The Carer #52 January/February 2021

Page 1


INSIDE THIS ISSUE Editor's Viewpoint


Catering for Care


Hygiene & Infection Control 27-33 Laundry Solutions


Medication Management 36-38 Technology & Software


Products & Services

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


where sold


Nurse Call Alarms


Professional & Training



Issue 52

Social Care Needs an Immediate Cash Injection and New Recruits to Support Exhausted Workforce

Social care needs an immediate cash injection and new recruits to support its exhausted workforce and ensure that vital services for older people, disabled people, families and carers do not collapse as the Covid-19 pandemic hits a new peak, social services leaders are warning. Alarming gaps are appearing in social care teams through Covid infection, selfisolation and sheer fatigue as the sector, which had existing vacancies of 112,000 prior to the pandemic, is being expected to ease the strain on the NHS by supporting people discharged from hospital to free up beds. Extra funding is needed this week to pay for additional staff and care. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is also issuing an urgent plea for anyone with experience of care work to consider returning to the

job to help the care sector get through the coming weeks. James Bullion, ADASS president, said: “Like our NHS colleagues, social care workers have never been under such pressure. They are doing more than ever before, but absences are high and rising and our capacity to keep vital services going is at grave risk. “We need funding, now, to enable care providers to recruit extra skilled pairs of hands and we are asking anyone who has done care work in the past to think very seriously about returning to help us get through this. Every single person who steps forward will be making a huge contribution.”



VIEWPOINT Slightly belated, but a very happy New Year to you all, and welcome to any new readers! Are you aware that we here at THE CARER now publish weekly digital edition each Wednesday. We bring all the latest industry news and views (without the spin), in-depth thought led articles from industry leaders and organisations, plus, we are proud to say. the best selection of products and services that Editor any residential and nursing care setting will need at some stage, so please sign up via our website ( you have not received a copy by 4 PM on Wednesdays these check your spam folder we may need to be white listed). We are experiencing very difficult times, and keeping the spirits in adverse times is one of the most important factors generally, but particularly important to an industry caught in the eye of the storm. Regular readers to both our printed and digital editions will know how critical I have been of mainstream media. We have been publishing to the residential and nursing care sector for 14 years, and up until the Covid pandemic we were a regular sight at all the national and regional carer dementia trade events and seminars. Fortunately, this gave us here a great insight into the sector, the many challenges it faces, but also how resilient the sector is, and how dedicated its staff are. When the pandemic broke last March this appeared to be a revelation to mainstream media! With many journalists and broadcasters quick to rush and use the care sectors plight as a political football to score goals against its opponents. We have seen many ministers endure a “trial by media”, and during all this time all the wonderful, positive and inspiring work done within the sector went unnoticed. We have been delighted here at THE CARER to have received and promoted the many stories around the country from residential and nursing care homes, all the wonderful initiatives and activities which have been a joy to report. And the care sector is certainly leading the way when it comes to vaccinations! The Prime Minister had pledged to vaccinate all care home residents by the end of January. But has now brought that forward to January 24, which is the end of this week! A very bold pledge but given that the Prime Minister is authorising the military intervene and help, it is a pledge that might very well succeed. Once again, I take this opportunity to remind you to continue send your stories, thoughts and views, we have always felt it important to publish “news without the spin”, share your thoughts and views, and are always delighted to include some wonderfully uplifting stories from care homes throughout the country so please do keep them coming, I can always be contacted at

Peter Adams

The Carer is published by RBC Publishing Ltd, Suite 4, Roddis House, Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset. Contributions are welcome for consideration, however, no responsibility will be accepted for loss or damage. Views expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or the editorial team. Whilst every care is taken when compiling this publication to ensure accuracy, the publisher will assume no responsibility for any effects, errors or omissions therefrom. All rights reserved, reproduction is forbidden unless written permission is obtained. All material is assumed copyright free unless otherwise advised.

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


01202 552333 (6 lines)

Fax: 01202 552666 Email:

WEBSITE: EDITOR Peter Adams SALES EXECUTIVES Sylvia Mawson David Bartlett Guy Stephenson TYPESETTING & DESIGN Matthew Noades PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Shelly Roche Published by


Social Care Needs an Immediate Cash Injection and New Recruits to Support Exhausted Workforce (...CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) ADASS has asked for an additional £480m in England to increase the provision of care at home for older and disabled people so that they can live independently, with good support, and can be kept out of hospital for as long as possible. The association is also seeking extra help for family carers who are providing the most intense support for loved ones. It says an extra direct payment of £50 a week for carers during the worst of the pandemic to enable them to pay for respite breaks and keep going until the pandemic eases. James Bullion said: “Family carers are playing a vital part in our national struggle against this deadly virus. If we fail to back them up, we will pay a high price when those they support fall back on the health and care services.” With news that a major supermarket chain, Morrisons, is to pay its staff a minimum of £10 an hour from April, when many care workers are only paid £8.91, ADASS is urging a major overhaul of pay and conditions for care workers. ADASS is calling for a national care wage of at least £10.90 and significant investment in training and creation of career paths to put social care

work on a par with that in the NHS. Staff shortages within the sector has been an ongoing concern, at the height of the first lockdown a care home in Leeds was forced to close its nursing wing, not because of funding cuts or lack of demand, but because of staff shortages. Donisthorpe Hall’s chair of trustees, Robert Ross, released a statement at the time citing “the current climate of nursing shortages”, which meant they had been forced to rely on a “constant turnover of short-term” agency staff. Days later, Hawkesgarth Lodge care home in Whitby also had to shut as a result of the “national shortage of trained nursing and care staff”. In October 2020 a report by Skills for Care on the state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England revealed that: Sharon Allen, chief executive of Skills for Care, said: “Recruitment and retention is without a doubt the biggest issue for adult social care employers because to have sufficient [levels] of the right people with the right skills is absolutely fundamental to providing quality care and support. It is a big concern for everybody and we’re trying to help promote careers in social care … but there are many challenges.” With 80% of all jobs in adult social care held by

Wellbeing Workplaces Boost Morale for Care Home Residents A care home in Wellingborough has created two ‘shops’ for residents as part of a dementia therapy scheme. Lancum House care home has installed ‘Stanwell Flowers’ and the ‘Redwell Boutique’ clothes shop, which recreates the atmosphere of the retail environment that residents can ‘work’ and ‘shop’ at, with the aim of providing dementia residents with a more familiar environment to talk about their memories. The clothes store is stocked with items kindly donated by staff and their relatives, while the florist is full of artificial flowers that residents can take for their own private spaces. The home now has colourful bedroom doors, as

well as windows in the corridors - giving it a high street-like experience. Alysha Coleman, manager at the home operated by Shaw healthcare, said: “These shops have been a welcome distraction over the past couple months. “They are a great way to help our residents carry on with familiar tasks and it encourages interaction between them as well as keeping some independence. We have a few residents who love to ‘work’ in the shops and it really gives them a sense of purpose which helps their wellbeing no end.” Lancum House provides care for up to 43 people including those living with dementia.

women, something is clearly making women want to leave the sector. And the problems are not just confined to social care. In the NHS, figures from NHS Employers show that 77% of the workforce is female. There are currently 24,000 nursing vacancies (including in social care), according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). In a snapshot survey carried out by the NCF earlier this month, care providers shared what was happening on the ground in their most challenged service. The survey findings provides a clear and loud alarm for government to take note of just how hard COVID-19 is hitting on the frontline with services reporting:Staffing pressure mounting with reports of individual services reporting between 11% and 40% staff absence and a few services reporting staffing absences of over 50%. Absences were caused by a combination of COVID19 positive case being picked up by PCR testing, selfisolation following contact tracing, shielding and childcare responsibilities.

Providers are under huge pressure and, in the very short- term, are having to run services through a combination of offering extra overtime to other staff, bringing in staff from other services and not accepting new referrals or admissions from hospital or the community. Where absences cannot be resolved in-house, care providers were using agency staff – however this is not a sustainable position and must be addressed before social care is overwhelmed. Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the NCF says: “It is essential that government takes heed of this early warning signal that care services are under immense pressure. Staff in care services have been at the very front line of this battle against COVID-19 for over 11 months, and are shattered both physically and emotionally. In the midst of this, individuals and teams are stepping up once again to flex and cover largescale staff absences brought about by a combination of testing, self-isolation, shielding and childcare. They are undoubtedly heroes, but asking them to do this over and again is not sustainable.”

10% OFdeFring

When or 0" quote "CR1

Adapted Clothing for Independent & Assisted Dressing

• Ladies & Men’s Daywear and Nightwear • Open Back & Front Fastening Clothing • Ideal for Arthritis, Stroke, Parkinson, Incontinence and Dementia Patients


How Care Providers Can Prepare For Life After Brexit By Philippa Shirtcliffe, QCS, Head of Care Quality The UK may have escaped a no-deal Brexit, but even with an agreement secured, care providers across the UK are not necessarily breathing a huge sigh of relief. If research conducted by the Nuffield Trust, which was released before Christmas, is anything to go by, it suggests that even with a Brexit agreement in the bag - they could be in for a rough ride. The authors of the study, which includes academics from Oxford, Sheffield and the University of Michigan – conclude that the future for the UK health sector looks “perilously uncertain”. Take the social care sector, for instance. The report authors forecast that that the care sector “will immediately find itself blocked from recruiting staff from the EU because of a new unilateral migration policy…” Secondly, the study says that “any prolonged economic slowdown (brought about by Brexit) that leads to lower living standards and a squeeze on public spending” could directly affect the health of the public. While the report doesn’t specifically spell out the ramifications for care, it is likely that a sector, which has often been named the ‘Cinderella Service’, will be worse off in the long-term. In addition to Brexit, the sizeable impact that Covid has had on the economy, while not explored in the study, is also likely to have negative consequences for the care sector. But back to the issue of recruitment. What I think the government needs to realise, is that according to figures from Age UK, there are 110,000 unfilled vacancies in the care sector. There is considerable churn too. The numbers reveal that “three in 10 care staff leave their jobs each year”. With 130,000 new frontline workers required annually just to keep the sector on an even keel, the sector needs the 110,000 EU care workers, who currently work in our care homes and in domiciliary care, more than ever. At the very least, the government should perform

a policy U-turn and class all care workers as high skilled workers, which of course they are. This would not only mean more UK-based workers entering the profession, but would ensure that care staff from the continent would be granted work visas too. Whatever action the government takes, it will need to act quickly if it is to plug a gaping hole in recruitment that if left unchecked is only going to grow wider. Why? Because stats from the Nuffield Trust reveal that fewer people from abroad are choosing to work in Britain. The Nuffield Trust says that between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, for example, “National Insurance Number registrations both for EU and non-EU applicants, decreased from 190,509 to 55,428.” While post-Brexit migration policy is an issue that only the government can decide on, there are lots of preparatory steps that individual care providers can take. At Quality Compliance Systems (QCS), a leading provider of policies, guidance and best practice content, we have been helping over 5,000 care providers to prepare for the challenges posed by Brexit, Covid-19 and Winter planning– all of which are constantly evolving. We have done so by providing a raft of curated guidance, which aims to break down complex jargon and translate it into a set of easily digestible guidance and fact sheets, which in turn feed into even more robust contingency plans. As Head of Care Quality at QCS, while I cannot speak for every care provider on our books, I can say that the majority have been highly proactive in bolstering their Brexit contingency strategies. The key point when drawing up such a plan is never to consider it the finished article. At QCS, whenever the government issues new guidance we make sense of it, put it into simple language and, most importantly, alert the provider of the change. But even with the help of a provider like QCS, care services need to continue to be vigilant and circumspect. Indeed, even with a deal being struck, it seems that a number of rules and regulations are still being ironed out. Indeed, the devil is in the details, and right now there is very little of it. This means that care providers won't necessarily feel the full impact of Brexit for many weeks, or even months. The best antidote in the meantime therefore is to stress-test everything in the care service. For instance, if a German-built lift in a care home breaks, how long would it take for new parts to arrive and for engineers to fix it in the post-Brexit world that we find ourselves living in? Secondly, care providers need to also include third-party suppliers in

their contingency plans. Do you know that, for instance, that your food supplier will not be affected by the monumental changes brought about by Brexit? And if you run a domiciliary care agency, can you rely on the ‘meal on wheels’ company you work with to run the same service as before? But, I think that in order to truly prepare for the worst case scenario, residential care providers need to not just stock up on essential foods, but also store basic ingredients so that they can make their own bread, if there are food shortages. Another crucial task, which is sometimes overlooked, is stocktaking. The challenge for many care homes, especially in a Pandemic, has been finding the time to carry out regular inventory checks. But they need to be at the heart of any contingency plan, especially if Brexit leads to shortages in the coming months. Finally, collaboration and co-production, two areas in which care providers excel in, are paramount. Care services need to forge even close links with their community. They need to work together with local authorities, primary and secondary care services and, most importantly, alongside other care providers in their area in order to provide outstanding care to service users. Take basic supplies for instance. In the just-in-time economy that Britain is used to, there has never been any need for care homes to build large in-house storage facilities. With many medical supplies coming from the EU, Brexit has changed that. But it’s simply not feasible for care homes to build bigger storage units. To store a few month’s supply of incontinence pants for 100 service users alone might take up two or three rooms. That said, if care providers, GPs, and local authorities work as one, they can not only overcome storage issues, but ensure that every provider in the local area has enough to go around. Indeed, if there is one shaft of light peeping through the gloom, it is that while a post-Brexit world appears daunting, it pales in comparison to the challenges care professionals now face in the pandemic. During the crisis, the courage, resilience and resourcefulness care workers have shown has proved that they can overcome any emergency - Brexit included. To find out more about QCS’s policies and procedures, contact our compliance advisors on 0333-405-3333 or email

Can Employers Require Staff To Be Vaccinated?

By Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula (

Despite employers' measures to ensure that their workplace is COVID secure, many will view the vaccine as the key development to offer the utmost protection against coronavirus to employees. Therefore, employers will be keen to see their employees taking up the vaccine to enable a return to a more 'normal' way of working. The Government's current strategy is to offer the vaccine on a voluntary basis and has stopped short of making it a mandatory exercise. This means that the UK population will have a choice over whether to take this step which means that some may, for various reasons, decline. In the main, it is not likely that employers will be able to require their employees to have the vaccine. This will be particularly true of workplaces which lend themselves to homeworking because there are clearly other tried and tested methods to safeguard employees' welfare during, and after, the pandemic. Employers would be in a better

position to require employees to have the vaccine if a clause exists within the contract of employment which covers medical intervention in place to safeguard colleagues as well as the public with whom the employee may come into contact with. However, these will be rare and even where they do exist; employers would need to proceed with caution. Instructions to employees to have the vaccine would need to be reasonable. Employers in some sectors may be in a stronger position to give a reasonable management instruction to employees due to the nature of the work, for example, those in the care sector where it is difficult, or impossible, to adhere to social distancing and other health and safety rules that other employers would find manageable. However, employees in these sectors may have valid reasons for not getting the vaccine on medical advice, for example, pregnant employees or those with certain health conditions so employers who wish to take action for 'refusal' should be aware of the risks. Employees may also choose not to have the vaccine for religious reasons. Some may argue that the anti-vax movement would qualify as a philosophical belief, both of which are covered under the 'religion or belief' aspect of the Equality Act 2010. Employers would have to be careful that no employee was subject to less favourable treatment - dismissal, for example – for refusing the vaccine because of one of the protected characteristics named in the Act.

Care Workers Need All Our RespectFollow Scotland and Wales Lead says NCF In response to the announcement of a significant increase in staff testing in care homes to take effect immediately, supported by £149m specific funding, Vic Rayner, Executive Director at the National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading member association for not-for-profit social care providers said: “This announcement comes at a very difficult time for care homes and at the end of a long and challenging year. All staff in care homes will now need to have 2 rapid tests via lateral flow devices each week alongside the current weekly PCR testing – this is a tripling of the current staff testing regime which care homes are being asked to put into practice immediately with no notice. These additional commitments sit alongside major additional testing requirements around visiting, and the expectation that testing will be majorly ramped up during outbreaks. “The £149m extra funding from government is definitely welcome news. This is urgently needed to support the extra testing and comes after several months of intense discussion about the very practical difficulties of the exponential expansion of on-site testing in care homes and the very significant additional resource this requires. “It is an important acknowledgment by government of the very significant pressures that increasing the use of rapid LFD tests will bring to care homes who are already stretched to the limit with all the additional work that operating in a COVID-19 world has created. “The government must now ensure that all care homes have their LFD tests in place as a matter of urgency, if care homes are to make the additional testing happen. At this moment, despite national roll out, we know that a number of care homes have yet to receive their LFD tests and this must be resolved immediately.

“The data shared by government, and the knowledge from our membership about the impact of COVID-19 makes it crystal clear just how important it is that we get this right for the most vulnerable members of our community. We must not for a moment shift our attention away from those citizens that need support most – whether it is through increased testing, prioritised vaccination, access to rapid and effective health interventions or enabling meaningful visits to connect residents and loved ones. As our minds turn to Christmas and the increase in restrictions that will follow immediately and into the new year, it is vital that we do not for a moment turn our attention away from those who need us most. The funding for testing is an important step forward, but it is unlikely to be sufficient to close the gap and we will continue to need government to have those receiving care and support, and working in the sector, front and centre of their decision making as we venture into the unknowns of 2021. “The warm words of thanks from the Secretary of State for care staff who will be working their way through this Christmas were important to hear, but for the hundreds of thousands of staff who will be working whilst much of the country celebrates, albeit in tightened circumstance, they are likely to ring hollow. Care workers have always been the occupational group with the highest number of people working on Christmas Day. If ever this government was going to follow the lead of Scotland and Wales and reward all those staff for the multiple personal sacrifices they have made throughout this pandemic and will continue to do to keep everyone safe over Christmas – then this is the time to do it. Care workers need all of our respect and we need government to step up and show just how much it values their contribution.”


£149m Increased Support for Care Home Testing Care homes across the country will benefit from additional rapid testing to test staff twice a week to help protect residents and workers from the virus. Staff will be asked to take rapid tests twice a week, in addition to the weekly PCR test they have already been receiving as part of urgent government action to protect those most at risk. A plan that has been accelerated in light of the new, more transmissible, strain of Covid-19. In the event of a positive test in a Tier 4 care home, all staff will additionally be tested daily for seven days. This will be supported by an additional £149 million to fund costs associated with testing staff, and to more safely support family visits in areas outside of Tier 4. The money will pay for care home providers to set up safe testing areas, provide staff training and contribute towards staff time spent on administering and receiving the tests. This is in addition to the more than £1.1 billion Infection Control Fund and is supported by over 16 million rapid tests and 46 million items of PPE delivered for free to care homes over the last month. Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “We have worked throughout the pandemic to protect staff, and residents in care homes and today we are boosting rapid testing in care homes, with a further 149 million pounds to support that effort. “All those who work in care homes across England will receive two rapid tests a week, in addition to their weekly PCR test.” Visits to care homes can still take place in Tier 4 with arrangements such as substantial screens or visiting pods but, for the safety of loved ones, close-contact indoor visits supported by testing cannot take place in tier 4 areas. Outside of tier 4 areas friends and family are able to visit relatives in care homes that are not currently experiencing an outbreak if they receive a negative result prior to the visit, wear PPE and follow all other infection prevention and control measures. This approach seeks to achieve the right balance between the increased risk of infection transmission and the clear benefits to the mental and phys-

ical health of residents and their families which visiting enables. Residents will continue to receive monthly PCR tests, alongside extra testing as directed by their local Health Protection Team if there is an outbreak. Minister for Care, Helen Whately said: “Our priority is to keep care home residents and staff safe, and we have been working hard to make the most of our testing capacity to help people reunite with loved ones as safely as possible. “Now in the face of this new strain, which spreads much more quickly, we are increasing testing in all care homes to help protect those most at risk. This £149million grant will give care homes the tools and support they need to test staff regularly and safely reunite families kept apart because of COVID-19.” Stopping staff movement in and between care settings is critical to minimise the risk of infection of COVID-19 and other viral illnesses. However if care homes need to use staff who work in multiple locations in order to maintain safe staffing levels, rapid tests will help to manage the increased risk related to employing staff who are working in multiple settings. The new strain transmits more easily than the previous variant but there is no evidence that it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality. Testing is only part of the approach and it’s essential visitors and staff wear PPE and follow all infection control methods to keep their loved ones, other residents and staff safe. Up to one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. Care homes which are facing an outbreak will not be able to receive visitors, apart from in exceptional circumstances such as end of life. Care homes will manage the number of visits to ensure they can enable safe visiting and the programme will be continuously reviewed. The money will be made available early next year and will be distributed via local authorities. Allocations will also be announced early next year. The grant will cover the infrastructure costs of the expanded testing programme including setting up testing areas and resource costs including gaining consent for tests, supervising the use of PPE and swab tests and then processing and logging the results.

Care providers today welcomed the news that the Covid-19 vaccine would be going into larger care and nursing homes but expressed their fears that smaller homes could be missing out. The Independent Care Group (ICG) said today’s news that care homes with more than 50 beds would be getting the vaccine as a priority was great news, but expressed concerns that operators with fewer than 50 beds and designated settings were being left behind and that they needed it just as much. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Today’s news is very welcome. The Government said that residents and staff in care and nursing homes would be the top priority for the vaccine and we have been waiting for that to become evident. Although a priority, a lot of care home staff who could visit a hub are also missing out. The Government needs to act on this much faster. “We understand the challenges in transporting and storing the vaccine and the impact that has on distributing it quickly. “Nevertheless, residents in smaller homes need the vaccine too and as these homes operate on tight margins when it comes to staffing levels it is vital that they get vaccinations for their staff as a priority as well. “At best the vaccination of staff across the country is patchy and depends largely on where you live. We need to ensure that all staff can get to hospitals or primary care network hubs to have the vaccination as soon as possible.” Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “As community transmission increases, we recognise the need for care homes to provide additional testing for residents, staff and visitors. As such, we welcome the extra £149 million from Government for care homes to address the additional responsibilities placed upon them in terms of testing. We hope that the money will come though as soon as possible in the new year and can dovetail with an increased roll out of a vaccine to residents and staff”. “The sector is concerned about the reliability of LFD tests. Underpinning all this is of course the need for indemnity insurance in parallel with the NHS to enable the sector to operate at optimum level in this crisis”.

PPE Guidance ‘Inadequate’ Posing Risk to Health & Care Workers says BMA The BMA is calling on Public Health England to urgently review the adequacy of its PPE guidance for healthcare staff amid growing concerns that inadequate PPE is placing many at serious risk of Covid-19. In a letter to PHE1, the doctors' union highlight the need for wider use of respiratory protective equipment, such as FFP3 respirators, in other high-risk settings across primary and secondary care. Warning of the “significant and growing concerns about the role of aerosol transmission of COVID-19 in healthcare settings” at a time when the NHS is facing unprecedented pressure, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul writes: “Now that we have been assured that supply is no longer an issue, we believe guidance should be updated to take a more precautionary approach to better protect those working on the frontline.” Dr Nagpaul also warns that ensuring the appropriate level of protection is especially important to minimise the risk for staff who have a higher vulnerability to COVID-19 as he writes: “If healthcare workers fall ill from being infected and are

unable to work, it will be devastating for the health service at this time of critical pressures, and it will compound the pressures besieging hospitals and GP practices.” In addition, the BMA has also written to the Department of Health and Social Care2 urging that PPE provision must be adequate to meet the ‘diverse needs’ of the healthcare workforce. Highlighting one of the issues raised by BMA members on the unsuitability of current PPE provision, Dr Nagpaul writes: “Female doctors are still struggling to find masks that fit, often failing the ‘fit test’ or being left with sores and ulcers after long shifts when wearing masks that did not fit. We have raised concerns in the past that PPE is designed to fit men, not women - despite the fact that 75% of the NHS workforce are women.” Warning that the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ is ‘not appropriate’, Dr Nagpaul writes: “Guidance and provision must take account of differing needs of the individual healthcare worker - no matter who you are, you should have proper-fitting PPE, regardless of gender, ethnicity and religion.”


Supporting Employees Mental Health During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been and continues to be a particularly challenging and stressful time for care home residents and staff. All staff, from all departments including care staff, domestic staff, nurses and managers have been affected. Stress and anxiety have been high and especially so in homes that have

experienced a serious outbreak. The Carer spoke with David Price CEO of Health Assured regarding supporting employees mental health pandemic: “We’re almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and for many, things don’t feel like they’re improving. People who were beginning to settle back into a work routine are being thrown back into working from home. It’s understandable that some people, faced with this, are finding themselves suffering mentally. And it’s harder to spot the signs of mental health issues in remote workers. But watching out for these signs will help: Low energy: commonly, people with depression feel sluggish and exhausted. Mental health issues, and the stresses and anxiety they cause, are incredibly tiring. If someone seems constantly fatigued, be sure to pay extra attention in case other signs become clear. Sleep issues: mental health issues can often cause sleep disturbances with radical changes in sleeping patterns and habits being an indicator that something is wrong. Appearance: people suffering with depression often stop caring so much about outward appearance. Now, people working remotely may just be relaxing their standards a little—but if someone is persistently unkempt, they may be having a harder time than you think. Outbursts: people under a lot of stress can sometimes ‘boil over’ in an angry outburst. While unpleasant, this is rarely out of genuine rage, more frustration at internal feelings of helplessness.

Distraction: when someone has a lot on their mind, then they find it hard to concentrate on their tasks here and now. Perhaps work is turning up late, or they don’t seem to be listening in team voice calls. Absence: an easier one to spot. If a team member is absent more than usual—whether unauthorised, or with short-notice annual leave—they may be struggling to cope. These are a lot to take in. And figuring out how to help is an even greater task. But try some of the following: Listen: not everyone is going to find this lockdown—and the change in working patterns that comes with it—easy. These people are likely to have extra stresses, anxieties and concerns. Extend a friendly listening ear. Offer personal advice, and let people know that we’re all in this together. Talk: set up daily chats with the whole team. Even just a quick morning get-together via text chat is enough—the point is to get everyone on the same page and ready to go. A video call every morning might be just the thing people need to get set up. Think about the future: wellbeing is changing. And it’s possible that you may need to change along with it. Flexibility is key during the pandemic; a lot of people are going to have changed their minds about the way they want to work. If they’ve found positive ways to get through the day, and their work isn’t negatively affected, talk to them about how you can help them make this their new normal. “

St Barnabas Hospice Kickstarts 2021 with a Fitness Challenge The Hospice has launched its new campaign 'Don't Quit - Get Fit' to encourage not only its supporters to get fit, but to raise funds after a difficult 2020 for the charity. Those taking part can define their own challenge, whether that’s running the equivalent of a marathon, climbing the same amount of stairs as it would take to reach the top of Everest or just getting outside to exercise after the festive season. Fundraising Officer at St Barnabas, Paisley Paddison said: “We’re so excited to be bringing this active campaign to life, we’ve had so much support for physical and active events before that we wanted to encourage people to work up a sweat again; making 2021 their year! “Health and exercise are highly important to promote positive wellbeing and ‘Don’t Quit – Get Fit’ provides a great opportunity for those in our local communities to take on a fundraising challenge which will allow them to have fun, take in some fresh air and focus on something in a time that is very challenging and worrying for many.” Caroline Swindin, Fundraising Development Manager said “With 2020 behind us, this is a great time to kick start your fitness in 2021, stay motivated, and whatever your age and ability set yourself achievable fitness goals and try something a little different to stay well. “It is easy and free to sign up and our team is here to support you every

step of the way. By raising just £71.40 will enable St Barnabas nurses to provide two hours of vital physiotherapy or occupational therapy for our patients helping to ensure that they live as comfortably as possible, for as long as possible.” Supporters that register their JustGiving page also receive a free St Barnabas water bottle. You can register via a simple sign-up form, all the Hospice asks is that you try to raise a minimum of £71.40 in sponsorship money. Emma Tatlow, Chief Executive from Active Lincolnshire said “Being active is so important for both our physical and mental wellbeing, getting outside and moving more boosts our mood, improves overall health and makes us more resilient to long term health conditions. “It is our vision at Active Lincolnshire for more people in the county to move more often – we should all be aiming for 150 minutes of movement a week (that’s 26 minutes a day) and this campaign will certainly help to keep Lincolnshire motivated and moving during in 2021, in addition to supporting the vital work of the hospice.” Those taking part can also gain free access to the private ‘Adventure With St Barnabas’ Facebook group, advice from professionals and a discount car for retailers specialising in outdoor and sportswear.

£500k Cash Boost for Organisations To Provide Musical Services For People with Dementia The Music for Dementia campaign and the Utley Foundation are kicking off 2021 with the launch of The Paul and Nick Harvey Fund to directly support musical activities for people living with dementia. Registered charities and CICs delivering music to people with dementia are being invited to apply for a grant from the £500k fund, launched yesterday (11 January 2021). Donated by The Hunter Foundation, this new fund builds on the success of the extensive work of Music for Dementia. The substantial donation came after Sir Tom Hunter heard about Paul & Nick Harvey via BBC Breakfast. Paul Harvey is a former classical pianist and music teacher, now in his 80s, who lives with dementia. His spontaneous Four Notes composition, videoed by his son Nick, went viral across social media in September 2020; it was orchestrated by a BBC Philharmonic player and recorded by the

BBC Philharmonic in October, then made available as a single. Music for Dementia was nominated by the father and son to receive half of the sales proceeds alongside Alzheimer’s Society. The Utley Foundation and Music for Dementia are looking for applications from providers of all different types of musical offers and services from across the UK. They would particularly like to hear from those who have developed innovative approaches to delivering music during COVID19, and those working with BAME groups and communities. Any charity or CIC with an annual income of £5m or less, currently delivering music for people living with dementia in their local community, is eligible to apply for a grant from The Paul & Nick Harvey Fund. Grace Meadows, Programme Director for Music for Dementia, said: “We are delighted to be able to direct this generous donation from The Hunter Foundation towards community-based, musical offerings for people living with dementia and those that provide them. "Music will continue to play an incredibly important role in people’s lives and their recovery from Covid during this year. This additional funding boost to the sector will enable vital services to continue to help reduce isolation and loneliness, whilst supporting recovery and rehabilitation from

the pandemic for all.” "The results of this fund will also build the evidence base of the benefits of music. It complements the work we are doing, including m4d Radio, our award-winning 24-hour radio station for people living with dementia , so that we can continue to advocate for wider change.” Paul and Nick Harvey commented: “We are both absolutely thrilled that the fund is now open. The power of music cannot be overstated, and we hope that the fund will help to improve the quality of life of as many people living with dementia as possible.” Sir Tom Hunter said: “Paul and Nick are an inspiration to us all, underscoring the power of music to support those afflicted by the awful impact of dementia…Music for Dementia is an amazing force in delivering support to grass roots organisations offering music therapy and we are proud to support this fund.” Application guidelines and an online application form are available via the Music for Dementia website -

Older And Wiser – Wokingham Care Home Residents Offer Their Advice For A Facebook post featuring residents of The Pinehurst Care Centre in Crowthorne, Wokingham is going viral, with over 45,000 people having seen and shared the wise words of guidance from residents aged from 84 to 105 on how to live a good live in 2021. Twelve ladies from the home were photographed holding up cards featuring their words of wisdom, part of an annual tradition, but for the first time, they were shared on the home’s open Facebook page. Activity manager Victoria Pembroke explains: “This is something we’ve done for a few years now, and the images have been shared with the residents’ families, but particularly over the last year, we’ve been trying to engage with our wider community more through social media – as face-to-face opportunities have been limited – so for the first time, we’ve posted them for everyone to see.” The response to the wise, and frequently cheeky advice has been fantastic, with hundreds of people sharing the images, and over 45,000 having seen them already. “These ladies are wonderful to be around, as many have a wicked sense of humour – and that really comes across in their advice,” adds Victoria.

For example, 105 year old Claire’s advice comprises: “I’m still learning! Be as wicked as possible. Life’s for living. You can’t please all the people all the time.” Whilst 96 year old Helen counsels: “Be happy. Do unto others as they would do unto you. Drink plenty of Whisky (any given amount).) “I am fortunate enough to be able to ask these lovely ladies for advice whenever I need it; their views on dating were particularly helpful, though probably not suitable for publication. Hopefully, people across the country can take enjoy sharing their advice as we head into 2021,” concludes Victoria. One resident, Kathleen, who has learned a thing or two during her 101 years (she celebrated her birthday this week) offers the life-hack tip that: “If your husband works for BOAC, you can travel the world for free” – though following this advice might have to wait until after the pandemic! And the last word has to be handed to 96 year-old Joan, who simply says: “Don’t bother giving advice because they don’t take it.”


Chance to Reform Adult Social Care; Pillar of Economy & Society The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has this week announced that the government will publish the Budget on Wednesday 3 March 2021. The Budget will set out the next phase of its strategy to tackle the pandemic and protect jobs and will be published alongside the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The announcement was made alongside confirmation that the furlough scheme will be extended by an extra month to 30 April 2021, with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages until the end of the Scheme. That means the government contribution will not be reduced at the end of January, as was previously thought. In response Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: "COVID-19 has created a new reality for both the country and the adult social care sector. It is therefore right and proper that the Chancellor’s forthcoming Budget recognises the support which the adult social care sector needs in both the short, medium and longer term. It is abundantly clear that now is the time for long term reform, no more sticking plasters. The Government should see those funds which it allocates to the sector as an investment in critical national infrastructure. We estimate that the sector's role in the UK economy is set to grow both as a consequence of an ageing population and in the short term, owing to rising unemployment in other

parts of the economy." Care England’s submission highlights the following issues: • The changing cost and operation reality that has been imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. • The intervention which the Treasury can make in the sphere of insurance to assist the adult social care sector. • The existing and potential role which the adult social care sector can continue play as a valuable employer in the UK’s job market. • The need for a £7 billion injection into the adult social care sector, in line with the Commons Health and Social Care Committees call. Martin Green continues: “We are desperate for the Government to act upon its manifesto commitment to adult social care before it is too late. Local Authorities have in recent weeks posited fee increases of only 0.9% in some parts of the country whilst others have suggested no fee increase at all for care homes with nursing. Such pitiful fee increases which do not fully account for increases in the National Living Wage let alone care providers’ costs which have risen by as much as 10% during the pandemic, leaves the sector and those who rely on it in a very precarious situation”.

Covid: Life On The Frontline: Virus Ordeal Left Sick Mum Fearing For Her Life A Care Home Administrator and mum-of-two has revealed how she thought Covid would kill her after contracting the virus and falling seriously ill during the first outbreak. Lindsay Hood, from Banstead, Surrey, said that at its worst, she was afraid to sleep for fear of not waking up again. She was speaking to Royal Star & Garter as part of the charity’s Covid: Life on the frontline series, which is capturing the accounts of the charity’s staff and residents during the pandemic. Also featured in the latest Life on the frontline series is 102-year-old Ena Mitchell, a resident at the charity’s High Wycombe Home, and Suzie Bignall, a Health Care Assistant at the same Home. Lindsay, Home Administrator at the charity’s Surbiton Home, described Covid as “being hit by a bus”. She was bed-bound and in immense pain for over four weeks, and the 49-year-old said: “I got really scared. I was terrified of going to sleep because I didn’t think I would wake up.” When the ambulance crew turned up at her home in full PPE to take her to hospital, she said: “I honestly didn’t know if I was going to go home again.” Looking

back at her ordeal, she said: “I was convinced I was going to die. My husband Steve and I had awful conversations about what would happen.” Lindsay would later develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as she dealt with the psychological impact of the virus. In High Wycombe, Ena praised the Home’s staff, saying they “couldn’t have done more if they tried”, and said she had no concerns for her own life: “I’ve never worried because I think I’ve had a jolly good life and I’ve got everything to be thankful for… Maybe it’s my upbringing because my mother used to say ‘Whatever’s planned out for you usually happens.’ So I don’t worry.” Suzie spoke of her initial fears and bursting into tears when the daunting realisation of the pandemic hit her. But she said the situation had brought staff closer together, and improved the care they provide. She also said her colleagues ensured her 50th birthday wasn’t forgotten when they threw a surprise party: “We danced and had cake. They made it special, because even though I wasn’t able to spend it with my family, I got to spend it with my other family!”

East Kilbride Care Home Residents Embark on Month-Long Virtual Cruise Residents at Kingsgate care home in East Kilbride are beating the January blues and have embarked on a month-long virtual cruise across the world. The home, based on Glasgow Road, wanted to ensure the ongoing pandemic did not prevent the residents from starting the new year with a bang, and decided the world cruise would be the perfect activity. Each week staff and residents will virtually visit a different continent, starting with the Americas. Week two will see them visit Africa, week three will be Asia and the final week will be Europe. Along the way the staff and residents are exploring food and drink from the various countries, with Mexican food being a particular favourite. The residents will also focus on culture, music and dance, and some fun facts about each country with quizzes, films and reminiscence activities.

Stuart Duffy, 78, a resident at Kingsgate care home, said: “The cruise is very interesting as I like to travel, and I’d like to go on a cruise as I haven’t done that. “I am looking forward to learning about the different cultures of the countries, and I am especially interested in the week when we go to the Asian countries.” Catherine Lawson, 90, another resident at Kingsgate care home, said: “I have never been outside of the UK, so I am really enjoying learning about the various countries and tasting the food and drink. “I will never get to see these countries in person so doing it this way is just wonderful!” You can follow Kingsgate care home’s virtual cruise on the home’s Facebook page here:

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

NEW & USED ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT AT AFFORDABLE PRICES • We specialise in the sale and purchase of quality used wheelchair accessible vehicles and ambulances. • They can be bought as seen or refurbished and sign-written to your own requirements. • 12 months M.O.T/Class 5 and 12 months warranty. • Engineers inspection supplied if required.

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

• Free delivery service available • All buses comply with new legislation • Lease hire and purchase available • Always large stock of accessible vehicles

Tel: 01268 521033 Mobile: 07860 894331 Email: Gardiners Lane North, Crays Hills, Billericay, Essex CM11 2XE All current stock available to view at


Top Tips To Help Older People Keep Fit And Healthy Through The Winter Months To help older people across the country stay active and healthy throughout the winter period, Anchor Hanover has developed a series of simple, accessible and effective fitness tips. As England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for older people, Anchor Hanover recognises the significant positive impact that staying active has on older people’s physical health and mental wellbeing. Official guidance recommends people aged 65 and over should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week*, or approximately for 30 minutes, five days a week. Yet during the colder months, and as the country faces tightening restrictions over the coming weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be increasingly challenging to prioritise health and fitness and to find motivation. But with many traditionally making new year’s resolutions, the tips aim to help start 2021 on a positive note, through practical advice on how to boost fitness in a fun, safe and engaging way. The tips are accessible for people of all abilities, demonstrating that fitness doesn’t have to be time consuming, and can range from walking to dancing and even hoovering or dusting – anything that gets your wholebody moving counts. Either in person (whilst meeting latest social distancing measures) or via Zoom, doing activities together with loved ones is also an effective way to stay motivated, and reach the weekly target of 150 minutes of activity. Discussing the importance of physical activity in winter, Helen Core, Wellbeing Manager for Anchor Hanover, said: “Winter in the UK can feel very long, dark and cold – that’s why it’s so important that we all look after ourselves and stay active to keep healthy

and in high spirits. “We have developed this accessible, engaging guide of essential tips to staying fit and active to show older people that boosting your fitness doesn’t have to be difficult – any activity that gets you up and moving and your heart beating a little faster, can be extremely beneficial for health and wellbeing. “As we enter the new year, it’s important we stay healthy and positive – so that we’re ready for the brighter months to come.”

TOP TIPS: 1. Break your 30 minutes down into smaller chunks – 3 x 10 minutes is perfect if you are new to activity. Then you can do 2 x 15 minutes and finally the full 30 minutes if you feel up to it. 2. Physical activity means anything at all! You can go for a walk, dance around the living room, do some hoovering or dusting, anything that make you feel a bit warmer and gets your whole body moving. You don’t have to hit the gym! Find what you enjoy, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. 3. Try and make movement functional – sitting down and standing up, pushing and pulling and reaching overhead, stepping up and down. This will help you with everyday tasks. 4. Enlist some support – if you don’t want to walk alone, get a friend to walk with you outside (maintaining a social distance) or dance around your house with people you live with. If you aren’t able to meet face to face then zoom, skype or video call. This will help you stick to a routine as someone will be waiting for you to turn up!

5. 6.

7. 8. 9.

Wear layers – you’ll start to feel a bit warmer as you get moving so you can remove a thin layer at a time as you feel ready. Listen to your body – if anything hurts or doesn’t feel right then stop and rest. Make sure you build up gradually and don’t overdo it if you aren’t used to physical activity. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day – these are guidelines so enjoy your rest day and aim to do some movement the following day. Drink plenty of fluids to accommodate for the extra movement and the fluid lost during it. Make sure you have had something to eat at least 45 minutes before you start to exercise – exercising on a full stomach can cause some issues!

Further information and advice on supporting health and wellbeing can be found on Anchor Hanover’s BeActive page – a curated list of online resources, including exercise routine videos, podcasts and tips on how to keep the mind active. Please visit:

Case Study: How Visioncall Saved Jean’s Sight, And Turned Her Life Around “Your sight is precious, isn’t it?” These are the words of Jean*, an 85-year-old care home resident who underwent lifechanging cataract surgery in 2019, following diagnosis from Visioncall, a leading eye healthcare provider to the care home sector. Formerly almost completely blind, Jean’s carers say that she is now “a whole new woman” since her treatment. Jean came to Cherry Lodge in Birmingham in October 2018, after a fire in her home. She’d been living alone since her husband passed away several years before, and according to carers, was in ‘a state of serious selfneglect’. In those early months at Cherry Lodge, Jean required 24-hour one-to-one assistance, because of her sight issues. “When Jean first came here, she couldn’t see at all,” explains Lauren Kavanagh, Jean’s carer at Cherry Lodge. “She couldn’t see shadows; she couldn’t see if you placed your hand in front of her face – she just couldn’t see a thing. She was very timid and withdrawn. She would be very wary, shouting out to see if someone was there; sometimes, she’d stand up from her chair and start shouting for help, that she couldn’t see.” It was particularly sad for Jean to lose her sight, as she’d been an avid reader, with a particular love of crime stories. “Jean told me that she used to meet her sister in Birmingham city centre every Thursday, and that

they’d go to the library together,” says Lauren. “But that all stopped when her sister died. She sometimes says that she thinks her eyesight went downhill because she read too much.” After her arrival at Cherry Lodge, Jean was diagnosed with dementia, which made things more complicated: “Jean would insist that she could see,” explains Lauren. “When her dementia was at its worst, she would say things like ‘I’m not blind – I don’t know what you’re talking about, I can see everything’. She was in complete denial.” Carers were concerned about Jean’s sight, so they asked Visioncall to visit Jean and make a professional diagnosis. Vic Khurana, Visioncall’s lead optometrist, diagnosed Jean with bilateral cataracts and inflamed eyelids, and referred her to her GP and SpaMedica, a specialist eye hospital in Birmingham. Within a week, Jean had an appointment for cataract surgery. “The surgery was amazing – out of this world,” says Lauren. “I was allowed to be in the operating room with Jean, because of her dementia, and I watched the whole surgery. When it was done, the surgeon asked me to stand beside her, and I said ‘hello’ to her. Jean looked at me, straight in my eyes, and asked how I was! She could see me straightaway.” The changes didn’t stop there, according to Lauren. “I remember coming home with her that day, and she didn’t hold my hand – she got out of the car and walked into the building on her own. This was only one eye that had been treated at this stage, and she’d never seen the building

before, she didn’t know where her room was, but she walked straight in. She immediately began using the bathroom on her own and eating her food by herself – we didn’t need to help her with anything. She got her independence back that day, and it was lifechanging – for Jean, of course, but also for the staff.” Lauren is adamant that it was Cherry Lodge’s partnership with Visioncall that turned Jean’s life around, saying: “I think if Jean had been here at Cherry Lodge sooner, her eyesight and her independence would never have been so badly affected, because Visioncall would have been there to help her before it got to that stage. Visioncall is brilliant; they understand the needs of a care home, the needs of residents, the needs of people with dementia, which is amazing. It’s such a good service.” These days, Jean is very much enjoying her new lease of life at Cherry Lodge. “She’s got a 42-inch TV in her room!”, laughs Lauren. “She watches TV every day, and she reads again too, which is lovely. She enjoys her food again, and she’s much more sociable now, having conversations with everyone. Jean still has some struggles with her dementia, and some days she won’t remember a time when she couldn’t see, but it’s sometimes just nice to sit back and observe her in the communal areas, and remember how far she’s come.” “I honestly think that this experience will be something that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Lauren says. “I’ve never seen such a turnaround on somebody before, how something so small can make such a difference. It helped Jean so much, it has changed her whole life.” To find out more about Visioncall, please visit: *Name has been changed to protect privacy.

Care Home Workers Recognised with Badges From Government A NEW badge to recognise the work of adult social care has been awarded to every member of Encore Care Homes. The green badges from the Department of Health and Social Care are free to staff to help provide greater recognition of their work day-to-day and particularly their extra efforts throughout the Covid pandemic. There are believed to be 1.6 million social care workers in the UK who look after half a million people every day and who stand amongst the 1.4 million NHS workers on the frontline. Encore Care Homes has teams at Great Oaks in Bournemouth, Fairmile Grange in Christchurch, Oakdale in Poole, and Hamble Heights in Fareham. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has championed the lapel badges for adult social care staff which ensure that people working in homes for older and vulnerable people received the ‘same recognition and benefits’ as NHS staff. Lindsay Rees, Director of Health and Care at Encore Care Homes, said: “We are delighted to receive the care badges to present to the team. It is just a small gesture of goodwill and thanks, but I hope it will provide some formal recognition of

how proud we all are to work in adult social care, and how much we value and champion every member of the team.” The badges were presented to each person at Encore Care Homes, which includes care workers, cleaners, catering staff, registered nurses, wellbeing teams, and administrators on a colourful card featuring a thank you message on behalf of their colleagues and the residents that the team look after. Cecilia Thomson, Home Manager at Fairmile Grange, said: “When I told the team that we were going to get these badges, everyone was happy because it makes you proud to wear them. I think people feel valued when they receive something like this and it’s a nationwide initiative so it’s recognisable across the country.” Dave Black, Head Chef at Oakdale Care Home, said: “It’s great to have the badges to recognise what everyone within Encore Care Homes does. I watch these guys work very hard every day and give such good care, so to have this recognised is a great morale boost, especially in these tough times.”


Early Warning – Staffing Under Pressure In Social Care The National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading not-for-profit association for social care providers – have been working with their membership over recent days as it becomes ever more apparent that care providers across the country are finding individual services hit hard by staff absences associated with high levels of community transmission of COVID 19. In a snapshot survey carried out by the NCF, care providers shared what was happening on the ground in their most challenged service. The survey findings provides a clear and loud alarm for government to take note of just how hard COVID-19 is hitting on the frontline with services reporting:• Staffing pressure mounting with reports of individual services reporting between 11% and 40% staff absence and a few services reporting staffing absences of over 50%. • Absences were caused by a combination of COVID-19 positive case being picked up by PCR testing, self-isolation following contact tracing, shielding and childcare responsibilities. • Providers are under huge pressure and, in the very short- term, are having to run services through a combination of offering extra overtime to other staff, bringing in staff from other services and not accepting new referrals or admissions from hospital or the community. Where absences cannot be resolved in-house, care providers were using agency staff – however this is not a sustainable position and must be addressed before social care is overwhelmed.

Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the NCF says: “It is essential that government takes heed of this early warning signal that care services are under immense pressure. Staff in care services have been at the very front line of this battle against COVID-19 for over 11 months, and are shattered both physically and emotionally. In the midst of this, individuals and teams are stepping up once again to flex and cover large- scale staff absences brought about by a combination of testing, self-isolation, shielding and childcare. They are undoubtedly heroes, but asking them to do this over and again is not sustainable. “While the recent focus has been on the pressure being experienced by hospitals and the NHS, this is a red flag that pressure is mounting in the social care sector too. We must pay close attention to this as social care is integral to the overall system. If people cannot be supported to leave hospital, whether that is by moving into a care home or having care at home, then the whole system will fail. NHS saves lives – but so does social care – and it must be properly supported to ensure that it can play its vital role in making the whole system work for communities. “Action is needed now to ensure social care services can provide the care and support so desperately needed. Additional capacity needs to be resourced and built into care services to allow for full staffing to be available in the light of short-term absences of the nature that services are seeing during this period of exceptionally high community transmission. Vaccination for care workers must be delivered at pace, and we need prioritised turnaround of testing from care homes. Every day that we turn a blind eye to the challenges facing social care, our chances of addressing the equally pressing challenges in health care are diminished. The time for action is now. “

Looking Forwards Rather than Backwards Safeguards Wellbeing During Covid-19 Lockdowns In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Surrey investigated the effectiveness of three psychological interventions -- nostalgia, a sentimentality for the past; gratitude, recognising the good things currently in our life; and best possible self, thinking about positive elements of the future -- and how they each affect wellbeing during lockdowns. Personal characteristics such as emotion regulation (the ability to respond to and manage an emotional experience) and attachment orientations (how a person views their relationships to others) were also examined. It is believed that such traits may be an indicator of how an individual responds to lockdowns. Investigating which intervention was the most effective, researchers worked with 216 participants who were each assigned to one of four groups, each one practicing either nostalgia, gratitude or best possible self, plus a control group. Those practicing a nostalgic approach were instructed to think of a sentimental memory in their life that occurred before the lockdown; for gratitude, participants were encouraged to list three things that went well in their day and why this was; and for best possible self those involved were asked to think about where they imagine themselves in the future after lockdown has lifted. Those in the control group were each asked to recall the plot of a recent television or film they had viewed. Participants were then asked about their thoughts and feelings. Researchers found that those who participated in the best possible self and gratitude interventions reported higher levels of social connectedness than those who practiced nostalgia. Those in the best possible self group were also found to experience significantly more positive emotion than those in the nostalgia group. Researchers believe that gratitude and best possible self direct attention towards positive aspects of a person’s life by

giving them hope and prevent individuals from dwelling on their current situation. Amelia Dennis, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Surrey, said: “All three interventions have proven beneficial to people experiencing a difficult time in their life. However, as lockdowns have continued people have been presented with unusual challenges and many have struggled. We found that looking to the future and appreciating what is positive in our lives currently is more psychologically beneficial than reminiscing about the past. “The current restrictions and any future lockdowns have removed our sense of control of our lives. For the sake of our wellbeing, we need to acknowledge what we do have rather than regretting what we have lost.” Participants were also surveyed on their personal characteristics regarding attachment and emotion regulation. Researchers found that those with low attachment anxiety (i.e. believe they are worthy of love) and those with lower attachment avoidance (i.e. inclined to feel others are trustworthy) were most likely to experience greater wellbeing during lockdown. Those with higher emotion regulation were also found to be more resilient to their current circumstances, which protects their overall wellbeing. Jane Ogden, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Surrey, said: “The two lockdowns last year dramatically affected our mental and emotional wellbeing and it is likely any future ones will have the same affect. Reports of increased levels of depression and anxiety are worrying because these can negatively impact upon our physical health. It is important that we understand which psychological techniques can most benefit and support people during unsettling and difficult times.”


Call for New Year Social Care Reform A campaigner says his New Year wish is for the reform of care of older and vulnerable people to be an urgent Government priority now that Brexit is done. Mike Padgham, Chair of The Independent Care Group (ICG), says the arrival of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine is excellent and provides light at the end of the tunnel. But he said that light could get even brighter if 2021 was the year social care got the reform it has long been promised. Mr Padgham said: “2020 has been a dreadful year. Covid-19 has taken a dreadful toll and it is not done with us yet. We have seen a further 600 deaths reported for care settings earlier this month and sadly more are still to come. “Our thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one this year. “Thankfully, we do now have greater hope thanks to the addition of the Oxford vaccine to our armoury. “This should mean that the mass rollout of the vaccinations can begin in earnest to vulnerable people, including those in care and nursing homes and the people who care for them, giving us a positive start to the New Year. “And then what would make it a truly happy New Year would be for that to be followed swiftly by reform of the social care sector. “Care providers proved during Covid-19 that they provide vital care to the most vulnerable and they have waited far too long for reform. 2021 must be the year it happens. “Now that Brexit is done Boris Johnson must get social care done with the same sense of urgency. Nothing is impossible. No more excuses. He needs to tell the treasury this is going to happen. No more prevarication.

“Covid-19 exposed a fragile and vulnerable social care system, and it is only through the super-human efforts of its staff that we have pulled through. We cannot go on any longer with a system that is in crisis. “Social care needs its Nye Bevan moment; someone to come along and grasp the issue, create a solution, and go down in history as the person who solved how to look after the country’s oldest and most vulnerable. “If this is to be Boris Johnson, he has what is perhaps his last opportunity to deliver after so many broken promises on social care reform. “The parallels with Bevan and his creation of the NHS are clear: the current system is failing a vulnerable section of society and needs reform. As Bevan did with healthcare, so the time is ripe for someone to create a system where the best in care can be provided to our oldest and most vulnerable. “Not only would Boris go down in history as someone who succeeded where others have failed, but he would surely create a legacy for himself and be known for something very special indeed.” The ICG points to 1.4m people going without the care they need, £8bn cut from social care budgets since 2010-11 and 100,000 vacancies in the care sector on any one day as evidence that social care needs urgent help. Mr Padgham added: “Reform is long overdue; the Prime Minister has repeatedly promised it and it is time to deliver. Unless we get more funding into the sector to support care, ease the staffing shortages and improve the terms and conditions of the staff providing amazing care, the sector will continue to be extremely fragile The ICG wants to see: • A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded • NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally • Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance • A guarantee that people receiving publicly funded care can receive it in their own home or close to where they live • A commissioner for older people and those with Learning Disabilities in England • A properly costed national rate for care fees linked to a national career pathway and salary framework for care staff

• Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease • A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care • A cap on social care costs, including ‘hotel’ charges • Local Enterprise Partnerships to prioritise social care • A national scheme to ensure people save for their own care, as they do for a pension • A new model of social care delivery based on catchment areas – like GPs • Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT • CQC to have much greater powers to oversee all commissioning practises such as per minute billing and 15-minute visits • Less duplication of inspection between CQC and local authorities/CCGs • Greater recognition of the role of the independent sector and utilisation of its expertise in the commissioning and delivery of social care • Guaranteed equal partnership working through seats on Health and Well Being Boards, CCGs, and NHS • Giving providers and CQC greater flexibility in delivering services • Providing telemedicine incentives • Allowing nurses and social care staff from overseas to work in the U.K. including lowering the salary cap • Training and bursaries to encourage recruitment/end the shortage of nurses • Long term measures to integrate older and younger people in care settings and change the perception of the generations • Investment in research and development into new models of social care delivery • Funding to help upgrade older care homes to maintain a range of choice for the public and investment in domiciliary care • Funding for leadership training. The figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 602 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes in the week up to 18th December, up from 532 the previous week and 544 the week before that. Some 19,568 people died from Covid19 in care and nursing homes between 28th December 2019 and 18th December.

Longest-Serving Care Home Resident Gets Vaccine Dose for 80th Birthday - and Urges Others to Get Theirs The longest-serving resident at a Camden-based care home got an early birthday present this weekend, after receiving his first Covid-19 vaccination. John Beaver, who turns 80 on Tuesday 26 January, received the first of two OxfordAstraZeneca injections at Rathmore House care home in Swiss Cottage on Sunday (10 January). Rathmore House and Compton Lodge, both owned by Central and Cecil (C&C), were the first Camden care homes to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine. John, who moved into Rathmore House nearly nine years ago (May 2012) was thrilled – and somewhat relieved – to receive his special birthday gift! Reflecting on receiving the vaccine, John said: “When the team called my name to have the vaccination, I was a little apprehensive at first but really grateful to have been offered it. They asked me a few questions and then

gave me the jab. “I did not feel a thing. I have had no side effects that they mentioned I might feel over the days immediately after having the injection. I know some people – particularly the most vulnerable – are still feeling worried about it. I would now recommend anyone with any doubts to go ahead and have it done as soon as they can. “Living in a care home, I’m lucky to receive so much support. But life for care home residents is even more restricted than for others. So I’m looking forward to returning to how things were before the pandemic as soon as is possible.” John is now awaiting his second and final dose of the vaccine which is expected to be administered in March.

MAG OZONE GENERATOR Emits ozone through the air sanitising surfaces and killing bacteria, microorganisms and viruses including COVID-19 while eliminating unpleasant odours


01451 604708



Covid Vaccinations, Capacity and Care Homes By Jonathan Landau, barrister at 5 Essex Court (

Vaccinations of care home residents have begun. In 2013 the Alzheimer’s Society estimated that 70 – 80 per cent of care home residents have dementia. Given the consistent trend of residents being admitted to care homes later in life and with more complex needs, that figure may now be higher. Some, though not all, of those residents will lack capacity to make the decision as to whether they should be vaccinated. How should care homes and care staff approach the issue? On 10 December, the NHS published a Standard Operating Procedure titled ‘COVID-19 local vaccination services deployment in community settings. It included, as Appendix D, an operating model for providing local vaccination services in care homes. The SOP, and in particular Appendix D, was significantly updated on 18 December, so care home providers and

managers should ensure they are following the latest version and regularly check for further updates. The key message is that providers are expected to help facilitate consent, but are not themselves responsible for best interest decisions. The updated Appendix D asks care homes to carry out ‘provisional’ assessments at least four days before vaccinations and to group residents into three broad categories: • Those who are likely to have mental capacity to consent • Those who have or may require a Legal Power of Attorney (LPA) to consent on their behalf. Although not expressly stated, it would of course make sense to include anyone with a Court of Protection appointed deputy covering healthcare decisions into this category. • Those who may require a best interest decision to be made on their behalf. In order to do that, it will be necessary to have a working knowledge of capacity. There are two elements of not having capacity: 1. An impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain; and 2. Being unable to make a decision because of that. A person is unable to make a decision under the Mental Capacity Act if they are not able to do one or more of the following: 1. Understand the information relevant to the decision, 2. Retain the information long enough to make the decision, 3. Weigh up the information, and 4. Communicate the decision. Information relevant to the decision is likely to include that the vaccination will reduce the chances of contracting the virus, which is a serious, lifethreatening illness. It will also include information that vaccinations are not 100% effective and there may be some side effects which are mild and should not last longer than a week. The side-effects are set out helpfully here: Care homes must remember, however, than under the Mental Capacity

Act, a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success. Consideration should be given as to what steps, if any, could be taken to help residents make the decision themselves. There are standard letters and consent forms to be provided to any residents with capacity available here: esidents. For those without consent, care homes should identify whether residents have LPAs in place covering health and care. Check if they are joint (which would require all LPAs to consent) or joint and several (in which case one LPA would suffice, though it would be sensible to obtain views of all). Again, there are standard letters and forms available on the link above. For those without capacity or LPAs, the decision-maker will need to make a decision in their best interests. The decision-maker in this case is the clinician who will administer the vaccine NOT the care home provider or its staff. However, the link above has forms and letters to be sent to relatives if it is appropriate to consult them. It is sensible that care homes do as much as possible to line up the information the decision-maker will require on the day so discussing the issue with appropriate family members and others is to be encouraged. There may be isolated cases where those with capacity or LPAs refuse vaccinations, or family members object, possibly due to misinformation or scepticism. Such cases should be identified early. Managers should share information about the benefits of vaccinations but without exerting pressure that might affect the validity of the consent. Advice should be sought as early as possible in any cases of conflict or if there doubt about capacity or best interests.

Jonathan Landau is a barrister at 5 Essex Court who has extensive experience of advising care homes about mental capacity, inquests and regulatory matters.

Heanor Park Care Home - Winner of Client of the Year at the Lux Awards* 2020 The Circadian Plus solution includes bespoke lighting design, smart lighting software and spectrum-controlled lights – creating a truly revolutionary solution that has resident health and wellbeing at the forefront. The impact of the lighting at Heanor Park has significantly reduced resident falls, increased engagement, and has improved sleep-wake cycles. Check out our case study video to understand more at The term Circadian Lighting is defined as lighting that replicates natural light (as closely as possible) to support human circadian rhythms, otherwise known as our internal body clock. We are all governed, to some degree, by our internal body clock - the timing, intensity and colour of light are key factors in regulating our sleep and wake patterns.

Disturbances in the circadian rhythm can have a physiological and mental impact, and often causes poor sleep patterns. Many factors can influence our circadian rhythms, such as exercise/movement and food intake. However, by combining them with new interactions with our non-image forming light receptors, we can achieve excellent results in the care home setting where residents tend to struggle to spend time outdoor where they can be exposed to the benefits of natural light. Some of the main benefits of circadian lighting are: • Improved sleep • Improved mood • Less risk of developing certain mental and physical health conditions • Reduction in errors and accidents

• Faster cognitive processing • Increased alertness at the right times of day • Can aid with the rehabilitation of certain medical conditions e.g. brain injuries • Can be beneficial for elderly residents and people with Alzheimer’s disease To understand more about the importance of care home lighting visit ‘We’re seeing a greater level of engagement from the residents during the day because the lighting is helping their body clock become alert and ready for the day…we’re not seeing people falling asleep in their chair or not wanting to engage in activities’. - David Poxton, Managing Director of Heanor Park Care Home * The Lux Awards are designed to celebrate and reward both creativity and sustainability, recognising clients and end-users that have used lighting in exceptional ways to improve their lit environment, reduce energy and achieve business objectives.


• Advice on CQC Regulation

• Sponsor Licences

• Skilled Worker Visa Queries

• Buying & Selling Care Homes

• EU Settlement Scheme

Get the right legal advice – call us on 020 3475 4321 for a free initial consultation A S TON BR OOKE S OLI C I TOR S – working with you to deliver the best results for your care home


Cup of Tea Brightens the Day and the Mind If you enjoyed a cup of tea and mince pie this festive season, you may be refreshing more than your palate, as research shows a good brew improves the attention span in those over 85-years-old. The skills we see maintained in this group of very old may not only be due to the compounds present in tea, but it may also be the rituals of making a pot of tea or sharing a chat over a cup of tea are just as importantIn a study from Newcastle University, tea drinkers who enjoyed more than five cups a day were shown to have more focus and sustained attention span. They also demonstrated better psychomotor skills – those linking brain and movement. In tests, they showed better accuracy and speed of reaction which could help in daily activities such as completing a jigsaw, sewing or driving a car. The researchers studied the tea-drinking habits of those over 85 living in their own homes or in assisted accommodation and found that those who drank more than five cups of tea a day – with or without milk – performed better at certain cognitive tests. Dr Edward Okello, Principal Investigator, Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University led the research. He said: “The skills we see maintained in this group of very old may not only be due to the compounds present in tea, but it may also be the rituals of making a pot of tea

Dr. Ed Okello enjoying a cup of tea. or sharing a chat over a cup of tea are just as important.” The research used data from the flagship Newcastle 85+ Study involving more than one thousand 85-year-olds from Newcastle and North Tyneside.

Started in 2006, studies are still continuing to this day with around 200 participants as they become centenarians. Research nurses gather information by visiting participants in their own homes to complete a health assessment made up of questionnaires, measurements, function tests and a fasting blood test. Examining the consumption of black tea, Camellia sinensis, the researchers were looking for evidence that it protected against memory loss (cognitive decline). They found that higher tea consumption was associated with significantly better attention (focused and sustained attention), and psychomotor speed (complex tasks only) over the five years but there was no association between tea consumption and overall measures of memory (global cognitive function) or performance on simple speed tasks. The researchers suggest the findings mean that black tea should be considered for the very old in any diet which aims to improve attention and psychomotor speed. “We now know that enjoying a cup of tea quenches your thirst and has benefits for over 85s attention span,” adds Dr Okello, “What better excuse do we need for enjoying a cuppa together?”

1000-mile Drive for Dementia Road Trip Raises £3000 for Alzheimer’s Society A convoy of modern classic cars that toured England, Wales and Scotland has raised £3000 for Alzheimer’s Society. The ‘Drive for Dementia’ campaign was the brainchild of friends Pete Shergill, Craig Johnson, and Harj Sadhra who all work in the UK’s care and care home sectors. The fundraiser combined their love of modern classic cars with their quest to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia, which currently affects 885,000 people in the UK, and around 70% of people living in care homes. The trio drove 1000 miles over four days, making scheduled, socially distanced stops at care homes and home care providers in Uttoxeter, North Wales, Lockerbie, Wetherby, Leeds, and Burton Upon Trent. Pete Shergill is UK Director of PainChek,® the company behind the world’s first intelligent pain assessment tool that uses artificial intelligence via a mobile device to detect micro-expressions in the face that indicate pain. Pete drove his Ford Focus ST, Harj Sadhra his BMW Z3 convertible, and engineer Craig Johnson the support vehicle. Pete says: “Alzheimer’s Society is transforming the landscape of dementia forever, and now more than ever, needs financial support so it is able to maintain its vital support and specialist services for people living with dementia and those caring for them. Driving for Dementia is our way of supporting Alzheimer’s Society and we are delighted to have hit our £3000 fundraising target.” Ryan Stanley, Community Fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society West

Midlands says: “We are extremely grateful to Pete, Craig and Harj for raising £3000 with their Drive for Dementia fundraiser. It is an incredible achievement in the current climate and will go a huge way in making a difference to people whose lives are affected by dementia. “Over the last 7 months, demand for our services has increased, and people living with dementia are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, with 1 in every 4 deaths relating to coronavirus being someone

living with dementia. During this time, we are also expecting to lose between 30-40% of our income due to cancelled fundraising events, which is why every supporter means so much to us, and we can’t thank Pete, Craig and Harj enough for their support.” PainChek,® which was founded on research from Curtin University in Western Australia, is currently used in 25% of the country’s aged care facilities, benefitting around 50,000 people living with dementia, and launched in the UK earlier this year. Pete adds: “About half of people living with dementia suffer from pain, but they are often unable to verbalise they have pain, and sadly, it goes unmanaged and untreated. Dementia does not cause pain, but a person with dementia is more susceptible to increased levels of pain compared to others as they have a higher risk of falls, accidents and injury. “PainChek is a CE-marked pain assessment tool, powered by AI, available as a point-of-care app on mobile devices, which takes a three-second video of a person’s face and applies AI to identify facial micro-expressions indicative of pain. This information is then automatically combined with other non-facial indicators of pain, recorded by a carer on a digital checklist, and an overall pain score generated.” PainChek® is available for download – subject to a user enterprise licence - on the Apple App Store and Google Play, and can be operated via any compatible smart device at the point of care. To further information, email: or visit:

Eurovision Winner Joins Dorset Care Home’s Companionship Team Music fans among the residents at a Dorset care home have begun enjoying regular live performances in their lounge from a Eurovision Song Contest winner. Colten Care has appointed Nicky Stevens from pop group Brotherhood of Man as a Companionship Team Member at its Ferndown home, Amberwood House. Nicky and the band gained worldwide fame when they won Eurovision in 1976 with the song Save Your Kisses for Me. It went on to be a number one hit in 33 countries, holding the top spot in the UK for six weeks and becoming one of the most successful Eurovision songs ever. A classically trained singer and pianist, Nicky has been a professional musician all her adult life and a member of Brotherhood of Man since 1972. Like many other performers, she and the band had been looking forward to a busy season of gigs until the Covid crisis brought much of the live music industry to a halt. Nicky, still the only Welsh person to have won Eurovision, said: “I’ve spent 48 years in Brotherhood of Man with same line-up of four people. We sometimes joke that we’re ‘still working and walking’. However, because of the pandemic, all our work was wiped out. We had a very full diary planned but our last gig was in March 2020. I am also a voice coach

and a singing teacher and I run a choir. I was really busy then suddenly had nothing. Just by luck I was on a week’s holiday and saw an ad for Colten Care entertainers and companions. I applied, had an interview and got the job.” Nicky, who lives in Corfe Mullen, Dorset, now works three days a week at Outstanding-rated Amberwood House. “It’s absolutely fantastic” she said. “I’ve had such a warm welcome from the staff and residents. It’s a totally new scenario for me, going into a work-

Rapid Testing During Lockdown - NEW Panodyne Combined COVID-19 & Influenza Flu Virus Test Kit

With the increased infection rates across the UK and the new lockdown restrictions, early detection of the virus through rapid antigen testing is more crucial than ever in controlling the spread of the virus to save lives. Multibrands International Ltd is now launching a new combined Panodyne COVID-19 & Influenza Flu virus Antigen Test Kit to help test against both viruses and provide clear results with up to 98% accuracy within 15 minutes. As we are in the middle of winter, this is particularly helpful in the vulnerable section of the population susceptible to the influenza flu virus. Multibrands International Ltd already supplies a growing number of care homes and healthcare facilities with its Panodyne COVID SARS-CoV2 Rapid Antigen Test Kit alongside its Panodyne Rapid Antibody test kit, which helps assess the body’s immune response to the virus by detecting the presence of antibodies after the infection has gone. With the Government’s plan to roll-out LTF rapid testing to schools and secondary schools in January, the Panodyne range of rapid Covid-19 tests can help make the numbers.

The company has also registered interest from local councils who feel that essential workers such as bin collectors, cleaners and other service providers who are working throughout the pandemic, need rapid testing to carry on safely. Equally, food stores and supermarkets along with a lot of businesses, large and small are still operating during lockdown such as the Royal mail, banks and construction industry to name a few. As the New business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in his open letter to the construction industry yesterday 12/01/21 in the Construction Enquirer: “I would like to take this opportunity to restate the Government position, which is that firms and tradespeople in the construction sector and its supply chain, including merchants, suppliers and product manufacturers, should continue to operate during this national lockdown.” Hence, rapid test kits such as the Panodyne COVID-19 Antigen test kit or indeed the new combined Covid-19 & Flu virus test kit is a vital screening tool for businesses and schools that have to remain open during and beyond lockdown. There’s no doubt that early detection through rapid testing will help keep staff, students and customers safe until the vaccine is rolled-out to the rest of the population. All Multibrands COVID-19 test kits are CE certified and approved for use by healthcare professionals and trained staff. For further information call 01274 307310 or visit

place where people are doing different jobs, but everybody is really lovely to me.” Nicky sings and plays a range of music for residents including 50s and 60s hits, jazz standards and songs from the war years. She is currently planning a ‘Cockney afternoon’ featuring old London singalongs. “Music is so therapeutic and uplifting,” she said. “The residents tell me they really love it. Some join in straight away if they know the tune. One lady calls me her ‘little nightingale’. They know I can sing but some don’t know I won Eurovision. I would like to say they are in total awe but they just accept you are performing and appreciate it. As long as they enjoy what I’m doing with them, that’s the main thing.” As well as her career in music, Nicky has done voluntary work in a hospital in Essex for people living with dementia and other mental health issues. Nicky said: “I have a great learning curve every day. It’s a joy to be able to contribute to the wellbeing of the residents and provide stimulation for them through varied experiences and activities. They are always pleased to see new faces. So many elderly people around the world are not seeing their families as much because of the pandemic. Witnessing our residents being happy because of what we do as a team makes all our work so worthwhile.”


Supporting Carers at Work: The Role of Employers This has led to more people considering a career in social care, however this can put pressure on employers when it comes to supporting carers at work. Bernadette Mossman, Healthcare Director at specialist dementia care provider Vida Healthcare, discusses how social care providers can support carers through opportunities for career progression, mental health initiatives, and programmes to improve physical health, to engender loyalty and decrease turnover.

awards where staff members are nominated, and events such as Christmas parties. This will highlight to carers that they’re valued, and also give them a chance to destress and socialise with their colleagues.


The pandemic has led to some of the biggest challenges ever seen by the social care sector, however its crucial role in caring for our vulnerable population has been highlighted and brought to the forefront of the public’s consciousness. Recent research released earlier in the year1 found that since the start of the pandemic, almost two thirds (64%) of the public are more aware of the care industry, and 70 percent of people now value social care staff on a par with the NHS workforce.

Employers must encourage staff to consider social care as a career, rather than just a job, and drive their passion when it comes to caring for society’s most vulnerable. Investment in career opportunities will inspire more people to become interested in a role within social care, and make current carers feel supported in their ambitions. Employers should show compassion and interest in the personal development of employees to create a positive workplace culture and working environment which retains existing staff and attracts new talent. This has been particularly important during COVID-19, where increasing pressures have led to many carers feeling unable to cope and unsupported by their employer. At Vida Healthcare, we’ve always invested in progression, but have made a concerted effort to offer career opportunities during the pandemic to engender loyalty within our staff. Our most recent investment has been in the development of our training platform, Vida Academy. Launched in July 2020, the platform provides learning resources and career development tools for staff to deliver best practice and identify new skills.


Photo credit: Iza Habur

While investment in career development and opportunities is important, employers need to consider the mental health of their carers. A mental health crisis within a care setting can lead to ineffective care delivery, high staff turnover, and a place of work which doesn’t attract new talent. Counselling services, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can give staff the confidential and private space they need to explore their experiences, improve their mental health, and give them a voice if they feel they aren’t being heard. Connectivity with residents and their family members is also crucial. Opportunities to develop personal relationships with residents is important to engender trust and reduce stress, while connectivity with family members enables carers to showcase the crucial work they’re doing. Connections with family members is also likely to drive positive testimonials which will provide carers with a sense of achievement and purpose in what they’re doing. Employers can also show their gratitude through initiatives such as

PHYSICAL HEALTH Good physical health is crucial for carers to successfully carry out their role, and employers can invest in a number of initiatives to keep their workforce physically healthy. Free flu jabs should be offered to every member of staff, particularly in the run up to winter. This will not only protect staff and their family members, but also reduce the risk of cross infection between carers and the people they care for. Significant investment, particularly during the pandemic, must be made in PPE to keep both staff and residents protected and safe. This will secure greater physical health within staff, but also ensure greater positivity when it comes to attitudes towards their employer.

NEXT STEPS Previously, employers haven’t invested enough in supporting carers at work which has led to poor mental health, high staff turnover, and a sector which struggles to attract talent. If employers consider numerous initiatives this will engender trust between staff and employers, create a positive workplace, and enable carers to deliver the level of support required by the vulnerable people they care for. For more information about supporting carers at work and initiatives that can be put in place, please visit

What to Look for When Choosing Care Home Furniture by Dwayne Cook (Head of Care Interiors at Spearhead - Choosing Care Home furniture can be an extensive and quite expensive process, as a balance needs to be achieved between functionality in the care environment, quality, and style. Spearhead has over 30 years of experience supplying to the care sector, and over the years, we understand that care home furniture needs to meet certain requirements to be not only functional, but also improve the life of care home residents. When selecting care home furniture, it is essential to understand the use and suitability of each furniture piece, for example, when choosing dining or coffee tables, it is essential to check that the tables have rounded corners, to minimise risk of injuries from sharp corners. Dining chairs should have the option of adding skis, as skis provide extra stability, greater chair longevity and also make moving the chair over both carpet and vinyl flooring a lot easier, which ultimately helps the carers. Moreover, having a guarantee for the furniture you pur-

chase provides not only peace of mind, but also a quality statement. For soft furnishings like curtains, bedding, and upholstery fabrics, it is essential for these to be flame retardant to the relevant British Standards. This is quite crucial as in the event of a fire, having the appropriate furnishings can save lives. Lastly, selecting fabrics with antimicrobial properties has proven to be significant for infection control in care homes. Specifically, choosing the right fabric and wipe clean finish prevents the spread of germs and ensures an outstanding environment for your care home. Spearhead recently launched a range of fast delivery furniture with fabrics that incorporate this technology as standard. Spearhead Care Interiors specialists help you to make informed choices, ensuring that a seamless buying experience from choosing furniture through to delivery is achieved.

Big Garden Birdwatch 2021: Here’s Why The Care Sector Should Get Involved The RSPB’s chief executive Beccy Speight said: “We know that for many people, garden birds provide an important connection to the wider world and bring enormous joy. Lockdown brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people. There has been a broad and much-needed realisation that nature is an important and necessary part of our lives especially for our mental health and wellbeing. But nature needs us too.”


With the UK entering its third national lockdown, and care homes being amongst the hardest hit part of society, it is always getting trickier to find new ways to boost morale and keep residents motivated and upbeat. This year’s Birdwatch is coming up on January 29th-31st, and it encompasses a fun yet simple activity that can be used to uplift the mood of residents of the care sector, who are undergoing both tremendous isolation from their loved ones, and also may be living with and processing the grief caused by losing fellow residents due to coronavirus. Each year thousands of people across the UK participate in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch - an initiative where the public is invited to spend one hour watching and making note of which birds appear in their garden, outside their window, or in their local park, and then send their results to the RSPB. These results are used to create an updated set of data that reveals insight into bird numbers across the UK. The Big Garden Birdwatch is a fantastic opportunity - with almost half a million people getting involved in the Birdwatch every year, participants can feel connected by the shared experience of contributing to a nationwide project, during a time where residents are particularly isolated and experiencing long-term separation from their loved ones. Also, engaging with nature through a structured activity, as well as the sensory stimulation of sights and sounds, can help maintain physical and mental wellbeing, particularly for those living with dementia.

Sean McMenemy, garden wildlife expert and Director of Ark Wildlife Ltd, has supplied bird feed to many care homes and shared countless enriching bird experiences with the residents there, including those who are blind and deaf. Such great pleasure can be brought to residents when they are encouraged to interact with the nature and wildlife around them. There are a wide range of benefits that accompany engagement with nature. An activity like birdwatching is perfect for residents of the care sector, particularly during lockdown, because it can be flexible depending on the needs of the individual or the carer. Whether this entails stepping outside to watch the birds, or observing them through a window, the act of appreciating surrounding wildlife keeps the mind stimulated, and can improve mood. On the benefits of getting involved in the Birdwatch, Sean says: “Remaining positive and keeping the mind stimulated whilst stuck inside is difficult, but there's always room for learning more even in someone's later years. Gazing out the window, or exploring the garden is a great way to engage the mind. Counting, recording, drawing, observing and identifying visiting birds are all valuable learning opportunities that are fun and engaging.” “Spending time watching or walking in nature has been shown to benefit both mind and body, and this is as true for older people as well as young. Sitting quietly in fresh air or walking in open spaces calms the mind and body, it balances our physiology and promotes production of positive hormones. Slowing to the pace of nature and it’s natural rhythms is greatly beneficial by providing a sense of escape from the everyday routine, which is especially valuable during a lockdown when each day brings a lack of variation. Time spent in nature is never wasted.” “Birds are very present in all our lives. Even those who say they ‘know nothing’ when asked, are surprised when questioned about common birds. Once minds are opened, people can often identify a dozen or more birds they didn’t realise they knew.”

HOW CAN YOU TAKE PART IN THE BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH IN A CARE SETTING? The way you choose to take part in The Big Garden Birdwatch in your specific care home setting can be versatile depending on the circumstances and capabilities of the residents. Whether residents are relatively immobile or very active, the birdwatching activity can be adapted to suit their needs. For residents on bed rest, carers can create a comfortable indoor set up for birdwatching by putting a chair or bed near the window. For residents who are able to use a wheelchair, perhaps you can make the most of the outdoor care home grounds to enjoy the birds, and for those who are able to walk, birdwatching can be an opportunity to take part in light exercise through slow walks around the care home grounds.

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND THAT WILL MAKE THE BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH AS MUCH OF A WORTHWHILE EXPERIENCE AS POSSIBLE: Be flexible. Although the official event asks the public to watch for one hour on a specific weekend, do not be afraid to do whatever suits the schedule of carers, nurses and residents. Print out some visual prompts. Having images to hand of what birds to look out for (which can be found on an RSPB resource) will help those participating feel confident in spotting the correct creatures. This could be particularly helpful for those living with dementia as the colourful pictures may help recall memories. Remain patient. When birdwatching, birds may not necessarily appear straight away so it is important to encourage residents to make the most of all the beautiful sights and sounds that can be experienced in nature, such as other animals or plants swaying in the wind. Use your ears just as much as your eyes. The sound of birds calling or singing can be a powerful trigger for memory recall, and can also help relieve stress. If looking through a window from indoors makes it difficult to hear sounds, you could even try playing bird songs from a phone or laptop to elevate the experience for the residents. Use sunflower seeds to attract more birds. Spreading sunflower seeds for birds (shells removed) out onto your outdoor space can have a big impact on the number and diversity of birds that are attracted to the area. So if there seems to be a lack of birds around, this tip could create a more exciting birdwatch experience!


Say Hello to Martyn - The Carer's “Christmas Unsung Hero” 2020 We are delighted to announce The Carer's Unsung Hero for Christmas 2020! And the winner is… Martyn Davies, who is registered manager and owner of Urmston Manor care home in Manchester. Martyn has done a magnificent job in steering the home not only during the current pandemic, but turning the home around, which saw the home receiving a CQC ‘outstanding’ rating overall. Martyn is a registered nurse and said his is “the most rewarding job in the world.” Martyn moved to Manchester at age 16 from South Wales and first worked as a kitchen porter at Tampopo in the Trafford Centre washing dishes before starting in the kitchen of a Manchester care home and is now running his own care home! Martyn and his team go above and beyond for the 24 residents aged 62 to 97 that live at Urmston Manor, and here is a small selection of the accolades we received from Martin’s nomination. “Martyn goes above and beyond to not just ensure the physical health of my grandmother and all other residents but also their happiness.” “What Martyn does in 'normal' times is extraordinary. What he has done this year has been well above the 'call of duty' and he thoroughly deserves recognition for all he has done for the residents and their families.” “He works in this industry because he has a passion for caring and entertaining and does his utmost to make sure everyone is well looked after, including staff and residents’ families. The events they hold throughout the days, the themed nights inviting family and friends (although we've not been able to do that recently) and the building of a perspex box, near the start of the pandemic, are just some of the ways he enables and encourages residents and families to interact.” “Martyn is very approachable and easy to speak to about any concerns. He has gone out of this way to find out about mum's likes and dislikes, and tries to accommodate them. He often phones me to find out needs for my mum, and also to give updates on any developments. I guess this is the same for all families. Before Covid, there was always plenty to do for the residents - trips out to local restaurants and pubs, cinema visits and days out, which were all managed with ease. There were many activities in the home too, which mum was encouraged to do. Martyn is very hands-on so all the residents know him.” “Martyn managed to keep the coronavirus out of the home till recently, and through careful management, it did not spread throughout the home - all my mum’s tests were negative. He was one of the first people to install a visiting pod

so relatives could see their loved ones again. There have been very few staff changes which suggests that they are very happy working there. I get the impression he goes out of his way to look after them too.” “He is a person who goes the extra mile and is continuously overlooked for the work he does. He is dedicated to the health wellbeing and safety of his residents and staff. “ “During the current pandemic he has devised ways to keep the residents happy and engaged. He's pre-empted Govt guidelines on social distancing. His record on Covid testing for staff and residents is phenomenal. I could not wish for my father to be cared for by better staff or a better manager.” “There are not enough words to express how much I believe this Man is worthy of this award. He is so committed to his work and clearly compassionate about his staff and the wellbeing of all his residents. “ “Our father became a resident at Urmston Manor after spending many days there on Day Care and unfortunately because of the Pandamic he was taken into the Home as my Mother was struggling to care for him, as a family this was a very stressful time for us all and it was only because of Martyn’s kind ways that we all soon had peace of mind that Dad was being cared for with such love and care during these very difficult times. Martyn would call my Mum regular to make sure she was Ok and give her regular updates on Dad. So his care and thoughtfulness went also outside of the doors of the Manor.” “When I get old, I hope I find someone like Martyn to take care of me, he truly is a Gentleman with a massive heart.” “Martyn has only been my boss for a short time and after 3 weeks of working with him I contracted covid 19 and then continued to be off work for about a following 3 weeks. Martyn contacted me every day and more to check if I was ok, how I was doing, asked everytime if there was anything I needed to be collected, delivered and to ring if I needed anything whether it be a Mac Donald's or a truffle shuffle to cheer me up, I feel I have gained a true friend during my time of illness and been lucky enough to have found a great boss! Martyn is the perfect nominee x” What more could we possibly say! Other than very well-done Martyn, you are a true example of community nursing an absolute credit to this wonderful industry! I would like to thank everybody who sent in nominations for various members of staff in many different departments, we had some absolutely fantastic and heart-warming nominations and once again I only wish we could award you all! All the very best wishes to Martyn and his team and the very best wishes for 2021.

Residents with Learning Disabilities at Leicester Care Home Receive Life Changing Vaccination Residents at Famille House in Leicester, a support partnership for people who are living with learning disabilities, have now all received the first dose of their vaccinations against COVID-19. All the home’s residents were pleased to receive the vaccine, which represents a significant step towards a return to normality for the care home on Station Road. Staff and residents are now calling on the public to have the jab as soon as they’re able, to speed up the reopening of society. Fay March, resident at Famille House, said: “I am over the moon to have received the first dose of the vaccine and hope that you will get it too when you have the chance.”

Dawn Bexon, manager of Famille House, said: “We are thrilled that we have been able to provide residents with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It will change the lives of our residents and provides us with hope that the pandemic will end soon.” John Godden MBE, CEO of Salutem Care and Education, which owns and operates Famille House, added: “The distribution of this vaccine is a fantastic way to start the new year 2021! There is real hope now, that as more and more vulnerable people like our wonderful residents at Famille House receive this lifechanging inoculation, a return to normal life is just around the corner.”


Out of the Crisis Come New Opportunities for Care Workers Those in charge of looking after the health of our care home residents have been thrown into the deep end of a pandemic pool very few knew how to swim in. But so many individuals have risen to the challenge, steering a path to safety for their residents and colleagues as the vaccine begins its much-anticipated roll-out. So, what next for the workers and managers of our care homes? Dr Clare Holt, Course Leader of the Learna Executive MBA in Healthcare Management, looks at the opportunities for development and progression that could be available post-pandemic. It is often said that amid crisis, lies opportunity. While the past year has undoubtedly been one of the most difficult and intense for those working in our care homes, the coronavirus pandemic has brought to the fore the incredible and invaluable work of the sector. As the vaccine roll out continues with care home workers near the top of the list, with it comes relief, hope and an opportunity to look forward. Once the dust has settled, care workers and managers may be looking for new challenges and new roles – a way to apply the learnings and growth they have experienced during the pandemic to boost their personal development and future careers. Nurturing the self-confidence and supporting the ambitions of care workers after such a difficult period will be important to sustaining the industry in the future. For employers, a focus on career development will help to retain hard-working staff, as well as attracting new colleagues to meet increasing demand. So, what are the options for development?

1. Formalise your experience: So many of the qualities that make a good care worker are the same qualities that make a good leader. Care workers are extremely empathetic, having to work with people of different backgrounds to understand their needs and cater to them. They are effective communicators; overcoming barriers of language, age, and additional needs to communicate clearly and supportively. They have a significant influence in the daily lives of those they care for, and they display patience, remaining calm in challenging situations. All these skills are crucial to leading

teams and leading people. Undertaking a postgraduate qualification like an Executive MBA would allow care managers to hone and apply the learnings of the pandemic, and to formalise their expertise and experience in the care industry ready to progress into a further leadership role. There are a number of EMBAs available to future learners, but the benefit of Learna’s online Executive MBAs is the affordability and complete flexibility, which caters to the often unpredictable nature of care work. In addition, course participants can benefit from the ability to learn alongside other students, who are practitioners in their own right, and hear their insight and perspectives from across the health and care sector.

2. Develop your specialism: Working in, or managing, a care home is undoubtedly a varied job, having to understand and respond to a range of different needs and the ever-evolving recommendations and regulations that come with them. Specialising in one area of care – mental health, dementia, end of life care, substance misuse – could allow you to build on your expertise, and take responsibility for that specific element of care within your care home, or local health board. Specialising can create opportunities to train and upskill other staff, to develop and put procedures in place throughout care systems, and to better coordinate care services.

3. Explore another area of health and social care: In recent years there have been increasing calls for better integration of the health and social care sector. While there is not a consensus on this, and differences in policy exist between the UK nations, it’s hard to argue with the positives of giving care workers and managers parity of esteem with NHS colleagues, and access to the same progression opportunities. The wealth of experience in working with residents, colleagues, and families in care homes, could make care workers well-suited to progress into a nursing role, whether as an associate, or even qualifying to become a registered nurse. Bursaries are available for nursing qualifications, and undoubtedly there would be benefits to bringing experience of care home settings into healthcare. Individuals might also consider other specialist professional roles like social work and occupational therapy. While the end of the pandemic is still a way off, what is clear is that care workers and managers deserve the opportunity to invest in themselves and their career following the incredible resilience and commitment they have demonstrated throughout the pandemic.

Cygnet Nurse Looks Back On 50 Years On The Profession

If anyone knows how nursing has changed in the last 50 years, it’s Adrian Ashurst. Adrian now works as a Specialist Trainer and Learning and Development Project Manager for Cygnet Health Care. He started his career at the age of 18 in 1971, training at the Salford Royal Hospital in Manchester. Now 68, he is based at Cygnet Hospital Bury, a specialist mental health service in Bury, having joined Cygnet in 2006. Describing how nursing has transformed over the years, he said: “For me, the biggest change would be technology and the introduction of life-saving equipment and medication. If you had a stroke at one time, people used to just say there is no hope. That’s no longer the case.”

“There was a time too when nurses were discouraged from questioning anything and were simply required to carry out instructions. Now nurses take much more responsibility for making decisions in patient care and when students go to university, they are encouraged to question and to ask why.” “Another major change that I’ve seen is in the way that nurses are involved in the patient’s care. There was no such thing as a care plan in the past and there was nothing personal about your care. Now people have their own care plans that are individualised, holistic, and focused on their recovery, and nurses play a huge role in that, keeping patients and their families involved and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own health. That’s the right step forward and makes a huge difference.” Adrian has no intention of slowing down. He has recently started his fifth book ‘How to survive in Nursing – a practical guide to issues seldom covered in university lectures,” and is currently collecting anecdotes and stories from nurses that will help tell the story of nursing in the last 50 years. He is also Consultant Editor of Nursing & Residential Care, a monthly journal available online and has written over 200 pieces of work on a variety of subjects. “I have to say it’s been a great career and I love every minute,” he said, “What keeps me going is seeing people getting better so there is a lot of job satisfaction, especially when people thank you for their care. There has never been a dull moment.” There is currently a national shortage of nurses, particularly in mental health, and Adrian is keen to encourage potential new recruits. “Nursing over the years has changed in many ways but the basic principles remain true today as they did 50 years ago. A nurse’s role is to protect, care and support those individuals who are vulnerable and help ill people get better, so it’s important to have a passion for working with people. “As we’ve seen in the NHS since the Covid pandemic, nurses shoulder a lot of responsibility, and now that nursing is a degree course, new recruits also need a strong academic ability as well as practical skills. But if you do it well, you will get a lot of satisfaction from it.” Adrian added: “My colleagues at Cygnet have demonstrated remarkable resilience and dedication during the pandemic and have made sacrifices in order to keep our service users and each other safe, and I’m very proud of them.” People can show their support on Mental Health Nurses Day, which is marked each year on February 21 and aims to celebrate and promote the profession.

Cost of Residential Care Varies by More Than £800 a Week in Different Areas Across Britain The average weekly cost of private residential care in Great Britain is £848, according to analysis from Legal & General Retail Retirement. However, the data indicates a significant difference in care costs at a local level, varying by more than £800 a week across the country – that’s £41,600 a year. The most expensive areas for residential care costs are overwhelmingly in Greater London boroughs, with Islington (£1,488), Westminster (£1,483) and Hammersmith & Fulham (£1,468) topping the tables for weekly costs. Outside of the capital, Windsor & Maidenhead (£1,203) and Elmbridge, Surrey (£1,142) have the highest costs for private residential care. With care costs so significant, one in four residents will run out of money at some point, emphasising the need to plan for the cost of care early in retirement. However, there are areas in the country where the care costs are lower, with Stoke-on-Trent (£646), Blackpool (£644) and Merthyr Tydfil (£641) having some of the lowest costs for residential care in Great Britain. The least expensive cost is £621 a week in Blaenau Gwent, Wales. [Specific costs for every council across Great Britain available upon request] “Knowing what care you or a family member needs, and how to find it, isn’t easy. We have shone a light on the struggles many families face in our ‘Caring for Britain’ paper, with some 1.3 million older people requesting care each year, but only around 700,000 getting it. As the number of over

80s steadily rises, demand is only set to increase, highlighting the need for more innovation from public, private, charity and social enterprise sectors to make the choices families face easier to navigate. “We also know that very few families plan their finances to take into account later life care. On average, people can expect to pay more than £800 a week for private residential care, which is more than double the average weekly income for people in retirement (£320), according to the Department for Work & Pensions. Care can be one of the more expensive costs someone will encounter in their life. It’s important that people get advice so they are aware of the cost implications and benefit options for residential care, particular to their area, so that they can then realistically plan ahead and anticipate how much they need to have set aside. If you are living in an expensive location, such as London, for instance, you need a lot more money to fund care and the risk of running out of money is much higher. We want to help people find not only the right care, but the very best care they can afford.” said Dr. Sam Roberts, managing director of Health and Care, Legal & General Retail Retirement City London Edinburgh Bristol

Weekly cost of private pay residential care £1,197 £900 £860

Cardiff Glasgow Leeds Birmingham Sheffield Manchester Newcastle Bradford Liverpool

£787 £767 £746 £724 £723 £710 £703 £687 £678

Table: Varying care costs across most populated UK cities Even in many of the least expensive locations for residential care in Britain there is a disparity between the cost of private care and the local council paid fee. On average, there is a £229 difference in this figure across Great Britain. The biggest difference is in Hammersmith & Fulham, London, at £814 and the smallest difference can be found in Bristol, where there is just a £20 disparity. This is particularly relevant as research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that the amount of money spent per person on longterm care by the state has fallen by 31% over the last decade, with cuts varying considerably geographically.


The Changing Risk Landscape for Care Providers and its Impact on Insurance It is common knowledge that the coronavirus pandemic has brought huge challenges to the UK care sector. The increased demand for care across all sectors and the change to the way in which it is delivered means operators have had to become more flexible and responsive. This has only been possible by the hard work and dedication of those working within the industry. Significant change have been experienced across all sectors of the care industry, but it’s only the elderly care sector that has seen a change in the insurance landscape as a direct result of COVID-19. There have been increases in the premiums required by insurers for many insurance packages as potential risk increases and appetite for the sector diminishes. We have taken a look at the challenges facing providers of elderly care in the UK and why these increased risks have had such an effect on the insurance market.


We know that at the beginning of the outbreak back in March, many companies operating care facilities were not included in vital government plans to provide suitable PPE, financial support and workforce planning. Many UK care homes in the elderly care sector struggled to control outbreaks within their facilities as COVID began to sweep across the country. By the very nature of the working conditions and relationships between patients, families and staff, it was easy for the virus to spread causing worry. PPE was a cause for concern; locating the right type and in the right quantities left many care providers without the right protection. Staffing has been challenging with vulnerable team members shielding, and isolating colleagues leaving a temporary gap in staff levels following a holiday or from exposure either inside or outside of the care home. But the biggest ongoing challenge facing elderly care home operators was and remains regular testing and speedy results. Testing is vital to stop the spread of infection and is the best weapon to keep it under control, until the approved vaccine programme is well underway. As restrictions change across the country on a regular basis, care providers have had to adapt and implement new ways of working. This constant change adds additional stress to the workforce and brings increased potential for something to go wrong. All of the issues above will have been closely moni-

tored by the insurer market as they weigh up the exposure to risk for care providers.


Care facility proprietors will always put the care and wellbeing of their patients and residents at the heart of everything they do; reputations are built on the exceptional care that is delivered. We should remember that care home settings have always been open to potential risk. Claims can arise for a myriad of reasons, from a claim of medical malpractice to a claim under Employment Liability for an employee fall or injury, but COVID-19 has brought its own set of risks which have increased the potential for insurance claims. Insurers have been watching the unfolding care sector situation closely as they decide on their response and how or rather if, they have an appetite for cover moving forward.

Matthew Dale, from Barnes Commercial, an expert adviser who specialises in insurance for the care sector has spoken to a number of A rated insurers to understand why there is a decreased appetite for the elderly care sector. Matthew said: “Whilst insurers haven’t actually seen an increase in claims so far, the apprehension appears to be around the potential for claims under Employment Liability cover for COVID-19. There is concern about the possible emergence of companies that may offer a ‘no win no fee’ for anyone who has contracted Covid whilst working in a care home, creating a claim culture. Should this scenario arise it could lead to significant reserves having to be put aside for potential claims. It sounds unlikely but this is exactly what happened with PPI only a few years ago. The reasons for claims are certainly very different but we could see the claim culture it invoked replicated for this pandemic.” Claims may arise from employees, residents or the families of either, if something should go wrong. This could be as the result of inadequate PPE or robust procedures to stop the spread of infection within a facility. The potential for claims is high, but without adequate cover in place care homes will be unable to operate. Matthew continued: “We are an independent broker and look across the insurer market to find the optimum insurance programme for our clients. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to place business, which is a problem for everyone. A number of insurers have pulled out of the elderly care market completely and those remaining have increased their premiums to accommodate for an anticipated rise in claims.”


Thankfully there are still some insurers who will provide insurance for the care sector and at affordable premiums. Packages are available for care homes in any setting, including elderly care, with a turnover of up to £5M and can be purchased via reputable brokers. Barnes Commercial offer a Business Essentials package which has been specifically created for the care home sector, and includes cover for management liability (Director’s and Officer’s insurance) which is quite hard to come by these days. Care homes can expect to see broader insurance packages returning as the pandemic abates and the approved vaccines are rolled out. Advice to care homes owners during these extraordi-

nary times to mitigate risk, is to ensure that you keep up to date with government and CQC guidelines. Create safeguarding practices, write them up and share with all members of your team so everyone knows the procedures to follow and how to manage a crisis effectively. If following an inspection any issues are raised, ensure an action is put in place and any remedial actions are taken immediately. Review and improve cleaning regimes to ensure they are robust and comply with government guidelines. Consider hiring the services of companies with specialist air purifying machines to help with air circulation and ventilation. Try to avoid using agency staff if possible because the change can be unsettling for elderly residents and there is more potential for the virus to be brought into your workplace. If you do use a care agency, make sure you carry out due diligence and check they have employment liability and medical malpractice insurance for their staff. If you employ new staff, ensure they are fully trained and put procedures in place to facilitate ongoing training for all employees. Make sure you carry out thorough background checks for new team members, or suppliers. In summary, it’s all about general good management and an ability to manage risk effectively. Take the time to look at all areas of your business and identify where you are open to risk, putting measure in place to allow business continuity should the unexpected occur. Barnes Commercial Insurance Broker is a specialist independent broker offering guidance and advice on managing risk within the care sector. For more information please visit their website at


Care Homes at Risk Of Prosecution If They Fall Foul of Covid-19 Infection Control Checks Care home operators are “under pressure like never before” trying to meet the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has resumed its regular rating inspections as well as separate infection prevention and control inspections. Failure to meet the requirements of the infection prevention and control inspections could, in the most serious cases, lead to a care home owner or operator being prosecuted. The rigorous inspections scrutinise a range of areas including use of PPE, testing, the safety of premises and visitor and shielding protocols and admission procedures for new residents. Maxine Parry, Regional Director of Caresolve, one of the UK’s leading care home consultancies, said: “The CQC or local authority can turn up at a home without any warning to check on measures and whether they are robust enough. “Some homes have already been pulled up because they hadn’t put the

correct procedures in place for infection control. “There are so many important aspects for operators and managers to think about. One of the biggest areas is around PPE and whether the equipment chosen is properly certified. Staff need to evidence that they are coming into work in their own clothes before getting changed, while daily temperature checks also need to be conducted. “Smaller operators are under the greatest pressure as they often don’t have the resources they need or up-to-date policies and procedures and guidance around Covid-19. “The implications of being found to be in breach of infection control are severe especially if operators could be seen to be wilfully neglecting their infection control and putting residents and staff at an increased Covid-19 risk. Should people die as a result, they could be open to prosecution.” Alongside the challenges of keeping a care home safe, operators face escalating financial pressures. Maxine said: “Good financial management has to go hand in hand with good infection control management. “The pandemic has put significant financial pressures on many homes. Even allowing for Government support, homes are facing increased costs in many areas. “If Covid-19 gets into a home and staff must isolate, there is a need to pay for agency cover. You also need to ensure that agency staff are not also working in other homes. Contingency planning around staffing and PPE is vital. “We have seen from cases during recent months that it is 90% luck if Covid-19 doesn’t get into a home. You can put the best possible measures in place and tick every box, but the nature of the virus means you are still at risk.

“But an operator gives themselves the best chance of avoiding a serious issue by ensuring they have put all the right policies and procedures in place. “Caresolve has been working with several operators throughout the crisis, giving them the practical advice and peace of mind that they are doing everything they can to stay on top of Covid-19. “We keep homes informed and up to date with the latest guidance and ensure best practice has been implemented when we go into homes to support them. In some cases, we are providing hands-on management in the home. “In one instance, the manager and both deputies had to isolate at the same time. “A lot of care home owners and operators are extremely stressed as the pressure on them is immense. “We have had providers telling us they couldn’t have coped without our support.” Caresolve was established in 2011 by experienced care sector professionals Ben Challinor and James Parkin. Richard Shore joined as Finance Director in 2016. The company provides strategic and operational support to care home operators and their investors including undertaking management contracts. The team also has extensive experience in achieving the successful turnaround of numerous care homes. Caresolve also has a dedicated financial arm, Caresolve Financial, headed up by Richard Shore, providing financial reviews and management services and Finance Director support. Visit for further details.

Hunters Down Receive Colourful Scrubs Thanks to Chris Evans and the Butterfly Legacy Project Recently, the team at Hunters Down Care Home in Cambridge received a generous donation of some beautiful new scrubs from the Butterfly Legacy Project. The Butterfly Legacy Project was started by Maxine Welford in April 2020. The project was created towards the start of the pandemic as Maxine wanted to help all the hospitals that were having huge shortages of scrubs. So far, they have helped to create 8000 sets of scrubs and sewn thousands of washbags and facemasks, all of which have been given away for free. The design of scrubs that Hunters Down received is particularly unique, as the fabric was commissioned by TV presenter Chris Evans, who wants to see the NHS full of rainbows. He and his 11-year-old son, Noah, camped out in their family garden for 28 days to raise money to buy the fabric. They were hoping to raise £2000

but managed to completely exceed this target! After reaching the £2000, Chris wanted to do more to raise funds for the NHS, so he held two auctions with the help of Bid-In, who helped run them for free. The first auction was the ultimate Garage Sale, consisting of Chris’ personal memorabilia which raised an astonishing £497k. The second was a collection of items donated by his celebrity friends, which raised an additional £602k. The team at Hunters Down are honoured to be part of Chris and Noah’s charitable work and will be wearing their scrubs with pride. We would like to thank the Butterfly Legacy Project for all the dedicated hours that they’ve given to help the community in these difficult times.

Pandemic Prompts Brits to Rally Behind Local Community Covid-19 and the UK lockdown has strengthened communities, with almost half (47%) of UK adults admitting to feeling more strongly about supporting their local community now than they did at the start of the year. This is according to new research from retirement village provider, Audley Villages. As a result of this year’s crisis, people have been coming together in their local area to support one another and keep spirits up. Nearly two thirds (64%) of Brits said that community spirit in their local area improved as a result of Covid-19. While two in five (42%) are seeing this increase in community spirit lasting over the long term, 22% disagree and think that while it improved at the start of the first lockdown, it has gone again. Thinking about how their community has changed, almost a third (32%) say that somewhere in their community became a ‘hub’ during the pandemic. 8% cite this as their grocer or supermarket, while 6% say it’s been the pub, and equally, 6% say the pharmacy. While some areas thrived as the centre of the community, others have been less fortunate. Three fifths (60%) say amenities within their community have closed as a result of the pandemic. As a result, 59% admit that this has had a negative impact on the feeling of community in their local area. The North East has been

most affected by amenities closing with 70% seeing a negative impact. With an upsurge in feeling towards local communities, it’s perhaps unsurprising that recent research from Visa[1] also found that shopping locally is incredibly important to people in the UK. Over half (54%) said it’s important because they know how much their custom means, while 43% say they get a boost of happiness when they support local shopkeepers. Shopping at local businesses has also been shown to potentially double the amount of money that stays in the community. Paul Morgan, Managing Director, Operations at Audley Villages said: “It’s safe to say that the pandemic has touched all of our lives this year, so it’s encouraging to see people coming together and keeping spirits up in their local community. While so many of us have been locked down at home, it’s the people we see every day in our local area who can have the greatest effect on our day-to-day happiness and well-being. Having a strong sense of community can make a big impact on people’s lives, especially if they’re not able to see loved ones. During Christmas time, looking out for neighbours and friends will make all the difference. Let’s hope that the upsurge in community spirit is a long-lasting change, even when life does return to normal.”

Care Manager’s Granddad Inspires His Mission To Make Enfield Dementia-Friendly Enfield care home manager, Nicolas Kee Mew, is on a mission to raise awareness of dementia in the area, after personal and professional experience of the condition. Originally from Mauritius, Nicolas watched his grandfather deal with Alzheimer’s disease without the information and support available to people in the UK. Nicolas is the manager of Elsyng House care home on Forty Hill which will welcome residents with Dementia when it opens in February 2021. “People living with Dementia can experience a range of symptoms, not just memory loss, and the more people know about it, and how to support people to live well with Dementia, the better”. “It took a long while for my grandfather’s symptoms to be recognised as Alzheimer’s disease because awareness in Mauritius 20 years ago was very low. His life would have been very different if there had been greater understanding in his community and that’s what I want to see for my residents.” Nicolas, 34, came into the care industry by accident. He arrived in the UK as a teenager to study accountancy and took a part-time job as a cleaner in a care home to support his studies. He found he loved chatting with the residents so when the home asked him if he

wanted to be a carer instead, he jumped at the chance. After finishing his degree, he could focus on his care career full-time and became a home manager at the age of just 30. He was appointed as manager of Elsyng House, a brand new, purpose-built home, in September. The home will provide luxury all-inclusive residential, nursing, memory and respite care for up to 75 residents. The home is the newest addition to Oakland Care’s portfolio which includes Lambwood Heights in Chigwell that was nominated for the prestigious ‘Luxury Care Home of the Year Award 2020’ with Knight Frank. Alongside running Elsyng House, Nicolas is also completing a Master’s degree in dementia studies and has recently finished a half marathon for Alzheimer’s Research, eight months after having coronavirus. “I like to be busy and a lot of my energy goes into raising awareness of dementia,” he said. “I’m working closely with local organisations in and around Enfield to raise awareness, both for the benefit of those who will make their home with us, and for others in the community living with the condition.”


DHSC to Provide Insurance to Care Homes Taking Discharged Covid Patients The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will provide indemnity to care homes that want to become part of the Designated Setting scheme but are unable to obtain insurance. DHSC said it will provide a targeted and time-limited state-backed indemnity to care homes, registered or intending to register as Designated Settings, that are unable to obtain sufficient insurance cover. Care homes in the Designated Setting scheme provide care to people leaving hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are transferring to a care home. In a statement to the House of Commons, DHSC undersecretary Nadhim Zahawi said the indemnity will cover clinical negligence, employer’s and public liability where a care provider seeking to become a ‘designated setting’ is unable to secure sufficient commercial insurance, or where an existing provider has been operating without sufficient cover. The designated setting scheme is for people who are medically fit for discharge from hospital, those that do not need to be in an acute NHS bed, but whose ongoing care and support needs are such that they require fulltime residential or nursing care. Mr Zahawi said the government recognised obtaining sufficient insurance to accept Covid positive patients and sign up to become a designated setting has been a barrier for some care home providers wishing to join the scheme. “Given the severity and immediacy of the pressures facing the NHS, we want to take all possible steps to remove obstacles to sufficient local designated settings provision,” he added. Employer’s and public liability will be covered by a new indemnity scheme. Clinical negligence will be covered by the Clinical negligence Scheme for Trusts, an existing state scheme. The indemnity arrangements will be supervised by DHSC and administered by NHS Resolution. The indemnity will cover designated settings until the end of March 2021, with a review point in mid-February. Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum – leading membership association for not-for-profit social care providers – says:

“It’s welcome news that the government has announced the state backed scheme to indemnify care providers operating designated settings. Providing full indemnity is absolutely the right thing to do. The issue of access to appropriate insurance has dogged much of social care since the outset of the pandemic, and this important step forward in announcing a state backed scheme for designated settings will enable providers operating these schemes to play their part in supporting the NHS and the wider community with assurance. “This announcement though a positive step, does not go far enough. It is a temporary solution only committed to until the end of March, with a review due in mid-February. We continue our call on the government to address the wider insurance issues for the sector and to extend the indemnity arrangements to the entire social care sector on parity with our colleagues in the NHS. Aside from those care homes operating designated settings who have now received indemnity, care providers continue to struggle to negotiate affordable insurance cover - with many seeing substantial increases to insurance premiums, restrictions and exclusions that prevent adequate cover for COVID-19 related claims. We have raised this consistently and it is hugely frustrating that it has taken until now for the government to act.” Care England, which has repeatedly called for the government to assist the residential and nursing care sector said it is "delighted" with the offer because the majority of care homes are in the independent sector and, unlike their counterparts in the NHS, do not have automatic indemnity. "We look forward to working with the government to make the best of this important decision and will continue to campaign to have the difficulties associated with securing insurance cover extended to the rest of the care home sector who are crippled by sky high premiums and lack of Covid cover," added chief executive Professor Martin Green. Independent Care Group chairman Mike Padgham said on Twitter that the statement on insurance for designated settings is welcome “but the devil will be in the detail”. “First impression it is a step in the right direction but likely needs to go further,” he added.

Elderly Join Forces to Help Support Local Community Pensioners at a housing development in West Lothian have pulled together to help members of the local community who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Staff and customers at Dean Court retirement development in Bo’ness have been collecting food, toiletries and personal hygiene products to donate to those who have struggled during the pandemic. The initiative at the development, operated by Bield Housing and Care, has been ongoing since March after one of the customers approached staff with an idea of how to support the Bo’ness community. The Old Kirk Church in Bo’ness established its self

as an emergency Covid-19 food bank called Bo’ness Community Pantry, with the Bo’ness & Blackness Community Response team. One of the customers at Dean Court has been delivering the contents donated to the Old Kirk every week. Alison Lowe, Development Manager at Dean Court, said: “The amount of donations has exceeded our expectations and it has been staggering, which emphasis just how much our small town pulls together when times get tough. “We wanted to implement the idea as soon as possible and it has grown from strength to strength since its inception.

“It has been a difficult few months for many, so if we can help out as a development - even in a small way, it might make someone’s life round the corner that little bit easier. “The collection for the Old Kirk has been a vital way of make those at Dean Court feel as if they are coming together, and as a result are doing something positive for the community to benefit from. “It is important to pull together as a community during these tough times and we are doing everything we can to keep Dean Court a happy and safe place at a stressful time for many.”

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



Time for Nursing Staff to Focus on Self-Compassion

The Carer spoke to Dr Marti Balaam, Senior Teaching Fellow in Nursing Studies and Lead for Professionalism and Wellbeing at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and Director/Founder of The Compassion Salon, to find out how nurses can practice self-compassion This year has seen the NHS emerge as a national champion in its handling of Covid-19 and has gained untold respect from the whole country. We have clapped for carers, displayed rainbows in windows and raised millions for our amazing healthcare staff who have been confronted with unprecedented stress and uncertainty whilst caring for those impacted by Covid-19. So, six months on, how are our nurses fairing? The evidence is indicating that many staff aren’t just reaching but have, in many cases, already reached burnout. We were already aware of the intense pressure nursing staff were already under, prior to Covid-19, due to, amongst other things, staff shortages, increasing demands, mistreatment and lack of resource. Add to this the colossal weight of the pandemic requiring healthcare workers to dig even deeper and the result is that many are now running on empty.


What is self-compassion? And how can nurses prescribe it for themselves? We know that as humans we are all wired to be compassionate and nurses are trained to offer care and understanding to those suffering – that is a given. We also know that the pressure nurses and care-givers are under day-to-day with the ongoing staff shortages and rising expectations in the NHS is relentless and over time can be debilitating. Add to that the uncertainty and disruption of Covid-19 throwing our normal, reassuring lives into complete disarray and the result is living with a constant sense of unease. For those in the caring profession, there is a requirement day after day for them to be resilient to provide reassurance and compassion to their patients, but how can that strong sense of compassion be turned on to themselves ? Compassion is defined by myself and Rev/Dr Harriet Harris as attentiveness to the suffering of ourselves and others, with the wisdom and steps taken to relieve it. Compassion then is incomplete if we do not include ourselves. However many nurses are been suffering with their own feelings of stress, anxiety and exhaustion without stopping to offer the same care they would offer to a patient, to themselves. Practicing self-compassion means being attentive to our own suffering and being wise about how we can help ourselves. This includes being patient, kind and understanding when we fail or feel we are not doing the best we could. Recognising that we are not always perfect and that we are indeed human rather than getting impatient or angry is one of the first steps to practising self-compassion. We need to consider, therefore, how healthcare workers can identify that they are suffering, that they need reassurance, care and compassion to bolster their own wellbeing? And on a practical level, how can nurses ensure that they are practicing self-compassion day-to-day to ensure that they are not headed for burnout? In order to start to practice true self-compassion, individuals need to be tuned into how they are feeling and responding to situations on a daily basis. Knowing when, how and what is required means we need to be attentive and tuned into our own needs in the same way, as carers, we are tuned into the needs of others.

SIX STEPS TO START PRACTICING SELF-COMPASSION Step 1: Practice Forgiveness Accept that you are not perfect and be gentle with yourself when you are confronted with your shortcomings. Remind yourself, especially on a bad day, to be gentle and kind with yourself. Indeed, talk to yourself as you would to a close friend.

Nurses are educated to put their patients first and are notorious for battling on in stressful situations under a virtuous ethic of self-sacrifice which is often detrimental to their own wellbeing. Stopping and recharging can be seen as a sign of weakness. But how can nurses be there to support and care for patients if they haven’t stopped first to care for themselves? So, it’s now vital that we give nurses ‘permission’ to recharge their batteries. The long-term effects of untreated stress and burnout are numerous and can be debilitating leading to distress, dissatisfaction, unhappiness and even the abrupt end of a career in healthcare if we don’t start to re-educate ourselves about the importance of self-care and self-compassion.

It’s important to acknowledge that whilst we may be in different boats, we are in this storm together and we all have a shared need for love and acceptance. When we suffer therefore it is helpful to remember we are not alone. Everyone has feelings of loneliness and isolation but by accepting that many of us feel like this can alleviate these feelings.


Step 3: Employ a Growth Mindset

Step 2: Shared Humanity

Changing the way you view challenges can help you adopt a growth mind-

Caring Begins At Home Despite so much openness about health and wellbeing, incontinence is still a taboo subject. Many people simply don’t want to talk about incontinence, yet it is estimated that in the in the UK alone there are between three and six million people living with it. Ontex Healthcare is committed to encouraging people to talk about incontinence at every stage in life. In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic there is a much greater focus on self-care at home and this applies to all ages, but is particularly important for those who live alone in our communities. In the UK 3.8million individuals over the age of 65 live alone, 58% of whom are over 75, around 2.2million individuals. It is also a fact that older adults who live are: • More likely to visit A&E • More likely to visit a GP with around a fifth of persons aged 65+ who live alone visiting their GP once a month, compared to 14% of older persons who live with others • More likely to have a mental health condition If you’re caring for someone living at home who is struggling with incontinence, these top five tips may help:

set. By viewing challenges or obstacles as opportunities helps you see them as a path to learning and growing and is more constructive to getting through them with a positive outcome.

Step 4: Express Gratitude Switching from wishing for what we do not have and feeling gratitude for what we DO have can be very powerful in our overall feeling of positivity and wellbeing. Writing a gratitude journal or going on a gratitude walk are ways of reinforcing and accepting all that is good in what we have.

Step 5: Find the Right Level of Generosity For generosity to work in favour of your well-being, it cannot be selfless. Think about when you are being generous, make sure you are aware of your own needs before progressing. Consciously select the recipient of your generosity, the resources you have available, and your level of energy based on what will support your own well-being.

Step 6: Be Mindful Mindfulness has been found to have a positive impact on self-compassion, as it has a tendency to lessen self-judgment. Try and always be in the moment and to be aware of what is happening right now, without judgment and labelling. Allow what you think or feel to have its moment and then dismiss it – let it go!

COMPASSIONATE LEADERSHIP Its vitally important that we understand how to engage staff so that they recognise how to be compassionate with themselves, how to bring awareness to their own stress and wellbeing and also how to recognise it in others. Compassionate leadership is fundamental in creating a culture of improvement and innovation across health care. It enhances the fundamental motivation of NHS staff and reinforces their loyalty and determination. Compassionate leadership also helps to promote a culture of learning, opening up to risk taking (within safe boundaries) and an acceptance that not everything we introduce or innovate will always be successful. It helps to create an environment where staff feel confident in speaking up about errors, problems and uncertainties and fosters a culture of trust and shared responsibility.

CULTURAL CHANGE POST COVID-19 We have celebrated the work of the NHS over the past six months and have recognised how reliant we are on good healthcare, particularly through Covid-19 which has affected everyone in some way, shape or form. But in order for us to build a resilient future for our healthcare system, we have to put the people who work in it first and their wellbeing and mental health must be prioritised. Our healthcare system has been through a transformation this past six months and there will be good and bad experiences and lessons learnt from Trusts and healthcare organisations across the country. But hopefully the one lesson healthcare workers will have taken from this experience is the importance of kindness and compassion to their colleagues, patients but most importantly to themselves. Learning to value the needs of our healthcare staff and prioritise them to help them build resilience and navigate this new normal is vital. We must learn therefore to put our own oxygen masks on first before attending to the wellbeing of others.

1. Ensure the person needing care leads a healthy lifestyle – healthy eating, quitting smoking, undertaking pelvic floor exercises, drinking plenty of fluids and cutting back on alcohol and caffeine are just some of the things that will help someone who is managing incontinence every day. 2. Look after yourself – As a carer it’s also important to look after yourself as well as those you are looking after. Dealing with incontinence care can be embarrassing and frustrating so it’s important to make sure you have some quality time planned to de-stress. 3. Maintain good hygiene practices - Wear gloves when dealing with used hygiene products and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards. Make sure that you dispose of the hygiene products and gloves appropriately (in sanitary bins, never down the toilet). 4.Incontinence care is challenging: try to stay relaxed - Some people may be resistant to receiving help for their incontinence issues as they feel embarrassed or like they lack independence. Humour can also be a powerful tool for lightening a situation and creating trust between you and your loved one, which in turn may alleviate some of their embarrassment or resistance. 5.Use the right incontinence products – It can be completely overwhelming when there is so much product choice, which is why iD is here to try and provide products for all levels of incontinence from light to severe. Ontex has recently re-launched its iD Expert Slip and iD Expert Form brands, designed to support for those with moderate to heavy levels of incontinence. The iD Expert Slip range has been designed for those who no longer feel they have control of their bladder and when urine leakage is heavy and cannot be controlled in any manner. These all-in-one products will help to manage moderate to heavy incontinence and have anti-leak cuffs and waist elastication to ensure a snug fit with a high level of absorption. The iD Expert Form range has been designed for heavy urine leakage that cannot be controlled. The pads feature an odour control system that locks in any odours to keep you feeling fresh. Don’t struggle with incontinence, find a perfectly tailored solution that suits you and your level of incontinence. For more information visit or call our helpful advisory team on 0800 389 6185 See the advert on page 3 for further details.

Cumbria's University Refreshes Healthcare Staff Skills to Administer Vaccination In a drive to do their bit during the pandemic, the University of Cumbria offered healthcare staff in the north of the county refresher training in administering the Covid-19 vaccination. The rapidly devised programme, trained 40 healthcare staff so far, revising their clinical skills in administering the vaccination but also spotting the signs of anaphylactic shock and basic life support. The stipulation of the training was that all attending professionals were registered with the relevant regulatory bodies to qualify for a place. Participants included doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants who have retired or moved into different fields of work, whom after completing the training will expand the pool of qualified clinical professionals who can administer the vaccination in their communities. The NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), identified a requirement to expand its workforce practised in vaccinations just before the Christmas break. Principal lecturer, Ian Corrie, took the call and immediately set about creating the bespoke programme from scratch drawing on many years of expertise.

Members of the nursing lecturing team, Dr Lindy Hatfield and Lisa Smith delivered the clinical skills session and a recent paramedic practise graduate Dan Brackenbury, now working for the North West Ambulance Service, lead the life support skills session. Ian Corrie said; “We were approached by colleagues at the CCG shortly before Christmas who wanted to refresh the training of some of their staff in dispensing the Covid 19 vaccination. “We were more than happy to oblige as we often work with employers to develop bespoke programmes to meet their educational needs. “This request was obviously urgent and so it required a real team effort across the university to deliver on time and we were more than happy to do our bit in this next phase to help prevent the further spread of the virus.” This news comes after the CCG revealed data that every Primary Care Network (PCN) across north Cumbria is now delivering the Covid-19 vaccine to over 80s and care home residents and staff. There are eight PCNs – groups of GP practices working together in local areas – and the vaccine is now being delivered from nine locations. Ed Tallis, director of primary care for the CCG, said: “We were delighted

that the University of Cumbria was able to develop and deliver this training so quickly. “Bringing doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants who have retired, or moved into different areas of work, back into the general practice workforce has been vital. “The roll-out of the covid vaccine programme in primary care has been a super-human effort, and this support has been invaluable to help us reach our most vulnerable patients as quickly as we can.” There are plans in the pipeline to roll out similar programmes for Health Education England and the team are ready to be deployed when required. While national restrictions are in place, the university is following Government guidance by continuing with its blended learning model, (both online and face-to-face teaching), for all its health, social, policing and teaching courses. For the time being and until at least 1 March, all other courses will be taught online. This approach will be reviewed by Government in midFebruary when they will advise universities on any changes to the existing approach.


Prepare Now for Tougher Inspections Ahead, Care Homes Warned Care homes owners across the country need to start planning now for tougher CQC inspection criteria, a leading law expert from Preston has warned. Rachel Adamson, from Adkirk Law, says that the impact of Covid-19 on the sector could lead to stricter requirements in the near future. With the latest government figures showing over 20,000 deaths involving Covid19 involved care home residents, Rachel says it is inevitable that any future inquiry will suggest even stricter enforcement from the inspection body. She said: “We’re sitting on the edge of another cliff face for care home owners. Not only are we expecting significantly more people to require social care support over the next twenty years, but Covid-19 has exposed some vulnerabilities that the Government can’t ignore. “I think any inquiry into these care home deaths will undoubtedly lead to tougher inspection criteria beyond the main five questions, and potentially stricter criminal and civil enforcement. “For care home owners, protecting their residents is always priority number one,

but they can only do that by protecting their business. Making sure that they are ready for future inspections means being able to retrospectively answer questions on their approach to the pandemic and being prepared to make the necessary changes quickly to protect their reputation and rating. “While the frequency of inspections has slowed due to the pandemic, care home owners should not rest on their laurels. In the near future the enforcement action for a failing home could be come even more serious and those homes which prepare for that now will be in the best place to look after their residents and their business.” Adkirk Law is a leading UK Law firm offering a niche practice with expertise in regulatory law. Rachel Adamson and her team have successfully challenged the CQC for many years. Rachel instinctively understands the challenges care providers are facing and has extensive experience in representing organisations and individuals facing enforcement procedures; poor inspection reports and other compliance action being taken by the CQC.

National Care Forum Launch Caring in Covid ebook The National Care Forum (NCF), in December launched ‘Caring in COVID’ – a collection of stories about care, communities and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. This piece of social history records and highlights the incredible response from NCF members, brought together as a collection of real-life stories in an ebook. The compendium details how, during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing restrictions, NCF members and the communities they serve, came together and rose to the challenge to support those who needed it most. Not only will the ebook become part of the British Library collection for future generations, it also acknowledges the legacy of 2020 and the role care providers played in the fight against COVID-19. Avante Care & Support is a member of the NCF and were delighted when asked by the forum if they could feature two of Avantes articles within the ebook, both had been written during the pandemic. Staff at Avante Care & Support, like so many other care providers, have worked tirelessly to ensure those in their care can maintain a sense of normality during these uncertain times. Throughout the pandemic and whilst visiting from loved ones was put on hold, residents and service users have been supported across Avante’s care services to remain in regular contact with loved ones through video calls, letters and social media. Some of Avante’s care homes arranged for residents to form pen pals linked with residents’ interest and hobbies. It was this kind of forward thinking that caught the attention of the NCF with the article written about resident Peter at Riverdale Court in Welling. Peter is an avid Charlton Athletic supporter and would tune in each

week to watch his beloved team each week, needless to say Peter was disappointed when all sporting fixtures were paused during the start of the pandemic. Staff at the home knew Peter needed to fill that void and arranged for a Charlton Athletic pen pal to write to Peter each week, sharing their knowledge and interest on their beloved team. Thanks to the team at Charlton Athletic this idea grew and Peter received signed memorabilia from the team and footballer Jason Pearce, took the time to send a video message to Peter and Riverdale Court wishing them all well. NCF were also interested in featuring how Avante Care & Support staff had thought outside the box to keep residents entertained during the pandemic, focusing on an article written about Amherst Court and their serenade with a difference! Staff at Amherst Court in Chatham arranged for a number of outdoor concerts to be held in the courtyard at the home for staff to watch from the balconies. The concerts were a huge success with many musicians volunteering their time to perform well known musical classics for residents and staff. Marie Taylor, Activities Co-Ordinator at Amherst Court said, ‘Protecting residents and staff from Covid19 is our main priority and focus, but while we are doing that we want to ensure residents continue to feel comfortable, happy, settled and entertained at Amherst Court. We have all had to think outside the box as a staff team about how best we can introduce entertainment and activities which keep to the rules on social distancing between residents, staff and entertainers. We came up with the idea of using the courtyard as a stage area to serenade everyone at the home, as musicians can do so at a safe distance’. As a run up to the launch, NCF shared a sneak preview of some of the stories in the ebook in the form of an Advent Calendar, a daily reflection of the stories during advent. On Christmas Eve Riverdale Court featured in the NCF advent calendar with their ‘We are Family’ article read by Charlton Athletic footballer Jason Pearce Caring in Covid is now available to download from the NCF website or you can click on the link below.

Celebrity Endorsed Covid-19 Book Published Chapel House Care, which runs two care homes in Puddington, Cheshire, has been included in a book about life in care homes during the Covid-19 lockdown. The book, called Bringing The Inside Out, has been published by the arts and literature charity Living Words. The charity spoke to more than 60 care home residents with dementia, their carers and relatives as part of a pioneering UK-wide project. They ran weekly sessions with carers from 15 British care homes – including The Chapel House and Plessington Court – to enable the words of people with dementia to be part of the book. Each person’s sounds and words were captured using their Listen Out Loud Methodology, allowing people’s words to be captured as they spoke them – making for an unconventional use of grammar and arrangement on the page. The book was published this week and has been supported by celebrities and leading figures in dementia care including National Care Forum and Dementia Research Centre as well as the actors Brian Cox and Christopher Eccleston.

Chapel House Care owner Cathrina Moore, an Admiral Nurse, said: “We feel privileged to have worked on this book with Susanna and her team and I believe it will have a lasting impact. “It has been an exceptionally difficult time for all care homes and their residents but so important for the year 2020, Covid-19 and its devastating impact to be captured.” Susanna Howard, Living Words founder, said: “This book will resonate not only with other people in care homes, their loved ones and professional carers but with all of us as a society. “They give us an insight into how things have really been in care homes across the UK. These words have tremendous power – and the act of truly listening will drive all of us forward to deliver ever better care.” Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum, said: “At last, carers of people with dementia are being given a voice. These extraordinary people, so often taken for granted, are in the front line of the fight against this outcast of diseases. Carers are indispensable and need to be heard. This book is an essential first step towards that.”

Number of Older Workers Shoots Up By a Third as Pandemic Bites With more than 340,000 people aged 50 – 64 years now unemployed, an increase of almost 85,000 on the last quarter (April – June 2020), Age UK is urging the government to help those at risk of long-term unemployment in the run-up to receiving their State Pension. The Charity is warning that with current vacancies in short supply a perfect storm is on the horizon for many over-50s working in sectors badly affected by the pandemic. Even in a buoyant job market systemic ageism can make it extremely difficult for many unemployed older people to find work. Covid-19 has made unemployment an issue across all generations, however for a substantial number of older workers – especially those in their 60s – the pandemic could spell the end of their working lives, with high numbers being made redundant or feeling forced to choose between their jobs and their health or caring responsibilities, leaving them facing an uncertain and rocky financial road to State Pension age (SPA). In a new report by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), Longevity Inequality – sponsored by Age UK and published today – the widening inequality gap between rich and poor in later life even before the pandemic hit is laid bare. The report shows that in the five years between 2012 and 2017, the difference in life expectancy between the most deprived and least deprived individuals (men and women) grew by eight per cent. Even with the Chancellor’s recent announcement of the new ‘Restart’ scheme, Age UK warns the Government must ensure the new scheme along with Jobcentre Plus delivers the support that older jobseekers need to get back into work. With SPA currently at 66 and due to rise to 67, coupled with a further review of the SPA due by 2023, Age UK is calling for urgent government action to safeguard the financial futures of unemployed older workers who are facing a long and difficult wait for their State Pension: • Early access to the State Pension for those within three years of their State Pension age (SPA) who are unlikely to be able to work again due to caring responsibilities, a disability, or long-term joblessness. • The age of eligibility for vital money benefits such as Pension Credit and

Housing Benefit lowered to help all older people struggling to manage on a low income. Additionally, take-up should be encouraged to help the millions of older people currently missing out on Pension Credit worth £1.6 billion a year. • Back-to-work support and access to training must be ramped up by the Government to help all unemployed or struggling older workers to find a way back into the workplace. Current government policy is to increase SPA to ensure that individuals, on average, spend approximately a third of their adult life in receipt of their State Pension. Yet the new PPI/ Age UK report sets out how a single SPA can be hugely problematic for those on the lowest incomes, showing that even in non-pandemic times, many older people struggle to make it to SPA through no fault of their own. According to the report, around 50 per cent of those reaching retirement are expected to live long enough to spend a third of their adult life in receipt of SPA. However some segments of the population can expect significantly less of their adult life in receipt of the State Pension. Whilst those on lower incomes are invariably more reliant on the State Pension – currently half of pensioners derive nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of their income from the state – a lower life expectancy means they receive it, on average, for much less time than their wealthier counterparts. In fact, men in the lowest ten per cent receive the State Pension for just over a quarter of their adult life (26 per cent), compared to those in the highest 10 per cent who receive it for a third of theirs (33 per cent) – a difference of six years. Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “It’s deeply worrying that there are so many older people falling out of work and struggling to get back in. With the unemployment rate across all generations shooting up, we need urgent action from the Government to help – they must ensure that the new ‘Restart’ scheme and Jobcentre Plus are delivering the support that older jobseekers need and ensure they are not left on the scrapheap. “The pandemic looks likely to cause lasting damage to the labour mar-

ket, leaving many older workers unexpectedly facing a deeply challenging and uncertain future. Unless measures are brought in quickly to help them keep their jobs and to support those who lose them, it seems certain that hundreds of thousands will soon be staring prolonged unemployment and premature retirement in the face. “This new report shows just how much inequality there is among older people, even before the pandemic took hold – an important reminder that the differences in income and wealth within generations are greater than those between them. Given the impact of the pandemic on the jobs market, we strongly believe that it is only fair for some groups who are within three years of their State Pension age to have early access to their full State Pension. We are thinking particularly of people who are never likely to be able to work again because of caring responsibilities, a disability, or because their chances of getting another job are particularly slim. Furthermore, the Government should also lower the age of eligibility for benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit to support these older people. Action of this kind would have multiple benefits.” “Unless the Government takes bold action, hundreds of thousands of older people could face a dire end to their working life and a long, painful road to retirement.” Chetan Jethwa, Policy Modeller at the Pensions Policy Institute, said: “On average, people are living longer within the UK. However, the increases in life expectancy are not shared equally among the population. Shifts in healthy life expectancy are also distributed unevenly among the population. The briefing note highlights the changes to inequalities linked to depravation in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy. People with the lowest incomes are less likely to recover from physical difficulties, making it more difficult for them to work, save and prepare for retirement over the later stages of their working lives. Policies targeted at this inequality during working lives could reduce the impact is has on people’s retirement.”


CATERING FOR CARE Using Good Nourishment To Support Residents Through Bereavement By Jane Clarke, BSc (Hons) SRD DSc - Founder of Nourish by Jane Clarke they may literally feel like their heart is aching, they have a lump in their throat, or they struggle to sleep. These aren’t symptoms to shrug away. Studies show that grief increases inflammation in our body, which is linked to higher risk of cardiovascular problems and chronic diseases such as cancer. It reduces our immunity, making us more vulnerable to infection (the older we are, the more we are affected). Loss of appetite causes unwanted weight loss and can leave us malnourished at a time we need the energy to cope with emotional loss and all the practicalities around bereavement. It’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle of the less we eat, the less we want to eat. Grief hits when we are often already incredibly vulnerable – when we are caring for a person, we often neglect our own wellbeing, so that when they pass away, all our reserves are gone. At the time we most need our resilience and energy, our body has nothing to fall back on. Food and feelings have a tendency to be complicated, but grief can throw guilt and loneliness into the mix, making mealtimes even harder. My clients often tell me they feel they ‘don’t deserve to eat’ now their loved one has gone, or they can’t face eating alone. It’s an attitude many carers face while trying to support their loved ones or clients.


I’ve been a nutritionist for 30 years and have been awarded an honorary doctorate for my work nourishing the unwell and vulnerable. I’ve looked after so many patients during the final weeks and days of their lives but I’ve often cared for their loved ones, too – parents whose child has died of cancer, families grieving siblings, older people coping with the loss of their lifelong companion. People coping with bereavement may be unable to eat, their appetite robbed by heartbreak and sadness, and that’s a concern for anyone caring for them. But there are strategies that can help.


Our gut is known as our body’s ‘second brain’ so it makes sense that our emotions affect our appetite and digestion. When someone is grieving,

This isn’t a time to have hard and fast food rules; encourage the person you are looking after to be kind to themselves, while also giving their body the nourishment it needs. Warm foods feel comforting and are easier on the gut than raw salads, while moist, soft meals seem to slip past that emotional ‘lump in the throat’ more easily than anything too heavy that you need to chop up and chew. Try a small bowl of vegetable soup, which will be packed with vitamins and minerals. They need protein for strength and to balance blood sugar to help them feel more resilient, so make the soup with a protein-rich stock, such as chicken, and stir in cream or shave some Parmesan on top to enrich it. Or poach a chicken in stock with lots of winter vegetables, so they have a pot of warming goodness on hand whenever you need a boost.

Can Food Boost The Immune System? Since Covid-19 came into our lives, focus on the immune system and suggestions regarding immuneboosting food has been rife. Tess Warnes, BSc RD, Registered Dietitian at independent food procurement experts allmanhall, provides advice… Important nutrients for effective immune function are: • Copper – bread, fortified breakfast cereals, meat, fish, beans, pulses, seeds, and nuts • Folate - bread, fortified breakfast cereals, citrus fruits, beans pulses • Iron - fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrains, meat, pulses, green leafy veg, nuts, eggs, dried fruit • Selenium - bread, nuts, seeds, seafood

In the first stages of grief, the trauma can cause a surge of ‘fight or flight’ hormones which can tip the body into ‘catabolism’ – when it begins to break down the muscles, causing weakness, weight loss and that shocking gaunt look we sometimes see in the recently bereaved. Including proteinrich foods helps to cushion this effect and protect the muscles. Grief can make it feel as if the gut is churning, or make foods usually eaten without a problem suddenly hard to digest, leading to griping pain, nausea or bloating. In this situation, it’s wise to reduce the amount of fibre in their diet, so you’ll need to avoid wholemeal bread, brown rice and pasta, raw fruit and vegetables, pulses and nuts for a while. A soft, creamy risotto will be gentle on their stomach. And root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes, can be slow-cooked so they’re wonderfully soft. If you casserole them with lamb shanks and herbs, you’ll get a meltin-the-mouth stew that will tempt them back for more.


It can be tempting to replace healthy food with the type of fast fixes that fill a hole in our appetite at the time, but they won’t help in the long run. Snacking on crisps and chocolate, ready meals and other processed foods, leads to a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows that sends energy and mood crashing when a person is already struggling emotionally. While existing on caffeine can make them feel jittery and anxious. If they are craving something sweet, encourage them to have natural unrefined sugar partnered with protein and fat to slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream – a couple of dried figs or dates with walnuts is perfect. The fat and flavourings in crisps can overload your liver and aggravate a sensitive, grief-stricken gut. Instead, guide them towards some crackers or a cup of soup instead. If they need a coffee to help them get through the day, serve it with warm milk as this adds fat and protein to the mix that will soften the caffeine effect – or pour a shot of espresso into a cup of Nourish Vanilla Drink. Tea tends to be more gentle on the body, so you may want to serve this instead for a while.

• Zinc - fortified breakfast cereals, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, nuts • Vitamin A – milk, eggs, orange coloured fruit and veg • Vitamin B6 – meat, fish, milk, cheese, seeds, eggs, wholegrains • Vitamin B12, - eggs, milk, cheese, meat. Fish marmite, fortified breakfast cereals • Vitamin C – fruit and vegetables, potatoes • Vitamin D - fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, oily fish No one food is recommended over another – balance is key. The immuno-protection of many of these nutrients is based on their antioxidant capacity which is lost if consumed in excess. Beneficial bacteria (probiotic bacteria) ensure good health and prevent diseases. To support good gut health, ensure residents eat a wide range of foods, high fibre foods and live foods. In case of specific challenges in meeting the dietary

requirements, supplements can be used to add nutrients to a resident’s diet. Unfortunately, the complexity of the immune system means that it cannot be modified acutely by a specific nutritional intervention. Rather, ensuring residents adhere to a healthy diet is important and may even delay the process of immunosenescence (the natural gradual deterioration of the immune system as people age). There is no convincing evidence that any food or dietary pattern can ‘boost’ the immune system and prevent or treat Covid-19. Find out more at

Dysphagia Patients’ Emotional Health - How Can We Reduce The Stress Right Now? By Sumathi Sinnappan, dysphagia specialist and speech and language therapist. With three quarters of care home residents reported to suffer from dysphagia, these are worrying times. Not only are patients having to come to terms with their swallowing difficulties, they’re also hungry for information and in many cases, in need of urgent treatment. Yet compared to other conditions, readily accessible details, beyond a cursory internet search, remain relatively sparse. Left untreated, dysphagia can lead to possible malnutrition and that can also mean an increased chance of clinical depression. As a pandemic takes hold, some dysphagia patients may confuse their symptoms with a much more serious condition, leading to even more stress. People are understandably anxious faced with an overworked NHS that can’t see them or adds them to a monumental waiting list. Or, due to their age, they may feel they don’t want to make a fuss or a be burden. That’s on top of the demands of living with a condition that’s perceived as a decline in dignity, and for some, still a bit of a taboo. In my work with dysphagia patients, under normal circumstances, sessions are repeated between three and five times a week until swallowing patterns have improved and restored to a near normal or normal level. Sufferers see improvements in six to 20 daily sessions, sometimes, thanks to specialist VitalStim technology, in as little as three days. As a specialist in dysphagia since 2005, I’ve seen the massive difference the right help can bring, changing lives for the better, finding new joy for people who feared they may never swallow properly again. I’ve worked diligently with this advancing technology to improve things greatly. I’ve watched with pride as patients go on to enjoy a hearty meal without a feeding tube.

I’m not the only one. Without the current pressures and national lockdown to contend with, there’s good medical provision in place. But as an independent consultant specialising in dysphagia and acquired neurological conditions, I fear for the effect of the pandemic and lockdown on patients’ emotional health. Would you want to spend this time concerned by a declining ability to communicate? Was there ever a worse era for this to happen? My heart goes out to patients who’ve been unable to access the help they undoubtedly need. ‘Nobody is listening to me, my family don’t want to know,’ one patient confided. Who could blame them? Bafflingly, for the general public at least, the term dysphagia and its symptoms are not as widely known as they could be. This also adds to uncertainty and fear from a newly-identified sufferer or for all of those in the limbo of waiting a diagnosis and appropriate rehabilitation therapy, monitoring of patients, or intervention. The fact that swallowing difficulties have also been identified as potential signs of Covid-19 is even more frightening for people of an advancing age or with other underlying health conditions. Being confined to lockdown and not being able to see loved-ones is bad enough, or being hit by bereavement.

HOW CAN WE HELP? Awareness and peace of mind:

Patients need to feel listened to and access reliable information about the severity of their dysphagia. I’d advise limiting online research and self-diagnosing or ‘doom scrolling’ Stick to trusted sites such as the NHS or find support groups online. Identifying those most at risk: Older adults are undoubtedly more at risk due to an ageing body. Certain diseases of old age can cause dysphagia. Up to half of stroke patients are reported to develop some degree of dysphagia. A fifth of vascular dementia patients experience dysphagia. This suggests that around 37,000 people suffer dysphagia due to vascular and mixed dementia in the UK. Patients with degenerative central nervous system disease often develop some degree of dysphagia. Dysphagia also commonly occurs following radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, traumatic head or spinal cord injury, tracheotomy, burns and meningitis. It is also common in people with congenital or degenerative neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy and Chronic

Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Knowing the signs

The NHS says: Some people with dysphagia have problems swallowing some foods or liquids, while others can't swallow at all. Other signs of dysphagia include: • Coughing or choking when eating or drinking • Bringing food back up, maybe through the nose • Sensation that food is stuck in throat or chest • Continuous drooling • Inability to chew • 'Gurgly' wet sounding voice when eating or drinking • Weight loss • Repeated chest infections • Breathing difficulties These can also be signs of aspiration pneumonia which occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit are breathed into the lungs or airways, instead of being swallowed into the oesophagus and stomach.

Urgent medical attention is needed.

This can also lead to malnutrition which has additional symptoms of: • Reduced appetite • Lack of interest in food and drink • Feeling tired all the time • Feeling weak • Getting ill more often, and taking longer to recover • Depression or low mood • Sensitivity to cold temperatures • Poor concentration • Wounds take longer to heal The following are recommended: • Changing consistency of food and liquids to make them safer to swallow – there are seven levels of how solid foods and liquid should be, formulated by the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). • Other forms of feeding – such as tube feeding through the nose or stomach • Surgery to widen the oesophagus, by stretching it or inserting a plastic or metal tube (stent)

Nutritional requirements and adjusting texture

It can be difficult to meet your body’s need for good nutrition when you have swallowing difficulties. It may take longer for you to finish a meal and sometimes soft

meals. Food becomes less appealing with no appetite. If you have been sick, it’s particularly important to make sure that you eat and drink enough every day. This is important to help prevent unnecessary weight loss and to help regain any weight you may have lost already. Hydration is another important factor.

SOME GOOD ADVICE: • Try adding extra calories and protein to meals to make them as nourishing as possible. A nutritionist can give the right advice based on the patient’s condition. • You may be recommended to take oral nutritional supplements. These are high in calories, protein and other important nutrients and can help you meet your nutritional requirements.

Treatment may include: • • • • •

Oral exercises to improve swallow muscles. Medicine Changing texture and consistency of food Dilation Surgery.

I help patients by: • Teaching exercises to improve swallowing ability • Training how to eat and drink in a safer and more comfortable way. • Showing how to make foods and liquids easier to swallow. • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation to the oral and pharyngeal muscles to re-educate and strengthen the swallow muscles.

TIPS FOR PATIENT MANAGEMENT AND TRAINING: Posture: Sitting upright when eating or drinking is key. If that’s not possible, adjusting their back or helping them hold their head up when eating and drinking is important. Eating: To avoid the exhaustion a normal length mealtime may bring; I’d advise eating little and often throughout the day. We may not be able to wipe out all the frightening emotions sparked by dysphagia right now, but a knowledgeable and empathetic approach will help soothe understandable fears. A listening ear and a supportive caring presence go a long way. Let’s be there for each other, even if we have to be physically distant. Read more about the IDDS here:


Social Care Sector To Receive £269 Million To Boost Staffing Levels And Testing The impact of the new variant is being felt across the country, with staff absence rates rising sharply both in care homes and among home care staff, due to testing positive or having to self-isolate. The funding announced will protect and support the social care sector, including care homes and domiciliary care providers, by increasing workforce capacity and increasing testing. The vital infection prevention and control guidance on staff movement in care homes is also being reinforced, with a reminder to providers to continue following the rules and keep staff and residents safe. The new £120 million funding will help local authorities to boost staffing levels, a direct ask of the sector. The funding can: Provide additional care staff where shortages arise; Support administrative tasks so experienced and skilled staff can focus on providing care; and Help existing staff to take on additional hours if they wish with overtime payments or by covering childcare costs Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This funding will bolster staffing numbers in a controlled and safe way, whilst ensuring people continue to receive the highest quality of care. “Since the start of the pandemic, we have taken steps to protect care homes, including increasing the testing available for staff and residents, providing free PPE, and investing billions of pounds of additional funding for infection control. “Help is on the way with the offer of a vaccine, with over forty percent of elderly care home residents having already received their first dose.“ Many local authorities across the country already have staffing initia-

tives in place to increase capacity and address staffing issues. These include care worker staff banks where new recruits are paid during training, re-deployment models where DBS checked staff are trained and moved into operational roles, and end-to-end training and recruitment services. The new £120m fund will ensure such initiatives can continue, and help other local authorities implement similar schemes. The £120m fund is in addition to the £149 million announced in December, which will be used to support rapid testing of staff testing and facilitate visits from family and friends where possible. The funding will help care home providers with the costs incurred, including setting up safe testing areas, providing staff training and will contribute towards staff time spent administering and receiving tests. This £149 million grant is ringfenced for Lateral Flow Device testing in adult social care. Local authorities will be required to pass on 80 per cent of the funding to care homes on a per beds basis, with 20 per cent used at the local authorities discretion to support the care sector in delivering additional lateral flow device testing. All the funding will be available later this month, so local authorities can take action quickly to respond to the pandemic. Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “This additional funding gives a boost to the social care workforce during some of the most difficult days of this pandemic so far. “Care workers have been doing the most amazing job throughout the pandemic. In challenging circumstances, they have been caring for some of the people most at risk from this virus with compassion and skill. “This additional £120 million will support social care to cope where

there are pressing staff shortages due to the pandemic and comes on top of the £149million to support safer testing. “We’re continuing to listen to care providers to make sure they have the help they need, from free PPE to extra testing, along with all the work to vaccinate care home residents, staff and the wider social care workforce.” Increased staff testing remains a critical part reducing transmission. Care homes currently have access to three tests per week for their staff, with daily testing for seven days in the event of a positive case to protect staff and residents. Care homes will have additional lateral flow devices to test individuals working in more than one setting before the start of every shift. Restricting staff movement remains critical to minimising the risk of transmission. In response to the government’s consultation, the sector called for an increase in staffing capacity instead of regulation to achieve this goal. Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, said: “As the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, Care England, is pleased the Government listened to the sector regarding their deep concerns about banning staff movement. “We want to work with the department to ensure the staff capacity fund delivers to the front line and is suitably flexible to reflect the crisis whereby providers are struggling with staff illness and absenteeism in the same way as their colleagues in the NHS are. “Staff are our most precious resource and we want to do all that we can to support them especially in these incredibly difficult times.”

Knight Frank 2021 Luxury Care Home Guide Sees Record Entries and Recognises Award Winners

Global property adviser Knight Frank has launched the fifth edition of its prestigious annual UK Luxury Care Home Guide which this year saw a record number of entries and recognised three winners in the sector. Knight Frank’s 2021 Luxury Care Home Guide comprises the UK’s Top

100 Luxury Care Homes and three overall winners of the Luxury Care Home Guide Awards who are each judged on numerous criteria including architecture, interior design and care quality. This year’s winners of the Luxury Care Home Guide Awards were: Luxury Care Home Award 2021 which recognises the highest quality hospitality and care services in a prestigious setting: Graysford Hall – operator – Sanders Senior Living Care Home Design Award 2021 which recognises innovation, design, sustainability and the environment: Cavendish Park Care Home – operator – Majesticare Refurbishment & Renovation Award 2021 which recognises heritage, redesign and repositioning: The Chocolate Works Care Village – operator Springfield Healthcare This year, owing to COVID-19, the Knight Frank 2021 Luxury Care Home Guide award winners were selected via virtual inspections of each of the finalist’s facilities by the judging panel. Despite the pandemic, Knight Frank received the highest ever level of submissions for the guide since its launch in 2016, receiving in excess of £5 billion of asset value, with the top 100 homes featured in the guide totalling approximately £2 billion. Many of the winners demonstrated innovation and forward-thinking, having already adapted their designs to manage possible

future pandemics. Julian Evans, Head of Healthcare at Knight Frank, commented: “We are pleased to have launched our 2021 edition of The Luxury Care Home Guide, which has cemented itself as the ultimate recognition for luxury care homes in the UK as evidenced by the record number of submissions totalling an extraordinary £5 billion of assets that we received this year. This year’s Top 100 Luxury Care Homes showcases the top-of-the-range facilities, the vast majority of which are able to efficiently manage COVID-19 due to their future proof design, throughout the UK with the three award winners embodying the very best of the sector.” Knight Frank also recently launched the inaugural Healthcare Heroes Awards which recognised outstanding people within the social care sector, who had shown tremendous leadership, empathy and compassion throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as well as leading efforts around infection control and commitment to creative thinking to ensure social care residents and customers felt safe and secure throughout these unprecedented times. To view the 2021 Luxury Care Home Guide video, please visit

Rotherham Care Home Residents Receive Best New Year Surprise All residents at Moorgate Lodge care home in Rotherham have received the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, making them among the first in the world to receive the ground-breaking inoculation. Chris Mitchell, chairman of Park Lane Healthcare which operates Moorgate Lodge care home in Rotherham, said: “The residents at Moorgate Lodge have received the best possible gift early this new year! “The vaccine gives us real hope, as we enter 2021, that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we can look forward to brighter times ahead.

“The loved ones of our residents and anyone considering joining us in their retirement years can be confident that those in care homes are at the front of the queue to receive the vaccine, which will be even easier now that the Oxford vaccine has been approved for widespread distribution.” On receiving the vaccine, 75-year-old resident, Jenny Bennett, said: “I am really pleased to have had the vaccination, and hopefully it will put an end to COVID. I can’t wait for things to get back to normal.”

Lockdown Three Calls For Cream Tea At Barnes Lodge Care Home With the new lockdown well underway, we are all missing those luxuries such as shopping and eating out. But Barnes Lodge residents decided they don’t need to go to a tea room to get one of their favourite treats, a cream tea! On a cold, wintery January morning the Social Activities Facilitator at Barnes Lodge thought that if they couldn’t visit a tea room, then they would bring the tea room to them. This meant residents joined in with the task of baking their very own homemade scones, which was of course accompanied with a proper pot of tea. Without having to face the wind and rain going on outside, residents had great fun together, in par-

ticular at the end of the morning, where the scones were demolished with lashings of clotted cream and jam, of course. Kay Hawkins, Social Activities Facilitator at Barnes Lodge commented: “It really is the simple things in life that matter the most, and there is nothing better than baking your own treats and getting to eat them all together afterwards. “Of course, our residents are missing their loved ones, but being able to keep them happy and feeling safe at a time like this means the world. There is nothing like all sitting together and eating and chatting, it feels like one big family.”



Cleanliness and Hygiene: Continuing Care place for staff and regular visitors, unless it is used correctly and uniformly, there’s still potential for viruses and bacteria to make their way into the building. Positioning dispensers, ideally hands free, immediately at the home’s entrance, exits and key doorways is the best way to remind all visitors to sanitise their hands. And don’t be afraid to insist gels are used before allowing entry, or check later that hands have been definitely sanitised – it’s always better to be reassured. Posting clear signage throughout the care home that reminds visitors and staff to clean their hands regularly and properly also helps, as well as emphasises that they are in a vulnerable environment and extra vigilence is required.


With a new, more contagious strain of COVID spreading across the UK, cleanliness and hygiene has never been more critical. Here, Anica Detic, Head of R&D at Zidac Laboratories discusses how care facilities must go above and beyond on their hygiene policies to keep staff and residents protected. With the UK placed under another lockdown as cases rise dramatically due to the emergence of a new, more contagious variant of COVID, care homes are under increased pressure to uphold even stricter hygiene standards to keep staff and residents safe. The new restrictions have brought with them a ban on close contact visits, as well as an optimistic pledge from Government to vaccinate all elderly care home residents by the end of January. Yet the new COVID variant is still driving a surge in cases, with the latest figures from Public Health England showing that in the first week of January, there were 503 reports of COVID-19 outbreaks in English care homes, up from 304 the week before. It is clear that staff and visitors alike must continue to go above and beyond in their diligent cleaning and hygiene measures, to ensure residents are protected in time for the vaccine. And, even if vaccinations have taken place it is still not the time to relax standards or procedures. By staying aware of the below, care home managers can be reassured they are doing all they can to protect residents.

As well as ensuring sanitiser is available, care home managers should check that they are providing hand gels that are powerful enough to kill viruses. There is now a huge range of hand sanitisers on the market but not all formulations are fully effective. The most important factor to consider when buying hand sanitiser is alcohol content, which kills germs by protein denaturation and dissolving the lipid membrane. For sanitiser to be fully anti-microbial (or effective on germs) it must contain at least 70 per cent alcohol, yet many off-the-shelf sanitisers that are currently being produced do not contain this. Care home managers would be advised to use products which contain more than 70 per cent alcohol, as well as state they have been tested to kill at least 99.9 per cent of germs – or 99.99 per cent for the most powerful sanitisers. Where possible, managers should also look for labelling proof thataproduct has been tested to a minimum of European Standards EN

1276 and EN 1500. Products which advise accreditations of EN 14476 and EN 13727 also certifies them as suitable for use in medical and contaminated areas and guarantee the highest standard of protection.

REGULARLY CLEAN FREQUENTLY TOUCHED SURFACES The increased contagiousness of the new variant means that areas that are hot spots for bacteria must be given even more attention when cleaning – relying on sanitiser is not enough. Surfaces that are often touched by multiple people, such as door handles, door bells and desks with sign in books or screens, will need to be cleaned far more regularly than before. This should be with high quality multipurpose disinfectants to help minimise the chance of cross contamination, as viruses can stay on surfaces for 1-2 days. Again, it’s vital to look for medical-grade products which provide the most reassurance that potential viruses lurking on surfaces are killed. And while it is recommended to place sanitiser bottles and pumps near high risk areas to reduce hand-to-surface contamination, they can also be a hotbed for germs. Sanitiser stations are often missed during regular cleaning regimes, however it’s vitally important they are regularly disinfected all over to kill any residual bacteria or viruses which may then transfer back to hands.

MAINTAINING HIGH-STANDARDS With a vaccine being offered around the UK, it seems that the ending may be in sight. However, the new variant has meant that there is no time for complacency. With a final concerted effort from all towards the vigilant cleaning of surfaces and hands, ideally with medical-grade products, care home managers can help contain the spread of the virus in time for the widespread introduction of the vaccine.

FIRST DEFENCE Hand sanitiser remains one of the best defences against COVID – and indeed other germs. While its use in care homes has become common

In 2020, TC Facilities Management (TCFM) completed over 500 nationwide Covid-19 decontamination and electrostatic sprays, in 4-hour response times. As we enter Lockdown 3.0, TCFM is continuing to keep their customers’ sites safe across the UK with their Covid-19 decontamination solution. The electrostatic spraying technology that TCFM offers provides 360° coverage to the premises, in contrast to traditional fogging methods which only protect surfaces. Environmentally f riendly, human and food-safe chemicals kill Coronavirus on con-tact, offering up to 4 weeks’ protection f rom pathogens. This solution provides TCFM’s customers with: A safe working environment;

Credibility with their clients;

Employees who feel valued;

Peace of mind.

Working tto Working o Minimise Disruption A Across cross a National Portfolio P ortffolio TCFM is proactively working with a diverse portfolio of national customers to keep their sites safe including: Tesco, Yodel, Makro, RS range of industries including distribution, retail, telecommunications and finance. TCFM’s national coverage is key to responding promptly to calls for the Covid-19 decontamination solution, which mitigates disruption to BAU at even their most remote sites.

Ho How wT TCFM CFM C Can an Suppor Supportt You You Thr Through ough The Th e Developing Developing C Covid-19 ovid-19 Cr Crisis isis TCFM is committed to supporting customers across the country to safeguard sites against Coronavirus as the situation continues to develop. To ensure they can deliver a solution tailored to the requirements of your premises, TCFM offers a f ree site visit and quote for their Covid-19 decontamination solu-tion and a certificate on completion. As many of your colleagues will be site-based, this will give them the peace of mind that you are committed to safeguarding their health and safety. This identifies TCFM as a trusted partner in the fight against Coronavirus. Haris Niksic, TCFM’s Head of Specialist Services, comments: “Our specialist service colleagues wor work extremely hard to prevent disruption d to y your our business while saffeguarding a saffe ew wor orking environment for for your colleagues and customers.”

To book your free site assessment & Covid-19 quote please visit: or contact Nicola Heywood directly on: 07920 539 265


HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL UK Company Develops Anti-Viral Facemask Believed To Kill Covid-19 SCIENTISTS at Cambridge University are testing a facemask that has an anti-viral fabric coating that they believe may kill Covid-19. The reusable mask was developed by British company LiquidNano and has already been shown to kill a coronavirus that is genetically and structurally very similar to SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that caused the pandemic. The fabric of the mask contains a unique nano-coating called DiOX 4, which has strong anti-viral properties, according to an initial study by the University of Cambridge. Further testing has now been commissioned to evaluate the efficacy of the mask directly on Covid-19.

Andy Middleton of LiquidNano said: "We have created an antimicrobial face mask that is environmentally friendly and ergonomically designed to be worn comfortably for long periods. The mask can be washed up to 20 times, which is a major positive for anybody who is concerned about the environmental impact of disposable masks." The initial study of the DiOX 4 facemask was overseen by Dr. Graham Christie, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge. Dr Christie commented: "Our study showed that the coating on this facemask has strong anti-viral properties, which are likely to be effective against all types of coronavirus. We initially tested it on a pathogen called MHV-A59, which is genetically and structurally very similar to the causative agent of Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). We found that the mask killed almost 95% of the test virus within one hour." "We followed the industry standard testing for viruses on material (ISO18184:19) but made some critical adaptations to give it a more ‘realworld’ relevance. This included conducting splash tests to mimic sneezing to ensure the tests were as rigorous as possible. Therefore, there is evidence to suggest that this mask could be beneficial in helping to prevent human to human transmission of Covid-19, and we are now scheduled to conduct further tests using the SARS-Cov-2 pathogen." A number of commercial companies, including those within the hospitality and retail sectors, are currently trialling the mask with a view to rolling-out its use for employees. The study showed that 95% of viral pathogens introduced to the fabric surface were killed within one hour and almost 100% after four hours. The study concluded: "Box fresh DiOX coated fabric is associated with strong viricidal activity with respect to the control material, with a near 95% (1.25 log) reduction in viral titre after a 1 hour contact period. The murine

MAG Launches Ozone Generator Proven To Kill Covid–19 Are your rooms 100% free of germs and smells? Clean, fresh air has never been more important and ozone is being used in care homes across the UK as a new safety standard for infection control. The MAG Ozone Generator emits ozone through the air to sanitise surfaces and kill bacteria and viruses including Covid–19. Proven to eliminate SARS coronavirus, norovirus, E.coli, salmonella and more than 99% of harmful bacteria and viruses, ozone is recognised as the strongest and fastest method of destroying microorganisms. With cycle times as quick as 15 minutes the MAG Ozone Generator is the quick & easy way to sanitise any indoor environment including care homes, pods, rooms, offices, toilets, canteens,

storage areas and more. Ozone is also extremely effective at removing unwanted smells from rooms. Rather than masking unpleasant odours with air fresheners and chemicals you can permanently remove smells with the MAG Ozone Generator. Available for less than £5.00 per day MAG Ozone Generators can be purchased outright or paid for monthly via lease or rental. Separate to ozone generators MAG Equipment Ltd also supply and service all leading brands of commercial washing machines, tumble dryers and ironers should you require any assistance. To find our more visit or telephone 01422 244734. See the advert on page 11 for details.

Coronavirus inoculum is undetectable in eluates after a 4 hour contact period, representing an 8 log reduction in titre (although there is no formal definition or standard, we would consider a 5 log reduction to be indicative of significant viricidal activity)." The study found that the mask maintained its antiviral properties after repeated washing, albeit at a reduced rate when compared to a box-fresh mask. For further information, please visit

Sheffcare Teams Up with Haigh Sheffcare continue to stay at the forefront of resident health, safety, and care. With ten homes across the city of Sheffield, Sheffcare a leading care charity, serves the needs of more than 500 older people and is strongly committed to providing high quality, compassionate care which enhances quality of life. Like a clean kitchen, often the most important aspects of infection prevention are out of sight. Best in class providers continue to invest in their facilities, ever-improving client health and experience. Most recently, Sheffcare has upgraded its waste management to Haigh's disposal units. These allow the hygienic disposal of disposable toileting items, simplifying and improving a challenging task for staff, reducing cross infection risks, and helping drive down long-term costs. Sheffcare noted "Investments like this are taken only once we have strong evidence. We trialled the

Haigh Quattro and Haigh Incomaster at several of our sites. The improvement was noticeable, improving resident experience and for our care staff." Haigh has been designing bed pan disposers since the 1950s, supporting hospitals across the UK and worldwide, while investing in the UK economy. For further information, visit


HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL SanOZone Deep Cleans Indoor Spaces of All Sizes for Covid Safety Ozone sanitizing is the most effective way to deep clean residential environments of all sizes and it is easier, quicker, and more cost-effective than manual cleaning or fogging. Once in position, an easy to use key-pad enables the operator to set the optimal ozone concentration for the size of the room. The system then automatically converts the ambient air into ozone that fills the room, sanitising floors, walls, ceilings, surfaces and equipment. The complete sanitisation of an average sized room will take approximately two hours. This includes the production of ozone, maintaining the required concentration for total cleaning and then returning the room to its usual habitation state. “SanOZone is one of the most versatile and efficient sanitisation systems available to healthcare, commercial property owners and facilities management companies. It offers many benefits over manual cleaning and we believe that it is three times quicker and more efficient than alternatives like fogging.” The main benefits of SanOZone are:

• Highly efficient in the fight against Covid viruses • Effective against the majority of microorganisms tested • Requires only low volumes of ozone to kill bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses • A standalone system that eliminates the need for chemical substances • More cost-effective than traditional cleaning operations or materials • Quicker and more effective than fogging SanOZone units are fully mobile, easy to programme for hourly or daily cleaning and have acoustic and visual warning indicators for safe operation. As it creates its own ozone, no chemicals or additional cleaning products are required. There are no ongoing costs. SanOZone Easybox systems are available from Barbel now, with prices starting from £1,750 ex VAT for the Easybox 5. For more information, contact Barbel on 01629 705110, email or visit the website at

Portibac - Making The Places You Live and Work Safe

PORTiBAC is the answer to the quick and effective sanitisation for care homes. Choose the PORTiBAC system that fits your needs. All come with our unique sanitising solution produced in the UK. PORTiBAC 800ML SPRAY GUN The entry level member of the PORTiBAC family has a simple mission - to sanitise the spaces you care about within minutes making the environment safe for staff and residents. Powered by a rechargeable battery and with its easy custom carry case, the PORTiBAC 800ML SPRAY GUN is ready to go anywhere.

What could be more satisfying than taking aim with this handy spray gun at the places you need to make safe? Filled with exclusive PORTiBAC Tropical Citrus solution - certified to kill Covid-19 on surfaces – the fine mist produced by the gun gets the job done in minutes. The PORTiBAC 800ML SPRAY GUN is available in, Metallic gold, Brushed silver & Brilliant white. Comes complete with 800ml of PORTiBAC Tropical Citrus solution all for just £125 PORTiBAC - the essential tool in the fight against the spread of Covid19 15% discount to all care homes, please see or call 03430 442 442

New Covid-19 App Enables Care Homes and Primary Care Providers Comply with Hazardous Waste Audit Requirements Remotely A new app, which gives Care Homes and primary care providers the ability to conduct compulsory clinical waste pre-acceptance and duty of care audits without the need for third-party on-site visits, has been launched by leading independent healthcare waste management company Anenta. Designed to provide a Covid-19 compliant solution that ends the need for on-site reviews by external bodies, the app simplifies the process, saves time and dramatically cuts the cost of audits required by producers of healthcare waste in order to operate. The app, which can be operated from a desktop as well as a range of mobile devices, takes the user through the audit process, covering duty of care and waste pre-acceptance in one go. Taking around 40 minutes to complete, the app streamlines a process that can take up to six days - including expensive onsite visits - consuming the valuable time of staff and management. Costing just £200 per site, the Anenta audit app saves between £300 and £800 on physical audits. It identifies and records details of training undertaken linked to duty of care, keeping a record for compliance purposes. It also identifies if the correct waste management policies are in place and records details for assessment, including whether hazardous consignment notes are kept for three years – a compliance requirement - and in what format. The app enables details of all internal waste containers to be recorded, including their location and content, and whether these are correctly labeled. Images are uploaded as a point of reference using mobile devices, enabling multiple site assessments to be undertaken; colleagues can be emailed with a link to the section of the waste management audit that they need to complete. Once done, Anenta assesses the audit and provides a report with advisory notes and actions to be taken covering: missing policies, segregation require-

ments, and areas where action needs to be taken to comply with regulations; be that in terms of duty of care or the clinical waste pre-acceptance audit process. This enables clients to quickly and easily address aspects of the audit that will enable them to continue operating. Graham Flynn, Managing Director of Anenta, commented on the app launch, saying: “Business operating in the healthcare sector have a duty of care to their staff within the Environmental Protection Act 1990. “Those that fail to demonstrate proper measures face potential enforcement action by the Care Quality Commission. Those same organisations also have an obligation to complete clinical waste pre-acceptance audits, without which hazardous waste including healthcare items cannot legally be removed from site. Without this being in place, care homes could face the prospect of being temporarily closed until the audit is completed.” “Understandably, many care home producers of clinical waste are looking to avoid third parties from coming on site during the current pandemic, yet they still have audit responsibilities. It is for this reason that we have developed the Anenta audit app, allowing healthcare settings to fulfill their duties faster and more cost-effectively than has previously been possible, so that they can continue operating unincumbered. We view this as a win, win solution for all concerned and a transformational development for the care home and healthcare sector.” All audits undertaken using the Anenta app are stored electronically, are readily accessible by the user and can be used to track remediable actions providing a breadcrumb trail for compliance purposes and CQC checks. To gain access to the Audit app, healthcare settings need to set up an account with Anenta: visit or call 03301222143.

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


HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Rentokil Initial Launches VIRUSKILLER Air Purifier That Kills Coronavirus in the Air* TM

Rentokil Initial has announced an agreement to distribute VIRUSKILLERTM, air purification technology which is proven to kill 99.9999% of viruses with a single air pass, including Coronavirus. It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently updated information on its website that recognises Coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person via aerosols in the air[1]. The VIRUSKILLERTM technology will hopefully play an important role in the nation’s Coronavirus recovery, helping businesses and public facilities minimise the risk of airborne transmission when they are allowed to resume normal operations. Despite WHO recognition of Coronavirus transmission (air to person) via aerosols, research commissioned by Rentokil Initial[2] reveals a lack of awareness of this risk amongst the British public. Just over one in five (22%) of Brits revealed they are concerned about catching Coronavirus from contaminated air. Interestingly, the research did find that over three in five (64%) were more concerned about the air quality in indoor environments now, than they were prior to the pandemic. As a result of these concerns, 59% of consumers believe air purification systems should be mandatory in public buildings and educational facilities. Additionally, 41% believe that facemasks do not do enough to protect them against catching Coronavirus from contaminated air.

Unlike traditional air purifiers that can ‘trap’ airborne particles and microbes, the VIRUSKILLERTM also decontaminates the air, by not only trapping but also killing airborne viruses, bacteria** and fungi. When placed correctly the unit takes control of the airflow in a room, drawing contaminated air in from the ‘breathing zone’ and then releasing fresh, clean air back into the breathing zone. As well as deploying carbon and HEPA filters, VIRUSKILLERTM uses patented ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps, surrounded by a mesh of chromed nano titanium dioxide tube filters that are polished with activated carbon. The emitted UV light reacts with the mesh, and in a process called ‘photocatalytic oxidation’ produces hydroxyl radicals, which acts as a disinfectant and breaks down the organic molecules. This all in one solution effectively filters dirty air, neutralises toxic air and decontaminates sick air. Dr Colm Moore, Area Technical Manager UK, Ireland and the Baltics, Rentokil Initial says: “Unlike traditional air purification systems, the UVC technology provides a photochemical deconstruction of the RNA and DNA of microorganisms, deactivating their reproductive processes so that the Coronavirus, and other viruses, can no longer spread, before the air is released back into the room. “Its ability to kill 99.9999% of viruses with a single air pass, including Coronavirus, is what really sets this technology apart. Take the following scenario for example, if you had one million viruses passing through a

OneSpray - Reduces the Spread of Harmful Bacteria and Viruses

Throughout the course of the 2020 pandemic, the Care Home sector has undoubtedly endured a challenging period. With an increased risk to staff and residents, there has been a lack of fundamental government support at all levels, leaving owners and managers with increased challenges. Infection control is naturally a top priority for Care Homes but never before has the risk been so acute. With a lack of direction and support from government, the onus is left to the individual homes to determine the best course of action. An obvious change has been to implement either significantly increased or continual cleaning procedures. However, as Channel 4’s Dispatches showed on 26 October 2020, whilst this can be effective if carried out perfectly, the results can be highly inconsistent in reality, as that policy is susceptible to human error. It also comes at a cost, in terms of both product and labour. Dispatches looked at continual cleaning procedures under-

taken in Tesco, Costa Coffee, hotels and public transport, using ATP testing in a number of sample areas to determine the presence of organic material. The results were very mixed with an unsettlingly high number of samples showing very high counts of bacteria, despite supposedly being clean. The conclusion was that whilst the process can work, it leaves open the risk of human error, whether that be missing an area or it simply not being feasible to continually clean every surface. OneSpray offer a solution to help mitigate that risk, with innovative antimicrobial technology that is proven extensively to protect surfaces for up to 30 days from application. Groups of Care Homes are already using their solutions, alongside major transport networks, airlines and airports amongst others business worldwide, across multiple sectors. Containing no alcohol or harmful chemicals, and proven against EN14476 and EN1500, the unique longevity of the products will help protect staff and residents alike. For more information, contact or 03400 577 148. Alternatively, you can visit their website at

VIRUSKILLERTM, just a single virus would be recirculated, compared to the 500 viruses that would pass through when using a traditional filtration device (99.95%).” Jamie Woodhall, UK Technical & Innovation Manager, Rentokil Initial comments: “Following the positive news surrounding several Coronavirus vaccines on the near horizon, VIRUSKILLERTM is another landmark development in the ongoing effort to battle Coronavirus. “VIRUSKILLERTM could play an important role as people look to resume their normal lives, providing confidence and peace of mind that airborne transmission is far less likely in indoor environments where the technology is installed. It could also help eliminate scenarios that we see in so many schools across the country, where students have to sit in cold classrooms because the windows must be kept open to maintain airflow. “This solution will play a crucial role in helping to break the ‘chain of infection’, by taking control of the airflow in a room – drawing contaminated air out of the breathing zone and releasing fresh, clean air back into the environment. Once installed, businesses should still ensure that proper hand hygiene is encouraged among workers and visitors, and that social distancing measures are practiced.” For further information, please visit * When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass. [1] [1] Research conducted by Opinium LLP for Rentokil Initial. Conducted 20-22 November 2020 sampling 2,000 adults in the UK **When independently tested against reference bacteria (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphyloccus aureus subsp. Aureus, Streptoccocus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli), the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of bacteria on a single air pass.

Clean Air Solutions There are a lot of cost-effective equipment that could be put in place quickly and easily to actively assist in lowering or eliminating the virus contaminated particles of any room helping eliminate the spread of viruses. Air and Surface Treatments are the most effective method for treating all manner of smells, viruses, volatile organic compounds and all other airborne and surface contaminants. These type of unit utilise either O³ (Ozone) or OH (Hydroxyl) Ozone is created when the kind of oxygen we breathe O² is split apart into single oxygen atoms. Single oxygen atoms can re-join to make O², or they can join with O² molecules to make ozone (O³) when the energy is available to do so. Ozone breaks down when it reacts with other compounds, harmful viruses included. The machines that produce Ozone in higher effective concentrations must be used in unoccupied spaces, high concentrations of Ozone can cause issues with the respiratory sys-

tem, with this said they are extremely effective at sanitising a space (airborne and surfaces) after a manual clean down. Hydroxyl machines are by far the most user friendly, firstly because they’re more adaptable and easily integrate into our normal daily lives. Much like the Ozone units, a volatile OH compound is produced which reacts with all airborne contaminants. The OH compound reacts by oxidizing and this cascade reaction will continue until the area is free of contaminants, the OH particles will then simply become H²O once there is nothing left to react with. Hydroxyl units are safe for use in constantly occupied rooms and will provide the constant decontamination required in a busy office. For more information please contact Axair Fans to discuss your requirements. 01782 349439


HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Edge Protect Giving Care Homes the Tools to Manage Infection Control In-House Edge Protect have been providing care groups throughout the pandemic with their own Fogging equipment and revolutionary 3-1 TriGuard solution to enable homes to effectively manage hygiene and infection control inhouse. Owning their own fogging equipment allows care homes to maintain the safety and wellbeing of both residents and staff whilst also having best laid plans in place when opening back up for outside visitors. The process can be managed in-house, with a quick and simple process treating all visitation areas both inside and outside the home along with other communal areas and bedrooms. Owning your own fogging equipment has been advised by councils as an essential

purchase, and one of which can be claimed back through the infection control funds. It ensures your home has a robust Covid prevention process in place whilst also having all the tools necessary for immediate treatment in the event of any outbreaks.

BENEFITS OF TRIGUARD AND FOGGING TO CARE HOMES • A quick and easy to use in house Covid19 decontamination solution • Significantly reduce likelihood of outbreaks and spreads with one simple weekly treatment • Save 000’s of pounds on specialist cleaners • Fogging cost at £0.30p per room, based on an average care home room size of 20m2 • Non time consuming – Fogging takes 30 second per room. Up to 20 x cheaper than employing external specialists (based on a 40 room care home) • TriGuard forms an antimicrobial coating on surfaces, which continues to protect against biocides residually when dry • A comprehensive sanitising method, protecting employees, residents and families for complete peace of mind • TriGuard does not use aggressive chemicals, alcohol or bleach and is non-toxic, and safe on skin. “ We are delighted to have the Edge Protect team in our corner supporting providers through this pandemic” Nadra Ahmed OBE Executive Chairman – National Care Association Visit or call 01179 214 1109 for more information and an obligation free quote.

A More Hygienic Lighting Solution Designed and manufactured by COCO Lighting after many months of development, Bio-Luminaire™ is a new range of surface, recessed and pendant LED luminaires. The unique benefit is that they offer a more hygienic alternative to traditional and existing lighting options. With light fixtures often being overlooked due to inaccessible high ceilings and walls they can, however, still harbour hidden and harmful bacteria. The spread of bacteria is naturally a major concern in every environment, especially care homes where hygiene is of paramount importance. With the surface of the entire luminaire armed with BioCote® technology, Bio-Luminaire will continue to protect 24/7 against bacterial growth, as well as provide a reliable and maintenance-free light source. The proven and safe BioCote® technology is not a coating but impregnated into the diffuser sheet and paint of the luminaire at the time of manufacture so will not wear away over time. Independently tested in a UK laboratory, Bio-Luminaire™ has been proven to kill over 99% of bacteria within 2 hours upon the surface on the luminaire and effective against MRSA, E.Coli and Influenza as well as some common viruses, making it an ideal addition or replacement to your existing lighting. Not only can Bio-Luminaire™ help reduce your energy

consumption but also reduce any ongoing maintenance costs thanks to its high-quality construction and LED light source. Designed and manufactured in the UK, the standard ceiling luminaire comes in both recessed and surfacemounted versions. The Bio-R version developed for quick and easy installation into popular 600x600mm ceiling grid systems and the surface-mounted option (Bio-S) for installation on standard ceilings. The recent addition to the range is the wall-mounted version (Bio-W) offers a rugged yet modern design ideal for illuminating walkways, corridors, and stairwells. Finished with a tough powder coated white finish as standard with your choice of coloured trim options to match your environment if required. To ensure compatibility across all technological platforms the Bioluminaire™ range is designed to work with Fixed Output/DALI/1-10V dimmable drivers or having an integral standard, Self-Test and DALI addressable emergency functionality. We can also incorporate a wide variety of sensors that can communicate via Bluetooth technology. For more information on the Bio-Luminaire™ range please visit or email or call us on 01376 331 515.


LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS Forbes Professional Provides Critical Laundry Appliances to the Care Industry

Effective laundry and dishwashing processes have always been vital to the efficient running of any care environment. This has never been more critical than in this COVID era, where infection control is absolutely paramount. Throughout the pandemic, Forbes Professional has provided an uninterrupted provision of essential services to the healthcare sector. We have been approached by hospitals and care homes from across the UK requir-

ing compliant solutions with a rapid turn around and a swift, reliable service support. We have implemented the requisite enhanced hygiene measures to ensure that we are COVID-secure, and continue to deliver the same/next day response that our clients depend upon. Our National Account Manager, John Dobbs, says ‘Throughout the pandemic, demand has been extremely high from hospitals and both national and local care home operators. Miele’s hygiene dishwashers and washing machines provide a fully compliant solution to the healthcare sector and our first-class engineer response has been utterly invaluable.’ Never before has the importance of finding a trusted service partner been so underpinned. The care sector need to know that they can deliver continuous and hygienic decontamination and laundering, and that relies on having fully-functioning commercial grade machines at all times. Conact Forbes Professional 0345 070 2335

5 Reasons Why You Should Choose LaundryTec Chester based LaundryTec since its foundation in early 2016 has become one of Alliance Internationals major UK distributers. Founded by Jeremy Hartigan, the team of industry professionals with the backing of the Alliance Lavamac brand and supported by its service partner PDS Laundry based in Nuneaton. They supply a significant number of the UK’s leading health care operators with equipment, installation and after sale support. The LaundryTec designs offer not only washing, drying and ironing equipment but a full range of handling, distribution, folding and identification systems, to create a fully functioning laundry complete with all items necessary for efficient operation. Every LaundryTec machine includes full installation options, including the removal and disposal of an existing machine. A training program and a minimum of 24

months part and labour warranty. The environment is at the forefront of every operator’s mind. Standard specification on a Lavamac machine includes functions that automatically weigh and control the energy input into the machine and store the data in the machines memory. Our LS range of electric heat pump dryers require no ventilation or gas services and operates at 3kw per hour.

5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE LAUNDRYTEC 1. Cost 2. Efficiency 3. Service 4. Design 5. Innovation Telephone 0151 317 3127 Web

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

0151 317 3127


Washer Extractors

Tumble Dryers

Cost Quality Service Design Innovation

Flatwork Ironers

Other Equipment



Managing Medicines In Care Homes. Effective Remote Consultations. By Steve Turner, nurse prescriber and Managing Director of Care Right Now CIC It is now common for clinicians to carry out consultations with patients over the ‘phone or online. Here are some simple suggestions to help staff in care homes prepare for an effective consultation. Our patient led clinical education work is showing that this can greatly improve the effectiveness and outcomes, even to the extent that an online or ‘phone consultation may be preferable in cases where a hands-on clinical examination is not required. Whether you are assisting the resident to have the consultation or carrying it out on their behalf I recommend that you write some notes beforehand. Here is a brief guide to producing a simple checklist that will help you prepare for the consultation and lead to an agreed plan for what to do next. In preparation, you may need to take some observations, e.g., temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and other measurements, including the resident’s feelings, behaviour changes, mood, cognition, mobility, and areas such as sleep & appetite. If the problem is something visible (like a rash for example) send pictures & monitor changes over time. Use early warning scoring systems where appropriate. Think particularly about what the resident would like to have happen. This is a question you may well be asked.

If you are speaking to clinician who does not have the person’s records to hand, be sure to have a list of their previous illnesses, long term conditions and treatments, plus a list of all clinicians and therapists they are currently seeing. The person’s preferences and beliefs about treatments, including on resuscitation & end of life care (often called advanced decisions or advance care plans), and whether anyone has Power of Attorney is a ‘Deputy’ in relation to their health and care need to be included. You also need details of the person’s (current and past) medicines. This must include details of any allergies, sensitivities of previous adverse reactions. This may be critical. This list should include prescribed medicines; over the counter medicines; as required (prn) medicines, including the effect these have; herbal medicines; complementary medicines; vitamins and supplements and any other therapies they are receiving. In addition, diet, smoking and alcohol intake can affect medicines. You also need to have information on the person’s beliefs and ideas about medicines, and anything they do not want to take. At the end of the consultation, you should confirm that all concerns have been listened to and have an agreed action plan , to be documented in the resident’s notes. This plan may be ‘watch and wait’ or may involve a change. You should also be clear on what to look for if the situation deteriorates, including who to call, and have access to related support and information for the resident. I believe taking time to prepare for consultations and insistence on having a clear agreed plan as the product of the consultation will help improve outcomes & may even save someone’s life. There is emerging evidence that good remote consultations, where applicable, save time

and can sometimes be preferable to face to face consultations when all factors are considered. About the author: Steve Turner is a nurse prescriber, Managing Director of Care Right Now CIC, Head of Medicines and Prescribing for, Information Governance Lead for CareMeds Ltd and Associate Lecturer at Plymouth University. You can find more on this, & related topics, at Steve’s blog site: Contact 07931 919 330.

ATLAS eMAR - The Only Proven eMar for Care Homes in the UK

ATLAS eMAR is the only independently evaluated medication administration system that has been shown to eradicate 21 out of 23 medication error types, save 65 staff hours per month on medication, representing over £1500 savings per month and improve accountability by reducing missing entries by 85%. There are four unique features of ATLAS eMAR: 1. Use of barcode validation to ensure all the rights of medicine administration are checked. This feature eradicates most common medication errors. 2. Automatic two-way link between the pharmacy and care home. This ensures that the pharmacy is aware of therapy changes made at the home and can sort out discrepancies with prescriptions before they become errors. The pharmacy can also see all prescription requests and the actual stock counts of each medicine at the care home. This leads to efficiencies in ordering, booking in and returning of medicines.

3. The data from ATLAS eMAR on medication administrations can now be viewed on most e-care planning platforms through our open API. This means that all aspects of resident care including medications can now be viewed in one place. 4. ATLAS eMAR can now be used on any suitable android device. This means that if you already have an android device for e-care plans, then you can run ATLAS eMAR on it, making it a very cost effective option. ATLAS eMAR has a national network of enabled pharmacies and can work with any pharmacy, as long as they agree to support the care home with the technology. The implementation is detailed and fully supported. Training is via on-line elearning and webinars. Over 95% of care homes who implemented ATLAS eMAR indicated that they would never go back to their traditional medication system. Visit or see the advert on page 34 for further details.

everyLIFE’s PASS and NHS Digital’s GP Connect join up Health & Social Care Information sharing and interoperability between Health & Social Care took a significant step forward today with an industry first integration between GPs and social care providers through the implementation of GP Connect Access Record: HTML with everyLIFE’s PASS digital care management system. Taffy Gatawa, everyLIFE’s Clinical Safety Officer said, “Ensuring that the right information is in the right hands at the right time to deliver safe care and the best possible care outcomes has been at the core of what everyLIFE was set up in 2014 to achieve. With real time sharing from today of clinically relevant data such as Problems and Issues, Allergies and Adverse Reactions, Acute and Repeat Medication between GPs and authorised social care clinicians, the provision of person-centred care takes a milestone leap forward. Michelle McDermott, Programme Manager in GP Connect at NHS Digital, said “This is a really important step in more joined up care and we’re thrilled

to be working with the social care suppliers to allow access to the GP Patient record for clinicians working with social care settings. everyLIFE’s enthusiasm for this project has been great to see and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the name of better patient care” Juliette Millard, Head of Clinical Governance, Newcross Healthcare Solutions commented, “We are really excited about GP Connect within PASS, it will have a positive impact for our clinicians and how we manage medicines for our service users living in the community. It will also enable us to access changing information about the health and wellbeing of the people we support in a timely way, ensuring that we work in true partnership with our medical and healthcare colleagues to achieve the best outcomes possible.” For further information visit everyLIFE Technologies Limited t. 0330 094 0122 w.



Why Technology Enabled Compliance Systems Are The Future Home health care provider Cera Care recently chose QCS to assist it with compliance. In doing so, a member of the Cera Care team became the 100,000th user to access the QCS system. In this case study, Cera Care’s Regional Director, Theresa Cull, reveals how the QCS platform is helping Cera Care to manage its compliance requirements. What is the greatest barrier to delivering outstanding domiciliary care? Ask any experienced Registered Manager and they're likely to list recruitment and retention as the top challenge. But the Pandemic has also demonstrated the value of embedding a culture of technology within care services – something which is still relatively rare in the care sector. It is, however, what sets Cera Care, a London-based technologyenabled domiciliary care company, apart from other providers. Launched in 2016, Cera, which operates a nationwide home care service, has been using technology to help its frontline carers plan and deliver an outstanding package of person-centred care.

TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN COMPLIANCE But Cera Care understands that innovation comes in many different forms. Take compliance, for example. Cera Care is using technology to revolutionise compliance by providing care workers with the latest guidance in the form of curated, easy-to-read content - as and when it is required. Cera Care approached QCS, which operates the UK’s leading content platform for the healthcare sector, to help it with its compliance needs. Cera Care had begun to acquire a number of traditional care businesses across the UK. In February, it purchased Mears Care, which has operations in England, Wales and Scotland. With each nation governed by a separate regulatory body, it began tailoring compliance for each country. Quality Compliance Systems, has assisted Cera Care in helping it to deliver the right content, to the right worker, at the right time regardless of which country they are operating from.

CERA CARE: TAKING COMPLIANCE TO A NEW LEVEL Theresa Cull, the Scottish Regional Director of Cera Care believes that Cera Care’s approach to compliance, and its partnership with QCS is a potential game-changer for her staff and the people they care for.

She explains, “The system will save us time, as we’ll no longer have to trawl the Care Inspectorate’s or the Scottish government’s websites for the latest changes in protocol. At the peak of Pandemic, when guidance was changing several times each daily, simply updating policies and procedures was incredibly time consuming. Now, however, the new system will give us the peace of mind that the policies we’re accessing are not only up-to-date, but have been individually tailored to the needs of service users in the country that we’re operating in. That’s incredibly important – especially for new starters who might confuse the Mental Capacity Act (England) with the Adults with Incapacity Act (Scotland).”

INCREASED ACCESSIBILITY Mrs Cull, who has worked in the care sector for over 30 years, also believes that the culture of innovation that Cera Care has instilled within its staff, will also increase accessibility and engagement. She says that the content, which is divided into a number of different formats, such as policies, guides, checklists and audit tools, is not only “very easy to understand, but the QCS platform that supports it is highly scalable”. “Care workers can access QCS on their desktops, smartphones and tablets. For anybody in home care, this is essential as if they’re caring for a client, and want to check on a policy, instead of ringing the office, they can check the policy by typing the QCS platform URL into their device.”

PROMOTING EVEN GREATER ENGAGEMENT AND UNDERSTANDING In terms of promoting even closer engagement, Mrs Cull says that the bespoke reading lists that Cera Care and QCS partnership will allow her to create for staff could prove a great way of “checking understanding and also reinforcing any knowledge gaps”. She explains, “We find that there are one or two recurring policy areas – such as the ‘No Access Policy’ and medication protocol - that staff find particularly challenging. When we begin using the new system, however, it will not only tell me that my staff have read a particular policy, but it will also let me know how long they've spent reading it. If, for example, a care worker has only spent a few seconds reading the update, it will immediately flag on my dashboard.”

CERA CARE: CHAMPIONING BETTER COMPLIANCE UNDERSTANDING While carers from the UK account for the vast majority of domiciliary care staff, there are a minority of workers – around 20 percent – who have come from overseas. Cera Care recognises that care workers, who receive policies and procedures in their native tongue, can understand and implement compliance much more easily. Working with QCS, it has ensured that its staff policies and procedures have been translated into over 100 different languages. Mrs Cull adds, “While it’s important to say that most domiciliary care

policies are from the UK, we do employ care workers from abroad. No matter how fluent a person is in English, I think it’s both reassuring and comforting that that they can access new guidance in their first language. From an efficiency perspective, it’s also likely to save us time because previously we hired translators to translate complex guidance into English.”

VIDEO-BASED TRAINING But Cera Care, which invests heavily in staff training and development, also recognises that everybody learns differently. Theresa Cull thinks that taking a multi-faceted approach to professional development will add great value. “We’ve already witnessed the role that video-based training can play. Every care worker at Cera Care can access it. It is particularly useful when it comes to a procedure such as preparing, changing and disposing of a stoma bag, as seeing a stoma for the first time can be quite frightening for inexperienced staff. Having read the policy, and checklist, we find that having access to a video as the final preparatory step is the best ways to mentally prepare staff before they undergo practical training.”

EMBRACING COLLABORATIVE COMPLIANCE Cera Care has always practiced outstanding compliance. It is firmly built into its DNA. But what separates it from other homecare providers is a desire to use technology to explore new ways to continuously improve person-centred compliance. While Cera Care’s compliance and technology teams have - and always will - lead the way in this respect, Theresa Cull says that QCS’s digital platform has added value. She concludes, “We pride ourselves on always being able to supply frontline workers with the right compliance tools which enable them to provide outstanding care. By providing us with templates, care plans, audit and surveying tools, QCS, however, will make that task a little bit easier for us. It will save us time. In the future, it ought to be possible to use the time saved to lay the groundwork for new policies, such as protocols around car sharing, for example. And we know we can always approach QCS for best practice guidance and advice and they’ll come back to us in 24 hours with the information we need.” For further information on Cera Care visit For further information about QCS visit or see the advert on the back cover.

Turn To Tech To Relieve Pressure and Improve Experience By Stephanie Vaughan-Jones, Moneypenny ( those in need. Here, Stephanie Vaughan-Jones, Head of Healthcare Sector at Moneypenny – the leading outsourced communications provider – explains how.


The care sector has faced enormous pressures this year – all under the spotlight of the world’s media. The outbreak of Covid-19 has rewritten the rules and for care homes, it’s been a battle to protect residents and staff, while continuing to provide quality care and communicate clearly with concerned families. The pandemic has had an impact on communications habits, too. During times of unrest, people naturally want to reach out for support so the phone has become a lifeline for many seeking updates on loved ones that they’re unable to visit. Living in a 24/7 society, there’s round the clock demand and care staff are forced to juggle external communications with delivering care which can be extremely overwhelming – particularly out of hours. Technology has the power to help overcome this mounting pressure and leave carers to focus on what’s really important – looking after

Being accessible for residents’ families is a crucial part of running a care home – it’s what helps to make people connected with their loved one’s care givers. The telephone is the primary means of communication and has been critical during the pandemic with call volumes increasing significantly. It’s not just about maintaining a family connection, there’s an important commercial benefit to being readily available. Covid-19 means there’s an increased demand for care services and the phone is a major channel for new enquiries. If you’re accessible, friendly and professionally over the phone, it gives an indicator as to the values you have as a care home – you can not only put families at ease but also fill vacant beds quickly. Society has adapted to digital communication but there’s no replacement for human interaction. The introduction of alternative methods has simply rendered ‘real life’ conversation even more valuable. A phone call offers assurance and familiarity that you only get from speaking with a human being – particularly during times of need. That’s why being able to answer and handle calls quickly and efficiently is essential – it’s unacceptable to let the phone ring out or leave callers on hold for extended amounts of time. If this happens, messages aren’t relayed or calls missed – it starts to impact reputation and this can be hard to come back from. By outsourcing telephone answering – either on an overflow basis or entirely – care homes can rest assured that they’ll never miss a call – no matter how busy staff get. Callers will always get through to someone friendly and professional, who understands and represents a care

home’s individual brand.

PUT YOUR WEBSITE TO WORK Another way of streamlining customer experience is through the inclusion of live chat on a website. Consumers carry out lots of research online and there’s a growing expectation that they can communicate with your brand this way. The instant nature of live chat is what has made it so popular. Web visitors appreciate the opportunity to ask quick questions, right there and then, whilst browsing online. Others simply prefer not to talk on the phone and favour the messenger-style experience live chat offers. People expect a wide variety of channels through which they can communicate – live chat is still a relatively untapped area for care homes but it can be a valuable part of this solution. It provides an instant and easy way to get in touch and triages enquiries to keep volume away from the phones. Live chat technology generates six times more website engagement and encourages visitors who wouldn’t otherwise take the time to email or call, to engage with you. The solution also stores important details securely, allowing for a more informed and seamless follow-up. The reality is that we’ll be feeling the impact of the pandemic for months to come, so increased pressure on phones and other channels will remain. If standards are slipping, care homes can address these issues easily by looking to outsourced tech. Telephone answering support allows care providers to focus on the clinical aspect of their role and live chat is proven to improve digital presence and keep call volumes down. In difficult times, communicating well with the outside world offers an opportunity to stand out. It goes hand in hand with customer care and gives people confidence in the efficiency and quality of the service you provide.


TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Evaluation of Remote Reliant Care Solutions Ltd WHY SHOULD CARE HOMES MOVE FROM PAPER TO ELECTRONIC TIME SHEETS The industry is under considerable financial pressures. An efficient electronic booking on/off system that will schedule, provide budgets, calculate hours worked, overtime and absence such as sickness and holiday entitlement will save Time and Money.

HOW IS TIME AND MONEY SAVED BY DOING THINGS ELECTRONICALLY? Collecting payroll information from paper timesheets can be slow, prone to errors, and very labour intensive. Staff rosters can be produced as far in advance as practical and accurate within budgeted hours. Staff book on and off-duty electronically, thus eliminating any time errors. Wage queries are virtually eliminated and immediate checks can be made without wading through reams of paper which invariably are inaccurate, misfiled or even 'lost".



Some systems use tokens, which can be lost or left at home, requiring management involvement in the booking on/off procedure. Fingerprint systems can be beaten and Social media is awash with ways to copy fingerprints. Face recognition combined with a staff PIN is simple to use and manage using touch screen technology and web cams. Staff see their image displayed immediately when booking on or off and confirms their identity visually. It provides the best deterrent available as it builds a greater 'image knowledge’ of each employee, a picture is worth a thousand words. Eliminates 'buddy punching' where employees can book colleagues on/off duty using someone’s tokens, swipe card or even fingerprint.


With the correct security setup computer systems provide more data protection than paper-based records which can be easily removed or stolen. GDPR covers all data including paper records and therefore the chances of infringing the rules and incurring fines is greater with paper. For further information visit or call 03333 444 562.

Mainteno Facilities Maintenance and Management Software Whether it’s managing planned maintenance or dealing with fault repairs, Mainteno simplifies the day-to-day maintenance of almost any organisation. Mainteno also seamlessly incorporates asset management and tracking. Mainteno streamlines every aspect of the maintenance management process, saving your organisation time and money.

USABILITY MADE AFFORDABLE Mainteno was designed with practicality in mind. The interface is so intuitive that basic operation can be learned in minutes, and you can be a power user in one afternoon. Elegant usability usually means a hefty price tag. However, our pricing structure means that for small organisations, Mainteno can cost as little as two cups

of coffee a month. No set-up fees, no lengthy contracts and a free trial, all mean that the system starts paying for itself straight away. Dr Asif Raja, Bsc MBBS Summercare Managing Director says “Facing significant challenges of ever increasing quality and compliance demands upon time and resources as well considerable economic pressures, Summercare, an award winning provider of residential care and housing related support, sought to upgrade their systems for managing the property and environmental aspects of its service delivery. After an extensive period of investigation and research Mainteno was selected as the platform of choice for the entire organization based on its ease of use, very short-term contract, quick set up and ongoing support.” Visit, Tel: 020 8798 3713 or email

Watch the short video at

web: email:

Monitoring Technology Begins In Derbyshire Care Homes

Following pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic in care homes, Derbyshire health and care system partners are evaluating the impact of new digital monitoring technology that helps to detect the deterioration of care home residents to support care home staff with timely escalation. Joined Up Care Derbyshire, the county’s Integrated Care System (ICS) which brings together health and social care organisations in Derbyshire, and the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN), the region’s innovation arm of the NHS working to test and spread innovative health and care solutions, are working with innovator Spirit Digital to introduce their remote monitoring platform, CliniTouch Vie, as part of a trial for Derbyshire care homes. The platform is designed to identify early signs of deterioration in care home residents, enabling care home staff to escalate and communicate this in an appropriate and timely manner. Catching deterioration of care homes residents early can significantly improve resident outcomes and will create better ways of working for care home staff, making the most of their time and skills. Leicester headquartered Spirit Digital’s remote monitoring platform, CliniTouch Vie, has been augmented with functionality to meet the specific needs of care home residents and staff. Using the platform, carers will take residents’ regular vital signs readings (including respirations, oxygen saturations, blood pressure, heart rate (pulse), temperature and assessment of their consciousness level including any new onset or worsening confusion) and answer personalised questions to identify changes in residents’ everyday wellbeing on a digital device. These readings are provided directly to specialist clinical staff who can then remotely connect with the care home staff to provide health and wellbeing advice for residents, and intervene when more urgent care is needed. As part of the trial, an education and training portal will be provided for all care home staff using the technology. The evaluation will last 6 months and work has started with the early adopter care homes, with others being contacted through December and into the New Year. The results will be used to provide evidence as to whether a large-scale deployment of this digital approach would be beneficial to the health and care

system in Derbyshire, the East Midlands and potentially nationally. Dawn Atkinson, Head of the Derbyshire Digital Workstream, Joined Up Care Derbyshire says: “This project is an exciting opportunity to test and evaluate how a digital solution can help care home teams to feel more supported by health services as they monitor the health and wellbeing of their residents. “We look forward to working with EMAHSN and Spirit Digital to test whether a digital platform can impact on the dual challenges of identifying deteriorating care home residents early, enabling care home staff to escalate residents to the correct and appropriate service, and providing a solution for Primary Care Networks to fulfil the ability to perform remote home rounds in a structured way. We aim to ensure high-quality, consistent care to residents within care homes whilst also ensuring the safety of residents, carers and clinicians.” Simon Applebaum, Managing Director, Spirit Digital, concludes: “We have been working over the last few months to make this latest technology available to help the NHS with its COVID-19 response, and enhanced it to help medical teams quickly identify when a person exhibits health deterioration so they can intervene earlier. We are proud to be in a position to support both the NHS and vulnerable people in Derbyshire through the development of CliniTouch Vie specifically for care home residents and carers. Being able to identify early warning signs of deterioration and intervene accordingly is key to keeping people safe in their environment and prevent avoidable hospital admissions, critical in today’s environment.” For further information please visit, call 0800 881 5423 or email



Why eLearning Is Part of the ‘New Normal’ The rapid turnover of staff in the care sector is an established and unfortunate fact. A state of play that care providers are forced to contend with constantly. Not only is this the cause of countless lost hours, but it also takes a hefty financial toll too. Skills for Care have estimated the cost to recruit, train and induct new carers at £3,642 per care worker. With a significant portion coming directly from training costs. Prior to COVID-19, forward thinking care providers were already starting to use eLearning instead of or as a compliment to face to face training. The current situation has compelled care providers eLearning the most sensible way to go for most if not all care providers.

able, flexible and efficient way to train staff. In 2007 he founded eLFY. Thirteen years later and eLFY is now used in over 5,000 registered care locations care across the UK and is the leading eLearning system for social care in the UK. What people love is the interactive learning, the ease of use and access anywhere, the comprehensive course library and of course, the much fairer pricing model. In the intervening years, the eLFY team have worked with experts in care sector training, regulations, and compliance and in eLearning design. develop a truly unbeatable learning library. Here are just some of the course categories on offer: • Mandatory courses (including infection prevention and control) • Care Certificate • Managerial courses • Clinical courses


While most eLearning platforms charge by the individual, eLearning for You, or eLFY for short, charges by the course or for an allocation of transferable user licenses. Crucially, this means that when a new carer replaces an outgoing one, they simply take on the leaving carer’s learning license, so you don’t need to pay again. That’s because we understand how the care sector works at the levels of senior management and the day-to-day, on the ground. eLFY’s founder, Rob Cousins, has operated his own care homes for over 17 years. Relatively soon after entering the care sector Rob saw the need for a more afford-

WristPIT from Pinpoint The WristPIT from Pinpoint,is a bespoke patient call transmitter designed to be worn on the wrist. This wrist-worn personal infrared transmitter (WristPIT) is easily accessible and allows patients to activate a call for even if they are away from their bed or a fixed call-point. Pinpoint’s renowned PIT technology (usually worn by staff for personal safety) has, for the first time, been designed around patient use. The WristPIT can withstand showering and brief submersion in water and also incorporates antimicrobial product protection, reducing the ability for bacteria to grow. According to figures published by the National Reporting and Learning System, around 250,000 incidents where patients required assistance in hospital were reported in 2015/16. In many cases, nursing staff remained unaware that a patient had had a fall for quite some time.

• Non-clinical courses • Ancillary courses • Advanced care courses

NEW HORIZONS A more recent addition is eCompetency. Designed by social care experts, eCompetency uses gamification to create a virtual and interactive environment. Learners are presented with real-world scenarios to properly assess their decision making and competency. eLFY’s rapid growth and reputation among care providers led them to be acquired by the Access Group earlier this year. eLFY is now delivered through Access Workspace, the unique single sign-on system that brings all your care software together in the same place. This joining together of forces will make it easier for Access’ 8,000+ care locations to take advantage of eLFY, particularly at a time when distanced learning seems like the only sensible option. Meanwhile care providers using eLFY are seeing exactly what else Access can do for them, whether it is electronic care plans, scheduling, medicine management, compliance, recruitment, screening, or something else, Access should have what you need. What eLFY users say: “We have been using eLearning For You for several years now and it’s helped to change the way we manage our training and develop our staff teams.” – Frank Walsh, Workforce Development Manager, Potens “Very easy online platform to use, especially on mobile. The content of the course was well presented and comprehensive.” – Iona Cioaca, Registered Manager, Runwood Homes Find out more about eLFY or book a demo at or call 01202 725080 (Option 4).

Pressing the clearly labelled call button on the WristPIT notifies the personnel on duty that a patient is requesting help and informs staff exactly where the patient is. The call button is recessed and surrounded by a bump guard to prevent false alarms. Pinpoint Alarm Systems are installed in thousands of medical facilities throughout the UK and USA. The new WristPIT is backward compatible and easily integrated into existing Pinpoint Systems. A green LED indicates the WristPIT is ‘activated’ with good battery level. When the battery requires changing, the LED flashes red until the battery is changed and the device has been retested. In addition to being water-resistant, the WristPIT has been designed to withstand harsh environments and user tampering, meaning suitability for facilities where service users may be at risk of self-harm. For more information: or see the advert on this page.

PINPOINT WRISTPIT The WristPIT is a wrist worn Personal Infrared Transmitter designed exclusively for patient use. The latest call button is recessed and surrounded by a bump guard to prevent false alarms. It is also backward compatible, allowing seamless integration into existing Pinpoint Systems.

DID YOU KNOW? Biomaster Technology is incorporated into all surface areas of the product during manufacture, inhibiting the growth of contaminating bacteria 24/7 for the lifetime of the product.


TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Strong Case For Digital Care Planning CARE VISION Switching from one digital system to another is a big decision. But Tim Whalley and the rest of the team at Birtley House Nursing Home knew what they wanted. The award-winning Surrey nursing home, Birtley House, is a family-run operator that’s been about since 1932. You could say that the nursing home tradition is in their DNA. They know what they need and why they need it. Even when it comes to technology. Just like empowering their residents to make their own choices, they were looking for a digital care planning system to empower staff delivering care effectively and safely. New Generation Supplier Unnecessary complexity and old school software were a regular nuisance for staff. Creating more problems than it solved. And if there’s one thing staff don’t need in the care sector it’s to be obstructed by the very thing designed to help them. Birtley House also wanted a solution they could customise to the scale of their home. To support how they deliver care. Tim Whalley, Director & Nominated Individual, elaborates: “We are now generating a

quality of care records that we never had before. It gives our staff the information they need quite literally in the palm of their hands.” Implementation Time: Smooth Sailing Or Windy Seas? Implementation is always a worry. You introduce fundamental changes to working routines for staff and residents. It’s not something that’s done by the flick of a switch. Every home would need to spend a bit of time configuring and setting up their system. For it to be a successful transition one would even need staff to lean in:

Care Control Systems Care Control Systems Ltd is proud to create the UK's best Care Management Software designed for use within all standard, niche and complex care settings. Care Control has been in constant development since 2010 and was made commercially available in 2016. Since then we have expanded across hundreds of providers within the UK and are well recognised as leaders in our field. Care Control is used by over 15,000 care professionals daily across the UK in multiple service types ensuring their services have

live, up-to-date essential information. Located in Tavistock, Devon our expert team is comprised of numerous industry specialists with many years of direct, hands-on care experience. This is one of our key USP’s. Our Managing Director, Matt Luckham started the creation of the original Care Control Software in 2010 with the aim to provide essential, accurate information for Spring House Care House in Devon. Matt had purchased Spring House in 2010. Matt developed the software and then spent 6 years proving its functional-

“Implementation was easier than expected. Excellent engagement from our staff helped a lot and I think everyone sensed this was a great opportunity to improve things.” Being available for questions and advice during the first period and on the go-live day is of essence. And onwards of course. That’s why some suppliers like Sekoia offer to stay the night. Onsite or online. So, the night shift is also comfortable with the new changes. Julie Eagleton, Care Delivery Coordinator at Birtley House elaborates: “From the start, it was just easy to use, even for me as one of the older members of the team I can find my way around it! Even those staff members who were originally advocating a return to pen and paper are now fully on board.” Luckily, Birtley House is already seeing promising signs with Sekoia. Tim concludes: “I think it is extremely powerful that the care staff can access the detail of a residents care plan directly from their mobile device in realtime.” Call (0)20 7751 4010, email or see the advert on the facing page for further details. ity within Spring House. It soon became apparent the software could add real value to other service providers and after numerous requests we decided to commercialise the software. In 2016 Care Control Systems Ltd was founded and since then has gone from strength-tostrength with exponential growth. We now have an exceptional team of more than 20 staff who have over 70 years of direct hands-on care experience between them. On top of this our team of Software Developers are experts in their field and are constantly developing our products to ensure they offer everything our customers expect in what is a particularly complex sector. 2020 has been a record year for Care Control with record numbers of customers choosing us, office expansion, overseas sales and an ever growing team to name just a few things. We are so excited for the future! Visit or see the advert below for further details.

At Care Vision we believe care may never be the same again. Outstanding care truly is at the heart of everything we do, with a clear purpose of Less Admin, More Care. Growing up and working in a family owned care home, Rishi Jawaheer saw at first hand the main needs in the care sector; to cut down on the burden of manual paperwork while maintaining good practice and to encourage people to become more involved in care. Using his experience as a registered manager, with some of the smartest minds in tech, Rishi was driven to create Care Vision, an all in one cloudbased care management, system incorporating all your care and admin into one easy to use system. Presently the care industry has our work cut out to keep in line with statutory and legislative compliance in addition to the essential everyday tasks of looking after our clients. Care Vision acts as a bridge which uses technology that organises care work, ensures a safer, better and more intimate experience for every member of the community, from administration, the carer to family, friends and the people we care for. Care Vision provides An easy to use system for carers, managers, relatives; bringing care and admin into one platform; to manage time, attendance, rota, HR, housekeeping, maintenance and much more An E-mar system, fully compliant with NICE, reducing medication errors and keeping people safe An intuative daily notes section that can be completed at the point of service quickly and accurately A pictorial food order system that allows the individual to choose from a menu even if they forgot what a meal looks like Daily reminders in the form of care routines which reminds staff of key aspects of care for the individual

Care Plans / Risk assessments/ Life stories which allows you to customise care plans to specifically suit the person’s needs. Reminding all about one’s history and who Is important in one’s life A family app that allows families to keep track of their loved one’s wellbeing through videos and pictures, which has been essential during the pandemic. Care Vision gives you the freedom to access it using mobile, tablet, laptop, or pc in real time whilst safely securing and storing data. within the platform. Built flexibly to adapt to services of any size, large or small, Care Vision’s structured, interactive features engage carers in sharing information with the end-user and their family. Registered manager and director of Summerhayes Care says “The carers have taken to Care Vision like a duck to water and the information that we are gathering is streets ahead of the previous system we used we are very impressed. They make it easy to understand and nothing is any trouble. I highly recommend taking a look at this system if you are wanting to meet your quality standards and CQC requirements”.

Nationally our data has shown that working with homes Care Vision can save 2-4 hours every week per carer by reducing tasks that could be better spent with the people we care for. As both carers and developers, we are unique in our focus on developing software that benefits the care sector. This allows us to continually develop and update software for our clients. The Care Vision team would love to talk to you about what the system can do for you, come and join us, we believe the future of Social care is in good hands with “Care vision” Contact us at or call 0208 768 9809


Why Competency In Fire Safety Is Imperative In The Care Sector

By Claire Wright, Head of Training at the Fire Protection Association (FPA)

The severity of fires in UK care homes has been well documented over the last decade. A series of fires in London care homes in 2019 prompted the London Fire Brigade to inspect more than 150 properties, its largest ever audit of care home fire safety. Not only do fires in care homes pose a significant risk to life, especially given the vulnerability of residents, but they also threaten to destroy the homes themselves. The loss of these buildings to fire can have a severe impact on the health and wellbeing of residents. Care homes are deemed high risk premises, and, unlike other building types, the specific vulnerability level of residents dictates the approach to fire safety they should take; it is not one-size-fits-all. This also applies to the skills and competency of those responsible for fire safety – whether care home staff or individuals employed to carry out work on behalf of a care home. Here we explore how care home owners and managers should approach fire safety in order to reduce the risks from fires.


Legislation requires every employer to ensure that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment has been undertaken, and to have put in place general fire safety precautions to ensure the safety of employees and building users. They must identify hazards along with people at risk and implement appropriate control measures. In a care home, people at risk will include service users, staff, visitors, and contractors, but it’s not just the

range of building users that impacts fire safety in care homes. The varying dependency levels of care home residents is the primary reason that a universal approach to fire safety and risk assessment in these buildings is not applicable. For example, there is a significant risk to life posed by vulnerable residents while they sleep, creating challenges around the time taken to evacuate. Some residents may need assistance to exit the building, while others will be able to escape entirely unaided. Therefore, a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment will look at the specific nature of the individuals and the relevant risks and recommend appropriate measures – ranging from fire suppression systems to bespoke evacuation plans. Taking a person-centred approach, in which controls/measures are implemented for all residents individually, is essential in ensuring that effective arrangements are in place, staff numbers are suitable at all times of the day and night and that all occupants can be evacuated safely in the event of an emergency. A competent fire risk assessor will identify potentially hazardous substances within the care home. This may include oxygen cylinders, ointments and fuel used in back-up generators. Ensuring the appropriate staff are aware of these risks and have the competency to handle these safely will reduce the risk of fire. Those carrying out fire risk assessments must also have highly specialised knowledge of the specific risks posed in care homes in order to ensure they are mitigated as far as possible through processes and fire protection and prevention systems. Seeking third party accreditation of contractors is the best way to ensure good practice is followed and that the building or its occupants are not put at unnecessary risk.

GETTING A THOROUGH FIRE STRATEGY IN PLACE Fire strategies are a fundamental part of a business continuity plan for protecting life and essential property, but in our experience, there isn’t always a robust strategy in place dictating an approach to fire safety. The British Standards Institution document, PAS 911, refers to a fire strategy as providing ‘a clear set of measures encompassing fire precautions, management of fire safety and fire protection.’ It involves the development and implementation of policies that address relevant risks and procedures in line with objectives specific to the business, with an aim to reduce life risk

while also protecting business procedures and assets. Although usually developed during the design and construction phase of a new building, this is not always the case. In such circumstances, or for older premises, fire strategies can be developed retrospectively.

PLANNING FOR EVACUATION The fire strategy and fire risk assessment will also require the development and implementation of an effective fire evacuation plan. This should consider by way of a person-centred assessment, as mentioned above, the people at risk, where they are in the building, the risks that cannot be removed or reduced any further, and the size/layout of the building. In care homes, as with the risk assessment, the vulnerability levels of residents will affect the fire strategy. The materials used in the construction of the building, alongside the method of construction will also impact the fire strategy plan and other subsequent prevention measures, as was so horrifically evidenced in the Beechmere Care Home fire in mid-2019. So again, it’s essential that a competent individual with specialised knowledge is appointed to develop it. Finally, a plan is no use at all if staff are not aware of it and are unable to implement it in the event of an emergency. Training of all staff and practice, practice, practice is essential if the risk assessment, fire strategy and the evacuation plan is going to succeed. Following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the debate over competency has gained significant momentum. While the subsequent Hackitt review identified a lack of skills, knowledge and experience within the building and construction industry, its recommendations focused predominantly on high rise residential buildings. The issues surrounding competency, however, are true of building types right across the board, none more so than care homes which are responsible for some of the most vulnerable people in society. For more information, download the FPA’s free Residential Care Home Fire Safety Guide, which provides care home managers and staff with the basic steps that need to be taken to help maintain fire safety standard within a care home at

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Adaptawear’s Magnetic Shirts - Helping Independent & Assisted Dressing Adaptawear’s men’s magnetic shirts provide an easy dressing solution for people who struggle with tiny shirt buttons or who need a helping hand when getting dressed. This unique men’s magnetic shirt incorporates specially hidden magnets along the front panel that fasten effortlessly and removes the need to struggle with buttons. Perfect for customers who suffer with limited mobility or dexterity including Arthritis and Parkinson’s. Available in choice of sizes: Small – XX Large in smart light blue check or black check. Please note that the magnetic shirt is unsuitable for Pacemaker users and suffers from Deep Brain Stimulation. Adaptawear provides adaptive clothing that are spe-

cially designed to making dressing easier and the elderly and disabled; both for independent dressing and assisted dressing. Adaptawear clothes are ideal for arthritis, stroke, Parkinson, incontinence and dementia sufferers as well as people of all ages who struggle with fastenings, buttons and zips. They also offer a choice of men’s open back shirts, men’s magnetic shirts and men’s open back polo shirts as well as ladies open back blouses and tops.


Do go and visit online at to buy adapted clothing online. Carer readers please quote CR10 for 10% discount off your first order. See the advert on page 3 for details.

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

with intumescent seals that are in accordance to the fire door’s specification. Fire rated Door Edge Protectors are suitable for commercial applications such as residential blocks, schools and hospitals etc. Door Edge Protectors can also be specified with different fire seals, from a plain intumescent fire seal to a brush, fire and smoke variant. Of course, for doors that are non-fire rated in an architect’s project Yeoman Shield also provide quality edge protectors without seals to enhance durability and reduce wear. Source a full range of door protection panels and kick plates from a single supplier by choosing Yeoman Shield. Our door protection panels and kick plates offer the same lasting durability and quality as our door edge protectors. See page 10 or visit for details.

CareZips Dignity Trousers C & S Seating Postural ™

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


are available in 7 sizes for perfect fit. CareZips™ are soft and wrinkle resistant with stretch and give for extra comfort. Practical, durable, washable and noniron, the CareZips™ trousers are the perfect choice for daily use. Contact Win Health Medical Ltd - 01835 864866 or see the advert on page 5.

C & S Seating has been providing postural control equipment to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and medical equipment services nationwide since 1991. With 9 different sizes of T-Rolls and Log Rolls in a removable and machine washable, waterproof Titex or Soft Knit material. These rolls are used to control posture and position of the body in either supine or side lying. Our Knee & Leg support wedges are available in 2 sizes. C & S Seating is the sole manufacturer of the Alternative Positioning Support (APS) system. Ideal when more control of the abducted lower limb is required (See photo) which has

removable side cushions and middle pommel; this is available in small or large. Our popular range of Soft Knit covers in a choice of 5 vibrant colours provide a softer alternative that fit easily over our standard waterproof rolls. It is recommended you seek professional advice to select the correct product depending on your needs. Contact us on 01424 853431 or visit us at to request or download a brochure, pricelist or order form, request an individualised quotation, speak to an advisor or to place an order. See the advert on page 12.


NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION Edison Telecom We here at Edison Telecom Ltd have been providing specialist solutions to your call system requirements tailor-made to each customers needs for over 25 years, says director Bob Johnson. Is your current Nurse Call “legacy”, obsolete, so full of software bugs or commercially not viable for your current supplier/maintainer to maintain? We may have just the part and expertise that you are looking for to give your nurse call a further extension to

life, adds Bob, “Edison will treat your nurse call with the same compassion that you give to those in your care. There will come a time when your equipment is beyond repair but Edison are experts in extending the life of obsolete systems.”

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


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

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

Wireless door/window exit alerts


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.




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

Call us on 01252-340220 We can give most systems a new lease of life and maintain them into the future.

Features include:

Connects directly to most nurse call systems High Quality anti-bacterial Floor Sensor Pad Large Size Pad: Measures (L) 91cm x (H) 61cm Options (sold separately): Anti-slip mesh for hard surface floors

See the advert on this page for further details.

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



Wireless Fall Prevention TumbleCare A New Brand of ®

By Ben Kilbey – Business Development Manager, Spearhead Healthcare The last thing any care home wants to have to deal with is an elderly resident falling in their home. However, with over 255,000 hospital admissions in England a year relating to the elderly suffering injury after a fall, being alert and aware as soon as a fall happens is critically important in the administration of aid; as well as helping reduce emotional distress. For years, the care industry has used a tremendous range of call alert solutions to help care home staff respond to these falls quickly and easily. The most popular and regularly used of these are systems which plug in to nurse call systems. Nonetheless, these come with their own issues and can often create their own risks in regard to falling; largely in the use of trailing cables that need to be plugged in to make them work. These potential trip hazards can cause the exact issues they are trying to prevent. But with new innovations come new solutions, and we are increasingly seeing a range of wireless solutions that provide a variety of benefits. Below we list things to look out for when selecting these systems:

NO LOOSE WIRES When looking at a wireless solution, make sure it truly is wireless and that any receivers, or sending features on the items are contained and are not left loose where someone can catch a foot on it, or accidently rip it out.

WIRELESS CALL BUTTONS Care home staff cannot be chained to their desk and need to be checking on residents and conducting all the duties that are required to create a smooth-running home, filled with happy residents. A wireless alert that can be carried in a pocket allows the user to respond as swiftly as possible to potential falls, helping homes provide the highest level of care. A centralized alert system is an option that also presents many benefits, as homes can ensure that the right person in the right place is alerted in a timely manner. Making sure that a system works both centrally and on the move, giving you the best range

Falls Management Products by Medpage Limited

Medpage has launched a comprehensive range of fall detection/prevention products under the brand TumbleCare. The products are designed to deliver reliable performance at manageable prices. For home carers the products provide a simple, effective solution for preventing falls in the home. For professional care, the products provide a means of serving more people for less. For more than 25 years, Medpage/Easylink has manufactured and distributed bed and chair occupancy monitoring products and have an unrivalled reputation for supplying quality product at affordable

of options to help provide a high level of care.

PLUGS While this might very well be viewed as a smaller issue, nurse call systems come with a huge variety of plug types; and ensuring that your receivers have the correct plugs for your call system is key.

LOOK AND FEEL Make sure the system you choose is as unobtrusive as possible. Often fall prevention equipment is designed to be as hidden as possible. Should the item be particularly obvious make sure you are happy it fits as well as possible into the decor of the room it sits in and think about choosing a floormat that corresponds with the flooring in the room e.g. wood effect vinyl or carpet. Spearhead are proud to distribute the entire Alerta wireless range that has been launched this year. See the advert on this page for details.

prices. The TumbleCare brand will group together the most popular options for the detection and prevention of falls including; bed, chair and floor pressure sensor pads, movement and proximity sensors and a choice of carer alarm receiver options. Investing in a new product brand can be a risky business, but through a pandemic, we are really proud of our achievement. You can view the available products at See the advert on page 2 further details.

How Flexible Is Your Nurse Call System? Fitting a nurse call system can often be disruptive, time consuming and expensive; but not with Aid Call’s wireless system. Aid Call utilise wireless technology because there is no need to install cables to any of the call points and the impact is minimal, which is reassuring at a time of increased pressure on resources and environments. Wireless systems also have lower installation and operating costs over a traditional hard-wired system, as well as being quicker and easier to install. Wireless configuration offers complete flexibility and mobility, which makes our system infinitely changeable and expandable, allowing for the constant ability to deal with ever changing priorities and demands. Our system is safe, reliable and cost-effective. It can be designed to suit individual requirements and needs and adapted to work within your budget. It also has a variety of features which can help to maximise

staff efficiency and improve the overall quality of care offered to your clients and patients.


The Display Panel conveys a mass of important information at a glance. This includes call type, call location, patient name, nurse identity and call response time. Varying colour displays and alarm tones correspond to different call types to help staff to easily identify priority levels. All calls will display on the panel. In the event of multiple calls, automatic system triage will display the calls in order of urgency. On multiple-panel systems the panels can be set up with zones so only calls from specific areas are displayed on the panel located within that area. See the advert on page 15 or visit



A Digital Future of Care in a Post COVID-19 Era The New Year brings good news and light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with the roll out of vaccination programs, despite this the UK has been forced into stricter lockdown regulations. Health and care sectors are acutely aware of their responsibilities and the importance to look after technology that is fundamental to caring for the vulnerable and their carers. Should systems fail, technology suppliers should provide help and assistance remotely with telephone support and using remote diagnostic tools. At Courtney Thorne we find that most issues are resolved over the phone, where this proves difficult and further checks or reconfiguration is necessary this is done by remotely accessing systems and running diagnostics. 95% of the service inquiries we receive are resolved this way reducing the need to physically attend the site. Inquiries that cannot be rectified remotely will require an engineer to visit. To ensure the safety of residents, staff and the engineers themselves, service providers need to adopt stringent policies with rigor-

ous clarification processes concluding with written confirmation that there is no COVID-19 on site or where there is, that those suffering are suitably isolated. In the case of Courtney Thorne our process includes asking authorised care home management to fill out a questionnaire prior to our engineer turning up. We also insist that our staff are regularly checked, including logging daily body temperature. Finally equipping field staff with necessary PPE, making sure it is always used and includes a hand washing regime before, during and after any site visit. Courtney Thorne provides our field-based engineering staff with overalls, gloves, face masks and plenty of hand sanitiser. By diligently observing these protocols, and despite our staff visiting care homes and hospitals on a daily basis throughout the pandemic, not one of them has developed any COVID-19 symptoms at any time. For further information visit or see the advert on this page.



PROFESSIONAL AND TRAINING How Does the New UK Points-Based 2021 is the Year to Take Stock of Training Following COVID-19 Restrictions Immigration System Work? Is There Any Benefit to the Health Care Sector?

By Peter Bewert, Managing Director of Meaningful Care Matters

The UK's new points-based immigration system ('PBS') is now operational from the 1st January 2021. It will apply to non-EEA nationals; EEA and Swiss nationals (who do not qualify under the EU Settlement Scheme). EU and EEA citizens resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have the right to settle, if they apply to EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021. When the UK was an EU member, people from EU countries had an automatic right to work in the UK but this is no longer the case.


Tier 2 has been rebranded the Skilled Worker route. Employers are required to have a sponsor licence in place in order to sponsor employees through this route. This will include nurses and other healthcare professionals including the senior care worker position. A significantly larger range of jobs will be eligible for sponsorship than is currently the case meaning that an increased number of employers are likely to be involved in the sponsorship process. Business should look to benefit from changes in the UK’s 2021 system with thoughtful planning. Employers who intend to recruit migrants from the EU or elsewhere will require a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence. Employers intending to sponsor those from outside of the UK should apply for a sponsor licence now if they don’t already have one in order to avoid any delays.


To qualify for a visa, migrant workers who want to move to the UK will have to qualify for 70 points. If you have a job offer from an approved employer (sponsor licence holder) for a skilled job you will earn 40 points. Demonstrating the ability to speak English will give another 10 points. The applicant can achieve the remaining 20 points if they are paid at least £25,600 per annum.


The events of recent months have illustrated just what a crucial role the care sector plays in UK society. The Home Secretary and Health and Social Care Secretary have together developed the Health and Care Visa to demonstrate the government’s commitment to deliver for the NHS and wider health and care sector. The Health and Care Visa will come with a reduced

visa application fee compared to that paid by other skilled workers, including exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge. Health and care professionals applying on this route can also expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks, following biometric enrolment. However, the independent care sector has serious concerns with the Governments view. Concerns have been raised over the exclusion of social care workers from the health and care visa, which will not apply to care staff because they are classed as unskilled. Moreover, the Migration Advisory Committee recommended that the senior carer position should be placed on the shortage occupation list thus allowing the salary threshold to be lowered to £20,400 for sponsorship. However, the Home Office did not adopt MACs recommendation and kept the salary threshold at £25,600 per annum. Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said that despite calls from adult social care and the NHS’ own representative bodies, including the Cavendish Coalition, the government has “failed to pay any dues to the sectors specific needs”, thus leaving it “out in the cold. This is particularly worrying given the wider context of the instability, which COVID-19 has placed upon the adult social care sector. The impending threat of the international workforce supply being turned off has the potential to de-stabilise the sector even further with potentially disastrous consequences”. In short, the PBS has some benefits for the social care sector pertaining to the recruitment of nurses as the abolition of the RLMT reduces the timeline for recruitment and migrants are able to work immediately after the certificate of sponsorship is assigned and do need to wait for a decision on their applications. However, although the skill level has been reduced to RQF Level 3 (equivalent to A level) there is no immediate benefit to the sector. In this regard, Aston Brooke Solicitors is initiating a legal challenge on behalf of Care England to determine the reason the Home Office did not adopt MACs recommendation to place the senior carer position on the shortage occupation list. If you wish to support this legal challenge, please contact the firm by emailing See the advert on page 13 for further details.

As we enter a new year full of hope and possibility, it is the optimal time to reflect and learn from the experiences of the year that has just passed, which, for all the care sector, was filled with challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Working closely with our partners undertaking Butterfly Projects in Canada, the UK and Ireland, we found that one of the biggest challenges was coping with the stringent infection control restrictions in a person centred care culture where human touch is so meaningful. Unfortunately, the restrictions have caused some confusion in social care and has led to some care providers and individuals to wonder what is acceptable in the ‘new normal’. At Meaningful Care Matters, our ultimate goal is to create person centred care cultures that allow the caregiver and care receiver to thrive. Following the restrictions of 2020, we believe now is the perfect time for providers to take stock and review their training to ensure all practices are in place to maintain and safe, meaningful space for people to live in. As a leading care and organisational development group that specialises in helping health and social

care providers and individuals to access a variety of support services, we can help to facilitate the creation, reinvigoration and sustainable implementation of person centred care cultures, where people matter, feelings matter, and we are ‘Free to be Me’. Providing services in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada, we offer a comprehensive range of development tools, each uniquely laying the foundation for a powerful story of ‘Meaning and Mattering’. Each care model has been designed by an experienced team of people who care, and can be implemented into all health, social/aged, and disability care settings. Being CPD accredited with the CPD Standards Office, we deliver the highest quality of training and support available to enhance the skills of care providers. Using the core values of purpose, value, transformation, freedom, engagement, and love, we want use 2021 to empower those working in care by helping them to get the best out of themselves and those around them. Our goal is simple; to improve the quality of life and lived experience for all people in health and social care services; bringing meaning and mattering to the forefront of interactions by connecting through powerful and emotive stories, heart to heart and person to person. For more information on our training and services, please visit

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

Buying A Care Home – Issues To Look Out For By Derek Ching, partner in the commercial property team at Boyes Turner ( The care home market is expected to be buoyant in 2021. If you are considering buying a care home, there are various issues you should consider. Derek Ching partner in the commercial property team at Boyes Turner explains more. Anyone who is considering buying a care home needs to undertake thorough due diligence. This is always time well spent and will minimise the chance of potentially expensive surprises happening later on in the purchase process, or even after the deal has completed.


An obvious starting point is for a potential buyer to look at the overheads of a care business. In doing this, it is important to look ahead and think about the impact that rising compliance standards may have. Staff overheads also need to be factored in, including increases in the minimum wage and other employment overheads. Will these increases be matched by an increase in income?


Take time to consider staffing generally, including the impact of TUPE – the rules governing the transfer of staff – on the acquisition of a care business. Other questions to ask are if the business will be affected by changes to the immigration rules post-Brexit. Consider the impact loss of key staff could have on the business. This will require contingency planning to ensure that key people don’t leave the business on day 1. Losing key staff could affect continuing Care Quality Commission registration and may also have a major impact on operational effectiveness. A key manager may hold the keys – both literally and metaphorically – to understanding how the business operates. A great way to understand a care business before buying it is by speaking to the manager, who may not be the owner. This may be delicate commercially, but without that opportunity, your understanding of the business may be impaired.


Another item on your due diligence list should be to review the adequacy of any planning consents and issues over securing planning for any building improvements or extensions that you may be thinking of carrying out. A review should be undertaken into the scope of the property title to ensure that no adverse third party

rights or covenants exist, and that title restrictions do not impede any plans you may have for improvements. If the care home is held under a lease, it is important to thoroughly understand the controls imposed by the lease covenants on the operator of the business. This should include permitted use, controls on alterations, dealing with assignments, transfer of licences and the scope of repairing obligations. Where landlord’s consent to assignment is needed, does the entity acquiring the lease have the financial strength to satisfy their requirements? Ensure all necessary insurances can be put in place when required.


If you are relying on bank or other external investment be aware that the lenders’ legal requirements will be uncompromising and allow no room to sort things out afterwards. This makes it imperative that sellers are required to supply every piece of supporting documentation needed by the lender, even if you don’t consider them of immediate concern. Approval in principle for funding is never unconditional. The problems and delays in the purchase process usually come in satisfying lenders pre-conditions. Demands for personal guarantees or secondary security often add to the timescale before funds can be released as well as add to the expenses of the transaction overall.


When looking around the premises, look for signs of underinvestment or cost cutting, which may mean expensive catch-up investment later. This could include lack of maintenance and decoration, poor record keeping, inadequate support and training for staff, poor management, reduction in purchasing of supplies. Other issues to look out for are excessive dividends or repayment of director loans at the expense of reinvestment into the business. A detailed survey of condition is crucial. The survey should encompass asbestos, DDA compliance, electrical and gas safety and energy performance. Many deficiencies can be swept under the carpet and only get picked up later when major spending becomes necessary.


Take time to understand any areas of improvement identified or outright non-compliances identified by CQC inspection reports and the implications for a new owner. This could be a sign of wider issues. Plan ahead for the CQC registration process to run smoothly. There are a lot of issues to consider before buying a care home but taking time to do this thoroughly at the start of the process will save you time and money later on.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.