The Key To Tackling The Skills Gap? After more than 18 months battling the Covid-19 pandemic, the care sector is now facing its latest challenge – retaining and recruiting its workforce. According to a recent report by Skills for Care, the current vacancy rate for adult social care roles in England is more than 7.3%, with more than a quarter of those being aged 55 or above. In order to tackle this issue, which has led to a shortfall of 30 million care professionals, organisations need to be investing in the younger generations, as Claire Leake, people director at National Care Group, discusses. It’s no secret that there is a disproportionate number of vacancies in care to trained professionals who can fill them. However, it’s up to us, as a sector, to identify why this is the case, change the narrative and find ways to attract people to pursue a career in care – particularly by those who often overlook it, such as young people and school leavers. A popular way this can be done is through apprenticeship programmes, which we’ve watched grow rapidly in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. By allowing individuals to learn in a variety of ways, they can develop into exceptional colleagues who will thrive when placed in a working environment. This not only benefits the teams they work with, but the individuals undertaking the apprenticeships as they’re better prepared for real-life situations. That’s why we established the National Care Group Academy and Support Worker Apprenticeship programme. By combining practical, on-the-job experience, with academic learning, individuals are nurtured

and equipped for a promising career, while simultaneously achieving a qualification in health and social care. Pursuing a career in care is incredibly rewarding, and there’s never been a better time to join the profession, with 100,000 social care vacancies being posted across the country between April and August this year – according to Skills for Care. However, one of the common

misconceptions and concerns is that strong academic performance is essential, but this is not strictly true and should not be considered a deterrent. People across the care sector come from a wide range of backgrounds and for those who consider themselves less academic in their ways of learning make prime candidates for apprenticeships. The benefit of an apprenticeship is that it focuses on practical – ‘hands on’ – learning, rather than classroom sessions and examinations, which allows individuals to learn in a way that better plays to their strengths. However, putting any type of qualifications to one side, we need to primarily be encouraging candidates into the sector based on personal attributes. An individual that is empathetic, hardworking, flexible and eager to learn would make the perfect addition to any care setting, and its candidates with these qualities that are the key to closing the skills gap. From there, it is down to organisations like ourselves to ensure the successful integration of the young people entering the profession, by offering them the opportunity to upskill, progress and -most importantly – remain in an industry that puts people at the heart of everything it does. To find out more about the National Care Group, please visit: www.nationalcaregroup.com


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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.”

Oakland Care’s Woodland Grove Receives Prestigious Sustainability Award Oakland Care has yet again demonstrated their industry-leading approach to sustainability after their first care home, Woodland Grove in Epping Forest, was certified as ‘Very Good’ by the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure, and buildings. As part of this, the organisation has introduced ‘BREEAM In Use’ (BIU), which assesses existing buildings. This process involves assessments of a building’s environmental, social, and economic sustainability performance using standards developed by the Building Research Establishment. The assessment is set against various criteria, including energy and water use, pollution, resources, and the health and well-being of users. Buildings that have received this rating are identified as more sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who live and work in them while helping to protect natural resources. This latest accreditation adds to a growing list of sustainability awards achieved by the luxury care home provider after they were certified as the

first carbon-neutral care home group earlier this year. For Oakland Care, Woodland Grove’s BIU rating is only the start, with the care home provider eager to continue their green mission and BREEAM journey across all their care homes over the next 12 months. In the wake of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, and with climate action more important than ever, Oakland Care is leading the way for other care home providers to follow. Reflecting on their certification, Joanne Balmer, CEO of Oakland Care, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved this certification for Woodland Grove. Environmental responsibility is a cornerstone of Oakland Care’s values, and we continue to lead the way in the care home sector to demonstrate how other organisations can also take steps to boost their sustainability credentials. “Woodland Grove was our first care home, built in 2014, so it only seemed fitting to select it to to start off our BREEAM in use journey. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue our sustainability mission and play our part in the social care sector’s fight against climate change.”


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£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 distributing 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 adminis-

tered 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 crucial 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.

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More Than Two Million Jabs Up for Grabs Over Next Week England’s top GP is urging people to come forward for their booster jab with two million appointments up for grabs over the next week as the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme continues to protect the nation. The NHS bolstered capacity to roll out boosters at an unprecedented rate as part of a ‘national mission’ to protect the country from the Omicron variant. Almost 29 million people have had their booster in England already, including over 260,000 people who were ‘boosted’ over New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and 2 January. The NHS has said there is still plenty of capacity for those who have not yet been able to come forward, for example because they may have had COVID. As of this morning, there were almost 300,000 slots still available tomorrow, with 175,000 booked and a further 330,000 up for grabs on Thursday. In total, there are 2,008,483 jab slots available over the next seven days. NHS staff continued to deliver ‘jingle jabs’ over the festive period with vaccinations taking place over Christmas and the New Year at soup kitchens, stadiums and races courses, and even curry houses and Christmas markets. There are more than 3,000 vaccination sites operating across the

country ready to deliver that life-saving booster to those yet to come forward as well as first and second doses. Anyone eligible for a first, second or booster jab can book a convenient appointment online over the next week through the national booking service to guarantee their boost of protection. However, people cannot get vaccinated within 28 days of having had the virus. GP and Deputy for the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Dr

Nikki Kanani, said: “NHS staff and volunteers have pulled out all the stops to roll out the booster delivering back-to-back records in the run up to Christmas, as well as vaccinating people on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with almost 29 million people having now received the vital additional protection a top-up dose provides. “There are more than two million appointments available for you to get your booster over the next seven days alone, with more slots popping up all the time, meaning everyone can find a time and place that’s convenient for them. If you haven’t yet had your booster, please do come forward, as we know this provides the best protection from the Omicron variant with trusted healthcare professionals on hand to answer any questions you may have”. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “NHS staff are continuing to go above and beyond to deliver the life-saving booster programme, with a further 2 million appointments for jabs up for grabs over the next week after a record breaking festive period. “As we kick off 2022, make sure you Get Boosted Now to secure the best possible protection from Omicron”. The NHS in England made history on 8 December 2020 when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials in Coventry. More than 112 million vaccine doses have been delivered since, including almost 29 million booster doses, protecting more than 43 million people across the country.

Cambridge Carer Recognised for 20 Years’ Service Diane Sanderson, a Care Support Worker, working within the Cambridge area, has been recognised by her employer, Radis Community Care, for her 20 years dedication to the industry as part of the company’s 20 year anniversary celebrations. As part of the 20 year celebrations, Radis Community Care invited 40 of their colleagues to a commemorative Long Service Awards lunch at Moor Hall Hotel & Spa in Sutton Coldfield on Friday 12th November. The attendees enjoyed a three course lunch, before being celebrated, entertained and inspired by keynote speaker and high profile social care figure, 'Big' Ian Donaghy, who is well known across social care for motivating and inspiring people through his innovative presentations and film making. Each individual at the celebratory event was presented with a special gift, a certificate and badge by founders Sam & Deepesh Patel, as well as a personalised copy of Ian Donaghy's book 'A Pocket full of Kindness'. The company has also organised a series of events and activities to mark their milestone, including delivering random acts of kindness to colleagues across the country. Deepesh Patel, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Radis commented: “I’m incredibly proud of all our

team here at Radis, who give so much of themselves to ensure others are well-cared for. “The Long Service Awards event was the perfect opportunity to celebrate all of the hard work and consistency that goes into the care we provide for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.” “We’ve seen staff walk for miles through snow, take boats through floods and over the last year, throughout the pandemic, do whatever it takes to make sure our clients are getting the care they rely on daily. “We are so proud of our team and of the kind, caring company they have helped to build.” Radis is an award-winning community-based care and support provider that was established in 2001. Starting as a home care provider, today Radis continues to support people with a range of needs from supporting older people, specialist dementia care, terminal illness, people with learning disabilities and autism and long-term health conditions. For more information about the services provided by Radis, visit www.radis.co.uk or call their Care Advice Line on 0330 100 8150.

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-forprofit 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.


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PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Scrubs UK and Uniforms UK

Scrubs UK and Uniforms UK are part of Uniform Group UK Ltd suppliers of Medical and Healthcare Uniforms. Our main aim is to provide the best products at the most competitive prices and are proud to be an ‘NHS approved supplier’. We pride ourselves on our excellent reputation and customer service and firmly believe that building relationships with our customer is key to offering the best service possible. Our uniforms meet infection-control requirements and offer the best in durability and comfort. We stock a wide range of styles, colours and sizes to suit everyone. Our own brand ‘Scrubs UK Premium’ range is one of our best sellers offering all day comfort together with durability and of course style! WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO SEND YOU A FREE SAMPLE OF OUR SCRUBS UK PREMIUM SCRUBS SET PERSONALISED WITH YOUR LOGO FOR YOU TO SEE FOR YOURSELVES!

We stock all major brands including, Cherokee, Dickies, Behrens, Alexandra, Koi, Orange Standard, Simki and Skechers. Healthcare uniforms come in all shapes and sizes, and we sell them all! We can also provide you with your catering staff, maintenance and reception uniforms. PERSONALISATION OF UNIFORMS IS OUR SPECIALITY! All embroidery is carried out in-house so we are able to react quickly to your order. For a limited time, we are offering FREE EMBROIDERY SET UP (normally £20) to all new customers. You will always speak personally to a member of our team when you call who are more than happy to help you with your requirements. Call today on 01270 814141 or visit www.scrubsuk.com or www.uniforms-uk.com See the advert on page 20.

Yeoman Shield Fire Rated Door Edge Protector When specifying for a structure, it’s important to be aware of the level of wear and tear a door can be exposed to in a public building. Door edges, in particular, can be easily damaged or worn down by regular use – which can then render them non-compliant for fire safety regulations. To ensure that a project remains compliant, an architect can specify durable door edge protectors to add durability and longevity to doors. Not only will specifying edge protectors increase the longevity of doors, they will enhance the cost efficiency of a project by reducing maintenance demands and the possibility of having to replace unsafe fire doors. Yeoman Shield fire rated Door Edge Protectors are unique with a 2.0 mm Vinylac outer and a specially formulated 9mm PVCu reinforced core. They are FD30 (1/2 hour) and FD60 (1 hour) rated with intumescent seals that are in accordance to the fire door’s specification. Fire rated Door Edge Protectors are suitable for commercial applications such as residential blocks, schools and hospitals etc. Door Edge Protectors can also be specified with different fire seals, from a plain intumescent fire seal

to a brush, fire and smoke variant. Of course, for doors that are non-fire rated in an architect’s project Yeoman Shield also provide quality edge protectors without seals to enhance durability and reduce wear. Source a full range of door protection panels and kick plates from a single supplier by choosing Yeoman Shield. Our door protection panels and kick plates offer the same lasting durability and quality as our door edge protectors. Visit www.yeomanshield.com for details or see page 12.

“… 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 www.limonattire.com 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.

MOWOOT II - a novel noninvasive and non-pharmacological solution to chronic constipation Developed by a team of medical professionals, MOWOOT II performs gentle abdominal massage that speeds up intestinal transit in the sufferers of chronic constipation. Clinically proven and sideeffects free, MOWOOT II Chronic Constipation Therapy System fights constipation effectively, safely and comfortably without laxatives, enemas or colon cleansing supplements. Comfortable to use MOWOOT II treats and manages chronic constipation in people with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease and medication-related constipation problems. MOWOOT II also combats idiopathic chronic constipation of menopausal and post-menopausal women and elderly people. In a published clinical study*, MOWOOT II increased evacuation frequency, softened stools, improved regularity, reduced gasses and bloating and relieved

Renray Healthcare

Renray Healthcare has been producing high quality furniture for over 50 years and is one of the UK’s largest and leading suppliers to the healthcare sector. Whether you require a fast efficient delivery of quality furniture or a full room installation and fitting service, we have the experience and resources to handle your contract. We manufacture and assemble our products in our own purpose built factories in Cheshire and Europe to British Standards. Hence we are able to ensure your furniture is produced to the highest quality, working with you to plan and meet your projects time schedule and budget. We understand you are purchasing furniture that is fit for purpose, stylish and will continue to perform well into the future, which is why we design and build our

abdominal discomfort. Results showed that as many as 72.2% patients experienced increased bowel movements, 77.4% patients manifested reduction in constipation symptoms and 81.0% patients enjoyed better quality of life. 10 – 20 minutes per day of abdominal massage with MOWOOT II demonstrates improvements with significant results noted within days after the first treatment. Regular applications ensure positive health benefits and better quality of life. MOWOOT II – effective, safe and comfortable solution to chronic constipation! * McClurg D; Booth L; Herrero-Fresneda I. Safety and Efficacy of Intermittent Colonic Exoperistalsis Device to Treat Chronic Constipation: A Prospective Multicentric Clinical Trial. Clin Trans Gastroenterology 2020; 11(12): e00267.

Contact Win Health Medical Ltd - 01835 864866 www.win-health.com

furniture with you in mind. Telephone: +44 (0)1606 593456, Email: info@renrayhealthcare.com, www.renrayhealthcare.com or see the advert on page 3 for details.

C&S Seating Ltd is 30 Years Old! Since 1991, C&S Seating has been providing postural control equipment to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and medical equipment services nationwide and supply regularly

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 https://bit.ly/3EIq2Q4 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 www.cands-seating.co.uk to request or download a brochure, pricelist or order form, request an individualised quotation, speak to an advisor or to place an order.

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.



PAGE 30 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

CATERING FOR CARE

‘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 www.vforlife.org.uk/inquiry

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.

Major NEW Product Launches Make a Change for the Better! Keeping healthy is increasingly seen as a social responsibility with many consumers now being motivated to protect their health not just for themselves but also for the ‘greater good’. In research that Major carried out, a staggering 93% described

tarians and vegans, meets 2024 salt targets and is available in two varieties, perfect for meat and poultry dishes. Want to find out more and try for yourself, simply drop us an email

strengthening their immune system as important. That’s why at Major they have

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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 resourcecentre@nutricia.com. Nutilis Clear is a Food for Special Medical Purposes for the dietary management of dysphagia and must be used under medical supervision. Reference: 1. O’Loughlin G, Shanley C. Swallowing problems in the nursing home: a novel training response. Dysphagia 1998; 13, 172-183.( https://www.rcslt.org/speech-and-language-therapy/clinical-information/dysphagia)

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 (www.allmanhall.co.uk) 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.



PAGE 32 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

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 www.biocareuv.com or get in touch with our team today by emailing sales@biocareuv.com. 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 www.medicleantechnologies.co.uk


PAGE 34 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

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: www.Globalpointofcare.abbott/idnow 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 (https://gamahealthcare.com/) and previously Head of Infection Control at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (www.royalfree.nhs.uk)

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 https://gamahealthcare.com/carell i https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25173772/ ii https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-

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

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


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 35

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 https://youtu.be/eTM9iUWZzzc. Sign up to the newsletter at www.aliveondemand.co.uk 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 https://aliveondemand.co.uk/orders/customer_info?o=58533 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.: info@silentnoizeevents.com, call 0203 727 5382 or visit www.silentnoizeevents.com/silentmemories

TO ADVERTISE IN PLEASE CALL OUR SALES TEAM ON

01202 552333



THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 37

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

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. www.forbespro.co.uk info@forbes-professional.co.uk 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 www.laundrytec.com to see what of customers say info@laundrytec.com

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.

Quality, Innovation and Support

BEFORE

We are also Lavamac distributors

www.laundrytec.com

0151 317 3127

AFTER

info@laundrytec.com


PAGE 38 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

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 www.tsa-uk.org 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 www.southerncontracts.co.uk 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


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 39

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 www.one.intercall.co.uk

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 www.aidcall.co.uk 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 lctuk.com for details.


PAGE 40 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

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.

FALL SAVERS ® WIRELESS MONITOR

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

Benefits include:

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

Floor sensor mat Wireless door/window exit alerts

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

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 www.fallsavers.co.uk.

The New MPCSA11 from Medpage

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

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 www.easylinkuk.co.uk/mpcsa11


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 41

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.” www.edisontelecom.co.uk

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: info@c-t.co.uk

NURSE CALL

IT’S NOT OBSOLETE UNTIL THE OPERA LADY SINGS

EDISON TELECOM LTD (IN BUSINESS SINCE 1984)

have spares, enhancements and expertise for wired and wireless systems abandoned by the original manufacturer, whoever they are.

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

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

www.nursecallsystems.co.uk



THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 43

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: www.oysta-technology.com

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: https://debtregister.com/freetrial

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 www.leecare.co.uk for further information.


PAGE 44 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

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 www.gov.uk/eusettledstatus. An employer toolkit is at www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlementscheme-employer-toolkit See the advert this page or visit www.bizimply.com

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 www.rcscare.net



PAGE 46 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

EDUCATION & TRAINING

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 / www.acaciatraining.co.uk

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 www.msdindependent.com

Email us at distancelearning@msdindependent.co.uk 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 : www.stepuptrainingandcare.co.uk E : info@stepuptrainingandcare.co.uk



PAGE 48 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83

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 (www.wmca.org.uk)

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.

SECTOR-BASED WORK ACADEMY PROGRAMMES

CHALLENGES FOR SMALLER EMPLOYERS

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.

HIGHER LEVEL SKILLS TRAINING

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 www.stepuptrainingandcare.co.uk 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 enquiries@globalbusinessfinance.net

Power Of Attorney Considerations For Carers By Ashley Partridge, Head of Wills, Probate & Estate Planning, Parker Bullen solicitors (www.parkerbullen.com) 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.

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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 83 | PAGE 49

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

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 https://publicguardian.blog.gov.uk/2021/02/08/lasting-power-of-attorney-and-the-covid-vaccine/ LPAs and attorney duties – https://www.gov.uk/lasting-power-attorney-duties/health-welfare Making decisions on behalf of someone – https://www.gov.uk/make-decisions-for-someone/making-decisions

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: www.moneypenny.com/uk/healthcare-answering-services

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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