The Carer Digital - Issue #85

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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 85

Almost Half of Care Homes Refusing New Residents as Staffing Crisis Intensifies

Almost half of care homes are currently not accepting new residents, with twothirds of home care providers turning down requests for home care, due to staff shortages caused by Covid and the mandatory vaccine, according to the National Care Forum (NCF). The introduction of mandatory vaccines for care workers in November 2021 has resulted in an exodus of staff, and many are also off sick isolating with Covid, leaving care providers struggling to cope with staff shortages.

According to the study published by NCF, we are seeing an increase in the pressures facing the social care sector as we see the impact of the Omicron variant and the limitations of government support on the frontline. This is having a real impact on people now – 66% of the homecare providers responding are now having to refuse new requests for home care and 43% of providers of care homes are closing to new admissions, while 21% of providers of home care are handing back existing care packages.

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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 A report from property specialist Christies in this issue (see page 16) makes rather welcome reading. The report highlights the “great resilience” in the care sector market, both through care providers and the staff, going on to say there is currently a “shortage of stock and strong buyer demand” within the sector. Many operators, report says continued with development site acquisitions in 2021, “fulfilling strategic longterm objectives, with investor appetite increasing”. All this in spite of the severe operational difficulties the sector faces. As our lead story states almost half of care homes currently not taking new residents and ome are having to ration care, with one provider saying that if you could “declare a state of emergency” in the sector he would. There is no disguising the fact that the mandatory vaccination policy has had a devastating effect on staffing within the care sector, and it looks very much like it will have a similar effect when it is introduced on April 1 in the NHS. Two vaccinations will become compulsory for frontline NHS staff from 1 April after MPs voted on the legislation last month. However, according to reports today ministers have been issued with a stark warning over mandatory Covid vaccines for NHS workers in England, with a leaked document saying growing evidence on the Omicron variant casts doubts over the new law’s “rationality” and “proportionality”. An estimated 70,000 NHS staff, 4.9% could remain unvaccinated by 1 April, the document say, with NHS trusts in England preparing to begin sending dismissal letters from 3 February to any member of staff who has not had their first dose by then. I understand that the Royal College of Nursing urged Sajid Javid, the health secretary, to delay the legislation, known as “vaccination as a condition of deployment”, adding that the leaked memo should prompt ministers to call a halt to the imposition of compulsory jabs, which it called “reckless”. Since the policy has been quite catastrophic to the care sector it will come as a surprise to nobody that it will prove equally catastrophic to the NHS, and I strongly suspect between now and April 1st it will be very much watered down. With the care sector so much in demand, enjoying considerable investment, acquisitions and mergers despite its problems imagine how vibrant it would be if some of these issues were resolved? I have often said one of the really enjoyable aspects of my job is attending trade shows

Editor

Peter Adams

and seminars, where it gives me the opportunity to meet and speak with frontline staff. Despite pay, mandatory vaccinations, underfunding, and staff shortages, the feedback I get whilst often constructive is almost always positive. It is a vocation, a “calling”, that those working in the sector simply enjoy. Which brings me onto my next point on the government undertaking a recruitment campaign. It has called in some “big gun celebrities” (see page 7) urging people to take up a career in care. This may be “all well and good”! The ‘Made with Care’ campaign was launched in November 2021 to help fill vacancies across the adult social care sector. Currently, as we all know there are more than 105,000 vacancies in the sector, and the campaign highlights that there will be half-a-million extra job opportunities in adult social care expected by 2035. However, staff turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 28.5% in 2020/21, equating to approximately 410,000 people leaving their jobs over the course of the year. According to a Skills for care report: • Those that travel further for work were more likely to leave their role. Average turnover rate for care workers in the independent sector was 7.3 percentage points higher for those that travel more than 20km (32.3%) to work compared to those that travel less than 1km (25.0%). • The sector struggles to retain younger workers. Turnover rates amongst under 20s was 46.9%, compared to 22.4% for those 60 and above. • People leave the sector soon after joining the sector. The average turnover rate for those with less than one year of experience in sector was 43.8%. This decreased to just 21.0% for those with 20 years or more experience. • Turnover rates were higher for those on zero-hours contracts. Those on zero-hours contracts had an average turnover rate of 33.2% compared to 26.7% for those not on zero-hours contracts. The alarming statistic for me is the number of young workers leaving the sector, which is more than twice as many than those aged 60 and above. If those issues are not addressed then the campaign, no matter who fronts it is doomed to fail. It has been a bit of a bumper week this week for awards, anniversaries and special events. We have been delighted to reproduce awards for long-standing service, accreditations, anniversaries and prize winnings so thank you once again for sending them in, and please do keep them coming. These are the stories mainstream media (for reasons of their own) don’t share. We seldom get to see the stories of hard work and dedication and these awards and celebrations are for us our very own “Raison d'être”, so please do keep them coming to editor@thecareruk.com

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Almost Half of Care Homes Refusing New Residents as Staffing Crisis Intensifies (CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) Such pressures raise serious concerns at a time when NHS England reports its bid to urgently discharge more patients early from hospitals to free up beds, creating additional pressure to an already overstretched sector.

timely manner, is indicative of an approach that does not properly value the people who receive or deliver care. Those working on the frontline describe the situation today as ‘grim, difficult and relentless’. This must stop. Social care matters to us all, and it is imperative that policy makers properly understand and appreciate the essential part social care contributes, alleviating the many pressures in communities, including those experienced by the NHS and, most importantly the people who need care and support.”

STAFF ABSENCE LEVELS COMPOUNDED BY EXISTING VACANCY RATES

CARE RATIONED AS HOMES AND HOMECARE STRUGGLE

Overall, the providers responding reported 18% vacancy rate and 14% absence as a result of the Omicron variant. While the absence rate may be temporary, the vacancy rate has been well documented as growing at an alarming rate over the last six months and has been compounded by other policy decisions such as mandating vaccines as a condition of deployment. The impact of staff shortages is putting existing staff teams under tremendous pressure. Frontline staff are giving it all by picking up extra shifts, non-care staff are being redeployed from other areas of the organisation to deliver care and support. In addition, providers are having to be much more reliant on agency staff, with a high associated costs, with some members being quoted hourly rates of over £30 for front line staff, and up to £50 an hour for nurses.

SITUATION “CHANGING SHIFT BY SHIFT” “We currently have a national staff turnover of 39% with 44% in the South” “Difficulty in recruiting plus staff absence is difficult to manage.” “The situation changes by the shift let alone by the day. It is firefighting every day and prioritising delivery of care over other responsibilities.” “We have had to have contingency plans in place asking families and volunteers to help out. Also, our directors and senior managers are on standby and have covered waking night shifts.” Covid testing is an essential part of the support package from the DHSC. However, respondents report significant failings of the system not working well enough. There are extensive delays to PCR results and insufficient access to lateral flow tests, which are increasingly exacerbating staff shortages. “Delays in PCR results for residents is leaving us unsure as to their Covid status and for staff it is delaying them returning to work.”

SYSTEM-WIDE FAILURES – ‘JUST GRIM, DIFFICULT AND RELENTLESS’ Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the NCF said: “It is unacceptable that yet again, nearly 2 years on from the start of the pandemic, we continue to see enormous pressures in the care and support sector, this time compounded by the impact of Omicron. Staff shortages are excessively high and everything must be done to support providers to operate safe and quality services, so that people have access to the care and support they need, when they need it. “The adoption of a strategy by government that gives social care the crumbs from the table in an unrealistic hope that somehow it can continue to operate regardless of meaningful attention is negligent. The NCF and our membership have been highlighting the growing shortages in the workforce and the knock-on impact on those who remain working in the sector and those who use care and support services for many months. How many times does this message need to be repeated for it to be heard? “The continual drip feed approach to funding, which as a result of bureaucracy fails to reach providers in a

The Independent Care Group (ICG) has also expressed concerns and called for urgent Government intervention as the sector struggles, describing the current state of care as “on the edge of meltdown” with staffing shortages and falling incomes are pushing many providers to the brink of survival. At least 49 councils in England are having to ration care for those eligible for support, ADASS has reported. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “If we could, as a sector, we would declare a state of emergency in social care. “Of the two years we have gone through with the pandemic, this is the worst point in terms of continuing to deliver care. “We have been warning for months that the staffing situation was becoming critical but have yet to receive any proper support. “Now we see evidence that care is being rationed, providers are having to limit what they offer and vulnerable people are suffering. “That is our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends.” The Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the rising staff absences it is causing, has exacerbated an already critical shortage of care staff. At the same time, care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks cannot take new admissions until 28 days after their last positive test. This means that homes are suffering severe financial hardship through a drop in income. “This double-whammy is putting the whole delivery of social care at risk,” Mr Padgham added. The Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS), said, following a survey, that half the councils that responded were taking difficult decisions over who gets care and who misses out. “Some 1.5m people are already not getting the care they need at all,” Mr Padgham added. “Now we are hearing that even those that get care are having it rationed because there simply isn’t enough care to go round. “The President of ADASS, Stephen Chandler has described the current situation as ‘lockdown by another name’ and that is a scandal. “How long is the Government going to sit around, wringing its hands and allowing this neglect to go on?” The ICG is seeking urgent action to combat the staff shortage and Mr Padgham has twice written to the Government urging it to set up a bank of volunteers to help in care settings. Beyond that, it is campaigning for root and branch reform of the sector to get more money into social care and to properly recognize, respect and reward those working in it. ADASS wants at least an extra £7bn to be invested in social care, rising to £9bn by 2024-25, and a social care minimum wage equal to what the NHS pays for similar work.


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What Lies In Store For Social Care In 2022? BARRY PRICE, QCS, SPECIALIST CONTRIBUTOR, CONSULTANT

The social care sector faced one of its most challenging years in 2021 due to the combination of COVID-19 and Brexit. Chronic staff shortages, recruitment issues and mental health challenges put additional untold pressure on an already exhausted workforce. With Government whitepapers and funding reform providing the promise of a brighter future for the sector, many are looking to 2022 as a year when the virus will be finally tamed. In the first of two articles, we asked QCS experts for their views and opinions on the year ahead.

ED WATKINSON, QCS, RESIDENTIAL CARE AND INSPECTION SPECIALIST “In 2021, the CQC released its new strategy and the focus that would be used to inform their regulatory approach across all the sectors it regulates. There were four main themes in the strategy focusing on people and communities, smarter regulation, safety through learning and accelerating improvement. These themes have all directed the thinking of CQC as far as adult social care is concerned, but what in real terms do we think will this mean for adult social care services and their relationship with CQC? They will be developing a process that is much more reliant on how they get information about services. They will be seeking information from more varied sources – people that use services, commissioners, public, local health services and other stakeholders. Providers will need to ensure that they have good relationships with everyone and not just focus on the CQC, and will also need feedback and evidence from these sources that show the quality of the service being provided. The CQC will also be undertaking more ‘remote’ inspections, using the evidence provided by others to come to a judgement, and will possibly start to rate services without stepping over the threshold. Providers will need to be consistently reviewing and developing action plans to improve the quality of their provision, and not just ‘prepare’ for an on-site inspection event. It is felt that inspection will become more of a continuous process as opposed to a cyclical event. The CQC is going to be using more of the same processes, criteria and systems across all health and social care, and this is to provide a view of the local area and community that the service is located – so there will be an increased focus on how people work together, and know what is important in the local areas. There is no getting away from the fact that the ‘digitalisation of social care’ is happening extremely quickly and has been enhanced by the pandemic, so the CQC will be looking closely at how electronic, online systems are being used and the benefits for people using services. This can be seen as a real opportunity for services to demonstrate innovation and lead the agenda. In addition, the CQC is going to be changing the criteria to come to judgements and the KLOEs are going to be replaced by ‘Quality Statements’, and the five questions will be reframed as ‘I’ statements, which will encourage services to demonstrate and evidence how they are focused on improving the lives of people using services. These changes are going to be ‘evolution’ rather than ‘revolution’ and will be based upon the learning from the pandemic and the need to focus more on outcomes for people rather than processes.”

“The roadmap out of the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to present challenges. The ever-changing guidance requirements bring additional COVID-19 testing, isolation, social distancing measures and care home visiting restrictions have seen managers bracing themselves for 2022. And as the year begins it looks set to be no different with the expansion of Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment (VCOD) in England where all frontline CQC regulated staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1st April 2022. The devastating effect that these measures have already had on staffing levels across parts of Social Care is clear for all to see. It has led to further staff shortages in an already chronic recruitment and retention crisis. To prepare and ensure that your service levels and Business Viability can be maintained what can you do? Firstly, Managers can hold 1:1 meetings with staff who remain unvaccinated. They can offer support to encourage take up of vaccination. Finally, managers can engage in open and honest dialogue with unvaccinated staff, which lays out all of the possible options and the impact that not having the vaccine will have on their careers and that of the service - if they refuse. Secondly, it is vital that managers and senior frontline staff review and plan recruitment strategies in order to account for those staff that they know they will lose. Thirdly, managers should review policies and procedures including recruitment, admission, Business Continuity Plans. Finally, on this point, business planning and service development planning, should not be ignored. Are there options to diversify the business model e.g. relocation of office teams, non-front line staffing to accommodate redeployment if this was an option. QCS offers a range of Planning tools to assist providers with preparation that they may find useful. The Vaccination Planner, Tracker, Mandatory Supervision Log, Agency and Professional Profiles and Recruitment, Business Continuity Plans are all policies that, if used correctly, can add great value.”

EMILY KERRIGAN, QCS, DOMICILIARY CARE POLICY LEAD “One of the key things coming into force this year for adult care home workers in Wales is mandatory registration with Social Care Wales, which comes into force from October 2022. Once in place care home workers may be unable to practice in Wales if they are not qualified or are removed from the register. In order to ascertain what stage workers are at in the registration process, providers must ensure workers with the necessary qualifications are registered by applying on the Social Care Wales online. Providers should ensure workers who are new to social care register follow induction at the service. They should complete either the All Wales Induction Framework for health and social care or the Social Care Wales Principles and Values Award. Providers should ensure workers with experience, but without the necessary qualifications, are assessed against the required competencies and a signed declaration is provided by the manager. To prepare for this new requirement providers should also ensure registration of workers is embedded in recruitment and induction processes at the service. They should also make sure that a record is kept on file of all staff currently registered and what stage other staff are at within the process. Managers should ensure staff are fully aware of the process and what they need to do. Finally, providers should recruit registration champions in the service that can support staff in the run up to the new requirements.” Full details of the requirement can be found here: https://socialcare.wales/registration/adult-care-home-worker-registration#section-35679-anchor For domiciliary care workers and other services registration requirements can be found here: https://socialcare.wales/registration/ qualifications-needed#section-29926-anchor To find out more about the QCS Management System, please visit www.qcs.co.uk/thecarer-free-trial.


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Five Day Self-Isolation Period Introduced in England From earlier this week (Monday 17 January) people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day five and day six. The decision has been made after careful consideration of modelling from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and will support essential public services and workforces over the winter. It is crucial people isolating with COVID-19 wait until they have received two negative lateral flow tests on two consecutive days to reduce the chance of still being infectious. The first test must be taken no earlier than day five of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. The consecutive negative tests must be reported on gov.uk before individuals return to their job or education if leaving self-isolation earlier than the full 10 day period.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Following a robust review of the evidence, we have reduced the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England. “This is a balanced and proportionate approach to restore extra freedoms and reduce the pressure on essential public services over the winter. “It is crucial people only stop self-isolating after two negative tests to ensure you are not infectious. “Vaccinations remain our best defence against COVID-19, offering significant protection against infection and hospitalisation – and I urge everybody eligible to take up the offer and Get Boosted Now.” The default self-isolation period continues to be 10 days, and you may only leave self-isolation early if you have taken two LFDs and do not have a temperature in line with guidance. For example, if an individual is positive on day five, then a negative test is required on both day six and day seven to release from self-isolation. Or if a person is positive on day six, then a negative test is required on days seven and eight, and so on until the end of day 10. Those who leave self-isolation on or after day six are strongly advised to wear face coverings and limit close contact with

Country Needs to Trust Govt to Deliver on Care Plea to support 1.5m older and vulnerable Failing to provide proper care for our population is a major scandal that can be laid at the feet of the Government, a sector leader has said. Mike Padgham, Chair of the care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG), said the country needed to trust the Prime Minister to deliver care. “I think the questions being raised about the Prime Minister at the moment are ones of trust and that is a vital quality that the country must have in its leaders. “It would be very hard to explain to the families of people living in care why they had to obey the rules and not visit or be with

loved ones during the pandemic, if those in power did not obey the same rules. “And of course we must trust in their integrity and must be able to trust that they are going to deliver the services that we, as a country, need. “If there are questions about the Prime Minister, one of them has to be about his promise to reform social care, which has not been done. “And if there are scandals to be exposed and addressed, then, again, one of them should be the 1.5m people who in 2022 can’t get the care they need to enjoy a decent quality of life.”

other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home if they can do so and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19. Existing public health measures remain in place, including: • staying at home if you feel unwell • getting a test if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms • wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces • working from home if possible • maintaining social distancing and regular hand washing • taking up the offer of the free COVID-19 vaccine

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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NHS Launches Landmark Mental Health Campaign with ‘Help!’ from The Beatles The NHS has launched a new landmark campaign using the iconic Beatles song ‘Help!” to get the nation taking better care of their mental health. Backed by some of the UK’s biggest artists, the campaign will encourage people struggling with their mental health to seek support. ‘Help!’, written by John Lennon in 1964, was credited by the superstar songwriter as one of his most honest and genuine songs and with lyrics like ‘Help me if you can I’m feeling down’, the song is the ideal soundtrack to get others thinking about their mental wellbeing. Since the start of the pandemic some 2.3 million people have come forward for NHS talking therapies, but with new figures out today showing that over 50% of people were concerned about their mental health last year – and around half also experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood or depression, and the majority not seeking professional help – many more could benefit. The NHS is encouraging anybody experiencing anxiety, depression, or other common mental health concerns to come forward and see how talking therapies can help them. NHS mental health talking therapies are a confidential service run by fully trained experts and can be accessed by self-referral or through your GP practice. And thanks to Sony Music and Apple Corps, who have donated the lyrics and melody of the Beatles classic to the campaign, top names

from the UK music industry including Craig David, Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts, Tom Grennan, Laura Mvula, Ella Henderson and Max George, will launch the campaign with a speaking rendition of the song – encouraging more people to seek ‘Help!’. Speaking of her experiences, Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud praised the impact therapy made on her life. She said: “I’m someone that has benefited hugely from talking therapy. I think there is such a taboo around it that people almost feel like they’ve failed or they weren’t strong enough to figure out a situation by themselves. But if you’re feeling like you can’t see the wood from the trees or light at the end of the tunnel, it’s imperative to reach out because you can’t always do it alone. “It’s about saying this is what is happening to me, it’s not my fault, but my happiness matters and I’m going to put my hand up and say I need some help. I wouldn’t be where I am now without therapy”. NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch said: “The pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s mental health, and we know January can be a particularly tough month for many. “Over a million people already use NHS talking therapies every year, but we know we can help millions more just by telling them it’s there for them and that is exactly what this campaign is all about. “If you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or are feeling low, it’s important you know you are not alone and that it is okay to get help. No one should suffer in silence. “NHS staff have pulled out all the stops throughout the pandemic to keep mental health care services open, and it’s fantastic to see some of the biggest names in music back our campaign and encourage people to get the support they need”. Through the NHS Long Term Plan, the NHS is boosting its community mental health services by £2.3 billion a year – improving access to services such as adult talking therapies for millions. Statistics also show that the NHS is improving access to adult talking therapies, with more than 90% of patients starting treatment within six weeks of making a referral. To support people with the effects of the pandemic, the NHS is also doing more than ever to deliver faster support – with every area of the country now benefitting from a 24/7 mental health helpline to help peo-

ple in crisis get urgent care – two years ahead of schedule. The rollout of local mental health teams in schools has also been accelerated, delivering more support for children and young people than ever before, with around 200 teams now in place for pupils at over 3,000 schools – and NHS services have supported nearly 630,000 children with mental health issues between October 2020 and September 2021. Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “The pandemic has affected so many of our lives and has led to many more people needing support for their mental health. “Anyone from any background can experience anxiety and depression and it’s important that people with these symptoms come forward to seek help. “This campaign is vitally important and will help even more people get the mental health support they need from our fantastic NHS services”. Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director, said: “This campaign could not be coming at a better time. The mental health of many older people has taken a real battering during the pandemic and we hope that this new initiative will encourage everyone who could do with some support to reach out and ask for it. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ as they say – it’s good to talk and there’s no reason for anyone to feel embarrassed or ashamed because they are feeling very low. We’ve all been through a lot these last twenty months, many older people more than most”. Minister for Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, said: “The British people have shown great resilience and support for each other over the last two years, but it’s understandable the pandemic might continue to affect our mental wellbeing with people feeling anxious, low or worried – particularly in the winter months. “It’s vital we look after our mental health and talking therapies provide great support for anybody experiencing anxiety or depression – you can self-refer or be referred through your GP. “If you need help, I urge you to reach out for support – the NHS is here to help you 24/7″.

Bradford Artist Celebrates 100th Birthday A Bradford woman who painted hundreds of landscape pictures and Yorkshire

put a lot of her artwork up for sale at the Saltaire Arts Trail and donated the pro-

landmarks, many of which adorn the walls of local homes, has received a special

ceeds to the RNLI in recognition of her Hull roots and the city’s maritime history.

message from Buckingham Palace after celebrating her 100th birthday. May Monk celebrated her big day with her family and the team at Brookfield Care Home in Nab Wood near Shipley where she has lived for the last nine years. Originally born in Hull, May left school and enrolled at a local art college, when she was just 11. However, her mum voiced concerns about the lack of career

Commenting on her centenary birthday, May said: “Celebrating my 100th birthday with my family and receiving a message from the Queen has been fantastic. The team at Brookfield Care Home made it extra special, with a wonderful cake, and it really was a day to remember.”

prospects for a budding artist so at the age of 14, May went to work in one of the city’s department stores. Then in 1941, during World War Two, she was conscripted into the Army, where she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and spent the next four years driving ambulances and armoured vehicles. She has 11 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren and in 2019 decided to

Managing director, Konrad Czajka, from Czajka Care Group, which owns and runs Brookfield Care Home, said: “May has lived an amazing life and is clearly someone who is much-loved by her family and friends and puts others first, from doing her bit in World War Two to selling her artwork for charity. She thoroughly deserved her big day, and it was a pleasure for our team to pull out all the stops for her.”

Long Service Award for Staff Member Who Says “This Will be My Last Job” A Manchester based care home has recently celebrated the services of one of their longest serving staff members. Pauline Matthews joined Methodist Homes (MHA) as a care assistant in December 2000 and worked at MHA Handsworth care home in Altrincham for 17 years, before transferring to MHA Laurel Court in Didsbury. MHA Laurel Court provides residential, residential dementia and general nursing care for 91 residents. The staff at MHA Laurel Court held a surprise party for Pauline where she was presented some flowers and a cake. The 62-year-old said: “After being made redundant from my previous job, a friend of mine mentioned working in care and that’s how my journey with MHA started. “Fast forward more than 20 years and I absolutely love what I’m doing. I really Pauline Matthews (c) with her cake and flowers following her surprise party

hope this will be my last job. “I worked 17 years at MHA Handsworth on nights, and it was getting a bit too much for me, so I moved to MHA Laurel Court which is closer to me and allows me to work days. “I really love my job. MHA Laurel Court is a bigger home than MHA Handsworth and at times it can be tough, as it was during the start of the pandemic as I was concerned for my mum who is elderly but we got through it. “I love looking after people and find it very rewarding, I had no idea of the surprise the staff members had planned for me and it really was beautiful. “More than 20 years into the role, I can’t see myself doing anything else. My advice to anyone thinking of working in the care sector would be to just give it a try and you never know what might happen.”


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Famous Faces Urge People To Take Up A Career In Care The public are being urged to consider a career in care as celebrities pledge their support for the sector. Reality TV star and campaigner, who recently fronted a BBC show on her family’s experience of autism, Christine McGuiness, TV presenter and Paralympian Ade Adepitan, rapper and star of Dancing on Ice 2021 Lady Leshurr, and author and influencer Toni Tone have come together to support the Department for Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) ‘Made with Care’ recruitment campaign. Taking to social media, the stars have united to help show a job in adult social care is a career like no other. They have written their own insights into the qualities, rather than qualifications, needed to be a care worker and to shine a light on the extraordinary parts of the job often not included in traditional job adverts. The ‘Made with Care’ campaign launched in November 2021 to help fill vacancies across the adult social care sector. With more than 105,000 vacancies, and almost half-a-million extra job opportunities in adult social care expected by 2035, the campaign aims to encourage people to apply for exciting and rewarding roles across the country. To support this, the department announced £5.4 billion of additional funding to reform social care over the next three years, including at least £500 million to support training and career development for the workforce. This is on top of £462.5million to support the recruitment and retention of staff. Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said: “A role in care can provide a truly rewarding and fulfilling career. You

received their autism diagnoses, including meeting with adults with autism and their care workers. Christine said: “My three children have all been diagnosed with autism and I received my diagnoses towards the end of last year. As part of my research into autism, I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to remarkable people working in the adult social care sector and seen what an incredible impact they have on individuals’ lives. “All people need to get started in their career in social care is their natural qualities, there’s training for everything else. Working in care really does change lives. I have a massive respect for the profession and would encourage anyone looking for a career where they can make a need empathy, compassion and patience. For everything else there’s training. You don’t need qualifications to get started and there are many opportunities for professional development. “Those already working in adult social care are doing an amazing job and we need more people to join them. “I would urge anyone who thinks they might have something to offer to consider applying for a rewarding, fulfilling and varied career in adult social care.” Each of the celebrities has a direct, personal connection to care or a particular passion and desire to support the sector. Christine McGuinness recently filmed a documentary following her family as they found out more about autism after their three children

difference to apply.” For Ade Adepitan, the care sector has played a huge role in his life. His sister, Omoyile, lives with Down Syndrome and as a result, the support from care workers have given her the tools and ability to gain independence that would have been incredibly challenging otherwise. Lady Leshurr’s mother is a care worker and is incredibly proud of the amazing difference she has seen her mother make to people’s lives. Roles in adult social care can be flexible, varied and rewarding, and offer those who have the values and attributes needed to be a care worker the opportunity to start a hugely fulfilling career. For more information on the campaign and how to apply for a job in care visit: www.adultsocialcare.co.uk.

If You Go Down To Belleville Today, You’re Sure Of A Big Surprise Residents at an Edinburgh care home enjoyed a teddy bear takeover as they reminisced about childhood memories over a picnic. Mansfield Care’s Belleville Lodge invited its residents to bring along their own teddy bears and soft toys for an afternoon of fun. Along with the teddy takeover was an array of homemade cakes and tea as the residents discussed their favourite toys they, and their children, used to play with when they were younger. While teddies were the most popular guests at the picnic, a toy dog and a knitted black cat called ‘Snuffles’ were also in attendance. Belleville Lodge Matron, Margaret Russell, said: “There were lots of smiles and everyone enjoyed holding and touching the soft toys and passing them around for a cuddle. “One of the highlights of the day that made everyone

happy was to see all the teddies and soft toys lined up together for a portrait photo. “We all joined in to sing along to “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” and everyone, both staff and residents, agreed that we’d had a lovely afternoon.” Operating 11 care homes across Edinburgh, the Borders and west of Scotland, Mansfield Care is designed to provide bespoke care to an exceptional standard with stateof-the-art facilities. Specialising in small, friendly residential care homes, staff work under an ethos that is inspired by the kind of care we would wish for ourselves in later life – supportive, friendly, bright, positive, empathetic, respectful and homely. The highly trained staff ensure a commitment and continuity of care to each resident with a dedicated home manager and wellbeing coordinator to plan activities according to resident’s wishes.


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Health and Care Worker Visa to Be Extended to Key Care Workers for 12 months Shabana Muneer (Director, Head of Business Immigration) and Mohamed Jama (Associate) from the Employment Team at Walker Morris, discuss the implications that the Health and Care Worker visa extension will have for the care sector. The Government has recently announced an expansion of the Health and Care Worker visa for up to 12 months to allow care providers to recruit a wider range of overseas care workers to address critical skills shortages in the sector.

WHAT'S CHANGED? Prior to the announcement in December, adult social care work has been considered "unskilled" by the Government which has resulted in care worker roles not being eligible for work based visas. However, due to the impact of the pandemic on the sector and the chronic gaps in the workforce (analysis of Government figures showed more than 40,000 social care staff left the sector in the six months to October 2021[1]), the Government has now confirmed that care work related roles will be eligible for sponsorship under the Health and Care Worker visa for an initial 12 month period, which will be reviewed later in 2022 to assess the impact. There is no suggestion that the visas themselves will be limited to this 12 month period (and can instead run for up to 5 years). Care work roles that are now eligible for a visa Individuals working in the following roles are likely to be eligible for the visa: • Care assistant • Care worker • Carer • Home care assistant • Home carer • Support worker (nursing home)

WHY IS THIS SIGNIFICANT FOR THE ADULT SOCIAL CARE SECTOR?

There are reports of thousands of care workers having left their jobs after refusing to get the Covid vaccine that was made mandatory for care home staff in November 2021, and many are currently off sick isolating with Covid, leaving care providers struggling to cope with staff shortages. According to some reports[2], this has led to 43% of care home providers closing to new residents and 66% of home care providers refusing new requests for home care, with 21% of home care providers handing back existing care packages. When coupled with the fact that freedom of movement for EU nationals ended on 31 December 2020, the pool of staff available to recruit from has significantly reduced over time.

WHAT WILL IT MEAN IN PRACTICE? In practice, it means recruitment for a wider range of health and care work roles can now take place overseas and therefore the number of potential candidates is greater. Care workers and carers recruited to the UK will be able to bring their family members, with the Health and Care visa offering a pathway to settlement should they remain employed for 5 years and wish to remain in the UK. Because the care work roles will be added to the Shortage Occupation List, care providers will be able to benefit from the reduced

minimum salary requirement of £20,480, thus making it cheaper for social care providers to hire the workers they need to fill gaps in their workforce than would otherwise be the case. Although sponsorship attracts fees, when compared to the financial implications of turning away contracts, as well as paying agency staff to fill labour shortages, who generally attract much higher hourly rates than direct employees, it may make sound financial sense. Employers who are not registered with the Home Office as licenced sponsors will need to think about applying for a sponsor licence, which is a pre-requisite for being able to recruit non-UK / Irish and non-settled workers. The sponsor licence application process can be administratively burdensome and time-consuming, so we strongly advise care providers who are interested in hiring overseas care staff under the temporary visa scheme to start the process of applying for a sponsor licence now. For businesses who already hold a sponsor licence, they will need to consider if their sponsor licence is fit for purpose to avoid falling foul of the Home Office's onerous requirements, which have serious consequences if not adhered to.

HOW WE CAN HELP We have extensive experience of assisting businesses in a wide range of sectors (including the care sector) with sponsor licence applications, visa applications for their employees and with providing general advice on remaining compliant with the UK's immigration system. Please contact our Head of Business Immigration, Shabana Muneer at shabana.muneer@walkermorris.co.uk if you would like to discuss how your business can take advantage of the Government's immigration offering to the care sector, or if you have any other queries regarding UK immigration law. [1] https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/resource/chart-of-the-week-the-tumbling-numbers-of-social-care-staff [2] https://www.carehome.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1663313/staff-shortages-care-homes-close

Move for Care’: Two Million Steps Recorded to Help Provide Sensory Gardens in Care Homes Housing residents, staff, and partners of Central and Cecil (C&C) have walked a combined 1.75 million steps so far in January in support of a special fundraising project aiming to raise £25,000 to install sensory gardens at each of its four care homes. The “Move for Care” initiative has invited C&C stakeholders to take part in two separate challenges that intend to attract wider donations and sponsorships which could enable the gardens to be built at the homes, situated in Richmond and Camden. Over £10,000 of the funds needed has now been raised. The first challenge is a step challenge encouraging participants to stay active and keep moving throughout January and into February, and also to raise awareness of the ‘extra mile’ our carers go daily to support residents. C&C is hoping to record at least 9.5 million steps (equating to over 3,300 miles), and with several participants yet to have formally recorded their steps to date, the organisation is confident of smashing its target. Anne Moor, a resident at Colville Court, a housing scheme that neighbours one of C&C’s care homes Homemead in Teddington, has herself been contributing between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day. “I’ve always liked walking, I love nature too,” she says. “When ‘Move for Care’ was announced, I thought ‘alright, I’ll get involved’. It’s given me a really good reason to go out more, and I try and walk in both morn-

ings and afternoons. I’ve even bought a bike too! “The sensory gardens are a lovely idea. It’s so important for people with dementia or other ailments to experience sounds, smells and feels, and so these gardens can really help anyone who may feel anxious or stressed out.” Julia Ashley, C&C Managing Director and over-55s Housing and Care Lead at Aster Group, added: “We really want to do something that residents, colleagues and the public alike can get involved in, while raising money for something special and lifechanging 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.” Once built, the sensory gardens will feature sensory musical equipment, raised herb and scented flower beds, a wildlife friendly area, green houses, and small water elements for the benefit of C&C’s care residents. A second challenge, a fortnight-long dance-a-thon, will be taking part in February 2022. This will comprise in-person and virtual dance activities, including two dedicated Facebook Live events which are open to all, with detail on the website page. https://www.ccht.org.uk/our-care-homes/move-for-care/

Dementia Care Specialist Awarded MBE Dementia Care Specialist for Barchester Healthcare, Deena Heaney, from Alvaston in Derby, has been awarded an MBE, one of the UK’s highest accolades, for services to dementia care. MBE or Member of the Order of the British Empire is an honour that is awarded to a person by the Queen for a particular achievement. Deena will be invited to London to receive her award from a member of the royal family later this year. Originally from Borrowash in Derby, Deena has dedicated her entire career to working in the care sector. After studying Health & Social Care at college, she began her working life as a carer at a care home in Derby and is now coming up to her 40 year anniversary in the sector. Her passion for dementia care started early on when she found there was a lack of knowledge on the subject and set out to acquire it for herself. She attended lots of courses and lectures, and was particularly inspired by a dementia expert called Victoria Metcalfe who she went on to work for and from whom she learnt a great deal and became a specialist in her own right. Deena joined Barchester Healthcare in 2015 and has never looked back, she says Barchester is by far the best company she has ever worked for. She regularly speaks at conferences and has won multiple awards

for her work in supporting staff to provide the best possible person-centred care for residents living with dementia. Her whole motivation is to make a difference and to promote positive effective communication between staff and residents, she says to provide the best care you need to understand the uniqueness of each individual. Deena lives for the lightbulb moment when she is training staff and she can see that they ‘get it’ and that training leads to an enhanced experience for residents. She is also passionate about supporting the friends and family of those people living with dementia for whom the experience can be an incredibly difficult journey. Commenting about how she felt to receive her MBE, Deena said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed, it really has not sunk in yet. I am humbled by the wonderful response I have received from family, friends and colleagues who are all ecstatic for me and so very proud which is just lovely. I absolutely love what I do and I am lucky enough to work with amazing people who make every day a complete joy, I want to share this award with them – I couldn’t have done it without their hard work and commitment. My family and friends are so supportive of my career, I want to thank each and every one of them and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.” Barchester Healthcare’s Managing Director for the Central Division, Lorna Rose, added: “I have worked with Deena for many years and I have always been incredibly proud of her achievements, her work in training our staff to support our residents who are living with dementia is exceptional and inspiring. I am delighted that her dedication and commitment has been recognised with this wonderful accolade. She is an absolute superstar and I could not be happier for her.”


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85 | PAGE 9

How Has Lockdown Affected People’s Mental Health and Dignity? New research highlights the challenges faced by health and social care services in England and the importance of feedback for improving care. New research from the Care Quality Commission highlights the impact lockdown measures have had on the wellbeing of people who use care services: Nearly three-quarters of carers (73%) say that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have impacted on the mental health of the person they care for. Over half (56%) of carers say that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have impacted on the dignity and independence of the person they care for. These findings reflect concerns we have received from people who use care services about the impact of isolation and restrictions on visi-

tors. How else has care been affected? The research also found that throughout the pandemic, care was most commonly impacted by: increased waiting times for appointments and procedures (49%) a lack of resources and equipment (24%) Despite almost half (42%) of respondents believing that sharing feedback would positively impact their care, just one in five (19%) care users have shared feedback on a negative experience since the start of the pandemic. With just 17% of people in England expecting services to improve in the next 12 months, we are calling for you to feedback on the services you use as a crucial way to improve their quality. In response our Chair, Sir Robert Francis QC, said:

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, public feedback has played an important part in helping the NHS and social care services spot and respond to issues caused by the virus. “As we continue to live with the pandemic, the NHS continues to face huge pressures across the whole system. NHS staff are grappling with many difficulties, including increased COVID demands, while trying to tackle the backlog in elective care and diagnostics that the pandemic had made so much worse. “It is important that this is managed as well as possible, to make sure that the risks and distress to patients are minimised. That’s why it is vital people have the opportunity to share their views and experiences of care whether they have needed treatment for COVID-19 or other illnesses. Their feedback will help services understand both key national and local issues and the steps they can take to serve patients better.”

10,000 Meals from Top City Hotel for Care Home Residents Residents of 11 care homes across Lincolnshire are being provided with 10,000 luxury meals prepared by chefs at The Lincoln Hotel to support them through the omicron wave. The individuals, who have learning disabilities, autism and complex physical and mental health needs, are supported by family-owned care provider Home From Home Care, which ordered the meals to help reduce the risk of transmission in its homes and ease team members’ workload. The meals have been a welcome treat for the individuals and staff in their care homes, some of which are currently in lockdown to protect vulnerable individuals. The Lincoln Hotel has been busy cooking and packaging the meals, which are delivered to each care home ready to be reheated and served by Home From Home Care team members each evening. Director of Home From Home Care Hugo de Savary said: “Normally, the individuals we support go out shopping and are involved in preparing their own meals, but the realities of home lockdowns and staff isolation requirements have made this more challenging. To turn a potential negative into a big positive, we’ve decided to treat everyone with a series of delicious meals from the team at The Lincoln Hotel. “Delivered fresh to each of our homes, our team then simply heat

up the meals and serve, meaning that even during this current wave of the pandemic, the people we care for can enjoy fine dining with nutritious and delicious meals each day. This is a major undertaking which has had a huge impact on easing the workload for our team while also reducing the risk of Covid transmission.

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“I’d like to say thank you to The Lincoln Hotel. It’s absolutely fantastic to have two organisations in the same community that are able to help each other, especially in two sectors that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Around 5,000 meals have already been enjoyed by the individuals we support so far and they absolutely love them!” Taking charge of the preparation and delivery of the meals is Nicola Houltby, Deputy General Manager at The Lincoln Hotel, which is located beside Lincoln Cathedral. The hotel has been making the meals while also remaining open to dine-in visitors. Nicola Houltby, Deputy General Manager at The Lincoln Hotel said: “Home From Home Care couldn’t have their Christmas lunch with us as normal due to the need for care homes to be protected during the pandemic, but we then got a call asking whether we would be able to collaborate by providing meals for their homes, and we said yes. “We’ve been doing it for the last three weeks and we’re now preparing meals until the end of January. We’ve done a monthly schedule so it’s been lasagne, chicken curry, chilli con carne; heartwarming meals provided seven days a week, which are quick and easy to warm through. The feedback has been great and it’d be lovely to continue this and help out as much as we can.”


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Parliamentary Vegan and Vegetarian Group Releases Inquiry Report on Respect for Beliefs in Care The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism has just launched a report on the protection of philosophical or religious beliefs in care, specifically when providing food. The report highlights cases where individual diets have been misunderstood or even ignored. While the report will raise these issues, Vegetarian for Life, the leading advocacy charity for older vegans and vegetarians receiving care and one of the organisations behind the report, is keen to work with care providers to make sure that standards are maintained throughout the sector. To help this happen, the report makes recommendations that will start the process of improvement and set minimum standards for care, with a specific focus on food. The report calls for: Strengthening care regulations and related guidance – By recognising that philosophical beliefs are as important as an individual’s religious beliefs or cultural background. Introducing mandatory training – Helping carers to learn more about, and fully understand the importance of, religious and philosophical beliefs. Dietary guides in kitchens – Ensuring that dietary practices arising from protected philosophical beliefs such as veganism and vegetarianism are easy to understand and accessible for chefs.

Chair of the APPG on Vegetarianism and Veganism, Christina Rees MP said, “The report sets out some shocking and deeply upsetting failures in the care of vulnerable people who have not had their rights protected. This is clearly unacceptable and those of us who express our philosophical beliefs through our choice of diet will rightly feel saddened. However, everyone should be appalled by the failing to protect basic dignity that the report highlights. “It is right that these examples are highlighted but I am also proud that the report sets out recommendations that will see improvement across the care sector. Some of those recommendations are simple and could be implemented easily. Others are more wideranging and will require support from all sides with the help of organisations such as Vegetarian for Life and The Vegan Society.” Published on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism, ‘Respect for religious and philosophical beliefs while eating in care’ is available now. Please contact Gareth Lloyd-Johnson, Head of Research & Policy at VfL (gareth@vegetarianforlife.org.uk or 0161 257 0887) to request a copy of the Inquiry report.

The Alzheimer’s Show Returns in 2022 to The Business Design Centre, Islington London The UK’s leading event for dementia runs on on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th March 2022 at The Business Design Centre, London. The twoday conference and exhibition showcases the latest information, advice, products and services for healthcare professionals and the public helping those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. New for 2022, the Virtual Dementia Tour will be delivering their complete training session involving an 8 minute simulation followed by a 75 minute debrief giving visitors the opportunity to fully understand the behaviour and needs of people living with dementia. Spaces are limited and should be booked in advance. A full conference programme features leading experts and professionals in three separate theatres, as well as daily question time sessions, panel debates, Q&A’s, practical activities, professional advice clinics,

interactive dementia experiences and a wide range of dementia and care exhibitors. The Alzheimer’s Show is an unmissable event for those wanting to learn from leading experts, share ideas and information, develop a better understanding of dementia and further professional skills. For further information and to book tickets visit www.alzheimersshow.co.uk. Tickets cost £19.50 online, £27 on the door. The full Virtual Dementia Tour costs £45 and includes entry to the show.

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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85 | PAGE 11

Care Heroes to be Recognised in Monthly Awards Programme Social care heroes across the country are set to be recognised for their hard work in a rolling awards programme which launches today (Monday 17 January 2022). As the pressures on social care workers mount and the care sector faces the hardest winter on record, Support Social Care Heroes (SSCH) has launched its first recognition programme since being established last year. Social care employers are encouraged to nominate their staff for a care home hero award (employee of the month). Taking part has been made simple and easy: post a photo of your employee of the month and which care home you represent, to social media, with the hashtag #SocialCareHeroAwards and tag Support Social Care Heroes page. Tell us in 160 characters why the person is a social care hero. All nominations will be curated by the Support Social Care Heroes team and each month a winner will be chosen at random. Each winner will receive a £50 voucher for the grocery store of their choice, a box of chocolates, certificate and the nominating care home will receive a bunch of flowers. The prizes have been sponsored by VAT Solutions. SSCH, which is in the process of achieving charitable status, aims to preserve, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of those providing social care. There are 1.54m people working in social care in the UK and this is expected to increase to 2.17m by 2035. This workforce is often overlooked yet they keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe and well. Carers often work long, anti-social hours and they don’t often get the recognition and rewards they deserve. The situation was desperate before the pandemic but the last two years has seen them struggle like never before. It is hoped that SSCH will receive significant support following research which found that the overwhelming majority of the public feel that social care staff are undervalued (81%) and underpaid (80%). Nicola Richards, Founder of Support Social Care Heroes, explained the thinking behind the idea:

“Every month we know many care homes already reward the ‘employee of the month’ and we felt we should do something to bring all these nominations together from around the country to celebrate our care heroes. “This is the first step in our long-term plans to ensure those who need care, and those caring for them, are valued by society. “Our country’s social care heroes have been on the front line and in the headlines for over 18 months and this idea will help show them that they are valued and recognise the work they do.” Debbie Clarke, Care Manager at Leahyrst Care Home in Sheffield, added: “The last 18 months have been so tough for everyone in the care sector. This is a great idea to show the public some of the care heroes whose dedication and commitment often escapes mainstream attention.”

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NHS Leaders Warn of Dangerous Complacency Around Omicron Threat The NHS is still facing several weeks of intense winter pressures, with health leaders urging politicians to avoid complacency around the ongoing threat posed by the virus. Despite the number of cases of omicron and hospital admissions with the virus beginning to decline nationally, the NHS Confederation is warning that it is too early to conclude that the worst of the strain has passed for the NHS. Numbers are still climbing in the north of England, the impact of schools returning after Christmas is yet to be seen, and healthcare services continue to grapple with high staff absences and record demand for care. Performance figures for the NHS in England yesterday (Thursday 13 January) showed that the NHS is delivering for its patients, with 1.4 million consultant-led treatments starting and two million diagnostic tests being carried out in November; however, this was before omicron swept across the nation, which is seeing many non-essential services being disrupted. The waiting list for elective care stands at over 6 million people in

England, while more than 66,000 staff a day were reported as absent last week. Yesterday, the Government relaxed the self-isolation rules in England, which the NHS Confederation welcomed, as a way of allowing more frontline staff to return to work. Elsewhere, primary care leaders are reporting that they are caring for high numbers of patients who are ill with omicron in the community, including those who have been discharged from hospital, saying that this activity can be overlooked when pressure across the NHS is debated. Data out yesterday showed that despite the number of registered practices decreasing nationally, over 73,400 new patients registered with a GP in the last month alone. Primary care is responding to this demand while playing a central role in the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, with over 30 million boosters having been given in England so far. However, many sites continue to report that vaccine appointments are going unfilled and that around 20-30% are ‘no shows’, leading to the risk of wastage. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The national data on reported cases offers some hope, but we should be

under no illusions that this pressure has evaporated, including in London. “One leader of an NHS trust in the north told me that they felt they were at least a week away from their peak, while more than 1 in 10 of their staff were absent. On top of that, they have medically fit patients stuck in hospital beds because the pandemic has decimated capacity in social care. “We may be at the end of the beginning of this wave but we are far from out of the woods. “NHS leaders are doing everything they can to keep their services running but they are being put in a worrying situation where the quality of care their teams are able to provide is at times being compromised. “They need honesty about how quickly the NHS can bounce back once the omicron variant really does subside across all parts of the country and what will be expected. Decisions about what living with Covid-19 will mean must be driven by realism and not by wishful thinking and impatience about how soon the threat and legacy of this strain will disappear.”

Local Care Home Announces Grants to Help Combat Loneliness Upton Bay care home in Hamworthy, Poole, is launching three grants totalling £30,000 in the name of a former Barchester resident, Jeanette Gill, who generously donated part of her legacy to Barchester’s Charitable Foundation. The Foundation is calling for deserving local charities and community groups to apply for these special awards. Named in her memory, the Jeanette Gill Special Awards are open to groups and individuals in need in our local community, and will be awarded to projects that enrich lives and encourage an active lifestyle through arts, music, sports and culture for older people or adults with a disability, or those that may have challenges with mental health. There are three awards available: £15,000 GOLD AWARD (open to groups) £10,000 SILVER AWARD (open to groups) £5,000 BRONZE AWARD (open to individuals) The Foundation is particularly interested in innovative initiatives that tackle isolation and loneliness, and which bring sustained outcomes

and positive changes for the people benefitting. To find out more about how to apply for a Jeanette Gill Award please visit www.bhcfoundation.org.uk. The closing date for applications for this round is 28 February 2022. Dr Pete Calveley, CEO of Barchester Healthcare and Chairman of the Foundation, said: “We were extremely touched that one of our residents donated so generously to Barchester’s Charitable Foundation. We thought it would be a fitting to create these flagship grants in her honour and memory as a tribute to the lives she is helping. The charity does so much for local communities throughout the country to tackle and reduce loneliness for many people, and these grants will make a big difference to those in need. We hope to honour her legacy for many years to come.” Barchester’s Charitable Foundation supports older people and other adults living with a disability by giving grants to help improve independence and quality of life.


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A Step in the Right Direction for Mental and Physical Health Written by William Munro, Managing Director of FootActive (www.footactive.co.uk) In 2019 1.5million working days were lost due to work-related lower limb disorders. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/21, these issues have been widely exacerbated for both those working from home and those working overtime in the frontline sectors, with changing working habits increasing foot complaints threefold in the last two years. The sudden increase or decrease in activity levels of workers during the pandemic has led to more reports of lower limb injury due to a decline in muscle and tendon flexibility. Not only are care workers at risk of pain and injury due to their increased activity levels during the pandemic, but their mental health can affect and be affected by this also. A recent study by Southern Cross University, conducted over three years, found there is a substantial link between foot pain and mental health. The study found that changes in foot health can have an adverse effect on mental health and that long term pain can manifest as mental health issues for those affected. Reflective of this, oxidative stress, which strongly correlates with depression, anxiety, and other types of emotional stress, is also strongly correlated with inflammation in the body. Dealing with high levels of oxidative stress can increase the risk of foot pain, injury and disorders. It is imperative at this time that the care sector looks to improve the health of our essential workers and it seems that we must start from the bottom to work our way up. Care workers can adopt the following prac-

are not recommended for prolonged standing. Work shoes should provide adequate arch support to prevent weakness and pain in the legs and feet. If you cannot find suitable shoes which include this support, you can insert orthopaedic insoles into any shoes to help alleviate pain and prevent future foot related disorders.

STRETCH OFTEN Walking or standing throughout the day can make muscles stiff and limit flexibility. Performing stretches such as calf raises throughout your working day will increase the blood circulation in your lower limbs and decrease your risk of pain and injury.

SELF CARE

tices now to help maintain their foot health and, in turn, combat the increased strain on their mental health during the pandemic and beyond.

WEAR APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR Flat sole shoes are often the footwear of choice for care workers but

Proper preparation and relaxation from a day on your feet can go a long way in preventative foot care, it also gives you some much needed me time which is highly beneficial to your mental health. Applying ice, massaging and elevating your feet will help your body to heal, loosen any tight muscles and counteract any swelling that may occur. Seek medical advice early If your foot or mental health is causing issues with your work, speak with your GP to find a medical solution that works for you. No pain is normal and it should not impact on your daily life.

Ballroom Dancing Enthusiast’s 101st Birthday Is Full Of Surprises around.” Blanche said: “I decided to come to Little Bramingham Farm as it’s close to where I was living and I really liked the look of it. I’ve lived a very active life, with a love of ballroom dancing, so liked that there’s always something going on at the home. I particularly enjoy playing Scrabble and taking part in Musical Bingo.” Emma added: “All the care team wanted to make sure Blanche had a fantastic and memorable 101st Birthday. She’s such a lovely lady who always has a smile for everyone, she’s such a well-loved, friendly and caring member of our Little Bramingham Farm family. We’re so glad Blanche has enjoyed her special day, we wanted to make it as special for her to show just how special she is to us.” Blanche concluded: “I have had a really wonderful 101st birthday, it’s been a lovely day. Seeing my family and care home friends, having a smashingly delicious afternoon tea, chatting and laughing, it has been wonderful. It’s definitely a day I’ll never forget. “The other day I was asked what was my secret to a long and happy life? Thinking about it, I’d have to say it must stem back from my school days when I was rather athletic, no alcohol and eating a healthy diet - and perhaps all my ballroom dancing has helped too.”

At Friends of the Elderly’s Little Bramingham Farm care home in Luton, Bedfordshire, the care team has been celebrating Blanche Fromenton’s milestone 101st Birthday with gifts, balloons, cards and a special birthday afternoon tea treat in the home’s beautiful tea room with her family and care home friends. Blanche, who has been a resident at Little Bramingham Farm for just over a year, grew up in Camberwell, South London, a place which appears in the Domesday Book as Cambrewelle, meaning ‘Well of the Britons’. Blanche enjoyed growing up in the area and has many happy memories of attending St. John’s School, where English was her favourite subject, taught by Miss Garrett. The eldest child of six, Blanche always looked after her siblings so it’s no surprise her first job was as a Nanny, caring for a two-year-old toddler. Blanche met her husband whilst she was working in a grocery store on Drury Lane in London. They married at St. Mary’s Church in Hornsey and had two sons and is now a proud Grandmother to three grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Emma Lawrance, the Care Home Manager at Little Bramingham Farm said: “Blanche is a quiet lady who is kind and considerate. She’s very independent and her intelligence shines through. She loves her family dearly and is an absolute pleasure to be

The Residential & Home Care Show, 18-19 May 2022, ExCeL London Join us at The Residential & Home Care Show, the UK’s leadership event for delivering outstanding care, returning to the ExCeL London on 18-19 May 2022. Free for all care professionals to attend, the CPD certified conference programme will focus on the big issues facing the social care sector including recruitment and retention challenges, new employment law, personalisation, integrated care, safeguarding, raising quality, dementia, CQC ratings, which technologies work and business development. After an extremely challenging few years for the care profession, this will be the opportunity to come back together and refocus your mind. Promising to arm you with strategies, products and services, The Residential & Home Care Show will help you be in the best position to address challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Reasons to attend: • Free for care and healthcare professionals • Take away practical ideas and solutions you can adopt in your own organisation • Join thousands of Owners, Directors, and Senior Managers • Meet and network with 200 exhibitors showcasing their latest products and solutions • Build relationships between residential care providers, nursing homes, domiciliary care providers, NHS, local government, the voluntary sector and suppliers • Learn from 50 expert speakers who will share key case studies and deliver important panel discussions with more industry leaders and successful care business operators Visit the event website: https://www.residentialandhomecareshow.co.uk/TheCarerUK Click here to register for FREE: https://rfg.circdata.com/publish/hpc22/?source=thecareruk

Former Nurse Celebrates 100th Birthday at Wellingborough Care Home A Wellingborough woman has celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at a local care home. Adelaide Marshall, known as Doreen, was joined by family, residents and staff for the celebrations, which included a tea party and entertainment from local singer, May Blossom, who sang some of Doreen’s favourite tunes. Doreen spent the morning opening a number of gifts – including her card from the Queen.

Born and raised in Rushden, Doreen was an only child. She moved to Swiss Cottage in London when she was 18 and lived there throughout the war, before becoming a nurse – working in a children’s hospital in Wimbledon Common. Doreen met her husband, Mac, and they moved when Mac was stationed in the RAF and Doreen took a position in a nursery, before later changing her career and becoming a stitcher in a shoe factory.

A lifelong lover of caravan holidays, Doreen often tells staff that her secret to a long life is “to keep your independence and stay busy”. The manager of the Shaw healthcare-operated Lancum House, Alysha Coleman, said: “We’ve loved being able to get together and celebrate Doreen’s birthday, as we know how much she was looking forward to it. Doreen is quite a character and we love to listen to her stories about her life.”



PAGE 16 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85

Optimism Remains In The 2022 Care Market, Says Latest Business Outlook Report strength of the operator with a typical range, based on Christie & Co activity, being in the order of £10k to £14k per bed.

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, has today launched its annual Business Outlook report, ‘Business Outlook 2022: Adjust, Adapt, Advance,’ which reflects on the themes, activity and challenges of 2021 and forecasts what 2022 might bring across the industries in which Christie & Co operates, including the care sector.

THE FUNDING LANSCAPE The report also includes commentary from Christie Finance, which mentions a complete change in care sector funding over the last two years, with alternative, less mainstream lenders entering the market to pick up where the high street perhaps retrenched. In 2021, Christie Finance saw a 32 per cent increase on the number of funding offers secured in 2020, this is a 37 per cent increase on 2019.

MARKET ACTIVITY & BUYER APPETITE Christie & Co reports great resilience in the care market in 2021, both through care providers and their staff, and in the transactional market which experienced a resurgence of M&A activity at all levels. A relative shortage of available stock and strong buyer demand resulted in highly competitive sale processes with the average number of offers Christie & Co received on care businesses increasing by 11 per cent compared with 2020. The company saw a rise in the number of transactions for 2021, which increased by 14 per cent, and deals were agreed at around 95 per cent of the quoted asking price. Christie & Co also reports a 56 per cent increase in the average number of offerees per sale between 2017 to 2021. There is also evidence of decreased distress in the market. Of the deals Christie & Co managed over recent years, 18 per cent included distressed businesses in 2019, 13 per cent in 2020 and just 8 per cent in 2021.

DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT Many operators continued with development site acquisitions in 2021, fulfilling strategic long-term objectives to futureproof the quality of their asset base. Investor appetite is undoubtedly increasing, notes Christie & Co, with the arrival of large European investors and a broadening array of institutional investors attracted by the long-term fundamentals that the sector offers. However, labour shortages and global supply chain issues, compounded by COVID-19, led to rising labour costs and construction material shortages. Christie & Co expects this to continue as a short-term challenge but says there is hope in the industry that construction material pricing will become less volatile as the country adjusts to a new normal.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE UK CARE MARKET?

Land availability in locations with compelling underlying demographics remains scarce and securing planning permission continues to be a highly protracted, costly, and uncertain process. Consequently, land values for sites with planning permission have continued to increase at a steady rate and demand is likely to remain robust for the foreseeable future.

MARKET TRENDS Christie & Co reports steady yield compression fuelled by strong demand from capital and limited stock availability, which is particularly notable for third sector covenants which are favoured by a number of institutional funds. There is also significant activity from UK and international sector specialist investors which is driving the upper secondary market. An increasing number of operators are now considering lease agreements, often within the context of new build development assets. Rents for such assets are linked to mature trading potential and the covenant

Looking ahead at the UK care market in 2022, Christie & Co predicts; Significant investor interest will remain as UK and international capital continues to be attracted by the strong fundamentals underpinning UK healthcare. Workforce related challenges and increased cost pressures are likely to occur but with mitigation provided by increased occupancy rates and fee levels. Providing the COVID-19 vaccinations remain robust, the trend of post lockdown occupancy recovery will continue. Funding reform will remain a ‘hot topic’ on the political agenda. The strong healthcare development market seen in 2021 will continue. Further activity from European consolidators which may potentially lead to one or more OpCo transaction occurring. Richard Lunn, Managing Director – Care at Christie & Co, comments, “Despite pandemic related challenges, 2021 saw a resurgence in market activity with strong demand and limited supply underpinning pricing across most segments of the market. Whilst there are current operational challenges, particularly around staffing, we believe that the outlook for the sector is very good and anticipate that 2022 will be a busy year.” To read the full report, ‘Business Outlook 2021: Business Outlook 2022: Adjust, Adapt, Advance’, please visit: www.christie.com/news-resources/business-outlook/2022/

Signature at Elton House Resident Celebrates Her 102nd Birthday Lore Lucas, a resident at the luxury care home Signature at Elton House, recently celebrated her 102nd birthday on 7th January. To mark the incredible achievement, Lore was treated to a beautifully decorated cake prepared by the wonderful catering team at the care home, all while surrounded by friends and family. She also received numerous cards from loved ones as well as new flowers and plants to add to her much-adored windowsill garden. Born in Holland in 1920, Lore has lived an extraordinary life. She arrived in the UK in 1936 with her mother and sister and lived in London when the Second World War broke out in 1939. As was the case for many people, the war proved to be a defining period in Lore’s life. After the conflict started, her father suggested that she, her mother and her sister, return to Holland so that they could be

together as a family. Lore decided to stay in the UK, while the rest of her family returned to Holland as proposed by her father. This proved to be a fateful moment in her life, after her mother, father, and sister all tragically died over the course of the war. However, in this period she also found happiness in an unsuspected place, meeting her future husband in London at a sandbag making party. After the conclusion of the war, the two married in Glasgow in 1946, where she lived until she moved to Bushey over 50 years later in December 1998. During this time, she helped her husband with his business until he passed away, and was heavily involved in charity work, volunteering with the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service for over 20 years. This fantastic contribution was recognised when Lore, aged 90 and still vol-

unteering, was invited to the prestigious Royal Garden Party at Holyrood House in Edinburgh. Accompanied by her son, this was a fantastic moment for both, who thoroughly enjoyed the momentous day. Asked what the secret is for living to such an impressive age, Lore said: “My good health and longevity are due to the cards being stacked in the right order from birth. It is in the genes. I did not have much control of that as a child but when my husband died, I was still only in my late 50’s and had to rebuild my life in lots of different ways. I helped the elderly and looked after so many people, as well as helping young mothers too. I taught so many people the joys of bridge, my favourite game, which I still do now – I wish there was a condition of entry at Elton House that all potential residents could play bridge!”

Local Carer Celebrates 15 Years of Service with Bushey House Beaumont A Carer at Bushey House Beaumont in Bushey has received a prestigious 15 Year Service Award in celebration of working at Barchester Healthcare for 15 years. Jennifer Ramos now Carer started at Barchester in January 2007 and has worked with residents and their relatives to ensure that their needs have been met over the years. Jane McFarlane, Employee Services Director at Barchester said: “I’m always pleased to hear stories about the long service of Barchester staff and am delighted

Jennifer has achieved this milestone. It is dedication like this that ensures our residents are provided with a happy place to live.” Blanca Novis General Manager of Barchester’s Bushey House said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating 15 years of loyal service with Jennifer. She has demonstrated her dedication and loyalty to this home and its residents year after year. I speak for all of us here at Bushey House when I say that I’m looking forward to many more years of working with Jennifer!


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85 | PAGE 17

Anger as Government Spending on Dementia Research Decreases Government spending on dementia research has decreased says Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central. The Conservative Manifesto in 2019 contained a promise to double Research and Development (R&D) spending on dementia research, however, government spending on dementia research has in factdecreased. Ms Onwurah submitted a written question to the government, and it’s response Revealed thatthat total research spending on dementia had dropped from £112.9 million to £104.7 million from 2018/19 to 2019/20. With UK cases set to increase by 75% by 2050, now is not the time to be cutting back on dementia research. From the despatch box, Chi asked: “Would the Minister confirm that dementia R&D spend has gone down since his government took office?” The Minister, George Freeman MP, did not deny spending had decreased, stating “we are in the process of allocating money” without specifying whether this would meet the manifesto commitment to doubling dementia research spending. Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director for Research said: ‘Research will beat dementia,

but we need more funding to understand what causes dementia, develop effective treatments, improve care and one day find a cure.’ After Covid-19, dementia was the leading cause of death in the UK in 2020 – we owe it to the 900,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia and their families to understand the condition better, so that they can live better. ‘There aren’t any treatments that can stop of slow down the progression of the diseases that cause dementia available in the UK yet, but dementia research – despite chronic underfunding – had been gradually gaining momentum and starting to deliver exciting results. ‘Without investment, this could grind to a halt and threaten much-needed new therapies, diagnostic tests and care provision.’ ‘It’s two years since the Government’s promise to double dementia research funding – yet nothing has happened. Alzheimer’s Society is calling on Government to honour their commitment to double dementia research funding and rescue the hopes of dementia research.’

Making Ends Meat: Care Home Fundraises for Local Food Bank Upton Bay, a Barchester care home in Poole, recently presented Hamworthy’s Food Bank with a huge donation of food, through funds raised from the home’s Christmas raffle. The Moor Community Food Store support local families in the Hamworthy and Upton communities, as many as 60 families per day, as well as deliveries to the most vulnerable in the town. Housing those born and bred in the local area, Upton Bay’s residents and staff chose the Food Store as their charity of the month, benefitting from over

£130 raised through raffle ticket sales at the end of the year. The prize? A luxury Christmas Hamper worth over £100 from Virginia Hayward – THE hamper connoisseur. The almighty food shop, spanning every aisle from tinned fruits to long life baby food, amassed a total of 10 bags for life, filling every available space in the delivery car. Sophie Payne, Home Advisor at Upton Bay, said: “We want to think ‘local’ with our charity support. There is always someone in need on your own

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doorstep, so it’s a good place to start.” Moving forward, Upton Bay will be a regular collection point for the food store, encouraging resident’s families and their staff to consider donating their surplus shelf-items to the worthy cause. “There has been a lot of financial strain on local families, not just from Christmas, but the ongoing pandemic also. This donation will bring a lot of reassurance and comfort this New Year,” commented Mel Meadowcroft, food bank coordinator.




PAGE 20 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85

Care Home Isolation Rules Revised down to 14 Days Isolation rules for care homes have now changed for care homes in England so they only have to close to new residents and visitors for 14 days following a Covid outbreak, which is defined as two or more cases. The move follows pressure to relax ‘outdated’ rules stating that care homes should not admit any new residents for 28 days after a single Covid case. The change has been made to help ease the pressure in hospitals where there are thousands of patients who are fit to be discharged but are forced to remain due to a shortage of care home beds. An estimated 10,000 patients a day who were medically fit to be discharged were stuck in hospitals according to reports, with many requiring a place in a care home or a support package from local social care systems to allow them to return home. However, only four in ten patients medically fit to leave hospital are being discharged each day, NHS England data shows. The latest urgent and emergency situation report for the NHS in England reveals that: More than 80,000 NHS staff were absent last week with nearly half – 44% in week ending 2 January – off due to COVID, a rise of 22% on the week before (35,596 COVID absences up from 25,273 during the Christmas week to 26 December). Almost 10,000 patients who no longer needed to stay in hospital were not discharged each day, with the seven-day average last week showing that nearly 6 in 10 people no longer meeting the criteria to be in hospital could not be discharged into the community. Nine in 10 patients who had been in hospital for more than three weeks but no longer needed to be there were not being discharged each day to places such as social care. The NHS answered almost 80,000 more 111 calls last week than the week before, up 25% on the previous week Responding to the latest figures, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “Despite doing everything possible and working closely with sister services in social care, NHS organisations cannot simply ask patients, many of them frail and elderly, who are ready to leave hospital to vacate the premises if there is no where appropriate for them to go. “These latest figures which show 6 in 10 patients are having to stay in

entific and expert advice. “A change has been made to outbreak restrictions reducing the period from 28 to 14 days in line with this advice.” He added: “We keep these measures under constant review to ensure we continue to protect the lives, health and wellbeing of residents and fully recognise the impact of isolation and the importance of companionship on physical and mental wellbeing.” Martin Green, chief executive of Care England welcomed the change in policy, saying: “As the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care, Care England is glad that the government has listened to us and amended the parameters for classifying a Covid outbreak within a care home. “The Omicron virus is affecting over a third of care homes, but there are encouraging signs from the data that the impact of this new variant is not as severe as in the previous waves of the pandemic. hospital when they no longer need are very telling. “Health leaders have raised concerns that staff absences across care home and domiciliary services are having a significant impact on the NHS, where patients in hospital beds that don’t need them are waiting to be discharged while poorly patients may have to wait. “The NHS will continue to do everything it can to prioritise patients with the greatest clinical need but without a long term, properly funded strategy to increase the social care workforce, they are worried this situation will worsen.” “The NHS is under such pressure right now that two years into this pandemic the Government has felt it necessary to deploy military personnel to help out once again. Staff sickness and self-isolation levels are sky high, whilst access to testing for NHS staff is still patchy, which is making the situation very difficult.” “The Government must now urgently do more to relieve these extreme problems right now including acting on our six key proposed changes to support the NHS through January, which would have a wider impact on service delivery.” A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Throughout the pandemic we have done everything we can to protect those receiving care with the measures in place based on the latest sci-

“Staffing remains the most critical issue for social care and Care England will continue to push for a very swift response to changing guidance when it is appropriate, and when the data leads us in that direction.” Care homes and hospitals are experiencing crippling staff shortages this winter, amid record numbers of coronavirus cases in the UK. Existing staff shortfalls in the social care sector have been worsened by the Government’s decision to make Covid jabs mandatory for care workers, while the highly infectious Omicron variant has caused unprecedented numbers of staff isolation. Stephen Chandler, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass), said care providers in England had reported staff absences of between 5 and 10 per cent. Mr Chandler said he knew of two councils that had decided to cut the number of visits carers could give to patients living in their own homes. He also said that two national supported living providers, which help people with mental health needs and learning disabilities to live independently, had told him they were not able to support people going out as much.

New Care Introduces ‘Hugs’ for National Hugging Day Leading development-led care home operator New Care is spreading joy across its dementia communities with the introduction of new HUG companions in time for National Hugging Day on Friday 21 January. New Care is one of the first care home groups in the UK to introduce HUGs; innovative soft comforters that are designed to be cuddled and bring respite to those living with advanced dementia. With weighted limbs and a soft body that contains a simulated beating heart and music player that can be programmed with a playlist of the resident’s favourite tunes, HUGs can reduce anxiety and agitation, improve quality of life and enhance social interaction, providing many bene-

fits for those living with dementia. Chief operating officer at New Care, Cath Fairhurst, commented: “As dementia progresses, people can become more isolated, agitated and anxious, something that has become especially evident over the last couple of years with the uncertainty and changes that the pandemic has thrust upon us. Anything we can do to enhance the exceptional care that our dementia community already enjoys is important to us so when we learned about the HUGs we knew that we had to bring them to New Care. “Bringing comfort, helping individuals feel secure and loved, we can see first hand the warmth and joy the HUGs provide from the smiles on our residents’ faces. Every day is

National Hugging Day with our wonderful new HUGs.” The HUGs have been exceptionally well received by residents at New Care. When the huggable was wrapped around her, resident at Formby Manor, Ann Cain, said “sometimes all you need is a hug to make you feel better,” and resident at The Hamptons, Enid Platt, said it was “love in a hug.” Developed at Cardiff Metropolitan University and tested in hospitals, care homes and domestic settings, HUG is scientifically proven to benefit those living with the advanced stages of dementia and the HUG by LAUGH business is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society to ensure it is widely available for those who need it most.

Wippet Expands Senior Team to Drive Expansion Wippet has appointed Lisa Delaney as Head of Customer Acquisition and Russell Perry as Head of Marketing and Analytics. The two appointments reflect the recent expansion of Wippet following its launch last October, and comes ahead of a period of major growth as the company continues to establish itself as the leading healthcare marketplace website. Lisa’s responsibility will be to support the company’s growth by introducing care groups to Wippet’s end-to-end buying functions and timesaving features that make buying in healthcare simple. Lisa says: “For me it was a no-brainer. Wippet is an amazing product that can really help the care sector at a time when it needs more help than ever. As well as the opportunity to work in the exciting environment of a new start up company, with all the benefits of its PLC ownership by Clipper, it’s also the chance to work on something that will have a real positive impact for the sector.” With a career spanning two decades, Lisa brings over 10 years of experience and insight into the care home sector, most recently for Apetito Wiltshire Farm Foods. As sales manager she developed its care homes business model to create real competitive advantage and drive innovation, achieving accelerated B2B growth targets and implementing

the sales strategy to deliver long-term growth. Russell’s responsibilities will be to grow Wippet among the smaller independent care providers for whom the competition and convenience of Wippet will drive real value. He will also be leading the wider digital marketing agenda. Russell says: “Wippet is a game changer, and when I saw the chance to be a part of that, I jumped at it. It’s an agile and dynamic environment

which is exciting itself, and for the customer, Wippet’s benefits could not come at a better time for a sector that so desperately needs help.” During Russell’s 30-year career within digital ecommerce he has worked on major projects including, as part of the senior Alexandra digital team, delivering a digital roadmap for its new digital offering. This involved Amazon marketplace roll-out and D2C website re-platforming and redesign. He led the digital team to drive improvements in CRO, AOV and CLV across its category and customer sectors: D2C, MicroB2B, LargeB2B. Commenting on the appointments, Matt Oxley, CEO and Founder of Wippet says: “These are very exciting times at Wippet. I’m delighted Russell and Lisa have joined us. They are two great additions to our growing team, so we’re starting the New Year with a robust line-up that will really push our growth in 2022.” Wippet is an online marketplace for healthcare that makes buying healthcare products and services simple. Hosting a wide variety of suppliers across all sectors on one platform, Wippet sells everything a healthcare provider might need, from beds to detergents, from uniforms to food – and even services.



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A Third of UK Businesses are Failing to Test Their Fire Alarms as Often as Legally Required UK businesses are placing employee and customer safety at risk through a failure to test their fire equipment to meet legal requirements • 20% of businesses only get their fire alarms tested once per year • 40% of businesses have not given all of their staff training on the common causes of false fire alarms in the workplace With employees and customers returning to workplaces and stores following the pandemic, new research by fire safety specialist, JLA (https://jla.com/), has revealed that many companies are ill-equipped to deal with the growing risk of fires at their sites – posing huge risk to employee and customer safety. According to the nationally representative survey of 250 business owners, over a third of businesses (38%) do not have suitable fire risk assessments in place and more than 80% of businesses do not have written regulations against false fire alarms, and the risks they pose, within their company handbooks. What’s worse, is that almost 40% of the businesses surveyed have not given all of their staff training on the common causes of false alarms and how to mitigate the risks of these happening within their workplace. This was particularly prevalent in restaurants, bars and cafes, where this figure rises to 75% suggesting that if businesses do not train their staff in fire prevention, the associated risks could be huge. In particular, damaged reputation, loss of revenue and a decrease in business efficiency, are all potential consequences if businesses and employees are not

prepared to deal with the impact of a false fire alarm sounding. The research, carried out by JLA, as part of its “False fire alarms” campaign, revealed a huge lack of business preparedness in mitigating the risks associated with false fire alarms. To best prepare for these risks, businesses should: • Ensure effective, regular maintenance of all fire alarm equipment; • Provide training to employees on how to prevent false alarms

• Ensure employees know how to respond to a false fire alarm to minimise disruption to the business Commenting on this research, Peter Martin, Operations Director, Fire & Security at JLA, said: “The events of the past year have understandably caused businesses attention to move on towards more ‘businesscritical’ decisions. However, with a potential 18 months of fire safety complacency, the risks to businesses now, as staff and customers slowly start to return to sites, could be much worse than anticipated. “Our survey revealed worrying statistics around businesses both not maintaining their fire safety equipment, or delivering vital fire safety training to their staff. This suggests that if a fire were to occur, many organisations could be placing their customers, and employees, under extreme risk. “At a time when British businesses need the continued loyalty of their customers and staff, prioritising safety and reducing the risk of false fire alarms is a priority for every organisation. Ensuring fire alarms are being frequently tested and maintained is absolutely essential. Failing to do so could not only risk the lives of employees and customers but could leave the business facing extreme fines and a damaged reputation.” For more information about JLA and the research findings and products which can help with fire safety, please visit https://jla.com/blog/fire-safety/a-third-of-uk-businesses-are-failing-to-test-their-fire-alarms-as-often-as-legally-required/

Care Home Celebrates Martin Luther King Day Staff and residents at Barchester’s Magnolia Court care home in Golders Green celebrated the life and achievements of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, on January 17. First observed in 1986, Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January each year, a date which is close to the great man’s birthday on January 15. Martin Luther King led non-violent protests to help achieve equal rights for black Americans, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combatting racial inequality through non-violent resistance and was assassinated four years later.

General Manager, Octavian Stanciu said: “We have had an interesting day finding out about the life and works of Martin Luther King, an important man who changed history and deserves to be remembered. We had a talk about his life, watched videos of some of his famous speeches and talked about the legacy he left. We have also been working on an art project and created a lovely piece of art to display to celebrate Martin Luther King and his legacy.”

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/

High Wycombe Care Home Receives Prestigious Accreditation for Evidencing Excellence in Dementia Care A High Wycombe care home for veterans and their partners has been accredited with an ‘excellent’ rating of The Butterfly Approach®, after creating an exemplary dementia care culture where people can thrive. Royal Star & Garter’s High Wycombe care home, on Hughenden Avenue, recently received the distinguished accreditation from care and culture consultancy, Meaningful Care Matters, for the implementation of its person-centred care model. The Butterfly Approach has a meticulous focus on creating a person-centred care culture where people are ‘free to be’. The model values emotional intelligence, a relationship-based culture, and the core belief that everyone has a unique story that has meaning and matters. It is about putting the focus back on people and their emotions by engaging in the reality of their lived experience in the ‘here and now’. The newest of three homes run by Royal Star & Garter, the stateof-the-art, 74-room Buckinghamshire Home opened in April 2019, offering nursing care, therapeutic care, and specialist dementia care to military veterans and their partners. Upon receiving the accreditation, Reggie Ballos, the Royal Star & Garter Home Manager in High Wycombe, said: “I’m lucky to have such a hard-working, caring and talented

team who do their best for our residents every single day. The excellent rating of The Butterfly Approach accreditation from Meaningful Care Matters is testament to the wonderful work they do.” Pauline Shaw, Royal Star & Garter’s Director of Care, added: “I see how Reggie and her team work, dedicating themselves to providing the best possible person-centred care for residents. I’m delighted for everyone at our High Wycombe home, and for Royal Star & Garter to now have two accredited homes, following the recent achievement at our Solihull home.” Peter Bewert, Managing Director of Meaningful Care Matters, said: “We’re delighted to see Royal Star & Garter’s High Wycombe Home has been accredited with an excellent rating of The Butterfly Approach. It has been another testing year for the social care sector, so we applaud the charity’s determination to offer an environment where people using their services can thrive and enjoy the highest quality of life possible. “We look forward to assisting more care homes in facilitating the creation, reinvigoration and sustainable implementation of person‐centred care cultures in 2022. It’s coming back to the art and heart of care, where people, and moments, matter.”


THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85 | PAGE 23

“Just Grim, Difficult and Relentless’ says NCF In a survey published by the National Care Forum (NCF), we are seeing an increase in the pressures facing the social care sector as we see the impact of the Omicron variant and the limitations of government support on the frontline. This is having a real impact on people now – 66% of the homecare providers responding are now having to refuse new requests for home care and 43% of providers of care homes are closing to new admissions, while 21% of providers of home care are handing back existing care packages. Such pressures raise serious concerns at a time when NHS England reports its bid to urgently discharge more patients early from hospitals to free up beds, creating additional pressure to an already overstretched sector. Staff absence levels compounded by existing vacancy rates Overall, the providers responding reported 18% vacancy rate and 14% absence as a result of the Omicron variant. While the absence rate may be temporary, the vacancy rate has been well documented as growing at an alarming rate over the last six months and has been compounded

by other policy decisions such as mandating vaccines as a condition of deployment. The impact of staff shortages is putting existing staff teams under tremendous pressure. Frontline staff are giving it all by picking up extra shifts, non-care staff are being redeployed from other areas of the organisation to deliver care and support. In addition, providers are having to be much more reliant on agency staff, with a high associated costs, with some members being quoted hourly rates of over £30 for front line staff, and up to £50 an hour for nurses. “We currently have a national staff turnover of 39% with 44% in the South” “Difficulty in recruiting plus staff absence is difficult to manage.” “The situation changes by the shift let alone by the day. It is firefighting every day and prioritising delivery of care over other responsibilities.” “We have had to have contingency plans in place asking families and volunteers to help out. Also, our directors and senior managers are on standby and have covered waking night shifts.” Covid testing is an essential part of the support package from the DHSC. However, respondents report significant failings of the system not working well enough. There are extensive delays to PCR results and insufficient access to lateral flow tests, which are increasingly exacerbating staff shortages. “Delays in PCR results for residents is leaving us unsure as to their Covid status and for staff it is delaying them returning to work.” System-wide failures – ‘just grim, difficult and relentless’

Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the NCF said: “It is unacceptable that yet again, nearly 2 years on from the start of the pandemic, we continue to see enormous pressures in the care and support sector, this time compounded by the impact of Omicron. Staff shortages are excessively high and everything must be done to support providers to operate safe and quality services, so that people have access to the care and support they need, when they need it. “The adoption of a strategy by government that gives social care the crumbs from the table in an unrealistic hope that somehow it can continue to operate regardless of meaningful attention is negligent. The NCF and our membership have been highlighting the growing shortages in the workforce and the knock-on impact on those who remain working in the sector and those who use care and support services for many months. How many times does this message need to be repeated for it to be heard? “The continual drip feed approach to funding, which as a result of bureaucracy fails to reach providers in a timely manner, is indicative of an approach that does not properly value the people who receive or deliver care. Those working on the frontline describe the situation today as ‘grim, difficult and relentless’. This must stop. Social care matters to us all, and it is imperative that policy makers properly understand and appreciate the essential part social care contributes, alleviating the many pressures in communities, including those experienced by the NHS and, most importantly the people who need care and support.”

Staff Joining Scotland’s Social Care to Save Fees Waived SSSC registration and PVG checks to be funded.

comparable roles in children’s social care services and

sector by removing any financial barriers that may stop

New staff joining the social care workforce are to

the justice sector.

people from applying for a rewarding career in care.

have entry costs paid by the Scottish Government until the end of March. Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration will

It has been introduced following discussions with COSLA and will cover local authority, private and third sectors. Social care minister Kevin Stewart said: “Care work-

now be funded to help encourage more staff into the

ers have been absolutely critical to our pandemic

profession and address winter staffing pressures.

response, giving vulnerable people the care they need

The scheme starts today and will include staff taking up direct care posts in adult social care, along with

and avoiding further pressure falling on the NHS. “This trial aims to assist easing winter pressures in this

“There are significant pressures in social care due to high vacancy levels and increased demand. I hope this support will encourage those considering joining this vital workforce to go ahead and do so. “We will continue to work closely with our partners to identify all possible ways we can assist the social care sector to aid recruitment and retention within the workforce at this critical time.”


PAGE 24 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85

ADASS Releases Contingency Survey 2022 A new survey by Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), which received responses from 94 of the 152 English councils responsible for social services, has found that 49 councils are taking at least one exceptional measure to prioritise care and assess risk for at least some of their area for some of the time. These measures are regarded as the least acceptable. This includes e.g. prioritising life sustaining care such as supporting someone to eat over supporting someone to get out of bed or complete other activities. It also includes being unable to undertake reviews of risk or to rely on the views of providers, family carers or people using services themselves to identify risks; and leaving people with dementia, learning disabilities or poor mental health isolated or alone for longer periods than usual. These drastic measures must not become the norm. The root of the current situation, says ADASS lies in the failure to both sustainably fund adult social care over the last decade, and to properly recognise and reward the committed, courageous and compassionate people working in social care. A spokesperson said: “The reality is that opportunities to ensure that adult social care was robust enough to withstand the current challenges posed by Omicron have been repeatedly missed, and any money that has been forthcoming, though welcome, has been too little, too late.” “The pandemic has disproportionately affected people who need adult social care and family carers, widening existing inequalities. Recent talk has been about ‘riding out the current wave’, however,

when the threat from Omicron recedes, the fundamental challenges for adult social care will remain. Those of us who are older, disabled, carers and people working in social care need recognition of the crisis, funding to aid recovery, more of the Health and Social Care Levy to support adult social care and recognition of the essential nature of social care.” “As we made clear before Christmas, we are now in the midst of a national crisis for adult social care and every local authority is having to take extraordinary steps to try and ensure people continue to get the

care and support they need.” “Social care already faced a dire situation before the pandemic with 100,000 vacancies and staff leaving for better pay in shops and bars. This has only been compounded by increasing numbers of staff off sick or isolating due to Omicron meaning every director working with colleagues across the council has had to take incredibly difficult decisions to determine who gets care and support, who gets less care and who misses out, and how to allocate what care and support is available. These are decisions that no-one wants to take.” Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “We are deeply worried by these latest findings. Unpaid carers are already at breaking point, exhausted after nearly two years of caring with little or no outside support. The impact of Omicron on a social care system that was already on the brink of collapse before the pandemic, means even more pressure on even more families who are propping up a chronic shortage of services. “Hundreds of thousands of people are now waiting for an assessment or service. Our recent State of Caring 2021 research published in November found that only 24% of carers had received a carer’s assessment or re-assessment in the last 12 months – when many of these carers’ situations have got worse. One in five carers (19%) said they had waited over six months for the assessment. “We fully support calls for sustainable funding for social care of an extra £7 billion at least, without which many thousands of carers and families will simply be unable to cope and we’ll see the unacceptable

Residents at Eastham Care Home Organise Virtual Walkathon to Raise Money for a Charity of their Choice As part of Essex County Council’s Winter Deconditioning Games, Eastham Care Home, in Woodham Ferrers, have organised a virtual walkathon to raise money for Homeless Veterans UK. Runwood Homes were thrilled to sign up its Essex homes to Essex County Council’s Winter Deconditioning Games initiative. As part of this initiative, residents and staff have been given pedometers to see how

over a 60-day period. Home Manager, Clare Hatcher, comments: “Residents and staff at our home are very excited to be taking part in this walkathon, which will encourage movement and activity, which offers many fantastic benefits for residents. It will also provide us, as a home, a

many steps they can clock up to encourage more movement. The resi-

chance to give back to our community, to a charity of our choice. This will

dents at Eastham Care Home are using these pedometers for their char-

be a remarkable achievement for our home and we are all very much look-

ity walkathon. Both residents and staff at the home are very much looking forward to completing the walkathon, which will take participants on a virtual

ing forward to taking part and reaching our goal.” As well as raising money for their chosen charity, the brilliant initiative

walk from Lands End to John O Groats. The event began on the 10th of

will also give the home a chance to receive a medal for Essex County

January and will see those involved completing almost 2.5million steps

Council’s Deconditioning Games.

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.

Portfolio Of 12 Scottish Care Homes Sold In Deal Worth £40 Million Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, has announced the sale of Kingdom Homes Ltd – a portfolio of 12 care homes in Fife, Scotland - at the end of 2021. The 12 Fife-based homes, which comprise 480 beds, were previously owned by Colin and Margaret Smart who made the decision to sell in order to retire from the care industry and focus on their hotel business. With backing from investor, Impact Healthcare REIT, the portfolio has been purchased by Essex-headquartered, Holmes Care Group. This is the companies’ second venture together, taking Holmes Care Group’s offering to 21 homes in Scotland. Martin Daw, Senior Director at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, comments, “Kingdom Homes in Fife was established by Colin and Margaret Smart in 1984 and, over the years, has grown via acquisition and

development of their own new builds. Despite some challenging years through the pandemic, the group has continued its strong reputation for delivering quality care in homes that, in the main, offer purpose-built accommodation. The geographical locations and quality were a perfect fit for the new operator, Holmes Care Group, and the deal completed in 12 weeks. “As we move further into 2022, the demand for quality care businesses continues. Increased activity from funds across the world has fuelled activity for portfolio acquisitions, and we expect to see several groups sell across Scotland throughout the year, alongside continued demand for individual assets.” The portfolio was sold for £37.5 million, with a potential deferred payment of up to £2.5 million subject to the future performance of the homes.



PAGE 26 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85

People are Dying Prematurely as a Result of NHS Backlog Says New Report A new report indicates that the NHS backlog is causing people to die before their time, with 86% of surveyed clinicians agreeing that some patients are now terminally ill due to either a late diagnosis or treatment delays. The Association of Palliative Medicine (APM) has surveyed members in conjunction with the end of life charity, Marie Curie, to understand the impact the pandemic is having on care for dying people. The APM’s members are doctors and nurses from hospitals, hospices and community-based settings, such as people’s private homes and care homes. Palliative and end of life care is given to people with longterm and terminal illnesses and is focused on supporting people to live as well as possible, with dignity, for the time they have left. Marie Curie is now calling for the Health and Care Bill, which is set to be debated in the House of Lords today, to be amended so local NHS teams are legally required to provide specialist palliative care services across England. Joanne Aitken’s mother died in March 2021, after she was told she had cancer in a number of places in her body. Her mother, Margaret, had been approaching five years in remission but began experiencing pain in September 2020. Despite her medical history and new symp-

toms, she was unable to get an appointment for assessment. It wasn’t until January, when her pain became unbearable, that she was offered a scan which revealed the cancer. Just six weeks later, she died. “Given my mam’s health history and the fact she’d started calling the GP repeatedly for pain problems when she hadn’t before, why didn’t somebody notice something was wrong? Why wasn’t something done sooner?” says Joanne. “If my mam had been given the scan when she first told them about her back pains, and if she’d had her chemotherapy when she’d have been well enough to cope with it, she might still have been here for a little bit longer. “But because everything was delayed, by the time they came to give her the chemotherapy I knew she wasn’t well enough to have coped. I just knew. She was too weak. “If they’d looked into her pain sooner, it might have been a completely different story. All this suffering could have been avoided.” In relation to terminal patients paying the price for delays, 71% of survey respondents expressed a view that professionals were missing opportunities to refer patients, and 72% believed professionals were not recognising when patients need specialist palliative care. Almost three quarters (73%) felt there had not been sufficient capacity to deliver specialist palliative in care homes and people’s own homes, and more than half (52%) said capacity had also been lacking in hospitals and hospices. The ability of the sector to care for dying people in future, worryingly, looks set to plummet according to the report. An overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) felt either unconfident or unsure that there will be sufficient capacity to deliver high-quality specialist palliative care in ten

years’ time with 57% saying they were unconfident or very unconfident about this. Ruth Driscoll, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, at Marie Curie says: “This report makes clear that dying patients, whether newly diagnosed or not, are becoming collateral damage in this pandemic. The combination of gaps in palliative care and more people becoming terminally ill due to delays is frightening. Without action to provide proper care and support we can expect to see a generation of people dying in pain and without dignity in the coming years. “As the House of Lords debates issues around the Health and Care Bill today, we implore all parliamentarians to support our amendment to the bill. If passed, we can end the postcode lottery of care for the dying and make sure we are all able to access the vital care we need for our loved ones when the time comes.” Marie Curie Survey with the Association of Palliative Medicine Marie Curie and The Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland (APM) conducted a new survey of palliative care specialists across the UK and Ireland in December 2021 and early January 2022 to explore their experiences of working in end of life care throughout 2021. The survey was open to members of the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland, from various roles in hospital and hospice settings as well as community settings such as consultants, speciality doctors, junior doctors and clinical nurse specialists. Respondents were most likely to practise in hospices (59%) followed by hospitals (47%) and the community (38%). Fieldwork took place between 15th December 2021 and 5th January 2022 using an online methodology.

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 armchair, a wheelchair, or in bed. In doing so, many of the

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. 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

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 85 | PAGE 27

Free PPE for Frontline Extended for Another Year The offer of free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline health and social care staff in England has been extended for another year. Supporting frontline workers remains a priority for the government and, following a public consultation, NHS trusts, primary care and adult social care providers will continue to receive COVID-19 PPE free of charge until 31st March 2023 or until infection prevention control (IPC) guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended. This is to ensure staff and their patients are protected. The government is also developing an improved platform for the procurement of PPE that will be quicker and easier to use. Health and social care providers have been invited to test-drive the new platform and help design a service that works best for them. The new and improved features will enable quick ordering options and status updates. Free, centrally-procured PPE relieves the financial burden of PPE procurement done on an individual basis, and also enables access to quality PPE of a reliable standard. Health Minister Edward Argar said: Throughout the pandemic we have taken swift action to secure the PPE health and social care providers need to ensure staff, patients and residents are protected. We are extending the offer of free PPE to help relieve pressure on the health and care system, working hand in hand with providers to develop a new ordering platform that works best for them. A public consultation was launched in October 2021 to determine

whether to extend the central, free provision of PPE. Over 5,000 responses were received, from a range of people and organisations, including primary and social care providers, community health care services, and PPE wholesalers and suppliers. 95% of respondents were in favour of extending the offer of free PPE. Following customer testing and trial launch, the new PPE portal will be rolled out to all eligible users from April.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “We are pleased that the Government has listened to Care England in extending the offer of free PPE. The sector is currently contending with a multitude of issues against a backdrop of outbreaks and rising infection levels, so this represents a welcome relief and will provide a real boost for the sector as we learn to live with covid. Most importantly, the continuation of free PPE will continue to help better protect some of society’s most vulnerable.” The DHSC previously committed to providing free PPE to the sector until 31 March 2022 and launched a consultation in October 2021 on whether to extend this offer for a further year. Today, the Government’s response to the consultation has been published. Care England’s response to the consultation highlighted that free PPE via a centralised mechanism had been an enormous win for Government and the potential return to a situation similar to March 2020, when there were huge challenges in accessing PPE, would be a retrograde step in the management of the ongoing pandemic. Martin Green continues: “This is a positive step forward in the Government’s response to aiding the sector, but this must be accompanied by further measures, including a comprehensive solution to the ongoing workforce pressures being felt by the sector. The adult social care workforce is our biggest resource and must be recognised and valued as such.”

Staff Member at Warwickshire, Care Home, Awarded Runner Up for The Carer’s Unsung Hero Award Ange Booth, a staff member at Low Furlong Care Home in Shipston-on-Stour, has been awarded Runner Up in The Carer’s Unsung Hero Award. The Carer launched its Unsung Hero Award to recognise and celebrate ‘staff working in the residential and nursing care sector who have, during the Coronavirus crisis, gone above and beyond “normal work duties”’. Ange, a domestic staff member, was nominated by Low Furlong Home Manager, Leanne Braham, for making it her mission to support the entire Low Furlong staff team and becoming a wonderful advocate for mental health. Leanne Braham commented: “We have many ‘unsung heroes’ at Low Furlong who go above and beyond each day to make the home we work and live in a better place, but this year Ange has really stood out. This is not only for the effort she has put in to supporting the team during what has

been a particularly difficult time in social care, but for her determination to learn, develop and complete her Mental Health First Aid course. We are all very proud of her.” Ange was due to begin her training as a Mental Health First Aider before it was postponed due to the pandemic. So instead, Ange was able to complete the course via Zoom. And, since August last year, she is now a fully qualified Mental Health First Aider, having completed all of her training. Ange is very proud of her Mental Health First Aid qualification and staff are all very grateful for the time and effort she puts in to supporting them. Ange has set up several initiatives in the home, including a staff support box, where staff can post (anonymously if preferred) about any concerns or worries they are facing, both in and out of work. She has also organised a mental

health area in the staff room – which includes valuable information, guidance and resources. To celebrate World Mental Health Day, Ange wrote every staff member a card with a unique positive message about them. She is always supporting and encouraging staff to talk to her, or the Manager, if they have any concerns or worries. Ange was delighted to be recognised for the award, and commented: “I am truly honoured, not only to have been nominated but to be one of the runners up. The team here helped me when I was suffering with severe anxiety, and now I know I can give the same support to others who may be experiencing similar difficulties. I love my work at Low Furlong and now I get to make a difference to those I work with as well as those we have the pleasure of caring for.”

Holmes Care Group Recognises Colleagues for Going the Extra Mile The national ‘Going the Extra Mile’ competition, run by Holmes Care Group and Impact Healthcare to recognise care workers’ tireless hard work to deliver the best standards of care, celebrates five colleagues at four homes with awards: Sarah Keeton, Senior Carer at Baytree Court Care Home in Scunthorpe Helen Miller, Activities Coordinator at Beechwood Care Home in Wishaw Linda Williamson, Deputy Service Manager at Heatherfield Nursing Home in Armadale June Shields and Jacqueline Knox, Care Assistants at Larkfield View Care Home in Greenock During the initial phase of the pandemic, when shielding advice meant Service Managers at Baytree Court and Heatherfield needed to self-isolate at home for their own safety, Sarah and Linda stepped in to manage their homes. Working closely with Public Health and Clinical Commissioning Groups, they made sure ever-changing health and safety advice was implemented across care, food, hygiene and maintenance teams, while caring for residents and organising video calls with their loved ones. When Beechwood was closed to everyone but essential visitors, Helen sewed costumes, decorated lounge areas, gathered props, and baked delicious treats to launch the Beechwood Airlines and Bus Tours. Her engaging activities programme saw residents ‘travel’ to London for afternoon tea with the Queen, ‘jet off’ to Dublin on St Patrick’s Day with a Guinness and ‘attend’ Wimbledon for a tennis match. Larkfield View’s June and Jacqueline stepped up to take over food

preparation over a week when COVID-19 restrictions meant kitchen staff were forced to self-isolate. They quickly got to grips with preparing a care home’s full menu safely, taking into account the food textures and dietary requirements of meal plans in a 90-bed home. Each home will receive £1,000 to spend on the welfare and wellbeing of all staff members, which so far has included the purchase of garden benches where colleagues can socialise, a bike rack to encourage cycling to work and indoor plants or radios to boost wellness at work. Stella Brackenbury, Service Manager at Baytree Court Care Home said: “It’s always difficult to choose just one of our team for an award like this. When I, and the home, needed her, Sarah was 100% there for us, keeping me informed of everything going on when I needed to self-isolate, and managing risk assessments, care plans and testing in the home. She made sure people were as happy and safe as possible

despite really challenging circumstances. When I returned to work, we promoted her to Deputy Manager, and she has continued to go the extra mile.” Cathy Togneri, Service Manager at Beechwood Care Home said: “Helen’s efforts to keep the people we support engaged and entertained are admirable. Her activities empower some of the most vulnerable people in our community to choose how they spend each day, and her conversations with them help unearth all the memories of childhood, family life and holidays, so that they can relive them while creating many more in the home. She goes the extra mile and I am grateful to her for making all of us smile and laugh through a difficult time.” Hazel McFie, Service Manager at Heatherfield Nursing Home said: “I could tell from the minute I joined Heatherfield that Linda is known as a trusted, upbeat and highly skilled member of the team. All of us are very grateful for the work she did to keep everything running over a difficult time and ensure no disruption to the care provided in the home. When the home needs her, she is there for us, so this award is well deserved.” Elsie MacLennan, Service Manager at Larkfield View Care Home said: “Nominating June and Jacqueline for this award was my way of making sure they were recognised for all their hard work over the last two years. They go above and beyond to make sure everything runs smoothly. I thought that we would be forced to reduce our menu, but they worked so hard to offer a full one with options for our residents – and even managed to bake treats and a birthday cake. We are very lucky to have them.”


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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 Combats Chronic Constipation 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.

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

MOWOOT II is a revolutionary non-invasive and non-pharmacological solution to chronic constipation. Developed by a team of medical professionals, MOWOOT II delivers gentle abdominal massage that speeds up intestinal transit in people with chronic constipation. Clinically proven and free from side-effects, MOWOOT II Chronic Constipation Therapy System fights constipation effectively, safely and comfortably without laxatives, enemas or colon cleansing supplements. Comfortable during use, MOWOOT II treats and manages chronic constipation in people with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease as well as helps to combat medication-related constipation issues. MOWOOT II also fights chronic constipation in 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 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. In just 10 to 20 minutes per day of abdominal massage with MOWOOT II, significant improvements were

noted only days after the first treatment, whilst regular applications of MOWOOT II delivered 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

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 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 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.

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



PAGE 30 | THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85

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

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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 85

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 85

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 85 | 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 85 | 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 85

LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS What are Commercial Laundries Worth To The UK? ‘The textile services sector sits behind practically every sector of the UK economy’ Research conducted by Hatch Regeneris concludes that the textile services industry is ‘core to the operation of many businesses in vital and important sectors of the UK economy.’ It highlights three markets of particular significance, hospitality, healthcare and manufacturing, concluding that without the support of the textile services industry they would face insurmountable problems. Yet the long-term sustainability of textiles services in the UK is under considerable threat and action is needed if it is to survive. The research was commissioned by TSA, the Textile Services Association, and was carried out in 2020. The key problems it highlighted are dramatically rising costs, downward pressure on prices and severe staff shortages. However, since then the industry has suffered even more setbacks and its position is even more precarious. “Brexit, the pandemic and escalating fuel costs have amplified the issues to a catastrophic extent,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA. “Without serious price rises for customers and government support – at the very least in terms of access to the EU labour market – there is a real risk that many textile services companies will go out of business.” Textile services encompass the supply, rental, laundering and maintenance of textiles. It ranges from bedding and towelling in hotels; to PPE and workwear in factories; to surgical, pharmaceutical and high-care food workwear; to mats, roller towels and washroom services in a wide range of sectors. Each week the industry processes 53 million textile

items to end users in the UK. The report estimates that the textiles services industry contributes a total of £1.3billion in GVA to the UK economy and £190million to the Exchequer, while supporting 28,000 FTE jobs. It notes that hospitality is dependent on the industry, since the provision of clean, fresh linen is fundamental to their business. Just one hotel with 100 bedrooms will get through 750 pieces of linen per day. Similarly in manufacturing, the report says production lines would come to a standstill within three days of not receiving new workwear. Meanwhile, healthcare and social care can’t function safely without bedlinens, surgical gowns and patient wear washed to very high specifications. Aside from those three key sectors, as the report points out, ‘the textiles services industry sits behind practically every sector in the UK economy.’ “If commercial textiles services ceased to operate, many UK businesses, industries and sectors would grind to a halt,” says Stevens. “We continue to press the Government for help, but so far they continue to ignore us, despite organisations like UKHospitality and NHSI supporting our arguments.” The Hatch Regeneris research, ‘The Economic Value of the Textile Services Sector to the UK Economy,’ is available to download at tsa-uk.org, from the TSA publications section in the documents library. The TSA is the trade association for the textile care services industry. The TSA represents 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 85 | 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 85

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 85 | 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 85 | 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 85

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 85

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 85

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

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 careworker 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 points-based immigration system introduced in January 2021.

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THE CARER DIGITAL | ISSUE 85 | PAGE 49

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Government Relaxes Rules to Add Care Workers to the Shortage Occupation List (CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) 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

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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Barnes Commercial Insurance Broker is a trading style of Barnes Commercial Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FRN: 844370. Registered address: 3 Fenice Court, Phoenix Park, Eaton Socon, St Neots, Cambs, PE19 8EW. Registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 11909011.