T H E P U B L I C AT I O N F O R N U R S I N G A N D R E S I D E N T I A L C A R E H O M E S
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Editor's Viewpoint
Hygiene & Infection Control 30-33 Catering for Care
Medication Management 42-43 Products & Services
W W W. T H E C A R E R U K . C O M
Technology & Software
Nurse Call Alarms
Training & Professional
Care Leaders Call for Urgent Emergency Funding
Care leaders from Care England, National Care Forum (NCF) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) have called on the government to extend its Covid relief funding due to expire at the end of this month. In January, the government announced that the social care sector was to receive £269 million to boost staffing levels and testing and to protect and support the social care sector, including care homes and domiciliary care providers, by increasing workforce capacity and increasing testing. Funding consisted of: • New £120 million fund for local authorities to boost staffing levels.
• £149 million grant system to support increased testing in care homes. with the £120 million funding helping local authorities to boost staffing levels, a direct ask of the sector. The aim of the funding is to: • provide additional care staff where shortages arise. • support administrative tasks so experienced and skilled staff can focus on providing care. • help existing staff to take on additional hours if they wish with overtime payments or by covering childcare costs.
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VIEWPOINT Welcome news that residents can now meet with a family member, as care homes open their doors, reuniting care and nursing residents with loved ones after months apart! I did say in a recent issue of our weekly digital edition - who would have thought just over a year ago that this small gesture, that people all over the world and throughout history have taken for granted, would now be a national news story! Editor Once again, we have been thrilled to promote the many heart-warming reunion stories sent in by care homes around the country. The damage and heartache to residents and families, and of course to care staff, as they have observed the impact of loneliness brings has been immense. This is most welcome indeed. However, I would draw your attention an article on page 4 of this issue highlighting that care homes are “damned if they do and damned if they don’t” allow indoor visits. I think all observers recognise the situation care providers find themselves in, and reports of Covid variants and second waves remain in the public domain. The past 12 months have been incredibly challenging for the whole country, but for the care sector in particular. The virus, as we know, thrives on people being together, and care environments are unfortunately the most at risk. After the government’s disastrous decision to release Covid infected patients back into care environments, which had such a devastating effect, the need for caution is understandable. Care homes were, and remain, in a very difficult position, and the comments by Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of Care Forum Wales are a timely reminder to exercise diligence and patience. It can often be tempting to relax rules and regulations as “light appears at the end of a dark tunnel”, however, the message for the whole industry is one of taking extra care, adhering to the rules – visitor testing, full PPE, hand holding only – and keeping everyone as safe as possible! I would draw your attention once again to our latest “Unsung Hero Award” (see page 11). We last awarded a well-deserved winner before Christmas, and received, we are delighted to say, a phenomenal response. There were some of the most wonderful, delightful, inspiring nominations for staff working in numerous roles within the sector who had gone that little bit more (often a lot more) in their daily duties which can sometimes go unnoticed. So much so in fact that we tagged on an extra couple of runnerup prizes! Once again a luxury hamper delivered directly to the a “UNSUNG HERO” at their care home awaits, nominations are open until April 30 so please get nominating with a small paragraph of what your nominee has done and why you think they are worthy of recognition email@example.com Once again we have called on some of the industry’s “leading lights” for insight, advice guidance and best practice, and are always delighted to print the many “uplifting stories” we receive from care homes and staff around the country so please do keep them coming! I can always be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 3
Care Leaders Call for Urgent Emergency Funding (...CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) Emergency funding from the government care leaders say has been a lifeline. This has consisted of the Adult social care Infection Control Fund first introduced in May 2020 and extended in the autumn – providing over £546m of essential funding to the sector. The Adult Social Care Rapid Testing Fund of £149m and the Workforce Capacity Fund provided an additional £120m to support local authorities and social care providers to maintain safe staffing levels in accordance with the requirements set out in the government’s Winter Plan. All three funds have been critical in facilitating and supporting social care providers to meet government policy and guidance, in the control and management of infections including regular testing of staff and residents; the care workforce and capacity issues; and in the management of safe visits to care homes. It has taken months to get these systems in place to ensure service continuity during what has been an unprecedented onslaught of the COVID-19 virus. Reports earlier this month from the Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Chris Whitty warns of another surge in coronavirus cases in the UK being inevitable and could hit in late summer, despite the success of the country’s ongoing vaccine rollout. He stressed the need to remain vigilant. Yet the Chancellor in his budget statement last week did not announce any
specific measures for social care, despite the imminent end to the emergency funding on 31st March 2021. Kathy Roberts, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance (CPA), the collective body of the ten adult social care trade associations, said: “Evidence available to the Care Provider Alliance indicates that less than a third of local authorities have declared their fee rates beyond 1st April. Those that have, are offering 0-2% uplifts which is far short of the increase to the national living wage (NLW), and the sums needed to adequately support social care providers. “We echo the warning from Prof. Whitty that it is essential to remain vigilant and consistent in the management of reducing the risk of transmission, and call on the government to immediately extend the emergency funding available to the sector as a matter of urgency. The clock is ticking and time is running out. It is vital that care providers have a clear understanding of what measures will be in place to support them to operate after the deadline of 31st March of the emergency funding arrangements.” Vic Rayner, chief executive of the NCF said: “It is wonderful news visiting in care homes has returned. “We call on the government to immediately confirm the continuation of the funding that is essential to support the testing and infection control requirements that underpin the ability for homes to offer visiting. “This will enable families and providers to work together as true partners
in care to ensure that the wonderful memories made this precious mothering Sunday do not quickly fade away as the end of the fiscal year draws near. "Having reached this point, after many months of campaigning, of the government enabling visiting in care homes, we must not then face a cliff edge where this cannot be sustained.” Care England has repeated calls about the need for clarity around extending Government COVID-19 relief funds. Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “Unfortunately COVID-19 doesn’t end on 31 March, but many of the relief funds for the adult social care sector, the frontline, do. Without an extension to these relief funds the sector will be extremely hard pushed to deliver rigorous testing or infection control measures that are so vital in the fight against this virus”. Care England has welcomed these funds as a critical means of delivering safe and effective person centred care despite the unprecedented resource, operational and workforce costs which the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed upon the sector. Martin Green continues: “Providers need to plan and whilst we really hope that extension funds will be put in place it is necessary to understand the way the sector works, in order that it can plan the best delivery of care possible which takes time, resources, certainty and budgeting”.
DHSC Issues New Guidance On Care Home Visiting The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has released new guidance on care home visiting that allows each resident to have one regular indoor visitor. This guidance applies from 8th March 2021 and replaces previous guidance on care home visiting. The guidance applies to care homes for working-age and for older adults, recognizing that visiting is an essential part of care home life and is crucially important for maintaining the health and wellbeing and quality of life for residents. The guidance sets out the government’s advice to support safe visiting: • every care home resident will be able to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. These visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits. Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands, but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. There should not be close physical contact such as hugging • residents with the highest care needs will also be able to nominate an essential care giver • care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting
pods, or behind windows Care home visiting should, the guidance advises, be supported wherever it is possible to do so safely – supported by this guidance and within an environment set up to manage risks. Visitors and family members also have an important role to play – helping to keep their loved ones safe by carefully following the policies described in this guidance, and the practical arrangements that care homes put in place. Local system leaders such as the directors of public health (DPH) and directors of adult social services (DASS) have a key role in this partnership to support visiting. It is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the resident should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take up the opportunity to be vaccinated when they are invited to do so through the national programme. When the data shows it is safe, the government wants to go further and allow more visitors. At step 2 of the roadmap (no earlier than 12 April) the government will look carefully at the effectiveness of the vaccine for people living in care homes (and for the clinically extremely vulnerable generally), as well as levels of infection in the local community, especially of any new variants. The government will take a decision at that point on extending the number of visitors to 2 per resident, which was the approach in December prior to the national ‘stay at home’ restrictions coming into force, and set out a plan for the next phase of visits for peo-
ple in residential care. Responding to the updated guidance on visiting arrangements in care homes, Vic Rayner, Chief Executive at the National Care Forum, the leading member association for not for profit care providers said: “The Prime Minister has made a commitment that this, and other cautious moves out of national lockdown, are ‘irreversible’ and he must ensure that all parties at local and national level work together to fulfil that promise. The important introduction of the essential caregiver role will provide the vital continuity that our most vulnerable residents need. It will enable those residents who desperately need to be reconnected with loved ones to be reunited and have them once again a consistent part of their life in the care home. “Care home providers will continue to need support to implement this guidance. It is reliant on government sustaining free PPE, ongoing access to testing and to recognising the additional costs to care homes in managing the complexities of safe visiting within a pandemic. It is of huge concern that at the same time that the government is relaunching visiting, it has missed the opportunity within the budget to provide assurance that the emergency funding for testing and visiting will be extended beyond the end of March 2021. If the notion of an irreversible step forward in enabling visiting is to be believed, then the government must also put forward an irreversible commitment to resource it.”
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Care Homes Are “Damned If They Do And Damned If They Don’t” Allow Indoor Visits
A social care leader says many care homes are in an “impossible position” after indoor visits by family and friends were given the go-ahead. Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of Care Forum Wales, praised the Welsh Government for their cautious approach to the issue. However, expectations were sky high after the easing of the rules that means that residents may be allowed one designated indoor visitor. Ms Wimbury stressed that while indoor visits were being permitted again, beyond exceptional circumstances, care homes would need to undertake a rigorous risk assessment before judging visits could safely take place Many care homes were “terrified" amid concerns a vaccine-resistant variant of the virus could appear at a time when health experts are convinced a third wave of the disease is inevitable. Another problem that had emerged was the wildly fluctuating rate of second doses of the vaccine being given to people aged over 80, many of
whom lived in care homes. She said: “whilst it is excellent news that we are now able to begin the process of reopening care homes to visitors, it will be a phased approach and it is imperative that we proceed with caution. “It will not be like pressing a button and everybody returning immediately to the normality that existed before the pandemic struck. “We are looking forward to welcoming some sort of normality in the weeks and months ahead. “Quite rightly, the Welsh Government has said the decision about visiting will be left to individual care homes who will carry out careful risk assessments. “As the Welsh Government have said, in many cases it will be about preparing for the reintroduction of visiting rather than it happening straight away. “Infection and community transmission rates still vary in different parts of Wales and the Kent variant and other mutant strains are a real cause for concern. “What we don’t know is how effective the vaccine is against some of the newer variants of Covid, particularly with what’s going on in Brazil. “Health experts are warning that the new strain that’s causing such devastation in Brazil could sweep across the world. It’s absolutely raging. “As the First Minister pointed out, we are facing an inevitable third wave of coronavirus and we have to take great care to protect our residents and our staff. “Clearly, we want to get people back together again but we need to get more data on the vaccinations. “The rate at which people aged over 80 in Wales – many of whom are in care homes - are receiving their second doses of vaccine fluctuates wildly, depending on where you are in Wales -from 0.1 per cent in Pembrokeshire to 48.4 per cent in Torfaen. “In North Wales, the lowest percentage of second doses for the over 80s is in Wrexham which stands at 1.4 per cent while the highest is Conwy at 21.4 per cent. “The vaccine roll-out in Wales has hitherto been a real success story so
these new figures are baffling and a cause for concern. “Whilst the first dose will provide a good degree of immunity, it is important that people are able to have the second jab to provide better protection, particularly in the case of people aged over 80 who are more likely to be frail and therefore more vulnerable. “We will be contacting Public Health Wales to ask for an explanation and an assurance that, if these figures are correct, there are not these extreme fluctuations in future so that the distribution is fairer and more even across Wales. “The other factor is that care homes that have recorded positive cases during the routine weekly testing will be flagged as red and the whole home will be closed down for 20 days. “They are often false positive results but they can still close you down for 20 days. That means no visiting. “Anyone that thinks we’re out of the woods needs to think again because the resumption of indoor visiting must be done extremely carefully. “We’re all doing our utmost to bring back some normality but everybody needs to understand the fluidity of the situation. “If you have a 50-bed care home that’s full and potentially 50 relatives coming in, the home will not know if they’ve been vaccinated or who they have been mixing with. “Everyone understand that we have come through the most hideous 12 months since the pandemic was declared and there is now light at the end of that very dark tunnel. “Care Forum Wales wants to see family members and care home residents united again but we would certainly support care homes in adopting a cautious approach. Some of these care homes are in an impossible situation because they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. “In fairness though, the Welsh Government has been far more sensible than their counterparts across the border and they deserve a great deal of credit for their understanding and cautious approach. You can’t press a button and it’s all happy days.”
Brook House Residents Show Appreciation to Their Carers The residents of Brook House Care Home recently got creative as they showed appreciation to the people who care for them. National Caregiver’s Day is celebrated on the third Friday in February and is in place to honour health-care professionals across the country. Jade, who was recently welcomed as a Lifestyle Coordinator at Brook House, thought it would be nice for residents to celebrate the day by creating something special for the team who care for them. To do this, Jade laid a variety of craft resources on the table for them to use. After having a chat, the people living at Brook House decided they wanted to make a poster that
could be hung on a wall for all the team to see. During these difficult times, residents wanted to show how much they appreciate the people who care for them and thank these special people for everything they do. They made the poster with a floral theme to coincide with the transition into spring and warmer summer months. They also thought of a lovely message to include on the poster, which the team wrote down for them. The poster was then placed on a wall in a communal area at the home for everyone to see. It was a lovely surprise for the Carer’s working at Brook House who said it was a loving and thoughtful gesture.
Isolation And Loneliness – The Ignored Epidemics Ravaging the Lives of Older Adults Shainoor Khoja, CEO and founder of Thrive-Community (www.thrive-community.com) outlines the role technology can play in overcoming this growing problem, if it’s built right
Loneliness and isolation are taking their toll on people of all ages right now with older people being impacted the most. Life was hard enough for many of them in a pre-Covid-19 world given limited support from friends and relatives, housebound challenges due to diminishing health or other mobility issues, NHS (National Health Services) staff shortages or the accessibility and affordability of adequate care in the first place. The pandemic has only exacerbated an already dire situation. Almost 12 months on and older adults living independently are still being advised to minimize contact outside their respective support bubbles. Those living in residential care are only permitted virtual contact with close relatives. When they are allowed real world visitors, it’s behind Perspex screens with friends and family members obliged to wear PPE so they look like spacemen. Such foreboding conditions can be intimidating at best, for some older adults it can be very frightening indeed. Research is showing that reduced social contact is detrimental to the physical and mental wellbeing of many, and the continued virtual appointments/checkups combined with constantly changing social distancing guidelines (intended to keep them safe), are exacerbating the problem further.
DIGITAL DIVIDE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN A MODERN WORLD
Considering we live in a digital world, it begs the question as to why do older adults feel lonely, isolated, and removed from society? Afterall, PCs, laptops, Smartphones and tablets are widely available, most areas of the UK have adequate broadband and 4G coverage, and platforms like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime are providing some semblance of normality by allowing us to see the people we’re talking to. Sadly, many older people lack the skills, confidence and motivation to take advantage of these platforms and other digitized service due digital poverty and/or poor system design. Such a state of affairs is not really acceptable for a country aspiring to eradicate digital poverty and for an NHS wanting to implement a long term digital transformation plan with a mobile first strategy and connectivity at its core. There is an international shortage of technology built specifically for older adults which is a concern as this demographic is growing faster than any other. The lack of intuitive technology for this age group makes it all the more difficult for overstretched healthcare professionals to benefit from the value that well designed technology could bring. In many instances, digital devices and the services they support are hindering rather than helping overburdened social workers and other outreach teams. Smartphones should be serving as a “go to” communications and patient management tool, but this isn’t happening in reality and older people are becoming more and more isolated as a result.
TECH CAN ONLY SOLVE PROBLEMS IF THE ADOPTION BARRIERS ARE PROPERLY UNDERSTOOD The downfall of many handsets and other consumer electronic devices, along with the health and wellbeing services they power, is that a certain amount of knowhow is needed to get them up and running in the first place. There are browser issues and settings menus to contend with, seamless experiences are not always that seamless because you’re obliged to juggle between services and platforms, depending on what you’re trying to do. Grappling with tech, remembering the multiple steps needed to join a Zoom call, for example can be overwhelming for some older adults, especially if there’s no one close by to help them get started in the first place. Small displays don’t make things any easier either, espe-
cially for those who are short sighted or arthritic. Switching between different technologies is just as frustrating for professional carers. They have no control over what systems or device types their patients are using. Some may have Zoom set up, others may prefer Skype, or Facetime. Chances are that their patients don’t have anything at all which makes virtual caring impossible. As a result, social services and community care workers are losing contact with those who are reliant on these services the most because they’ve given up trying to engage with tech.
NEW PLAYERS ARE TAKING THE TIME TO GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE SITUATION Covid-19 has caused anguish across the board, but a positive outcome has been an advancement in the usability of many healthcare systems/technologies/platforms. This holds particularly true for the newer players who are taking the time to better understand the requirements of the different user groups, with more intuitive applications coming online as a result. Many of these services are leveraging capabilities such as machine identification, facial recognition and sound recognition to overcome accessibility challenges by streamlining processes and removing the need for usernames and passwords. The key failing of all digitized healthcare systems, old and new, however is not understanding the importance of mood. Erratic mood changes provide a pretty reliable indication that something is amiss among older adults. Equally as important, a subtle change in mood over time can indicate the onset of different medical conditions. Staying on top of these early warning signals makes diagnosis and treatment easier, which in turn improves overall quality of life and helps to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. There is no going back to a pre-Covid world. Even with the development of breakthrough medicines and nationwide vaccination projects, there is still a long way to go before everyone is inoculated and protected. We also live in a digital age and whilst we have to adhere to social distancing and other safety measures, the different technologies needed to facilitate digitized healthcare must be accessible and available to all, especially to those isolated and lonely older adults who need them the most.
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HCLG Committee Launch Inquiry Into Long-Term Funding of Adult Social Care The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has launched a new inquiry to investigate how covid-19 has impacted the adult social care sector and its long-term funding needs following the pandemic. The committee will consider how the pandemic has “placed further stress on an already challenging environment”, recognising the additional costs such as on personal protective equipment, cleaning and staffing, and will build on the work that it carried out in 2018 as part of a joint inquiry with the Health and Social Care Committee. The adult social care sector comprises a range of support services for older people and working age adults with disabilities. In 2018-19 it accounted for 41% of local authority expenditure. Continuing pressures on services and increased demand have been addressed by short-term and fragmented additional funding from central Government, making long-term planning difficult. Building on the work of its predecessor committee, the new inquiry will investigate the likely legacy of the covid-19 pandemic on the adult social care sector and the impact this has had on long-term funding need. It will also examine how additional funds can be raised to ensure the long-term stability of the sector and how the social care market can supported to improve innovation. Launching the inquiry, HCLG committee chair Clive
Betts said: “The challenge of finding a long-term solution to the financial pressures on the adult social care system is one of the toughest questions we will have to face in the coming years. “We have seen year on year the demand on services increasing, while local authority budgets have been stretched more and more.” He stressed there must be a “solution that provides a financial plan for decades, not just months” Responding to the launch, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Bold action is desperately needed to secure both the immediate and long-term future of care and support. “This cross-party inquiry will be another important contributor to how we can sustainably pay for social care services, which have been seriously impacted by the pandemic but also affected by decades of delayed reforms by successive governments of different political colours. “In addition to supporting this inquiry, we continue to call on the Government to urgently bring forward its proposals and a clear timetable for reform, so that we can finally put social care on a sustainable footing and enable people to live the lives they want to lead.”
Residents At Magnolia Court Dress To Celebrate Purim Residents at Magnolia court in Hampstead donned fancy dress and took part in ancient rituals to celebrate Purim, which took place on February 26. Purim commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, an official of the First Persian Empire who planned to kill all Jews. His genocidal plans were thwarted by Mordecai and his cousin, Esther, the story is recounted in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew bible, the Tanakh. Residents got dressed up, observed the rituals and said blessings, received goodie bags from the local Jewish community Shia Association and ate challah bread. Staff and residents reminisced about the ways in which they had celebrated Purim in the past and shared their experiences of the festival. Peggy, a resident, said: “It was so much fun to get
dressed up for Purim, it is always a great celebration. We all enjoyed tucking into our goodie bags and having a drink to mark the festival.”
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Unclear Government Guidance Is Letting Down Registered Managers By Philippa Shirtcliffe, Head of Care Quality, QCS (www.qcs.co.uk) It was supposed to be a day of joy, of reunification, a day which would restore equilibrium to families. But for some, Monday, March, 8th – when indoor care home visits were reinstated – was hugely deflating. Disheartening because in his roadmap out of lockdown Boris Johnson had announced that curbs on care home visits would be lifted. “England is on a oneway roadmap out of lockdown,” he had said. But a few days before care homes were due to open up once again, many homes received letters, which was typical of the government’s inconsistent ambiguous handling of guidance throughout the pandemic. The letters, which were sent to care home residents, said that any service users deemed to be clinically vulnerable to infection should shield until the end of March. With no clear guidance or clarity, worried Registered Managers began contacting local GP surgeries for advice. GPs advised them not to open their doors to visits, but this was at odds with the national guidance. It wasn’t until Tuesday, 9th, March that the government issued an update to guidance, which stated that shielding letters should not be a barrier to receiving visitors.
OUTWARD VISITS At the same time, on occasions, government advice has been con-
flicting, vague and sometimes contradictory. Take outward visits for example. The guidance states that “visits out of care homes should only be considered for care home residents of working age for the duration of the restrictions”. With a raft of Covd-19 variants in local communities, I can partly understand the reasons behind the government’s decision, but, in my opinion, the guidance must be more flexible and more malleable. It should recognise that not every elderly person in the care system has underlying health conditions. The guidance, however, does not do that. Instead it puts the onus on Registered Managers to make the right decision. No wonder Registered Managers and staff are confused. This partly explains – but does not at all justify - why many families – whose elderly relatives have no comorbidities – are still challenging managers over visiting rights despite the change in regulation.
CQC SAYS BLANKET BANS UNACCEPTABLE In February, the CQC’s Chief Inspector, Kate Terroni, told The Evening Standard that “blanket bans, where there is no active outbreak, is unacceptable”, while the lack of access in Northern Ireland continues to be a particular problem. Eddie Lynch, the province’s Older People’s Commissioner said that “blanket bans on visiting” amounted to “possible human rights breaches”. Mr Lynch’s and the CQC’s tough stance serves to highlight what an emotionally charged issue visiting has become. QCS, the organisation I work for, which supplies social care providers with the latest content, guidance and standards, has been constantly updating policies and procedures throughout the pandemic. We speak to Registered Mangers on a regular basis. As QCS’s Head of Care Quality, anecdotally at least, I can say that many don't feel part of the debate, despite playing a central role in the visiting process. That is why the NCF’s announcement that it will work with “care providers, residents and resident’s organisations” to develop resources
“to support meaningful visits” is very welcome news.
LET'S RECOGNISE THE FACT THAT REGISTERED MANAGERS HAVE CHALLENGING JOBS The truth is that care homes are stuck in the middle and have a difficult balance to strike. In these unprecedented times, Registered Managers have to steer a middle course. Working in person-centred environments, they are deeply committed to ensuring that those they care for live independent, fulfilling and rewarding lives, but at the same time they are responsible for, keeping both residents and staff safe from Covid and other viruses. This means complying with guidance – even if it is sometimes not clear – and planning for the future – all of the time working within the scope and limits of insurance policies, which are often restrictive and inflexible. And when government guidance that is inexact or imprecise leads to complaints, it is not government ministers who take the rap. Instead, it is Registered Managers, who are unfairly singled out for criticism. This is really not fair. It is not fair either that some politicians and sections of the media do not want to recognise the nuance, the subtleties and the different contours of the visiting debate. For many it is simply about banging the drum for visits to go ahead no matter what. That’s what plays well to the electorate. That’s what make for a good soundbite. That’s what sells newspapers. But the narrative does not include the ordinary men and women, whose extraordinary and remarkable efforts in extremely challenging circumstances, continue to plot a course through the pandemic. It's about time it did. To find out more about QCS, contact our compliance advisors on 0333-405-3333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare Launch COVID-19 “Emergence Plan” events and excursions at their care homes as restrictions ease. These will start with smaller activities, such as local walks and minibus trips, but are expected to encompass more sociable events, including entertainers from outside the care homes, once it is safe to do so. Speaking of the Emergence Plan, Anna Selby, who spearheaded the protocol in her role as Head of Sunrise and Gracewell’s COVID-19 Taskforce, said: “Every step of the pandemic the different lockdown periods have taken a period of adjustment… every time it’s been a rollercoaster, but not necessarily for our residents – for them it’s been quite continuous, and how difficult is it going to be to make that adjustment? Anna Selby added that some residents may find it very difficult to share their anxieties for fear of upsetting relatives who are desperate to see them. She said: “When people have visits in the visiting room, and a family can come, some people find it quite overwhelming because they’re so used to that smaller contact.” “We need to start off with that meaningful conversation, not necessarily a clinical conversation, just ‘How are you feeling? What are you looking forward to? What does it mean to you?’, and test it out. “And it may be that ‘I’m really looking forward to it and I’m fine, and I can’t wait and I’m going to start preparing and start ordering new
Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare have launched an “Emergence Plan” to guide the care home providers through the easing of social distancing measures over the coming months. The launch of the Plan, which comes as government restrictions on care home visits are partially eased, hopes to address residents and families’ anxieties and expectations as the sector begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Plan details how Sunrise and Gracewell’s care homes will support their residents to improve clinical indicators, such as mood, appetite and mobility, which may have deteriorated since the start of the pandemic. The protocol will also help to prepare residents to see their loved ones again by encouraging those residents who have lost confidence in social situations to partner with fellow residents and take part in group activities. Team members are also being asked to inform family members whose loved one’s cognitive abilities have declined over the last year and to have honest conversations about this in advance of their visit. It is hoped that this will help to prepare family members and minimise any distress caused by this decline. The Plan also invites team members to ask residents about their hopes and concerns about changes to social distancing restrictions and to provide the necessary reassurance about reconnecting with others. Sunrise and Gracewell are also implementing a roadmap to guide the reintroduction of
Online Defamation - A Growing Risk For The Care Sector? By Jennifer Rhind, Solicitor in the Commercial Litigation Team at Wright Hassall Solicitors (www.wrighthassall.co.uk) serious financial loss in order to be regarded as ‘serious harm’.
HOW A BUSINESS SHOULD REACT
The recent headline story of a law firm’s previous client having to pay them £25,000 in libel damages for a negative Trustpilot review, highlights what a business can do when it considers a bad review has crossed the line and is defamatory. The law in relation to defamation is contained within the Defamation Act 2013. For a statement to be defamatory, the publication of the statement must have caused, or be likely to cause, serious harm to reputation. If the suspected defamation relates to harming the reputation of a business, the business will need to show that it has caused or is likely to cause
For Nursing and Residential Care Homes dealing with bad online reviews, or comments on Facebook and Twitter, it can be stressful, but just because the comments are not good, they are not necessarily defamatory. Thanks to the impact of the pandemic and the resultant torrid last twelve months for the care sector, once the dust has settled, it is possible that many harsh statements made by grieving families may find their way onto the internet, but even so, defamatory publications remain unacceptable. Many people believe they can express any opinions they want about a business and in fact, one of the defences to a claim in defamation is honest opinion. An individual seeking to use this defence would need to establish the words complained of as being defamatory were a statement of opinion which indicated as such and which an honest person could have held. However, if the statement is deemed to be a statement of fact, this defence would be unsuccessful. There is a very fine line between statement of fact and statement of opinion. For those businesses reviewing online comments, you should always consider what meaning or meanings the words are reasonably capable of bearing, e.g., words can be defamatory not only in their natural and ordinary meaning but also through innuendo. Whilst the author of an opinion might not consider their words to bare a defamatory meaning, there are in fact various factors that need to be considered such as whether the author has over-elaborated the position and what the ordinary reasonable reader would consider it to mean.
Further, as a general rule an individual will not escape liability just by claiming they are simply repeating something that someone else told them unless they can prove the subject matter of the comment is true. Repeating someone else’s defamatory statement is just as bad if you had made the defamatory statement yourself. If you have any concerns or suspect a review contains exaggerated opinions, or ones that cannot be justified, with the sole intention of causing your business harm, it might be time to take legal advice.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND REVIEW SITES POSE A RISK The case in the introduction references the law firm Summerfield Browne who sought damages against a client who left a defamatory review on Trustpilot: “A total waste of money, another scam solicitor”. Although the Defendant sought to argue this was his honest opinion, the Court awarded Summerfield Browne damages of £25,000 and costs, plus an injunction banning the Defendant from repeating his allegations. The Court also ordered that Trustpilot should remove the review from its website, although this is likely to be challenged by Trustpilot as they were not involved in the proceedings.
IN CONCLUSION As a business operating in the modern digitally connected world, you must actively monitor your online reputation and whilst welcoming honest customer feedback, you should consider action to protect and defend your hard won reputation when you believe it has been unfairly maligned. If someone, even anonymously, expresses an opinion about your business that you believe is defamatory, you should consider obtaining legal advice from a specialist, particularly in light of the potential defences which may be available to an individual faced with a defamation claim.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 7
Optimism as Care Home Death Toll Keeps Falling As Covid-19 deaths in care and nursing homes continue to fall it remains vital that safeguards – including those around resumed visits – are maintained, providers have said. The Independent Care Group (ICG) said the latest fall in care and nursing home deaths did give grounds for optimism. But ICG Chair Mike Padgham warned: “We have to stay vigilant and ensure that safety measures remain in place, particularly now that homes have resumed relative visiting again and other restrictions are being relaxed, including children returning to school. “Latest figures are optimistic, but we have seen before how infections and deaths can suddenly rise again. “Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, and it is still claiming the lives of our loved ones – we must remain on our guard.”
The figures from the Office for National Statistic show that 510 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes in the week up to 26th February, down from 776 the previous week. According to these figures, 30.884 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes between 28th December 2019 and 26th February 2021. From Monday, one designated visitor, tested and wearing personal protective equipment has been allowed in to see their relative and hold hands. Mr Padgham added: “We all wanted to see the return of visiting and to witness residents being reunited with their loved ones has been very special this week. “At the same time, we must manage it properly, remain on our guard and return to normality slowly and carefully for the sake of the vulnerable in our care.”
Winchester Care Home Raises £3,000 For Charities During Lockdown Big-hearted residents and staff at a Winchester care home have overcome lockdown challenges to raise more than £3,000 for charity. Activities at Colten Care’s Abbotts Barton have featured manicures, weekly cake sales, sessions on a rowing machine, a brave-the-shave haircut and walking hundreds of laps around the garden. As their main charity to support, residents chose the Winchester Live at Home Scheme, which helps older people living in their own homes who may be experiencing feelings of isolation or loneliness. Altogether, Abbotts Barton has raised over £3,150 for various charities in the past year, with £1,800 going to Live at Home. Other organisations to benefit include Macmillan Cancer Support and Children in Need.
Resident Peter Winchester completed a 26-lap walking challenge around the Abbotts Barton garden - one lap for every mile of a marathon - raising £230 in the process. Peter said: “It has been such a different year for everyone because of the pandemic and we have had to find new ways to raise money for charities, but everyone has done very well.” In a sponsored, three-day ‘nailathon’, every resident at Abbotts Barton received a manicure, with £150 raised. Team members also spent eight hours taking turns on a rowing machine, bringing in a further £340. Home Manager Dee Lovewell said: “We are proud to have raised such a fantastic total for our charities this year including Winchester Live at Home.
From Surbiton With Love: Residents Enjoy James Bond Day at Royal Star & Garter Staff had a licence to thrill when Royal Star & Garter put on a James Bond Day for residents at its Surbiton Home. Hosted by staff in black tie, the residents sipped Martini cocktails (shaken, not stirred naturally), enjoyed the glamour of the casino, took part in a 007 quiz and danced as Healthcare Assistant Jodie Halls sung a string of Bond classics. Royal Star & Garter is a charity which provides loving compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, from Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. The Home has hosted a series of popular special
events and activities since the pandemic outbreak, including an American Party and Caribbean Day. These fun events create a lively, stimulating atmosphere and support residents’ sense of purpose. Resident Bet said: “We had such fun. I loved the casino and sipping the Martini cocktail. And Jodie has a beautiful voice. To borrow a line from The Spy Who Loved Me… Nobody does it better than Royal Star & Garter!” Raquel Pena Aristizabal, Activities Manager at the Home, said: “Residents have told us they really loved our themed activities. Our Caribbean and America Days were a big hit, and so was James Bond Day.”
PAGE 8 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
Former Google Employee Shares Tips for Marketing Your Residential Care Home Online By Conor Hardy, Managing Director, Run PPC – (wwww.runppc.co.uk) Putting your business and its services in front of the right people online is a non-negotiable in today’s digital age, and while traditional marketing techniques such as offline advertising will continue to deliver results, keeping abreast of the latest digital strategies is essential. Add into the mix the challenges of coronavirus and the importance of having an effective online marketing strategy in place has perhaps never been more acute. As a former Google employee, I have seen digital marketing trends come and go, and techniques that were once hugely effective are now redundant, but staying up to date with what works and what doesn’t can be extremely challenging when you’re running a residential care home. So, what practical solutions can you put in place to ensure there are pairs of eyes on your services, which don’t require a huge investment of time? Well, a lot depends on how your customers find you and how you want them to find you. It makes sense to focus attention on areas where you are getting the most success, and I certainly wouldn’t encourage operators to abandon strategies that are delivering results. But have you considered the techniques being used by your competitors and the audiences you could be missing out on? An often-neglected aspect of digital marketing in the residential care industry is SEO and PPC, and I know this to be the case because I’ve analysed the marketplace, both in preparation for writing this article and through my own work with operators in the sector. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and refers to the practice of ensuring your brand is at the top of
search results – or close to it – for key search terms. Here’s a quick experiment you can try from your phone or laptop – search on Google for residential care home and the area you serve – for example, “residential care home dorset” – and take a look at the results generated. Does your name feature? Consider other terms that your audience may use to find businesses like yours. If your name isn’t appearing then these people simply won’t find you. So, what can you do about it? 1. Ensure your website is submitted to search engines – speak to your website manager to check that this box has been ticked. Free plug-ins like Yoast SEO (which works with WordPress websites) can help you do this in a few short steps. This allows Google to ‘crawl’ your website and add it to its directory. 2. Ensure your website is as good as it can be – for your website to rank highly in Google, it should be up to date, fast loading and populated with relevant information. Adding a new blog post every couple of weeks will work wonders in the longer term. Slow, outdated websites will quickly slip down the search rankings as Google wants to show its users the best and most up-to-date answers to queries. 3. Consider Google Ads – An effective Google Ads campaign can send your business to the top of the search results for key terms. This requires a little investment, although a significant percentage of your total spend is dictated by the number of clicks your campaign receives. This is where the term PPC – or pay-per-click – comes from; the more successful your campaign is, the more you’ll pay. But if the value of a new customer is significant then the initial outlay is a real no-brainer. Alongside other digital strategies, such as engaging social media output, by taking these steps you can supercharge your digital marketing and ensure that your business is presented to a relevant audience that is ready to engage with you. I have worked extensively with operators in the residential care sector and have seen the good and the bad – and grown to understand that the phrase ‘getting out what you’re prepared to put in’ is rarely more relevant than when it comes to online marketing.
Oxfordshire Resident Recalls Meeting Her Husband 70 Years Ago in the Very Building Where She Now Lives Colleagues have uncovered a lovely romantic story about a Resident at HC-One’s Thamesfield care home in Henley-on-Thames. In the 1940s, the building where Thamesfield now resides was a youth club that Mrs Jean Young and her friends regularly attended. One day while she was there having fun, a handsome young man entered through the front door. His name was Cyril Young, a former RAF recruit, and he and Jean hit it off immediately. Fast forward 70 years, the former youth club is now a care home owned by HC-One and Jean is one of the lovely residents who lives there, in the very same building where she first locked eyes with Cyril. After a few years of courting and going dancing at the youth club, the couple married
in March 1949 at local St Mary’s Church. One of Jean and Cyril’s beautiful wedding photos is now on display in the Thamesfield reception area. Jean commented: “Every time I pass reception, it brings back happy memories.” Their relationship and wedding day were a truly local affair. Jean’s wedding bouquet was even made by the father of Thamesfield’s current gardener all those years ago. The newlyweds enjoyed a romantic honeymoon in London before living a beautiful life together. After many years, Jean eventually moved into the building, now a care home, where the pair met almost 70 years ago. Thamesfield Home Manager, Lina Nela, said: “Everyone has loved hearing this lovely story. How amazing that Mrs Young met her husband here and now, all those years later, lives here. “It’s a story that warms your heart.”
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THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 9
Budget Leaves Funding for Health and Social Care Desperately Wanting Critics continued to hit out following Chancellor’s budget last week, in which he failed to address any of the issues facing adult social care. Industry observers have come out in force to express their anger. Danny Mortimer chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The Chancellor had a lot to prove in this Budget, but sadly he has once again left funding for health and social care services desperately wanting. NHS leaders will have hoped to see a much greater acknowledgement of the toll the past year has taken on our key public services, yet the health service will feel that it has been left out in the cold. “The NHS has faced an unprecedented and almighty battle over the past year and has at times come very close to breaking point, so to continually under-resource and underfund both the health service and social care sector when they are facing the biggest challenge they have ever seen is of huge concern. “Last year, the Chancellor promised ‘absolutely’ and ‘categorically’ to give the NHS ‘whatever resources’ it needed to get through the crisis; today, this promise seems to have evaporated and leaves the summer Spending Review with a lot of ground to cover. “NHS leaders, including our members across primary care, will welcome the announcement of an additional £1.65 billion made available for the coronavirus vaccination programme, although details on what this means for frontline delivery will be crucial. We would do well to remember that this only forms a small part of a tangible recovery plan for the health service. “While an additional £3 billion of funding to tackle the elective care backlog and wider pressures was announced in the autumn Spending Review, this fell far short of the £10 billion investment in the NHS recommended by the Health Foundation, and supported by our members, to deal with the impact of pressures and fall out from COVID-19 on our services. “With this in mind, this Budget’s failure to address the crucial and longterm funding needs of the NHS weakens the contribution that our incredible, hardworking, yet exhausted health and care teams can deliver. It has also missed the real opportunity to go further and faster to address the significant and pressing investment needed to tackle the gaping holes in pro-
vision in capital, social care, in public health and in workforce training and education spending. “The health service is still grappling with the immediate challenges of the pandemic, and we know that over the long-term, the implications and fallout from the COVID-19 crisis will be monumental and felt for years to come. A growing elective backlog of at least 4.5 million procedures, as well as record demand for mental health services and staff exhaustion mean we now urgently need to have an open and honest conversation about how and what the NHS can realistically deliver over the weeks, months and years ahead.” Vic Rayner, Chief Executive of the National Care Forum, the leading member association for not-for-profit care providers says: “There is nothing in this budget for social care. Nothing that acknowledges the massive financial challenges affecting social care provision. No recognition of the importance of investing in services that operate at a local level, employ local people and support the most vulnerable members of communities. Not even an acknowledgement of the incredible dedication and commitment of the social care workforce. “The chancellor and his team must quickly address this. All ring fenced emergency funding for COVID-19 come to a grinding halt on the 31st March. Yet none of the costs associated with providing care in a COVID-19 world disappear. Urgent action is required to address these short term financial holes in the budget and the government must immediately outline the detailed timescale for the full scale reform of social care. “Meanwhile, social care will take a deep breath once again and look hard at all the announcements around developing the workforce, apprenticeships and investing in technology, to see how they can be fully embraced by those receiving care and the workforce that supports them.” Helen Wildbore, Director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said: “The Budget is an insult to older people needing care, and their families. Our helpline hears every day from people who are relying on these vital services who already feel neglected and left behind by the Government. The sector was already on its knees before the pandemic hit and now it is at crisis point. Following a year of unremitting challenges, with care servic-
es stretched to breaking point and staff burnt out, support from the Chancellor was desperately and urgently needed. Older people and their families deserve better.” Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said: “We are deeply disappointed that no immediate or longer term support for social care, so badly battered by the pandemic, was announced in the Budget. Experts have been warning about the sustainability of many smaller care companies for some time and unfortunately the Chancellor spurned this opportunity to give them a helping hand. The result may well be an upsurge in closures over the next few months, putting more stress and strain on older and disabled people & their unpaid carers, who have already endured so much. “We and many others will also be seeking assurances that the lack of any mention of longer term care refinancing and reform does not reflect an intention on the part of this Government to renege on its repeated promise to ‘fix’ care by bringing forward concrete proposals later in the year. “ Chris Thomas, head of the Better Health and Care Programme at IPPR, said:
ON FUNDING FOR THE NHS “Many will be shocked to see so little in the budget on the NHS and care during a pandemic. The chancellor has not given enough support to help the NHS through its massive backlog. He has not pre-empted an inevitable rise in Covid-19 this winter. And he has not helped prepare against the risks posed by future health shocks: pandemics, climate change, anti-microbial resistance and an ageing population. For a government committed to ‘build back better’, it is a dangerous lack of foresight.”
ON SOCIAL CARE “Covid-19 has been devastating for social care services and for the people who rely on them. The chancellor’s budget today brings no relief – the sector was not even mentioned in the hour-long speech. We urgently need free personal social care at the point of delivery, based on need and funded through general taxation.”
Beatlemania Strikes at Isle of Wight Nursing Home! When it was decided all that a lounge at an Isle of Wight nursing home needed was love, Beatlemania provided the inspiration for its transformation. As a result, the lounge at Highfield Nursing Home in Queen’s Road, Ryde has undergone a revolution and is now decorated as the front covers of the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Magical Mystery Tour albums. Nursing home manager Andreaa Buciuman gave the task of brightening up the room to the two activities coordinators Dee Cooper and Angela Edwards. They drew on their own personal memories and those of their residents about the Beatles to redecorate the lounge at Highfield, which is run by Hartford Care. With a little help from their friends, staff and residents got to work creating the iconic images. On one wall are the silhouettes of the Fab Four walking on the zebra crossing which has been painted on the floor and a telephone box completing the scene. On the other wall is the Magical Mystery Tour Bus, complete with images of
the staff at residents at Highfield. Explained Dee: “I felt that reminders of World War 2 were rather dreary and dark, and I also realised that our residents living with dementia were either babies during the war or had not been born by then.” Having got to know the residents, their memories, jobs and hobbies, she discovered their “good times” memories were rooted in the 1960s/70s. That gave her the idea of creating a retro theme for the room especially as most of the residents remembered the Beatles and their music. “When I discussed the project with Andreea, she screamed with delight and I discovered she was also a huge Beatles fan, especially of John Lennon!” Dee said. Commenting on the results, Andreaa said: “We are absolutely thrilled to having this wonderful room full of memories at Highfield Nursing Home. Our residents absolutely love it as it is a fantastic reminder of the Swinging 60s during which many of them were growing up and enjoying the music of the Beatles.”
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 11
Peter Lilly Calls For State Backed Insurance To Prevent Need To Sell Homes To Pay For Social Care Former Conservative minister Peter Lilley has presented proposals to introduce a state-backed insurance company to allow homeowners to safeguard against having to sell their homes to pay for social care. Mr Lilley’s Solving the Social Care Dilemma? A Responsible Solution paper for the Civitas think tank calls for people to pay a one-off insurance premium of “about” £16,000 to a not-for-profit state guarantor. The former Social Security Secretary proposes that the company would offer everyone approaching state pension age the opportunity to take out insurance against the need to sell their home or other assets, to pay for social care if and when they meet the official conditions for such care. He recommends that ‘the cost of such insurance would be calculated to be sufficient to pay for such care, so the insurer would aim to operate at no cost to the taxpayer. People would be able to pay for it by a charge on their home which would be realised when they die and/or the home is sold. Typically, that charge would be a modest fraction of the value of any home.’ The proposals present an alternative to other plans which would ‘mean the taxpayer shouldering a larger share of the cost of social care to the benefit of those who are better off, while putting an increased burden
on council care budgets – which are already stretched to breaking point’. “They could not complain if, having rejected the opportunity to pay into the pool to pay for care for those who insure, they eventually find themselves paying for their own care from their own assets,” said Lilley. “Those who do pay the premium would be confident that they could leave their homes and other assets to their heirs – who would be able to look forward to such bequests with greater confidence,” he added. “The premium should reflect the value of the home/assets protected – so, those protecting a modest home would pay less than those with very valuable home,” he added. Even if those other plans were ‘affordable in the past’, Mr Lilley suggests, ‘it is clearly impossible postCovid, when the UK has a national debt exceeding its annual national income, a massive deficit to bring under control and a commitment to level up across society.’ Private insurance has been repeatedly considered as a potential way of spreading the cost and so avoiding the risk of losing one’s home to pay for long term care. However, it has been rebuffed since private insurers will not provide insurance because of uncertainties about government policy and future longevity, and there are concerns that the public may not contribute to such policies in addition to the normal outgoings such as pension and mortgage contributions. In the report Mr Lilley concludes that since the private sector will not provide such insurance policies, a publicly owned body should do so and allow people to pay for them, but not over their working life, instead by taking a charge on their homes, which would be paid out of their estate. The report can be found here https://www.civitas.org.uk/content/files/SOCIAL-CARE.pdf
Are YOU The Carer’s Next Unsung Hero? Once again we here at The Carer are looking for an Unsung Hero! A super Deluxe luxury hamper for the lucky winner!! We have to gain absolutely wonderful, uplifting and heartwarming stories from residential and nursing care homes around the country, and as always a delight to publish them! Fundraising, engaging with local schools and communities, baking, candlemaking, knitting, poetry, recitals, fancy dress, Chinese New Year you name it we and have been receiving fun stories! Behind the scenes we have also received stories of the dedication commitment and devotion staff have shown in particular during these testing times. However, this the hard work and dedication that those working in the sector often in extremely challenging situations can go unnoticed!
Over the past couple of years we have sought to redress that by inviting residential and nursing care homes to nominate somebody in their home who they believe is that “unsung hero” Every care home will have somebody who goes that extra mile, and often receives little recognise or reward, and, since we launched our unsung hero award we have always had a phenomenal response, with some absolutely heartwarming and uplifting stories. They can be from any department, frontline care, laundry, maintenance, kitchen, administration we will leave that up to you. We will be drawing a winner in April 30, so please get your nomination with a short paragraph on what your nomination has done deserve recognition and please send to:email@example.com
Martyn Davies, our last Unsung Hero
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 13
Government Adds Insult To Injury Over Care Fee Payments Care providers say a 2% increase in the fees the Government pays to provide nursing care is a betrayal of the heroic care that has been delivered during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government has announced that it is to increase the NHS-funded Nursing Care Rate by just 2% from 1st April. The funding is provided by the NHS to care homes to support the provision of nursing care for tens of thousands of people who need it and are assessed as eligible. The standard weekly rate per person will increase by 2% from £183.92 to £187.60. The higher rate of NHS-funded nursing care will also increase by 2% from the current rate of £253.02 to £258.08 per week for the next financial year. The Independent Care Group (ICG) said the increase was an insult to a sector that had fought so hard and sacri-
ficed so much during the pandemic. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Coming so soon after the announced 1% increase for nurses, this is a further insult to those who have given so much to this country during the past terrible 12 months. “NHS nurses and social care have been the front line and together have given everything to try to keep the country safe. Then they are rewarded with these increases, which are frankly, an insult. “This is yet another example of governments failing to recognise and appreciate what social care does. You might think that after the past 12 months they might have understood better. “But apparently not, and this increase, given the huge extra costs providers are facing through extra staffing, PPE and insurance, it might well be the final straw for some.”
Care Home “Life Under Lockdown” Wins RTS Award News reports on Sky News featuring the staff and residents of Palms Row Health Care homes have been recognised at the Royal Television Society Awards. Sky’s coverage of the pandemic was described by judges as a “must watch during these difficult times” and had included reportage that had “offered insight into the lives of ordinary people”. The reports led to journalist Nick Martin winning the coveted specialist journalist of the year prize. Judges said that he had “brought to life the human dramas” in his moving accounts of people in care homes, and their family struggles, through this difficult year, but crucially, he had also “held politicians to account”. In his speech to the Awards, Nick Martin said:
“We couldn’t have told this story without Nicola Richards who right at the start of the pandemic knew that something wasn’t right. She had the courage to let us tell the story. Her and the staff fought so hard to keep residents alive.” The news comes after Palms Row director, Nicola Richards, was commended for speaking out with a nomination at the Covid Comms Awards. Nicola Richards commented: “The care sector across the country recognises that Nick Martin’s reports on the crisis facing our care homes forced the government to act and take our sector seriously. “One lasting legacy from the crisis will hopefully see local and national governments no longer treat care homes as the Cinderella sector.”
Driving Forward Quality Care In The Not-For-Profit Sector The return of visiting in care homes is a welcome step as the nation eases out of lockdown. Vic Rayner, Chief Executive of the National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not-for-profit care providers said: “It is wonderful news that visiting in care homes has returned, and it has been fantastic to hear from National Care Forum members across the country who have been delighted to welcome back regular visitors, and are introducing the new essential caregiver role. With Mothering Sunday this weekend, we know that many homes will be working hard now to prepare for extra special visits to reunite mothers with their loved ones. “However, it is important to recognise that whilst the guidance has positively changed to embrace visiting as part of the ‘irreversible’ roadmap out of the pandemic, the funding that is supporting visiting comes to an end on the 31st March.” Emergency funding to the care sector has been an essential lifeline, enabling care providers to meet the extensive government policy requirements in how they operate and to manage safe visits in care homes. Following the
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Chancellor’s announcement last week outlining the government’s budget to restart the economy, there was a deafening silence when it came to social care. The Chancellor’s address to parliament lacked specific measures for social care despite the impending end of the emergency funding. Rayner continues: “We call on the government to immediately confirm the continuation of the funding that is essential to support the testing and infection control requirements that underpin the ability for homes to offer visiting. This will enable families and providers to work together as true partners in care to ensure that the wonderful memories made this precious mothering Sunday do not quickly fade away as the end of the fiscal year draws near. Having reached this point, after many months of campaigning, of the government enabling visiting in care homes, we must not then face a cliff edge where this cannot be sustained.”
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PAGE 14 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
Key Considerations for Vaccine Rollout in Care Homes Professor Farhad Huwez, a specialist Geriatrician, provides his insight on how he believes the coming months of the vaccine campaign should be delivered. As of Monday 15th February, the UK Government reached its milestone of offering vaccines to their top priority groups – totalling 15 million people. With care home staff and older and clinically vulnerable residents among those prioritised, recent weeks have been a time of anticipation and relief for families with loved ones living and working in residential care. But while relief and celebration are undoubtedly necessary amid a third lockdown, the pandemic is a long way from over. Figures, while positive, paint an unclear picture and caution is essential to progressing with vaccine rollout. While 15 million people have been offered the vaccine, we know not everyone has taken it up. The policy-shift in early January to delay the second dose of vaccines by up to 12 weeks has now been ‘vindicated’ according to the WHO, but still leaves uncertainty as fewer than 600,000 people are ‘fully’ vaccinated having received both doses. So, how can we ensure the ongoing success of roll-out? How do we encourage as many elderly and vulnerable people, and those working with them, to get vaccinated?
COMMUNICATION AND CONSENT Properly communicating the importance of vaccines to residents, and employees, is essential. Taking time to understand the concerns of both parties, explain risks and answer questions about the vaccine are important to alleviating anxieties.
If a care home resident is able and has the capacity to make a decision about vaccination, they can do so by giving informed consent, the same as any medical procedure. That decision is theirs to make and must be respected. But many care home residents may have dementia or other conditions that reduce capacity to consent. In these cases, vaccines could be offered based on ‘best interest’ under the principles of the Mental Health Capacity Act. This will be decided by the key care providers, considering the individual’s previous wishes, attitudes, beliefs and any other factors. For employees, Matt Hancock recently urged key workers to come forward for the vaccine after revealing that take up amongst care workers has been particularly low, with a third still not having had their first jab. Care workers should also be aware that while mandatory vaccination is not currently legal, employers have a duty to ensure a safe working environment. For those working with vulnerable people, it could be argued that requiring staff to be vaccinated and disciplining them if they continually refuse, is reasonable because of the high-risk nature of the work. Leadership amongst care home staff will be critical here – ensuring directors and management are vaccinated will set a positive example.
BARRIERS TO ACCESSING OR TAKING UP THE VACCINE Concerns about the vaccine are particularly prevalent amongst communities of certain faiths and ethnicities, with worryingly low take-up amongst Black and Asian communities. Paying specific attention to understanding and allaying these concerns will be an important step for continued vaccine roll out and, where possible, care providers and residential homes should collaborate with community and faith leaders to dispel worries or mistruths.
THE SECOND DOSE
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:
With the vaccines currently available in the UK, patients receive two injections. While the immunity provided in the first dose could be nearly 60%, it is critical to get both doses, as the second boosts effectiveness and provides longer lasting immunity. Older people and their carers should be reassured that all available vaccines seem to work well in older people and those with pre-existing health conditions. There are remaining questions over effectiveness against new strains, but vaccines still offer a higher level of protection against more severe cases of Covid-19.
VACCINES ARE NOT A SILVER BULLET Transmission of Covid-19 is still possible even with increasing numbers of people vaccinated, and the possibility of new strains threatens the programme if transmission of the virus is not reduced globally. Therefore, additional measures are equally as important as they have been for the last year. Care homes should not relax and must retain the appointed leads responsible for ensuring accountability when it comes to reducing risk; overseeing prevention and control measures, PPE supplies, training, testing, access to medical care and control of visitors. The mainstays of infection prevention and control in care facilities are still physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene and appropriate use of PPE. These measures remain paramount to reducing opportunities for transmission. Care homes still have a critical role to play in containing the spread of Covid-19, and we must all remain vigilant to protect our communities. Professor Farhad Huwez is a certified Consultant General Physician and Geriatrician, Professor of Geriatrics at New Vision University, Georgia, and Programme Leader of the Care of the Elderly Diploma MSc provided by online learning specialists, Learna (www.learna.ac.uk)
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 www.id.direct.com or call our helpful advisory team on 0800 389 6185 See the advert on page 7 for further details.
Royal Alfred Champions Diversity On International Women’s Day
Surrey-based maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society and its care home, Belvedere House, is proudly recognising the contribution of its team this International Women’s Day by marking the diversity of its predominately female workforce. Women make up almost three quarters (72%) of the Society’s 100-strong workforce, with female staff far outweighing the male staff. Women also make up 66% of the Heads of Department team and 66% of the Senior
Management team, with the Society priding itself on providing strong progression opportunities for staff and nurturing female leaders. The Royal Alfred showcases a diverse team of women ranging from 27 years of age to 66 and from a variety of different backgrounds, so the home is proud to champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Staff at the Royal Alfred originate from 17 nationalities in total, bringing a wealth of different experiences and cultures to the home. Housekeeping Manager, Shirley Campbell has been working at Belvedere House since 2007, when she and her family relocated to the UK from South Africa. She said: “When I first moved to the UK, my original role here at the Society was as carer. I trained as a nurse in Zimbabwe and so have always worked in the health field. Two years later, I wanted a new challenge and so applied for the Housekeeping Manager position – the rest is history, as it were! “As one of the oldest staff members here at the Royal Alfred, I’m proud to work alongside so many fantastic people of all ages and from many different backgrounds. Here, it doesn’t matter about where you come from, your age or gender – as long as you are passionate about people and have a caring heart, this really is an amazing place to work. We have a brilliant team and we’re all like one big family.” The Society’s CEO, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, added: “The Royal Alfred is proud to offer people of all ages and backgrounds a supportive workplace and career opportunities and in return we know having a diverse workforce brings new ideas, innovation and creative solutions to the Society. We know this is partly why so many of our team choose to dedicate so many years of their lives to the Royal Alfred, and we are proud of our strong staff retention rate, compared to the industry average. This International Women’s Day we thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the sector.”
Whistleblowing Up More Than Half In Health And Social Care Settings A legal and regulatory specialist in the health and social care arena has warned that with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reporting a marked rise in whistleblowers, care providers need to be well-prepared. Speaking following an online session on the topic at Access All Areas on 10th March, Neil Grant, Partner at Gordons Partnership LLP, pointed to CQC data highlighting that whistleblowing had increased by more than 50% – to 6972 – in the year up to September 2020. During the pandemic, the CQC has changed the way it operates with routine inspections stopped and the focus shifting to supportive conversations with care providers and managers. Neil says this inspection vacuum has led to more people coming forward. “With CQC site visits reserved for services which are considered to present a significant risk to service users – more risk based inspections are being triggered as a result of information of concern. Of the 888 inspections in the year to September 2020, 53% were triggered by whistleblowers. “Providers should be approaching whistleblowing incidents as they would complaints or
accidents and have set processes in place to ensure safety and openness in leadership and management. Having the right culture in the business is essential and with more whistleblowers coming forward, the way providers are managing such instances is becoming even more critical to providing excellent care and gaining excellent ratings by CQC inspectors.” In his session, which had hundreds of attendees, Neil looked at the upward trend and laid out the statutory framework surrounding whistleblowing, provided helpful guidance for the sector on whistleblowing organisational cultures, the role of external stakeholders, plus changes to the way the CQC regulates and how this will impact on care businesses. Neil added: “The CQC is currently consulting on its new five year strategy which is informed by how it has adapted its regulatory model during the pandemic. Notably, there is an increased emphasis on the importance of listening to service users, their families, current members of staff and former members of staff. Providers should be aware of how this might impact them.”
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Data Security In Care Homes Practical Advice For Front Line Staff
Steve Turner is a nurse prescriber, Managing Director of Care Right Now CIC (www.carerightnow.co.uk)
All nursing and residential homes in England are now recommended to complete the annual NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit [DSPT], which is a legal requirement for NHS funded services. The DSPT is an online self-assessment tool that measures performance against the National Data Guardian’s 10 data security standards. It links to General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] and the Data Protection Act 2018. Whilst larger organisations will be able to pool their resources and share policies, training, operating procedures & related monitoring across their homes, for smaller organisations complying with the DSPT may seem a daunting task. There is help available although some of this, in my opinion, makes the changes needed sound more complicated and onerous than they are. Here are some tips based on my experience in supporting Community Pharmacies with the DSPT to help you make sense of some of the most important areas of data security, that will help keep your residents safe. There are two aspects to the DSPT. Firstly, the rights of residents as summarised in this chart: Secondly, keeping the residents’ information safe & secure. Based on our experience with Community Pharmacies here are four areas of specific advice for front line staff: 1. Be alert for suspicious emails. It is possible for emails to display a fake name of someone you work with. Check the
name against their full email address. Scammers can seem very credible, sending a message that gives the impression they are a professional, even someone you know. Often these messages are flagged as ‘urgent’. Do not let someone else’s claim of urgency affect the speed of your response. Also, never open attachments or click on links in emails unless you are sure they are safe. As part of the DSPT all homes must have up to date anti-virus protection in place on all computers and IT systems. 2. There have been a number of telephone scams recently where callers ask you to put the ‘phone down and call them back to verify they are genuine. Again, be careful. It is possible for scammers to stay on the line and give the impression you have called them back. 3. If you receive a request for patient information from the Police (or other official body) , you must verify this. They must be able to tell you why they are asking for information, specifically what information is required and under what law they are requesting this. This should be in writing. 4.When your record information about residents on any system, your system supplier must be DSPT complaint. This compliance includes sharing a ‘privacy statement’ which meets UK requirements, being registered with the Information Commissioner, having successfully completed their DSPT and (in my opinion) having a named individual as their Data Protection contact. It is important to note that this applies to the use of Apps as well. So, for example, sending sensitive personal information via an App (even one that claims to be ‘GDPR compliant’) to a colleague may pose a risk and be outside your local policy. Complying with the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit is not about box ticking it is for the benefit of our residents’ safety, part of what we already do. Reference: NHS Data Security & Protection Toolkit www.dsptoolkit.nhs.uk
Mission Complete: Hertfordshire Care Home Thanks Community for Helping Solve Timeline Mystery of Imposing 19th Century Building
A Hertfordshire care home has managed to complete the elusive 163year-old timeline puzzle of its striking central building thanks to the help of the local community and beyond. Following the launch of a ‘history hunt’ last April to help unravel the mysteries of its long and eventful timeline, Foxholes Care Home, near Hitchin, has officially filled in all the blanks after being inundated with information sent in by the public, from as far afield as Switzerland and California. Encouraged to send in their connections to the historic building, the general public along with businesses and organisations sent in information linking them to Foxholes, which is known to have been a manor house, maternity ward, Catholic boarding house, and care home. Having started with an almost blank canvas a year ago, a flood of invaluable letters, news extracts, pictures, anecdotes, and documents have helped to create a comprehensive record of the building’s colourful history. The completed timeline stands at:
1857 - Built in 1857, the imposing building started life as a Manor House. It was built by Quaker Francis Lucas, a banker, for his son, William Tindall Lucas, and his family – there is a road named Lucas Lane after the family, just north of the care home. 1910 - The 1910 Finance Act Valuation Office survey recorded Foxholes as a house, grounds, buildings and park c.17 acres owned by William Lucas, a local director of Barclays Bank in Hitchin and Luton. 1920 – When William moved to The Hall, Welwyn, Foxholes became the home of Philip Henry Devitt, of the ship owning company Devitt & Moore. 1923 & 1924 – Sir Philip bought Samuel Lucas’ orchard and garden immediately to the east of Foxholes in 1923 and the following year he bought Albert Nicholls’ former orchard and kitchen garden. 1926 – A fete was held in the grounds of Foxholes for Sir Philip’s wife, the secretary of the Hitchin and District Diocesan Girls’ Aid Society. 1930 – Sir Philip then bought William Kitchener’s garden, but this land was not incorporated into the grounds of Foxholes. It is believed that Sir Philip may have been seeking to protect Foxholes’ rural surroundings following Hitchin Urban District Council’s 1926 town planning scheme, which envisaged a new road through Crow furlong with the orchard being zoned for housing, as well as new roads to the east and north. 1933 – The building was sold to Hubert Moss, provision merchant of Hitchin, following Sir Phillip’s move to Northaw Place. 1939 to 1951 - The building was converted into a maternity ward from 1939 to 1951, serving the people of Hitchin and the surrounding area. 1960s - The building was then used as a Catholic boarding school for boys in the 1960s - St Michael’s College. The site was also used as a home for retired priests. 1987 - The building became a nursing home for the general public. 2010 - The old nursing home is demolished following a £6.75m cash injection to transform the building into a luxury residential care home.
2012 - Foxholes Care Home, as it stands proudly today, opens its doors. A book on the history of Foxholes will now be produced, which will sit proudly in the entrance of the care home for visitors to read. Further copies will also be produced for anyone from the local Hitchin community, and those who contributed to the history hunt effort, who would like a copy. Neil Gandecha, Estate Manager at Foxholes, said: “When we launched the history hunt last April, we never expected to receive such an overwhelming response from the public. Their generosity and support is the sole reason we’ve now managed to complete the timeline puzzle. “Some of the stories sent in have been priceless. We had one local resident, Gordan Woods, share with us that he was born at Foxholes in 1944 when it was a maternity ward, and that an unexploded bomb caused plaster from the ceiling to fall near to where he was sleeping when it landed nearby. North Hertfordshire Museum even got in touch to reveal they had a collection of Roman objects on display that were excavated from the kitchen garden by the Lucas family. “And of course, there was Richard Blake’s amusing anecdotes of Father Lemon, the foul-mouthed priest who came to Foxholes after helping prisoners escape back to the UK when he lived in Switzerland/France during the Second World War.” He continued: “On behalf of Foxholes, we really can’t thank the public enough for their support and we look forward to sharing the book on our history with everyone once completed. When the current lockdown is lifted and things settle down, we’d also love to invite everyone who has a connection to the building to come down and enjoy a tour and BBQ in the gardens.” Anyone wishing to receive a copy of the book should email firstname.lastname@example.org highlighting their interest. Any further information about the building’s history can still also be sent in via email.
Vision Direct Donates Over £10,000 Worth of Laptops to Vulnerable Children Homeschooling During Lockdown Following England’s third national lockdown and a return to remote learning, Vision Direct (www.visiondirect.co.uk) has donated over £10,000 to deliver 50 laptops to schools in need. The donation has come at a time when many students are struggling to maintain their education during the pandemic, as Ofcom estimates that up to 1.8 million UK children don’t have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. The brand new laptops have been delivered to six schools across London: St. Dunstan’s Cheam, CofE Primary School, Highams Park School, All Souls C of e Primary School, Rhyl Primary School, Hackney New School and Ruislip Gardens School. While the government has supplied a number of laptops to schools in England, it has struggled to deliver the amount needed to meet demand. Vision Direct stepped in to fill this gap by purchasing £10,000 of new laptops and donating them directly to the schools in need, who will then distribute the laptops to families on their lengthy waiting lists. "I am very grateful for the devices." says a parent from Rhyl Primary School "It has helped me form routines for home learning. I can support both my girls now as they have their own devices. I found it very stressful
before but now it is calm. The children look forward to their live lessons to meet their teacher and they can see their friends everyday. Thank you Vision Direct." “It’s vital that everyone has access to laptops during this pandemic,” says Ashley Mealor, Chief Marketing Officer at Vision Direct. “Like countless others, we’ve made the switch to operating remotely and our business would not have been able to continue functioning without the proper technology to keep us connected. We want to ensure that all children have that technology too, as they battle the challenges of remote learning.” The ‘digital divide’ that the pandemic has created has had a negative impact on children’s education. If families don’t have enough devices, they’re forced to make hard choices about their children’s educational needs. Despite these challenges, expectations of home-learning are high. The Department for Education states that schools must provide between three
and five hours of learning per day, depending on age. Many of those hours come in the form of live or prerecorded video, powerpoint presentations, and submitting work virtually to be checked, meaning that the child’s education is next to impossible without a device and access to the internet. “The donation of laptops from Vision Direct to Rhyl Primary School pupils has been invaluable,” says Helen Connor, Headteacher at Rhyl Primary School in Kentish Town. “Over 60% of our pupils do not have a device of their own to use at home and have to share with siblings or use a parent’s mobile phone. It is more important than ever that every school-aged child is able to access remote learning. For too many children this is not possible and as a result the gap in learning and achievement for our most disadvantaged children is becoming wider and the impact on their future educational outcomes will be significant. Every child has a right to be provided with a device of their own to support their learning and education and this donation will mean more of our children are able to learn at home and have the support from their teachers that they deserve.” This isn’t the first time brands have used their resources for good during the pandemic. During the first lockdown, many brands donated goods and services to key workers. Vision Direct gave away 4,000 packs of free contact lenses to people working for the NHS, police and fire service, social care staff and teachers to wear comfortably under their PPE. For more information, visit www.visiondirect.co.uk
PAGE 18 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
How Music Unlocks Muscle Memory By Jackie Pool, Dementia Care Champion, QCS (www.qcs.co.uk) It’s the 1980s and a woman sings Men of Harlech, a traditional and stirring Welsh folksong. Nothing unusual about that you might think. Sung by choirs, on battlefields, and in rugby crowds, it’s a song that’s deeply embedded in the Welsh psyche. But 80-year-old Hilda’s rendition was extraordinary. Hilda, you see, was living with advanced dementia. I remember the event as if it was yesterday. We were working together on an art project and in the background Men of Harlech began to play. As soon as the introduction started, to our astonishment Hilda rose from the sofa, clasped her hands in front of her and sang the lyrics all the way through perfectly in Welsh. What was most remarkable was that usually Hilda appeared to be completely disengaged from her surroundings. She spent all of her days sitting on the sofa with her eyes closed, and I had never heard her speak. My belief was that Hilda was unable to do anything – but how wrong I was.
UNLOCKING MEMORIES What I learned that day was that If you find the right prop – it becomes the key to unlock the memories that may have seemed lost forever. That ‘key’ doesn’t have to be music, but it is a particularly effective tool to access meaningful moments. Why? Because music is processed and stored in so many different parts of the brain. Most activity providers know that, if we know an individual’s musical preferences and history of any particular songs and tunes that relate to specific times, we can selectively use music to stimulate those memories as a reminiscence activity and so enhance self-identity. But music can do so much more. Many of you will have seen the recent social media posting of a Prima Ballerina in her 90’s who is living with dementia. As she listens to Swan Lake, her movement memory is stimulated and she performs again with beauty and grace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-j5yeRDBaU Or perhaps you saw the recent item which featured Paul Harvey, an 80year-old former composer, living with dementia. Against all odds, Mr Harvey retained his innate ability to play music and remember compositions. He was able to do so due to muscle memory.
THE POWER OF PROCEDURAL MEMORY This ability to still be able to complete well-rehearsed movement is
called procedural memory and results in what is known as a skill. So, when we know that a person has a skill, be it playing a musical instrument or dancing a classical ballet, providing the right music and the opportunity will unlock that potential. Music is particularly empowering as it not only supports a sense of self, but also stimulates physical health – from providing rhythm for movement to providing rhythm for the heart rate. Even this knowledge can enable care providers to think carefully about the music that is available to support individuals; not only selecting the genre to suit individual preferences but even choosing music with the beat to stimulate either relaxation or alertness. I have often noticed that calm, relaxing music is being played in care home dining rooms when, actually, something with a faster beat would support more active dining One of the most important observations I have made over my many years of working with people with dementia is that, whilst music itself can unlock the potential of individuals, it is often the accompanying social interaction that helps to reconnect the person with others. The joy of sharing music by singing or humming together, dancing together, playing an instrument together or simply tapping along or swaying to the beat – it is the togetherness that enhances the mood and nurtures the spirit.
OTHER ACTIVITIES THAT UTILISE MUSCLE MEMORY But it is not just music-related activities that provide a ladder to seemingly lost memories. Any pursuit which bypasses the brain and utilises muscle memory - such as knitting for example - can deliver the same remarkable results. I believe that learning through muscle memory, while widely known in dementia circles, could be more extensively utilised. Take the design of a care home bedroom, for example. If you think of a person moving into one, he or she will be used to the set-up of their bedroom at home. They will know from repeated movement around the room, the exact location of the wardrobes, the chest of drawers, the bathroom, the light switches and the plug sockets from muscle memory. And this stops them from getting lost and confused.
MAKING THE MOST OF MUSCLE MEMORY IN A CARE HOME So why not recreate as similar as possible an environment for those living with dementia in their care home? While it might not be possible to create a room which is a carbon copy of a care home resident’s bedroom at home, it is certainly possible to replicate some furniture positions to enable them to navigate their way around the room using the same muscle memory that they would use at home. But of course it is not as simple as that. Dementia is a very complex and nuanced condition and those living with dementia have different levels of functional ability. The question is, how do you integrate the science of muscle memory into the culture of a care home while accommodate all abilities? The answer lies in the QCS PAL Instrument, which provides a highly
effective framework to help professionals assess the level of functional ability of clients with cognitive impairments. The instrument assesses those living with dementia on four levels. But what are the different levels and what do they mean? ‘Planned’ means that a person with dementia is capable of carrying out a task by themselves, although they may need help with activities that need high-level thinking such as problem solving. At a PAL Exploratory level, they would need guidance, which is broken down into multiple stages. Those operating on a PAL Sensory level, require the carer to demonstrate each step one at a time, while at a PAL Reflex level, the person needs extensive support from their carer. The QCS PAL Instrument supports care givers to understand the level of ability of the person. At a Planned Level, the person will be able to factually learn the new information about their room, for example, that the toilet door is right of the wardrobe. Identifying those at an exploratory and a sensory level will be important to understand that they will learn best through practising the repetition of movement, which enhances muscle memory. On this note, I’ll always remember the story of lady, who was living with advanced dementia at a home I worked in. She had become very anxious after not being able to find the way back to her room. We decided to teach her how to find her way by using muscle memory. Firstly, we taught her how to get to her room by using the lift. That meant she needed to know which button to press. We practised and practised, together and before long, her muscle memory kicked in, and she knew how to get to her floor. Afterwards, by constantly repeating the short journey from the lift to her room, she was able to get there unattended. It took time, but it was a liberating experience for everyone involved, and demonstrated the extraordinary power of muscle memory.
QCS POLICIES Back to music, which first alerted me to the remarkable capability of muscle memory, QCS has several policies in place, including a care plan and risk assessment for use when considering the use of meaningful music in every day activity, for example while helping the person to get dressed or to dine, as well as to support recreational activities. The National Activities Providers Association (www.napa-activities.co.uk) have some great ideas for supporting music based activities and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, Living well through activity in care homes: (https://tinyurl.com/5wpaa38w) the toolkit offers some great ideas for integrating activities and music. I will always be grateful for my experience in North Wales. Most of all it taught me about the magical effect that music can have on us all. It is liberating in the way it unshackles the mind, body and spirit. And most of all, as demonstrated in this article, it provides an accessible gateway to unlock learning through muscle memory. It has had an indelible effect on my life and can do on yours’ and your service users too. Why not give it a try?
Marie Curie Partners with a Care Provider for the First Time to Implement End of Life Care Strategy Leading end of life charity Marie Curie and multi-award-winning care provider Hallmark Care Homes are working together to implement the care group’s End of Life Care Strategy. Through this unique collaboration Marie Curie will provide training in end of life awareness; communication; coping strategies; symptom management and care planning to 2,100 Hallmark employees. Meanwhile, Hallmark will support Marie Curie to hone its resources for a care home audience and in the progression of relevant research to improve end of life care outcomes for older people. Hallmark approached Marie Curie to seek input on the development of their End of Life Care Strategy. To support the strategy Marie Curie is providing mentorship, clinical supervision and training in counselling and leadership support for the Hallmark Care Homes End of Life Care Champions. Nationally care home workers have faced a stark increase in deaths during the pandemic. However, a trend had already been identified of an increasing number of deaths in a care home setting. A 2017 Public Health England review found that, between 2011 and 2017, the number of deaths in care homes increased by 20 per cent as the population continued to age and the need for residential care increased. With the Office of National Statistics predicting the number of persons aged 85+ to double between 2018 and 2043, that demand for residential care is expected to grow substantially. This highlights a need, prior to the events of 2020, for such expert support for people working with care home residents. Welcoming the new partnership with Marie Curie, Care Quality Governance and Compliance Director at Hallmark Care Homes Julie
Rayner said: “Hallmark is well-known for the quality of care provided to all residents who chose to make a Hallmark care home their home and this partnership with Marie Curie will ensure this outstanding care extends throughout a resident’s life journey. There are ground-breaking times ahead for Hallmark and Marie Curie as we work and share learning together. “We are delighted to be to implementing our End of Life Care Strategy. Not only will our teams be benefitting from the high-quality training provided by Marie Curie, but our End of Life Care Champions will be mentored by Marie Curie nurses and their reflective practice will be supported by regular action learning sets, again being facilitated by the Marie Curie team.” Eamon O’Kane, Deputy Director, Devolved Nations and National Programmes at Marie Curie, said: “Marie Curie’s priority is to improve the experience of dying, death and bereavement for all. Even before the pandemic the number of people dying was increasing annually. Covid-19
Open Your Fire Doors to Residents When someone is no longer able to live alone their self-esteem can be severely affected and can sometimes lead to depression too. This is turn can have a negative impact on general health and happiness. Promoting independence within your care setting can have a massive impact on someone’s happiness, health and wellbeing. Care facility providers for the elderly have to make some incredibly important decisions to ensure that residents are safe and often make decisions on behalf of residents too. Providing a care setting that ticks all the right boxes to offer independent living can
sometimes feel like a bit of a juggling act. On the one hand you must adhere to fire safety legislation and on the other hand heavy fire doors that close automatically when opened, hinder your goals of promoting the highest levels of independence for your residents. Finding a solution that achieves both of these goals is not as hard as you may think. Fitting battery-operated door retainers, such as Dorgard, Dorgard SmartSound and Freedor SmartSound could not be easier and they provide you with a legal solution to holding your fire doors open. Easily installed by your own handyman they can be fitted to
has increased the pressures on care workers to support both residents and families in very challenging circumstances. We commend Hallmark in their proactive efforts to change the experiences for their service users, relatives and their workforce. “Care homes are supporting residents with end of life care needs now more than ever and evidence shows that over a third of people who die in care homes are temporary residents transferred for end of life care. “Marie Curie have decades of experience to share in the provision of direct care at end of life and we know we can make greater impact by working with a wider network of stakeholders who are ideally placed to help people at end of life.” The work with Marie Curie has been developing virtually over the last nine months and the planned timetable of training and knowledge exchange will be out to Hallmark employees by the end of March. existing fire doors. These devices ‘listen’ for the sound of your fire alarm and on hearing it will automatically activate and allow your heavy fire door to close, preventing the spread of fire. Heavy fire doors can pose a problem for frail and less mobile residents, as they try and negate heavy fire doors just to move from one room to another. By fitting a fire door retainer, your fire doors will open with ease or be held in the open position to make corridors and rooms easily accessible, even for those who are wheelchair users or who use walking aids. To ensure that you can fit the right fire door retainer for your setting Dorgard have a range of products to chose from. For quieter areas, such as bedrooms or snugs Dorgard is ideal and for areas that are a little noisier, such as recreation rooms or dining rooms the Dorgard SmartSound is ideal and Freedor SmartSound offers the ability for a fire door to behave in the same way as a normal door, and can be pushed open with ease or will stay open at any angle. Open your fire doors to your residents to give them their independence back. If you would like to discuss your needs further with our knowledgeable customer care team please call 0800 612 6287 or visit www.safelincs.co.uk/dorgards.
PAGE 20 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
Managing Grief and Bereavement in the Workplace During a Crisis By David Price, workplace wellbeing expert and CEO of Health Assured (www.healthassured.org) Despite these changes, people need to grieve. And grieving people need support. Here are a few ways to offer your help in a difficult time—to help people cope during a crisis.
SPOT THE STAGES OF GRIEF
Bereavement is never an easy thing to deal with. Even when everything is going well, the sudden impact of loss can turn your whole life upside down. During a crisis, bereavement is even harder. Sadly, COVID-19 has meant some people have been facing bereavements they couldn't possibly have predicted—and they're facing them with distancing and isolation in place. Spending time apart from friends, family, and loved ones has been stressful for everyone—more so for those who are grieving. Someone who works for you may have tragically experienced bereavement during the coronavirus. Not necessarily due to COVID-19 directly— any loss in the last few months has been impacted by lockdown, distancing and isolation.
You may have noticed something different about your employee. Mood changes, quietness, outbursts. These are not necessarily grief—but when they're uncharacteristic, they can be an indicator. People can experience a wide range of emotions after a loss. According to the Kübler-Ross model—first outlined in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' seminal 1969 text On Death and Dying—there are five stages of grief: • Denial, disbelief, numbness • Anger, blame • Bargaining • Depressed mood, sadness, and crying • Acceptance, coming to terms with a bereavement There's no right or wrong way to feel when grieving. It can be an unpredictable time, and people can feel: • Shock and numbness—this is usually the first reaction to loss, and people often talk about "being in a daze" • Overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying • Tiredness or exhaustion • Anger—towards the person you've lost or just a general angst • Guilt—for example, guilt about feeling angry, about something you said or did not say, or not being able to stop your loved one dying Managers should learn about these symptoms of grief, so they can spot and deal with them effectively. Of course, this is especially difficult when more and more employees are working remotely. But simply having a good grasp of how people grieve makes you far more likely to spot it.
COMMUNICATE Again, this is much more difficult with distancing and remote work—but it's vital. Communicating effectively, confidently and compassionately with someone who recently suffered a bereavement important. You need to
demonstrate emotional intelligence, reassuring and assuaging any worries, while also ensuring your employee will be fit to resume duties as normal as quickly as possible. Regular phone calls are better than email or IM—assuming, of course, that the employee is receptive. Ask 'would you like me to call you again tomorrow?'—the answer will likely be yes.
OFFER BEREAVEMENT LEAVE When someone is grieving, they can sometimes act irrationally or be prone to strange behaviour. If they're not present in the office, this can be extra difficult to manage. Offering bereavement leave—while still offering those daily check-ups to ensure the employee has a caring outlet for their problems—could make all the difference to both the employee and those they work with.
BE PATIENT Bereavement is one of the most challenging times most people can experience. And it can take a long time to recover, especially in the tragic circumstances that coronavirus has forced some people into, unable to properly say goodbye to loved ones, or share their grief in the usual way. You may need to prepare for your employee to be absent for a while, as they recover and get back to their old selves. A sympathetic approach will help people make the transition back to work an easier one, so ensure good communication and use your discretion. Phased returns may be helpful in some circumstances, and flexible working requests may be necessary—for instance if an employee's partner has died, leaving them with sole responsibility for raising their children, or if the employee has lost a sibling, leaving them with sole responsibility for caring for ill or ageing parents. In all of these circumstances, you need to display that emotional intelligence once more and be as patient as possible. Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible and allow your employee to get their life in order with all the time they need, and they'll reward you with loyalty.”
Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare Reveal Record Results From Team Member Survey Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare have revealed record results in their 2020 ‘Have Your Say’ survey of team members. The survey of 3,460 team members received an average Engagement Score of 87% with the survey’s five key questions and 76% with all 21 questions. Results from the survey found that 96% of respondents agree that they understand what is expected of them in their role, a 9% increase from 2019, and 92% said they enjoy the work that they do. A further 88% said they are proud to work across both the Sunrise and Gracewell brands with 92% also saying they feel able to make a positive contribution to the success of the organisation. Sunrise and Gracewell also recorded an ‘Employee Net Promoter Score’, an index of how likely team members are to recommend the care providers, of +29. 84% of team members also expressed positive emotions when asked how they feel in their roles, with many expressing feelings of commitment, happiness and motivation. Speaking of the results, Sharon Benson, Human Resources Director at Sunrise and Gracewell, said: “These results demonstrate the continued sense of purpose that is felt amongst our team members. 2020 was one of the most challenging years for the care home sector, but I’m proud that we have recorded an increase in some of the key indicators that measure the
experience of team members across Sunrise and Gracewell. “We’re committed to continue improving the experience of team members across both our 46 care homes and support office, and we look forward to building on our successes as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Speaking of her experience working at Sunrise, Folake Elubode, a Wellness Nurse at Sunrise of Purley, said: "I love looking after people, solving problems and making colleagues happy and stressfree. But most of all I love it that at the end of the day, we receive compliments from family and residents. It's rewarding and I don't want to be anywhere else." Harry Garston, the General Manager at Gracewell of Bookham, said: “Sunrise and Gracewell is an organisation whose values and beliefs align with my own. These values and beliefs are not just words on a wall or a policy, they are something that are being lived out daily throughout the organisation. For me this is very important. It is also an evolving organisation and in the five years I have been here it already looks and feels a lot different in a better way. I have been well supported throughout my career at Sunrise and Gracewell and our Leadership team take a genuine interest in people’s development and how they can support it.”
Hospital Treatment for Care Home Residents Falls Due To Pressures of Covid New research by the Health Foundation shows that the amount of hospital care received by those living in care homes in England rapidly declined in the first three months of the pandemic in 2020 and was substantially lower than in the same period in 2019. The research, which is due to be peer reviewed, provides the first comprehensive and national analysis of all hospital care provided to care home residents during the first wave of the pandemic. It appears to substantiate concerns that care home residents (including those in nursing homes and residential care) may have faced barriers to accessing hospital treatment as the NHS rapidly reorganised to free up hospital capacity to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients. Emergency hospital admissions from care homes for conditions other than COVID-19 – including stroke and heart attack – decreased by 36% (13,191 fewer admissions) between March and May 2020, indicating that significantly fewer care home residents received potentially lifesaving treatment during the first phase of the pandemic. Over the same period, routine elective admissions for care home residents – which includes care such as cataract surgery, some cancer treatment and hip replacements – fell by 63% (3,762 fewer admissions). This is
compared to a 56% reduction in routine admissions for the general population, which suggests that those living in care homes who often have complex health needs and require high levels of hospital care – were particularly hard hit by the reduction in services. Some hospital admissions may have been avoided through increased provision of NHS care in the community, and the perceived risk of infection in hospitals may also have led to changes in patient and carer preferences for hospital admission. With the NHS under ongoing pressure from COVID-19, the scale of the reduction in hospital admissions will mean that many care home residents will still be waiting for care and many are likely to be sicker as a result. The researchers note that a significant amount of the unmet need is for conditions that are likely to have a significant impact on people’s quality of life. For example, there was an 81% reduction in admissions for cataracts procedures and cancer admissions fell by 49%, compared with the previous year. Understanding the full impact of the pandemic on care home residents has been hampered by lack of data. Whether or not someone lives in a care home is not consistently recorded in routine hospital data. Using innovative data science methods to tackle this problem, researchers at the
Health Foundation were able to match all hospital activity to care home addresses, while maintaining individual residents’ privacy. The level of unmet need within care homes will now be placing additional strain on the NHS alongside ongoing pressures from COVID-19. The scale of the unmet need in care homes is likely to be contributing significantly to the overall backlog of demand for NHS services in England that has increased over the course of 2020 and now stands at 4.5 million people who are waiting for hospital treatment – the highest level since comparable records began in 2008. Sarah Deeny, Assistant Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said: ‘Despite the falling numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitals are still struggling to provide care for other conditions. That the majority of care home residents have now been vaccinated is a substantial achievement and a very positive development. But there is now an urgent need to address the substantial backlog of care among residents, alongside the country as a whole. It is vital that we ensure that those living in care homes are receiving appropriate hospital treatment.’
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Remote Monitoring In Care Homes – Learning From The Lessons of Covid-19 By Fay Sibley, Head of Healthy Ageing at the Health Innovation Network (www.healthinnovationnetwork.com) who leads on the NHSX Innovation Collaborative for London. As a result of the tremendous challenge Covid-19 has placed on the health and care system, remote monitoring technology and capabilities development has accelerated at rapid speed. The short-term benefits of this are obvious in settings like care homes for older people, whose residents have made up 39% of all Covid-related deaths in England . This critical progress has made it possible for care home staff to access clinical monitoring of complex health conditions and palliative care, while reducing the transportation of elderly residents to and from crowded hospitals and GP surgeries with high rates of infection. With all of the work that has been done in response to this need, an evidence base has begun to emerge, slowly but surely building the case for remote monitoring interventions not just as an effective short-term solution to a current problem, but as a long-term improvement to care in care homes. However, this sort of lasting improvement to the adult social care sector is not without its significant roadblocks, which prominently include the need for major improvements to IT systems in care homes that vary significantly across the board in terms of the digital maturity of staff, the size of the home and type of care provided. For these roadblocks to be addressed
properly, local authorities and CCGs must be aware of this variation and take a targeted approach to supporting these interventions in care homes. To facilitate a more joined up approach, NHSX has pioneered a new Innovation Collaborative, which is partnering with all seven regions of the NHS in England to help health and social care staff embed remote monitoring interventions. In the London region alone, we are supporting roughly 600 care homes and a total of 21,000 older people in the country’s capital to remain safe and well in their homes. The hardware and digital platform necessary for remote monitoring to occur allows care home staff to monitor and record vital signs of care home residents, which are then stored on a shared platform accessible to health professionals like GPs. In turn, care home staff have access to clinical information like heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, which allows them to identify signs of a resident becoming unwell and consult a health professional earlier. The result is a more efficient, collaborative approach to planning and prioritising the care of care home residents, in a way that could permanently reduce the distress and practical obstacles of transporting those who are more often than not extremely frail or unable to move around on their own. Care home managers in south London have reported this new technology and the collaborative approach to using it with primary care have been game-changing during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as made it easier to reassure families who have expressed uncertainty about the vaccine. Upskilling existing care home staff has been simple, requiring less than an hour of training to become onboarded. GPs involved with piloting remote monitoring technology in care homes have acknowledged the huge potential benefits to both care home residents and primary care clinicians, including the possibility of integrating
with clinical systems already in use by many GP surgeries, such as EMIS, to avoid increasing workload. It also offers an exciting possibility to roll out these services to larger portions of the population and other areas of healthcare. “It’s been a game changer for us,” says Rick Mayne, the Registered Home Manager for Sherwood Grange Care Home in Kingston, south west London, which is home to more than 50 residents with varying needs. “My staff embraced it as it only took around 30 minutes training for them and then a few minutes to get them on the system. Usually we do observations once a week as our residents are generally well. However when they received their Covid vaccine we took their observations three times that week so we could reassure them and their families that they were well. For a non-clinical person it’s been great.” As a result of NHSX’s Innovation Collaborative, all five sustainability and transformation partnerships (known in some areas as integrated care partnerships) in London are working together to: • build on the learnings and improvements around digital health brought by Covid-19; • accelerate the scale of digital innovations that will contribute to redesigning outpatient and remote care for the better; and • increase workforce productivity by helping to save staff time. As well as leading on this pan-London approach, our role as the Health Innovation Network has been to review and summarise research on the topic of increased remote monitoring technology use in care homes, as well as to conduct a market comparison of viable solutions and their spread across London. We are also, importantly, supporting the dissemination of learnings from this experience, so the benefits of remote monitoring can continue to reach those who need it most in the future.
Unlawful Killing Following Maughan - Increased Risk For Carers
Authored by Richard Reichman, Partner at BCL Solicitors LLP (www.bcl.com)
Following the case of R (on the application of Maughan) (Appellant) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire (Respondent)  UKSC 46, there is now a greater risk of an unlawful killing conclusion at an inquest, for example following a care home fatality. In Maughan, the Supreme Court found, by a majority of three to two, that all conclusions in inquests, including unlawful killing and suicide, whether short form or narrative, are to be determined on the civil standard of proof i.e. ‘on the balance of probabilities’. A striking effect of the judgment is that a lower burden of proof is now sufficient for an inquest conclusion of unlawful killing. Previously, the burden of proof applied was the higher criminal burden of proof i.e. ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. This is the applicable burden of proof in any related corporate or gross negligence manslaughter prosecution, whereby a jury needs to be sure that each of the ingredients of the offence is proved by the prosecution to convict the defendant. Inquests which involve consideration of unlawful killing will be substantially affected by the Maughan judgment. Following Maughan, there
are likely to be a much larger number of inquests considering unlawful killing and more unlawful killing conclusions in the future. In relation to the provision of care, such inquests may previously have considered a finding of neglect only (the lower burden of proof already applying preMaughan). In ‘Law Sheet Number 6’, issued in January 2021, the Chief Coroner considered the likely impact of Maughan on unlawful killing inquest conclusions. Most significantly, the Chief Coroner explained the implications in terms of consistency between criminal proceedings and inquests. If, for example, a nursing or residential care home provider is prosecuted for corporate manslaughter and acquitted at trial (i.e. a jury is not sure of its guilt), an inquest can be resumed. Pre-Maughan, a conclusion of unlawful killing would have been prohibited at the resumed inquest as inconsistent with the criminal outcome. Post-Maughan, a coroner or jury only needs to be satisfied of unlawful killing on the balance of probabilities (i.e. more likely than not) and such a conclusion will not be inconsistent with the criminal outcome. The Chief Coroner provided guidance regarding when an inquest may be resumed following a criminal trial and how to deal with potential unlawful killing conclusions. He stated that the necessity of the inquest should be “scrutinised with care” and, where unlawful killing is considered, he would expect a “well-reasoned and fact-specific approach”. The tenor of these suggestions is sensible, but the concepts are nebulous and the practical application and effect on inquests remains to be seen.
Where there is an unlawful killing inquest conclusion, it is likely that a large proportion of the public will consider that a care provider named in press reports is criminally responsible, even if they have been acquitted of any criminal offences, causing substantial reputational damage. We are also likely to see more reviews of decisions not to bring criminal prosecutions against organisations and individuals, with the associated risks of conviction, lengthy custodial sentences, fines without upper limit, and director disqualification. Relevant inquests are, therefore, likely to become more adversarial, with interested persons responding to the increased risk. The need for additional court time (for example, longer Pre-Inquest Review Hearings dealing with issues such as scope, witnesses and disclosure), greater challenges to Coroners’ decisions and powers and an increased use of protections such as the privilege against self-incrimination are likely to become more common in future inquests. The care sector has seen an increased risk of regulatory investigations and prosecutions over recent years, with the first corporate manslaughter conviction against a care home in 2016 and the introduction of the offences of ill treatment and wilful neglect. There has been particular recent scrutiny due to the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic and the high numbers of care home deaths. Maughan adds to the risks facing care providers and the significant repercussions for non-compliance.
Social Care - Best Practice for Prisoners Living with Dementia Britain’s oldest serving prisoner recently died – aged 105. Convictions for historic crimes and longer prison sentences are leading to an increase in the number of older prisoners. Julia Waldron, Head of Primary Care for Practice Plus Group’s Health in Justice division, examines the challenges this presents When you provide healthcare in 47 English prisons, you know beyond a doubt that the prison population is getting older, and that caring for them within an ageing prison estate can pose significant challenges. There are currently 10,000 people in prison who are aged over 60 – and 2,000 of these are over 70. Unfortunately, the architects of our Victorian prison stock did not foresee the nursing and social care needs of older prisoners when designing the steep stairs and narrow landings that are common in many prisons. Memory and sensory impairments, chronic health conditions and disabilities are becoming more common. Added to this, on average, prisoners are around 10 years older than their biological age due to the long-term effects of their lifestyles. Older people facing imprisonment for the first time can find the excep-
tional changes in environment traumatic – much as people do when first entering a residential care environment. For older people these factors sometimes reveal a dementia that was not evident at home. In many respects our patients in prison share many of the same issues as those living in care homes. Isolation is detrimental and creeping frailty is an ongoing concern, so there is a need for us to find ways to maintain life skills – and all within the confines of the prison environment. The exact numbers of prisoners with dementia is unknown and will be until a standardised screening policy is introduced. The House of Commons estimates that almost 4,000 people in prisons live with dementia. However, some experts think this is a significant underestimation. So with these challenges what can we do to support older people? Our goal is to maximise their quality of life. Our integrated clinical model, the Wellbeing Approach, has been designed to holistically meet the differing and often complex needs of our patients by supporting them to define realistic health goals within their care plans. Buddy systems are established in many sites, seeing older people supported by trusted prisoners who are employed to assist with tasks like laundry and cleaning, additionally it can help people to better integrate within the environment. Our trained Health Champions – also prisoners – are on the wings watching for signs that someone may need additional support: they can take basic observations and signpost people to services within the prison that can help. We work with gym and education departments to stimulate physical and
cognitive functioning, educating patients on the impact of isolation and inactivity on physical and mental health, and we work with speech therapists and kitchen teams to support those requiring modified diets. We are also anticipating and preventing increased accident risk with our own falls prevention pack. At HMPs Isle of Wight, Dartmoor and Exeter we have had success working with prisoners and prison officers, with the help of the Alzheimer’s Society, training them in dementia awareness. Currently at HMP Wakefield, 55% of the population are aged over 50. Age UK is working in partnership here with local health and social care providers and Grey Matters, an older prisoner discussion group, to improve services. They provide support for prisoners, training for staff and peer support workers and sessions three times a week for those who are isolated on wings or who want to participate in activities similar to those in day centres. Around the country, prisons hold dementia cafés in gyms, recreation rooms and libraries, just as care homes might for their local communities. Also for older patients, we are taking on a game-changing initiative that will see the first-ever eight-bed unit designed for them. Not only will this provide multi-disciplinary care for people, selected by their need, but it will also share best practice among prisons across the West Midlands. Taken together, these initiatives will help us to meet our aim of providing the same levels of care people could expect in a good care home. I am confident that within the next five years we’ll have risen to that challenge.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 23
The Five Biggest Employee Relations Challenges For Care Homes Managers By Sarah Dillon, senior solicitor and director for ESP Law (www.esphr.co.uk) The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified many of the troubles the care home sector was already dealing with. From staffing concerns to keeping safe from infection and protecting mental health – while battling ongoing pressures of caring for vulnerable individuals – these are all obstacles that continue to impact employers and their workforces. With so many issues to face, how can they tackle some of the most challenging employee relations matters during a global crisis? Sarah Dillon, ESP Law director, provides guidance to help managers face each complexity head-on.
1. ENSURING THAT SERVICES ARE ADEQUATELY STAFFED There have been many reasons why staffing is a particular issue during the pandemic, which include: • Some employees being classed as clinically vulnerable and are therefore advised, by the Government, not to work at certain times and for prolonged periods • Some employees who live with clinically vulnerable individuals feeling too anxious to attend work due to the high rate of infections in care settings • The requirement to self-isolate due to coming into contact with Covid • Staff members contracting the virus and being away from work for a minimum of two weeks. The high level of staff absence has meant there has been a greater reliance on agency workers. These individuals have been in high demand –
and therefore less available. Additionally, infection control requirements, to ensure that Covid is not passed between settings, means that businesses have been required to ’block book’ agency workers. Without this option, the care industry would not have been able to function at this time. It has never been more important for managers to communicate with their employees to reassure them and underline the steps the business is taking to protect health. Additionally, robust sickness management systems have also been vital when dealing with non-Covid-related absence swiftly.
2. STAFF TESTING FOR COVID-19 Following the introduction of weekly testing and temperature checks for care sector staff, this has allowed some organisations to quickly identify asymptomatic and Covid-positive employees and reduce the spread of the virus. Issues are emerging of employees refusing testing. Employers should explore the reason and evidence behind such requirements before carefully considering what action, if any, to take. Any action could be challenged on discriminatory or unfairness grounds and so taking legal advice is critical.
3. STAFF VACCINES The authorisation of various vaccines is seen as the single biggest health management tool available to the Government in the fight against the virus. However, some staff members do not wish to receive it. If this is the case, managers should explore: • Open forums where those who have been given the vaccine can discuss side effects or how they felt about obtaining the vaccine • Communication with employees as to the perceived risks versus the benefits • Highlighting senior staff who have been vaccinated. Currently, the decision on whether or not to take the vaccine is a person-
al choice and people must consent. Where an employer acts against an employee – who refuses the vaccine on the ground of any ‘protected characteristic’ – this may leave the company open to discrimination claims. If an employer dismisses an employee because they refused to be vaccinated, the employee could pursue a claim for unfair dismissal.
4. CLINICALLY VULNERABLE EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ASKED TO SHIELD Employers should be having open discussions with their employees about the steps being taken to protect them, and PPE information and risk assessments provided. Ultimately, employees refusing to return to work – either because of safety concerns or vulnerability if they contracted Covid – means employers can either furlough or allow the individual to stay home without pay.
5. PROTECTING EMPLOYEES’ MENTAL HEALTH Pre- pandemic, mental health issues were an increasing concern in the care sector. The strain has magnified since March 2020 too, with people working in heavy, and hot, PPE all day long. High demands, combined with insufficient time also continue to be a challenge alongside dealing with clients, patients and deaths. To address wellbeing, organisations have taken various steps which have included: • Improved staffing levels wherever possible during peak hours • Establishing a communication protocol for situations that could pose health and safety risks • Promoting employee participation through meetings • Improving relationships between colleagues and managers at work • Establishing support groups and providing Employee Assistance Programmes for counselling • Adopting coping strategies.
How Music Eases Vaccination Anxiety Vaccinations are on all our minds at the moment, potentially causing a degree of agitation for many. A new guide shows how music can be used to help alleviate COVID-19 jab anxiety for people living with dementia, and its information has universal relevance. Entitled ‘A dose of music with your COVID-19 vaccination’, the guide explains how music can be used to manage the physiological symptoms and psychological response to vaccinations among people with dementia. The 1-page guide includes advice for carers, health practitioners and individuals on how music helps, with practical measures to take before, during and after the jab to manage the experience and make it more pleasant. Led by the campaign Music for Dementia, ‘Dose of music’ has been co-
produced by leading organisations in music and care for people with dementia. Although conceived originally for people living with this condition, the information in the guide is also useful for people with other conditions or impairments who may be distressed or agitated by vaccinations or unusual events. Suitable for sending to individuals or their carers in advance of their vaccination date, and for displaying at vaccination centres, the guide is complemented by an infographic highlighting key points. In recent weeks music as a therapeutic counterfoil to anxiety has been put into practice at vaccination venues such as Salisbury cathedral, where organ music was played live to people awaiting and receiving their COVID vaccination. Grace Meadows, Programme Director of Music for Dementia, said: “There is no situation that is immune to the power of music. We have seen this time and time again during the pandemic. The vaccination experience is no different; the calming and soothing properties of music can help reduce anxiety around having the vaccination, particularly for those living with dementia.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum, said: “It’s official. We want you to bang the drum for vaccination, or sound the trumpet or tinkle the ivories! We don’t mind what instrument you pick – but this guidance will give you some real inspiration as to how you can use the incredible power of music to support people in planning for and having the COVID-19 vaccination.” The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury, commented: “Bach, Handel… or Rodgers and Hammerstein: here in Salisbury, the mellifluous music of the Cathedral organ has helped thousands of vaccination patients to feel welcome and at ease. Music is one of the most sublime gifts we can offer one another, and its impact on human wellbeing is transformational.” Co-producers of the ‘Dose of Music’ document include: National Care Forum, National Activity Providers Association (NAPA), Methodist Homes Association (MHA), Dementia Change Action Network, Live Music Now and Music in Hospitals & Care. Contributors included music therapists and a retired GP, now living with dementia. It can be viewed and downloaded at https://musicfordementia.org.uk/advice-resources/toolkits-resources/
This Is A ‘Now Or Never’ Moment For End-Of-Life Funding Says Ashgate Hospicecare Ashgate Hospicecare have reiterated the importance of adequate and long-term funding for hospices, after a report from Sue Ryder, a leading provider of specialist palliative care in England, called on the government to address the long-term funding challenge for hospices. The report, Modelling demand and costs for palliative care services in England, found that demand for palliative care services is set to increase by 58% over the next ten years. The key findings revealed: Currently 245,000 people in England are expected to receive palliative care in the coming year. Sue Ryder’s research shows this is expected to increase to 379,000 people per year by 2030. Independent hospices only receive around one third of the money required to fund its end-of-life services from the government. The running costs of the palliative care sector are estimated to be £947 million a year between now and 2030 and if government funding remains the same, the hospice sector will be required to fundraise £597 million every year in order to keep hospices open. Sue Ryder is calling on the government to end the funding crisis facing the palliative care sector and commit to covering 70 per cent of the costs of hospice provision. Last year, Ashgate Hospicecare had to ask for voluntary redundancies during the pandemic. An eleventh-hour funding agreement from Derby and Derbyshire NHS CCG avoided the compulsory redundancies which otherwise would have had to have been made this January. Chief Executive Barbara-Anne Walker says the findings of the Sue Ryder report highlight the importance of adequate and long-term funding to safeguard hospices and its crucial care and services. Barbara-Anne adds: “The findings from this report are shocking but not surprising. We would not fund maternity care in this way so why during a
pandemic are we putting such a low value on end-of-life care? The way in which palliative care is funded in this country is not sustainable and hospices have been subject to chronic underfunding for years. “Most hospice are dependent on fundraising, including legacies, and that means our income will always be uncertain to some extent. However, our costs are very certain indeed – it costs £7m to run our clinical services, of which around £2.8m is funded from health budgets. “The pandemic has accelerated the need to have realistic conversations about how palliative and end-of-life care is funded in this country. With shops closed and fundraising activities scaled back or cancelled, hospices are finding themselves ever more dependent on the goodwill of their local communities. “Emergency bailouts are no longer the solution. Hospices need sustainable and long-term funding. This is a ‘now or never’ moment for the Government who have an opportunity to do the right thing, step forward and help tackle the funding crisis that is facing hospices across the country.” Hospices are playing a crucial part in the frontline response to COVID From the beginning of the pandemic, Ashgate Hospicecare opened its doors to end-of-life COVID patients, initially dedicating a separate wing on its 21-bedded inpatient unit but then increasing this to two wings when demand doubled during the second wave. Demand for its care and services had never been greater and as a result staff were redeployed from other areas of the hospice to bolster staffing levels on the inpatient unit. The move was part of a system wide response to support the NHS, increase admissions from the nearby Chesterfield Royal Hospital and free up hospital beds. Barbara-Anne concludes: “The pandemic has reinforced the important role that hospices play in the wider healthcare system. Without us hun-
dreds of thousands of people would miss out on the expert care they deserve, care that the NHS simply cannot deliver due to lack of resources and capabilities. “Just last year, we were forced to ask for voluntary redundancies and there was a real danger we would have to make compulsory redundancies in the middle of a pandemic. Fortunately, we were able to come to a funding agreement with our local NHS commissioners, which will safeguard our services until 2022. “That is not a situation that we or any other hospice should be in, especially as end-of-life care is needed more than ever.” ‘I can’t imagine how I would have coped without them’ One person who has experienced Ashgate’s care first-hand is Sanjoy Sen, aged 46, from Chesterfield, whose mum Ashoka was supported by the charity’s Day Hospice and on its inpatient unit. Ashoka was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and received the allclear after treatment. But in June 2018, the cancer had returned, and she was given just six months to live. Sanjoy Sen said: “Before my mum’s diagnosis, I didn’t fully understand what hospices did. I assumed that they were just places where people went in their final weeks of life. “What I discovered was that they are warm and positive places where people eventually end their lives as comfortably as possible. “Most importantly, my mum was rarely alone. So many friends and family, whom we’d lost contact with, got back in touch and they were able to visit mum any time at the hospice in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. “And it wasn’t just Mum who received support from the hospice, they also supported me, both practically and emotionally. The staff helped me to deal with the situation and took away a lot of the fear for me. I can’t imagine how I would have coped without them.”
PAGE 24 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
Bridging the Gap - Creating New Talent Pathways for the Social Care Sector By Geraldine Donworth, Industry Manager for Health, Care and Childcare at City & Guilds Group While the Chancellor failed to commit to much needed support for the Social Care sector in the Spring Budget, he did manage to paint a concerning picture of Covid-19’s impact on the UK economy and the labour market. As we’ve seen reported in the news, with so many businesses and sectors facing financial difficulty, and many people having already lost their jobs in the fallout, unemployment rose to 5.1% in January 2021, translating to around 1.74 million people in the UK now without work – which is of course worrying. But in the face of this adversity, there’s also an opportunity for both the social care sector and job seekers to move onwards and upwards. Indeed, while the pandemic has exposed some of the issues our care sector has faced for a number of years, including insufficient funding and under-resourcing, it has also shone a light on its compassionate and resilient workforce and how valuable it is to society. So, with awareness and gratitude for the work social care workers do at an all-time high, it seems like an opportune moment for the social care sector to recruit new talent, helping those displaced by the pandemic get back into meaningful work, while also plugging sector skills gaps. It is likely that many are yet to see their employment affected by the pandemic – in particular those who work in the hospitality, travel and retail sectors – and many may need to look to other sectors to find work. Helpfully, their previous experience could mean they already have the transferable skills and personal attributes that could make them a great fit for a job in social care – such as interpersonal skills, customer service and respect for others. And the sector needs new talent. It is estimated that 7.3% of adult social care roles in England were vacant in 2019/2020, equal to approximately 112,000 vacancies at any one time (Skills for Care, October 2020).
Meanwhile, retention also remains a challenge. In the 12 months before October 2020 in England, the average turnover rate was around 30.4%. However, while the sector does need talent, it also needs the right talent. And this means that new recruits should not only possess key transferable skills, but they should also be aligned with core values, and understand what it means to be a social care worker. After all, social care is a highly skilled occupation where people’s lives and wellbeing are at stake. So, whilst there is an abundance of vacancies, the bottom line is that if we don’t get the very best people into these roles a high staff turnover rate will remain and, above all, people will not get the care they deserve. It’s for this reason that City & Guilds has launched its Skills Bridges programme, designed to help those most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic to recognise their transferable skills and transition into sectors where their skills are needed. We launched our first online course for the social care sector, Step into Social Care, in autumn 2020. Currently fully funded thanks to backing by Nesta, the course supports potential candidates to explore the sector, the values of care, what it's like to work in social care and the types of jobs and progression opportunities that are on offer. Ultimately, if we can prepare people for starting a career in the sector, they will be able to apply for jobs with a much better understanding of the role requirements and the skills they will need to work on. This understanding will make them more engaged, more valuable to employers, and more likely to stay in a role – meanwhile other potential candidates that are not the right fit can filter themselves out earlier on in the process. As the aftershocks of Covid-19 are felt in the jobs market, the social care sector has an opportunity to take in skilled talent displaced by the pandemic and while plugging critical gaps in the sector. We urge employers to act now: to encourage applications from the wider talent pool, help people discover jobs and career progression opportunities in the sector and ensure they have the talent they need for now and for the future. For more information go to www.futurelearn.com/courses/step-into-social-care
Cygnet Health Care Launches Campaign To Counter Misinformation Around The Covid Vaccine Cygnet Health Care today announces the launch of a video campaign called #ihadthevaccine to urge ethnic minority communities to have the Covid vaccine. Amid concerns that the rate of infections and Covid deaths have been disproportionately high among minorities, and that BAME communities are less likely to take the vaccine, the aim of the campaign is to listen and share information to help people make informed choices. The video, which is being shared by social media channels, features individual Cygnet Health Care staff from different nationalities, who reinforce the message in their own languages. Raf Hamaizia, Cygnet’s Expert By Experience Lead who championed the initiative said: “Taking part in this co-produced campaign is something that has been both meaningful and illuminating. This was filmed by people with lived experience from a BAME background, talking to BAME staff about an important issue that impacts us all.” Beatrice Nyamande, Cygnet Health Care Deputy Operations
Director who also leads the Cygnet BAME Network, said the feedback from the video had been positive. She added: “We are not using the video to force people to have the vaccine. It is more of peer-to-peer
message, appealing to people saying: “Look, I’ve had the vaccine and you can have it too.” “Some people believe in what they’ve read on social media and myths and don’t listen to science. It’s really important to listen to their concerns and help them understand the science so they can make an informed decision rather than basing their decisions on social media. Having the vaccine is ultimately going to save their lives and the lives of others as well.” Beatrice added: “The vaccine is important so that people’s lives are saved and that’s the fundamental point of this video. We want everyone to reflect on what they are doing and consider taking the vaccine because that’s what you do when you care for people and you love them.” More information on #ihadthevaccine campaign can be found here: https://www.cygnethealth.co.uk/news/ihadthevaccine-cygnet-staffin-their-own-words/
Re-engineering HVAC Units for a Post-Coronavirus World By Mark Kaufmann, senior copywriter at ADK Kooling (https://adk.co.uk/) As you likely know, a disproportionate number of global Covid-19 deaths occurred in care homes. And given the virus’s semi-airborne ability to drift through enclosed spaces on respiratory droplets, it’s no wonder that a growing amount of experts are calling for a review of ventilation practices in order to better protect people living and working indoors. This is especially important as we approach the ‘new normal’ life; one back to the regularity of frequent visitors — most of whom will need protecting before visiting to keep themselves and the most vulnerable safe. Because ventilation plays a role in how the virus can spread, the European Federation of Heating and Ventilation Engineers (REHVA) has set out some guidelines to help specialists and employers, so that they can optimise their HVAC units to limit the spread of the virus.
BLOWING VIRUSES AWAY A lot of people tend to think that if air conditioning units can help with the spread of viruses, then they should be turned off. But the opposite is true. They should be turned up. Way up. And that is the advice of REHVA. The ‘internal air’ of indoor areas should be diluted as much as possible to blow viral particles away before they can settle on any surface. What’s key is that air conditioning units be optimised to increase the rate at which air is pulled in from outside and supplied quickly and readily throughout the interior space, to get a good air exchange and frequent recycling of air. In short: if your air-conditioning system is normally on recirculation mode, then it should be configured to run on full outside air — if that’s possible. Of course, many experts argue that simply opening the windows will also do the trick. But in care homes, we have to consider that this is not really possible during the colder months or in areas of high air pollution,
and could do as much harm as good. And in some buildings, depending on the window type, it just isn’t practical. But even if you have the optimal environment to keep the windows open, air-conditioning units should still offer a better and cleaner alternative.
HVACS WITH HIGH-EFFICIENCY PARTICULATE AIR FILTERS The most efficient air-conditioning units have high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These filters operate on planes and in surgical theatres. HEPA filters work by sucking viruses, fungi, dust and other pathogens through millions of particle-grabbing layers. This combined with a frequent flux of fresh air often means that an indoor environment can experience a near-total change of air up to 30 times an hour. HEPA filters are not currently a common feature in care homes or indeed in any environment beyond ultraspecialised situations such as planes and hospitals. But that’s not to say their implementation isn’t being discussed. At present, the biggest challenge is working out a way to implement them into traditional HVAC units in such a way that their many filters won’t “drag” on and reduce the efficiency of the airflow — a consequence that would actually be self-defeating. So watch this space.
AIR-CON FOR SAFER INDOORS In the meantime, does coronavirus even spread via air-conditioning units? Actually, there is no confirmed evidence at present. But scientists have every reason to suspect it does. For example, in February of last year, when the Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined, many scientists suspected the ship’s air-conditioning to be behind the rapid spread of the virus on board. There are other outbreaks over the last year where scientists have pointed the air-conditioning as a likely assistant in the spreading of coronavirus. What is important, then, is that care needs to be taken going forwards, in how we optimise and adjust our HVAC units. For safety and efficiency, it is the duty of care home owners and engineers to carefully calculate the rate at which viruses have the potential to replicate, and to counter this with a more than appropriate rate of incoming, freshly circulated air. In short, adjust settings, and turn it up.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 25
Social Care Providers Race to Protect the Mental Health of the Workforce Amid Pandemic Three in five providers dug deep into their own pockets during the last year to fund mental health first aiders as part of a raft of preventative measures taken to safeguard their staff, a newly published report reveals. Independent research commissioned by learning disabilities charity, Hft, found that Covid-19 has taken its toll on the social care workforce, with 62% of providers reporting a rise in absenteeism relating to mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. Compared to last year, this marks a 10% increase on average across the sector, during a time when care staff are playing a crucial role on the frontline to support vulnerable adults. The report, reflecting on the previous year, highlights a rise in a range of actions that were taken to promote mental health across the board in an effort to protect the workforce, despite more than 56% of providers reporting declining surpluses or already being in deficit. Nearly all providers (96%) reported signposting to mental health services, up from 67%, while 87% provided mental health awareness training. The number providing in-house mental health first aiders has also risen from 38% to 62%. This is Hft’s fourth annual Sector Pulse Check report, carried out by independent economics and business consultancy Cebr, and the first of its kind to focus primarily on learning disability providers. Based on survey analysis from social care providers, it provides an annual snapshot of the financial health and the challenges faced by the social care sector over the past year, and an indication of how providers anticipate the next twelve months will progress. The report also highlights that social care providers appear to be reaching a crisis point and have been forced to resort to measures to reduce capacity to tackle the persistent cost pressures over recent years. The main cost pressure cited was rising wage bills (79%) followed by lack of fee income (63%). As a result, more than half (62%) said they have had to close down some parts of their organisation or hand back marginal contracts, up from 45% in the previous report. Around a third (29%) of providers have made redundancies, in keeping with the last two years, with one in ten saying they have had to offer care to fewer individuals. This is a trend that looks set to continue, with over half (51%) stating they are more likely to close down some parts of their organisation or hand back marginal contracts and 47% likely to make staff redundancies in response to Covid-19 cost pressures. The research has prompted calls from the charity to shine a light on the pandemic’s forgotten workforce by publicly recognising their efforts and investing in the sector. An open invitation has been sent to all MPs, offering
the opportunity to find out more about the report and the challenges faced by the sector at a virtual parliamentary event on Wednesday 10 March 2021. Kirsty Matthews, Chief Executive for Hft, said: “Our Sector Pulse report shows that in a year where the social care sector has played a pivotal role on the frontline, providers have gone to great lengths to support staff, who are crucial role to supporting some of the most vulnerable adults in society. “It’s time to shine a light on the pandemic’s undervalued workforce and publicly recognise their efforts. It is vital the government provides a cash injection specifically to ensure frontline social care staff have the mental health support they deserve, and that it is not at the expense of an already beleaguered sector. “While the Covid-19 pandemic has seen some additional funding enter the sector, it falls far short of solving an enduring and underlying financial challenge. The precarious financial situation is a culmination of years of financial pressures, which have forced providers to take drastic action in order to remain sustainable. It is vital that the government brings forward a long term funding solution for adult social care to safeguard the future of the sector.” Josie Dent, Managing Economist at Cebr, said: “The finances of the social care sector continue to stand in a precarious position as costs rise, yet in spite of this, the research shows providers have increased their mental health support for staff over the past year. Furthermore, a lack of fee income, cited by over three in five organisations, means these increasing costs are difficult to fund. We are therefore seeing more and more providers close down some parts of their organisation or hand back marginal contracts and services to their local authority, with 62% taking this action in 2020”. Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, said: “This year’s Hft Sector Pulse Report highlights the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the challenges already faced by an over-stretched and underfunded social care sector. High quality support services for disabled people can be transformative and this report, as we collectively look to recover from a truly challenging year, clearly exposes how the government and it agencies must do away with short-term fixes and instead invest in sustainable, long-term reform.” Hft is now calling on the government to ensure the future financial sustainability of the social care sector by providing immediate funding to stabilise the social care system while working towards an equitable and sustainable funding solution in the longer term. To read the full report: visit www.hft.org.uk/sectorpulsecheckreport
Residents and Relatives Reconnect With Limited Indoor Visiting For residents at Magnolia Court Care home in Golders Green, the long awaited reunion with one family member has become a reality, as one single named visitor is now allowed to visit each resident in their bedroom. There has been much anticipation of this moment by families and residents alike. Guidance was issued by the Government on March 4 and Barchester Healthcare, who run Magnolia Court care home, is proceeding with a safe and cautious approach to visiting. Strict protocols are in place with all visitors required to have a negative Lateral Flow Device test result before being allowed into the home, and infection control measures and social distancing in place for every visit, with hand holding allowed but not recommended. Despite the need for testing and social distancing, it was still welcome news for so many residents and their family members to be able to meet in the comfort of their bedroom. Residents and their [relative] enjoyed getting together and catching up face to face.
Octavian Stanciu, General Manager at the home, said: “This is the first cautious step towards having a buzz of visitors in the home again. It was wonderful to see how happy it made the residents and their relatives. We have a great booking system in place to ensure the visits are well organised, and visitors are doing a great job of following the safety measures to keep everyone as safe as possible. For those that are not able to come inside the home we are pleased to be able to continue to offer visits in our visiting suites or outdoors when the weather allows” Cynthia, Relative at Magnolia Court said: “The staff here have been so wonderful supporting me to use video calls and creating the visiting suite so I could keep in touch with my mother, but nothing beats seeing my mother in the comfort of her bedroom. It was so wonderful to be able to hold mums hand. This was a special moment, and I was over the moon.”
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PAGE 26 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
Evolving Dementia Care in the Face of the Pandemic
By Belinda Dixon, Senior Dementia Care Advisor, Optalis (www.optalis.org)
Bio: Belinda is a dual qualified physical and mental health nurse, who has specialised in dementia for over 30 years. She has worked as a hospital ward nurse, community psychiatric nurse, dementia day centre manager and currently works as senior dementia care advisor, at Optalis. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a greater demand for the services offered by our dementia care advisors (DCA) team. As a specialist advice and information service, we support people with dementia and their families and carers, in the Windsor and Maidenhead area. The team, employed by the adult social care provider, Optalis, and supported by the Better Care Fund (BCF), has become a well-known and respected part of the local dementia community. Our reputation is quickly spreading by word of mouth, thanks to those who have benefitted from the team’s input and expert care. For people across the country, lockdown has limited opportunities for stimulating activities and social connectedness. For those living with dementia, this has resulted in people experiencing cognitive decline and worsening behavioural and psychological problems. In addition, many carers have reported feeling under mounting strain, due to reduced access to services and increased caregiving responsibilities. As a team we’ve recognised that the disruption to people’s routine and social isolation was having an acute and detrimental impact on people living with dementia. An example is the story of Mrs Turner*, who was telephoning her son up to 40 times a day during the first lock-
down, because her regular routine suddenly stopped. Without the benefits and needs of social interaction being met, people can become isolated, lonely, confused and disorientated and it can cause a premature decline in their Dementia. Wanting to address this, we implemented new opportunities and adapted existing services to try to limit the negative impact on people with dementia and their families. Two members of staff from day services were seconded to the team, creating capacity and enabling us to put their skills in providing stimulating activities to use. Therapy activity packs were created and shared with family carers, providing resources and ideas on how to keep busy and involved at home. When government guidelines permitted, the team also delivered 1:1 individualised therapy in people’s homes. In Mrs Turner’s case, structured carer visits offered reassurance and reduced her anxiety. Activities provided stimulation for the brain, while the routine and company settled her behaviour and phone calls greatly reduced. Prior to the pandemic our popular monthly dementia drop-in sessions were open to anyone. Various professionals and volunteers joined the DCA team in providing teaching, answering questions and joining discussions with those who attended. The pandemic forced a temporary halt to these sessions, but we have now successfully moved to a virtual platform. We have also started delivering a range of therapy and activity sessions using video-calling technology. In addition, the phonebased support provided by the team ramped up significantly. Proactively making welfare checks and offering a listening ear to people, as needed. As we begin, once more, to ease out of lockdown we will resume face-to-face visits and reintroduce group sessions as soon as it is safe to do so. However, we will continue to offer telephone support and connect with people online as a way to reach more people and improve accessibility. Whilst the pandemic has presented the service with many chal-
lenges, it has also helped to highlight what really matters. Our focus this coming year will be to continue with plans to expand the service. This will include kickstarting two projects, which have been delayed due to COVID restrictions. We plan to set up groups specifically for younger people with dementia and their carers and work with the Asian community locally to increase awareness and provide support. The pandemic has accelerated a new tailored approach, which shows there is a place for online therapy alongside other types of care in the community. Prior to Covid the use of technology was always an option, but underutilised. It has proven to be a lifeline for many and has opened a whole new way of communicating and providing therapy, but it is not suitable for everyone. Moving forward it will be an invaluable resource to enable inclusion for a wider harder to reach audience, giving people more choice and control. The hope is that this will prove to be a positive and lasting change for dementia care. *name changed
Care Home Music Lovers Bridge The Generation Gap Residents at Colten Care homes across the south have been ‘Zooming’ in on creative companionship to keep spirits up during lockdown. A host of online experiences featuring music, songs, art and poetry have brought smiles all round and even found new audiences for residents’ creativity. Violinist Sylvia Stokes, who lives at Whitecliffe House in Blandford, Dorset, saw her solo version of Amazing Grace highlighted at the celebration launch of Together with Music, a national campaign to build links between care homes, schools, day centres and playgroups. Footage of Sylvia playing was shown in a launch video along with a rendition of the Simon and Garfunkel hit Cecilia performed by residents at Colten’s Kingfishers home in New Milton, Hampshire. More than 500 Together with Music members watched the performances in a webinar along with a panel of distinguished guests including Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, and Baroness Diana Barran, Minister for Civil Society. Other Colten homes participating in Together with Music include Linden House in Lymington, Avon Cliff in Bournemouth and Newstone House in Sturminster Newton. Separately, three homes have been involved in a six-week University of Winchester arts project focusing on creative collaboration across the generations. As well as Kingfishers, residents at Abbotts Barton in Winchester and Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst took part. Via Zoom, they were invited to offer creative responses to prompts about subjects includ-
ing gardens, nature, fairy tales and literature. The residents’ ideas, presented in poetry, song, drawings and paintings, were then shared with Winchester schoolchildren who added their own artistic interpretations through activities such as drawing and model-making. Fiona Pritchard, Colten Care Music and Arts Partner, said: “The result was a remarkable exchange of ideas, conversations, reminiscence and creative pieces. “Our residents readily engaged with the children they met on Zoom. Everyone experienced feelings of inclusiveness and socialisation by coming together online in the midst of lockdown.” In a note of thanks to the University of Winchester project leads, Amelia Pearce and Rosie Oliver, Woodpeckers residents wrote: “We have really enjoyed your company over the past few weeks and hope we can see you again one day.” Ideas from the project are now being rolled out to Colten’s dedicated dementia homes, including Linden House and the Winchester home St Catherines View. In a third initiative involving music and companionship, Colten Care residents participated in sign2sing, a fundraising event organised by the deaf health charity SignHealth. Residents at several homes enjoyed learning Makaton signs as they sang and signed the Vera Lynn song We’ll Meet Again which was also featured on the Together with Music launch video. A compilation film is available to watch on Colten’s YouTube channel
Unknown Unpaid Carers Encouraged To Come Forward For The COVID-19 Vaccine Unpaid carers who are not known to health and care services and therefore have not been called forward for the COVID-19 vaccine now have a route to check whether they are eligible and apply for a vaccination appointment. Unpaid carers are currently being called forward for their first COVID19 vaccinations as part of cohort six in the national vaccine roll-out. Eligible carers for the vaccine include those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, are identified as a primary carer by their GP, or are receiving support following a Carer’s Assessment by their local council or from a local carer’s organisation. These carers known to Government and health and care services are
already being contacted about booking an appointment. Now, a route for unpaid carers over the age of 18 who are not in contact with formal services has been set up for them to check whether they are eligible for an appointment and book a vaccination. The national charity Carers UK is encouraging carers to check their eligibility and contact the National Booking Service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, or by ringing 119, to complete a short application process to determine if they are eligible to book their vaccination appointment. Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “Identifying unpaid carers in England so they can be prioritised for the
COVID-19 vaccine has involved unprecedented collaboration between Government departments, local government and our health and care services, and many carers have already started to receive their first jabs. “However, we know many carers who would be eligible are unknown to services. We are pleased that they now have the opportunity to come forward, check their eligibility and apply for the vaccine through the National Booking Service, and we encourage them to do so. “After a year of caring round the clock at home and carefully managing the risk of infection, this route to the vaccine will provide muchneeded relief for unpaid carers – meaning they can protect themselves and their loved ones at the earliest opportunity.”
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 27
£12 Billion ‘Booster Shot’ Needed To Make NHS And Social Care Fit For Future After Pandemic – Landmark Report An extra £12 billion a year is needed to invest in the NHS and care system, to recover the damage done by Covid-19 and ensure the health service can guarantee world-leading outcomes and care for generations to come. In a landmark State of Health and Care report, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has carried out the most extensive review of the toll the Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted on health and care service in England since the crisis began. Among a range of stark findings, new IPPR reveals: · GP appointments – There have been 31 million fewer GP appointments since the pandemic began. An issue falling hardest on people with long term conditions. · Avoidable cancer deaths – An additional 4,500 avoidable cancer deaths are expected this year because of pandemic disruptions. Undoing at least eight years of colorectal cancer survival rate progress, six years in breast cancer survival rates, and two years in lung cancer survival progress. The proportion of cancers diagnosed while still highly curable has dropped from 44 to 41 per cent. · Mental health – Checks on people with severe mental illnesses have fallen below a third of their target levels. 235,000 fewer people have been referred for psychological therapies. Eating disorder referrals for children have doubled and waiting lists have reached five year high. Children’s rates of common and severe mental illness have risen sharply during the pandemic. · Care homes – The low care home death toll during the second wave suggests most of the 30,000 care home deaths in the first wave were largely avoidable. · Avoidable severe illness – An additional 12,000 avoidable heart attacks and strokes are expected in the next five years due to Covid-19 disruptions to routine health services. The report shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has undone years of progress tackling other major illnesses and if left unaddressed threatens to cause a decade of health disruption to prevention, diagnosis and treatments. IPPR says that the strain the pandemic has put on the NHS in England is severe, but manageable if urgent action is taken by the government. The think tank calculates that just to recover the elective backlog and manage the mental health surge caused by the pandemic, the NHS budget needs an extra £2.2 billion per year for next five years. However, the report urges the government to go further than just restoring the NHS to its already dangerously overstretched pre-pandemic level. The researchers instead set out a blueprint for ambitious reform across the health and care sector in England, defining what the government’s ‘build back better’ mantra should look like in reality.
The think tank calculates that a further £10.1 billion of investment would be needed annually, on top of the £2.2 billion Covid-19 catch-up funding, to realise this vision of a truly world-leading service and to get the NHS in England back on course to meet its own NHS Long Term Plan objectives. In the immediate term, this spending should be funded by borrowing but in the long term taxes will need to rise to fund the higher spending permanently. Immediate policy priorities outlined in the report to tackle the pressing healthcare workforce crisis, overcome the social care deadlock and ensure access to NHS digital services include: · NHS staff pay – Set aside at least £1.4 billion to enable an average pay rise of 5 per cent for NHS staff. · Care workers’ pay – Guarantee a living wage for all care workers through government wage subsidy, similar to the furlough scheme, at a cost of £1 billion. · Migration – Scrapping the skills requirement and salary threshold for care workers to ensure all kinds of vacancies can be filled. · Social care – Making social care free at the point of need, just like the NHS. · Digital – Creating a universal entitlement to internet access by reimbursing internet costs for those most in need. Longer term reform proposals include: · Education – Reforming health education, training and progression to develop a workforce with the right skills mix to meet future health needs. · Capital – Raising spending on NHS infrastructure, matching at least OECD levels, to upgrade ageing buildings and create more capacity across the health and care. · Legislation – IPPR support the government’s proposed legal reforms to NHS. But warn against greater ministerial control, suggesting instead NHS accountability to the public is strengthened by a more direct relationship between top NHS officials and Parliament. · Integration – Increasing integrated working between health, care and public health services is key to improving outcomes. But legislative change is just one piece of the puzzle – regulatory bodies must encourage collaborative working and financial incentives should reward improving health outcomes, not performing more healthcare activity. · Social care – Creating a ‘long term plan’ for social care that drives low quality providers out of the market, puts a cap on accommodation costs, shifts ownership back to public and voluntary sectors and brings care worker pay in line with NHS pay scales. · Digital – Upgrading digital infrastructure across the NHS and care to vastly improve productivity, care quality and drive further integration. IPPR also commissioned Savanta ComRes to carry out polling of 172
senior leaders in NHS agencies and local government. This found: · Four in five NHS leaders say the current NHS funding deal, including the top ups announced in 2020, is no longer sufficient to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan · An overwhelming 80 per cent of health leaders believe social care reform will be ‘very important’ if the NHS is to achieve the targets set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. · Staff burnout and a surge in mental illness are the post-pandemic challenges that most worry health leaders (44 per cent for both). · Changes to immigration rules are important to meet workforce needs, according to 87 per cent of health leaders. Polling also showed that flexible working, progression opportunities and better pay were also key to tackling severe healthcare workforce challenges. IPPR argues that the impact of Covid-19 has been compounded by the preceding decade of austerity and efficiency drives that pushed healthcare to the top of its capacity, but not the top of its game. Researchers urge the government to reject a ‘new era of austerity’ and instead re-invest in vital public services and the health of the nation. Dr Parth Patel, IPPR Research fellow and lead author, said: “The NHS has been there for us, from outbreak to vaccine. Our blueprint for reform is the booster shot it now dearly needs. “A decade of austerity left our NHS running at the top of its capacity, rather than the top of its game. As a result, the consequences of the pandemic on people suffering with illnesses such as cancer and depression have been huge. There is a real risk now that this damage embeds and the NHS falls further down international rankings. “The government wants to ‘build back better’ in health and care. This landmark report provides a costed and comprehensive plan on how to do that. It offers implementable solutions to the shrinking workforce, the crisis in care and fragmented health services.” Chris Thomas, IPPR Senior Research Fellow, said: “It is high time this government backed its build back better rhetoric with tangible policy and new funding. “We have among the lowest numbers of nurses, doctors and long term care workers per capita. We face thousands more cancer deaths and 12,000 more heart attacks and strokes in the coming years. The number of people with mental ill health or multiple, chronic conditions is rising sharply. We are on the very edge of a precipice of a whole decade of severe health disruption. “Now is no time to be timid. We urge the government to give the NHS the boost it so desperately needs, and to protect the nation’s health in the decade to come.”
Dame Julie Walters Urges Government To Keep Its Promise On Dementia Research Funding Dame Julie Walters is joining over 43,000 people and backing a petition calling on the UK government to deliver on its election promise to double funding for dementia research. This comes as Alzheimer’s Research UK reveals 94% of dementia researchers are very concerned progress is at risk due to fewer funding opportunities. While new polling from the charity has highlighted that UK adults think the pledge made during the 2019 election is important, very few believe government will follow through on its word. TThe UK’s leading dementia research charity has revealed that: • Over three quarters (77%) of the public believe the government’s pledge to increase its funding for dementia research to over £160 million a year is either still important (59%) or more important (18%) since the coronavirus outbreak. • One in five people (18%) think it is even more important because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen people with dementia among the hardest hit. • Despite this, only 7% of people believe the government will deliver on the promise made during the 2019 election. • Yet the charity says the funding is more critical than ever before, as a separate survey shows one in five researchers are considering leaving, or have already left, dementia research due to COVID-19 – while more than a third (34%) are considering leaving research altogether. In response to the findings, Dame Julie – whose grandmother died with vascular dementia – says the government cannot cast aside the promise it made to the public. The award-winning actor is urging people to take action by signing Alzheimer’s Research UK’s petition. Other leading stars who have also backed Alzheimer’s Research UK’s petition include Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, Brian Cox, Dame Harriet Walter and Luke Evans. The dementia research funding pledged by government was missed out of the Budget Statement earlier this month. But Alzheimer’s Research UK says the funding is needed now more than ever before, following the colossal impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia. One in four people who have died with COVID-19 in England, Wales and Scotland also had dementia, while social distancing measures have been particularly challenging for people with dementia and their loved ones. At the same time, the virus has threatened progress in research, with studies delayed and pioneering researchers being forced to consider leaving the field. There are almost one million people living with dementia in the UK today, but there are currently no treat-
ments to slow, stop or prevent the diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, that cause it. In 2019, the UK government promised to double funding for dementia research as part of a ‘moonshot’ effort to find a cure. But to date no further details have been given about how or when this funding will be made available. Dame Julie Walters said: “As someone who witnessed the effects of dementia growing up, I am proud to be standing with the tens of thousands of people who are calling on government to deliver on its election promise to double investment into researching the condition. My grandmother had vascular dementia and she lived with us when we were kids. We didn’t really understand her symptoms, but we all loved her to bits. I still don’t know how my mother coped having to care for her and look after three young children. “It’s appalling that over half of us know someone affected by dementia, yet there are no treatments to slow, stop or prevent it. Far too many families are being forced to experience the pain dementia causes on a daily basis because of the lack of treatments and to put it simply, enough is enough. “There is an urgent need for research to bring about life-changing treatments for people affected by dementia. With the tragic impact COVID-19 has had on those with the condition, the funding promised by government is more critical now than it ever has been and it’s clear the public agrees. I’d urge everyone to sign this petition, so we can make it clear to government that we will not let their promise be cast aside.” Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This poll shows that despite the dreadful impact COVID-19 has had for us all, the public has not lost sight of the urgent need for life-changing dementia research. It’s been well over a year since the government pledged to boost dementia research, but with no real indication that this funding is being delivered, it’s time for this promise to be backed with clear action. “While it’s right that the response to the pandemic has had to take priority, dementia is our greatest longterm health crisis and the lives of people affected by dementia are being torn apart by COVID-19. The search for life-changing dementia treatments has never been more critical. “We’re so grateful to have Dame Julie Walters standing with the thousands who have signed our petition calling on government to deliver on its election promise. With research efforts at risk and people with dementia bearing the brunt of the pandemic, this instrumental investment must be made a reality and it cannot come soon enough.” You can sign the petition here: www.alzres.uk/sign-our-petition
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Covid-19 Vaccines – Will This Good News Story Cause A Headache For Employers? By Andrea Thomas, Partner at HCR Law (www.hcrlaw.com) The roll out of the Covid19 vaccines is now gathering pace and, despite a slow start, it is now looking as if the government may meet its target of delivering the vaccine to the most vulnerable groups and front line health and social care staff by mid-February. This is undoubtedly great news and we hate to look at the downside. However, as predicted in our earlier articles, the “anti-vaxx” movement has had an impact and a sizeable minority are rejecting the vaccination. The Times has recently reported that as many as one in six people are opposed to having the vaccination and that increases significantly amongst ethnic minority groups and in the 18 to 24 year old age group. This is of universal concern as it puts the goal of herd immunity in jeopardy. However, this is of particular concern to the care sector where employees are likely to be working with the most vulnerable groups and where infection rates in care homes are again rising sharply. The Times reports that the National Care Association is seeking a legal opinion on whether care home workers can be forced to have the vaccination. So, what is the position of an employer faced with employees who refuse to have the vaccination?
CAN AN EMPLOYER REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO BE VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19? For some employees, this will be a sensitive issue that will require careful communication with both the employees and (where applicable) their staff representatives. The government has not legislated that the Covid-19 vaccine is mandatory, so it is risky for employers to insist on vaccination, even in an environment where there is often close contact and social distancing can be difficult.
ACAS has produced guidance which advises that employers should support staff in getting the vaccine but cannot force them to be vaccinated. However, it acknowledges that it may be necessary to make vaccination mandatory where it is required for someone to do their job, for example where they travel overseas and need to be vaccinated. We look at some of the issues in more detail below.
ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT Undoubtedly, the best outcome for both parties is for employees to agree to vaccination without the employer having to resort to a policy of mandatory vaccination. But a great deal of misinformation is being spread about the vaccine, particularly on social media and this may be influencing employees. It is perhaps no coincidence that the youngest age group is the most hesitant, as they will be the most frequent users of social media. Misinformation is also being spread about the use of certain animal products in vaccines, which will be of particular concern to some religious groups. Employers should therefore engage with those employees who are refusing the vaccine in order to address and overcome their fears. As part of this process, they may wish to consider involving an independent party, such as a medical professional, to give informed and unbiased advice on the vaccine itself and the benefits of having it.
THOSE WHO STILL REFUSE There may still be employees who refuse the vaccine despite the best efforts of employers to persuade them otherwise. Can employers force these individuals to have the vaccine? In reality, they cannot, as the administering of a vaccine is a medical procedure which can only be performed with an individual’s genuine consent. However, could an employee be disciplined for refusing? We would suggest not, as it is not a legal requirement for anyone to be vaccinated and it is most unlikely that current employment contracts would contain a provision requiring an employee to be vaccinated. A refusal to have the vaccine is therefore unlikely to amount to misconduct. Some employers may want to consider whether existing employment contracts can be amended to include a provision that requires employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. However, as with any significant amendment, this will require employee consent. As consent is unlikely to be given, the change would probably have to be imposed and employers may have to dismiss the employees and offer to re-engage
them on the new terms. This is not without risk and employers would have to establish a fair reason for dismissal in order to avoid unfair dismissal claims by those employees with more than two years’ service. In these circumstances ‘some other substantial reason’ (SOSR) is likely to be the fair reason relied upon. It is possible that some employers would be able to establish that the need to ensure that all employees are vaccinated does amount to SOSR, particularly where employees work with vulnerable groups such as in the health or care sector. However, we would emphasise that at present this point is completely untested and it is difficult to predict what view a tribunal would take. Employers would also need to demonstrate that they had followed a fair process before imposing the change. Depending on the circumstances there may also be additional risks which we consider briefly below.
OTHER RISKS Where employers are considering a policy of mandatory vaccination, other risks could include: • Collective consultation – if employers need to dismiss 20 or more employees, the statutory consultation requirements are likely to be engaged and the employer would also need to inform the Secretary of State within the statutory timescales (which depends on the number of affected employees). • Any available vaccine may not be suitable for all e.g. those with suppressed immune systems. In order to avoid arguments of disability discrimination (where an employee is unable to get the vaccine because of a health condition) any requirement would therefore need to allow for exceptions. • It is also possible that certain religious or moral objections to the vaccine could come under the protected characteristic of religious or philosophical belief. There may also be a question as to whether ‘anti-vaxxers’ are covered by philosophical belief. • Human rights arguments – it is possible that employees forced to have the vaccine could bring a challenge under the Human Rights Act.
SUMMARY For employees who are eligible for the vaccine, introducing a contractual requirement that they have it would amount to a change in terms and conditions and so has added complexity and risk. An ‘encouragement and support’ approach is therefore favoured wherever possible, rather than insisting upon it as a contractual term.
Lakeland Dairies Launch Activity To “Celebrate Green” This March Steeped in Irish heritage, Lakeland Dairies launches its annual Celebrate Green campaign, with a ‘takeover’ of the month of March. The campaign embraces the co-operative’s excellence in dairy farming, alongside its heritage in churning high-quality milk into professional products trusted by chefs. This year’s campaign focuses on celebrating the lush green grass of the Co-Operative’s family farms and Irish traditions. To launch the campaign, Lakeland Dairies has created a brand-new resource packed with recipes and activities, designed especially to inspire care settings to host an Irish themed party for St Patrick’s Day. The activity resource serves as an inspiration for both care home residents and staff, full of interesting snippets, cooking tips and expert advice for perfect Irish-themed dishes. The resource also contains a host of Irish inspired fun activities to encourage engagement across residents and staff. In addition, there is also a chance to win of one of ten free Farm Memories Aqua Paints, specialist products designed for residents living with dementia, when claiming the free activity resource.
Paul Chmielewski, Head of Marketing and International at Lakeland Dairies comments: “Our Celebrate Green campaign for St Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to embrace our Irish heritage and celebrate our dairy farming expertise. For more than 100 years we have been producing high-quality, wholesome and nutritious milk. Our milk is made from contented cows grazing freely on lush, green pastures of our family farms, located on the beautiful Isle of Ireland." Inspired by Lakeland Dairies’ Irish provenance, the activity book features various recipes using Lakeland Dairies portfolio of products including its Millac Gold Double with Added Vitamin D. Known for its creamy taste and stability, Millac Gold Double with Added Vitamin D is a delicious, versatile cream alternative. Ideal for whipping, cooking and pouring, the added Vitamin D aids the body’s absorption of calcium. Recipes include a delicious Salmon Mousse, an Irish Moss Panna Cotta and a scrumptious White and Black Pudding. To download the recipe and activity book please go to https://bit.ly/2NrJMCN
This Is A ‘Now Or Never’ Moment For End-Of-Life Funding Says Ashgate Hospicecare As Report Highlights Long-Term Funding Challenge Faced By Hospices Ashgate Hospicecare have reiterated the importance of adequate and long-term funding for hospices, after a report from Sue Ryder, a leading provider of specialist palliative care in England, called on the government to address the long-term funding challenge for hospices. The report, Modelling demand and costs for palliative care services in England, found that demand for palliative care services is set to increase by 58% over the next ten years. The key findings revealed: • Currently 245,000 people in England are expected to receive palliative care in the coming year. Sue Ryder’s research shows this is expected to increase to 379,000 people per year by 2030. • Independent hospices only receive around one third of the money required to fund its end-of-life services from the government. • The running costs of the palliative care sector are estimated to be £947 million a year between now and 2030 and if government funding remains the same, the hospice sector will be required to fundraise £597 million every year in order to keep hospices open. • Sue Ryder is calling on the government to end the funding crisis facing the palliative care sector and commit to covering 70 per cent of the costs of hospice provision. Last year, Ashgate Hospicecare had to ask for voluntary redundancies during the pandemic. An eleventh-hour funding agreement from Derby and Derbyshire NHS CCG avoided the compulsory redundancies which otherwise would have had to have been made this January. Chief Executive Barbara-Anne Walker says the findings of the Sue Ryder report highlight the importance of adequate and long-term funding to safeguard hospices and its crucial care and services. Barbara-Anne adds: “The findings from this report are shocking but not surprising. We would not fund maternity care in this way so why during a pandemic are we putting such a low value on end-of-life care? The way in which palliative care is funded in this country is not sustainable and hospices have been subject to chronic underfunding for years.
“Most hospice are dependent on fundraising, including legacies, and that means our income will always be uncertain to some extent. However, our costs are very certain indeed - it costs £7m to run our clinical services, of which around £2.8m is funded from health budgets. “The pandemic has accelerated the need to have realistic conversations about how palliative and end-of-life care is funded in this country. With shops closed and fundraising activities scaled back or cancelled, hospices are finding themselves ever more dependent on the goodwill of their local communities. “Emergency bailouts are no longer the solution. Hospices need sustainable and long-term funding. This is a ‘now or never’ moment for the Government who have an opportunity to do the right thing, step forward and help tackle the funding crisis that is facing hospices across the country.”
HOSPICES ARE PLAYING A CRUCIAL PART IN THE FRONTLINE RESPONSE TO COVID From the beginning of the pandemic, Ashgate Hospicecare opened its doors to end-of-life COVID patients, initially dedicating a separate wing on its 21-bedded inpatient unit but then increasing this to two wings when demand doubled during the second wave. Demand for its care and services had never been greater and as a result staff were redeployed from other areas of the hospice to bolster staffing levels on the inpatient unit. The move was part of a system wide response to support the NHS, increase admissions from the nearby Chesterfield Royal Hospital and free up hospital beds. Barbara-Anne concludes: “The pandemic has reinforced the important
role that hospices play in the wider healthcare system. Without us hundreds of thousands of people would miss out on the expert care they deserve, care that the NHS simply cannot deliver due to lack of resources and capabilities. “Just last year, we were forced to ask for voluntary redundancies and there was a real danger we would have to make compulsory redundancies in the middle of a pandemic. Fortunately, we were able to come to a funding agreement with our local NHS commissioners, which will safeguard our services until 2022. “That is not a situation that we or any other hospice should be in, especially as end-of-life care is needed more than ever.” ‘I can’t imagine how I would have coped without them’ One person who has experienced Ashgate’s care first-hand is Sanjoy Sen, aged 46, from Chesterfield, whose mum Ashoka was supported by the charity’s Day Hospice and on its inpatient unit. Ashoka was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and received the allclear after treatment. But in June 2018, the cancer had returned, and she was given just six months to live. Sanjoy Sen said: “Before my mum’s diagnosis, I didn’t fully understand what hospices did. I assumed that they were just places where people went in their final weeks of life. “What I discovered was that they are warm and positive places where people eventually end their lives as comfortably as possible. “Most importantly, my mum was rarely alone. So many friends and family, whom we’d lost contact with, got back in touch and they were able to visit mum any time at the hospice in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. My mum was so well cared-for and loved in her final months thanks to Ashgate Hospicecare. “And it wasn’t just Mum who received support from the hospice, they also supported me, both practically and emotionally. The staff helped me to deal with the situation and took away a lot of the fear for me. I can’t imagine how I would have coped without them.”
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Low Pay “Insult” Is Kick In The Teeth For Frontline Covid Heroes
A council has been accused of adding “insult to injury” by paying its own staff up to £2,200 more a year than they are willing to shell out for carers doing the exactly the same job in privately-run care homes. Care Forum Wales (CFW), which represents nearly 500 independent providers, criticised Denbighshire County Council after they announced “derisory” fee levels announced by Denbighshire County Council for the coming year. To make matters worse the council had suggested that they had worked with Care Forum Wales to agree the new rates. According to Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, he said, Denbighshire County Council were being “totally disingenuous” because they had ignored their requests to pay staff at least the real living wage. The new rates announced by Denbighshire were a kick in the teeth to the army of courageous care workers who had put their own lives on the line to protect vulnerable residents during the pandemic. In Wales, pay rates for carers are effectively determined by local councils who set the level of fees care homes and domiciliary care companies receive. Denbighshire, along with many other authorities and health boards, use a formula which calculates how much they want to allocate towards all care home costs, including what staff are paid. As a result, say Care Forum Wales, wage levels have been unfairly suppressed by the local authorities who have managed the budgets for 25 years. In contrast carers working in council-owned homes in Denbighshire
are paid considerably more. The formula means that private care homes have been only allocated enough money to pay half their staff £8.72 an hour, going up to £8.91 next year, while the other half are on a slightly higher rate of £10.21. In a recent job advert, Denbighshire were offering £9.62 an hour for a Day Care Assistant at the Cysgod y Gaer Home in Corwen and £10.01 an hour for Care and Support Assistant at the Llys Awelon Home in Ruthin, Gorwel Newydd in Rhyl and Nant y Môr in Prestatyn, without any experience being needed. That means that the council’s care staff receive between £1,476 and £2,288 a year more than their counterparts in the private sector for a 40hour week. Last year Denbighshire County Council was named and shamed as one of the “meanest” local authorities in Wales when it comes to paying care home fees. An investigation by Care Forum Wales revealed they were in the bottom 10 of the “league table of shame”. It prompted the organisation to launch a campaign to ensure qualified staff who work in care homes and domiciliary care in Wales are paid a minimum of £20,000 a year. According to Care Forum Wales, the valiant response of care workers in saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic had highlighted their true value and it was high time it was recognised by the authorities who commissioned publicly-funded social care. It was, said Mr Kreft, a “national disgrace” that the 2020 Fair Pay campaign was necessary and it was “bitterly disappointing” that Denbighshire County Council had chosen to ignore it. The evidence on fees had also highlighted a clear North-South divide. Mr Kreft said: “Five of the bottom 10 payers in Wales are North Wales councils whilst the highest rates are to be found in South East Wales. “To illustrate the point care homes in somewhere like Dinas Powys receive £7,392 a year per resident than a home in Denbigh – for a home with 40 residents that’s a massive £295,000 a year. Why are residents in Llandaff worth more than people in Llangollen? It’s just not fair. “Whilst we accept that local government is under pressure, the sector would be in dire trouble without the Welsh Government’s hardship fund. “The new rates in Denbighshire do not recognise the extra costs piled on the social care sector as a result of the pandemic. “To add insult to injury they’re saying they’ve worked with providers and Care Forum Wales in developing the fees. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We were asked for our views, but they have taken no notice whatsoever of the fact that the workforce is under pressure.
“We totally reject the suggestion that there has been some kind of
agreement on the fees. “What we’re calling for is that they adjust their formula so that staff in the private sector can be paid at the same rate as the council’s own staff. “Unfortunately, they totally ignored our requests to pay staff at least the real living wage. “Denbighshire should follow the example of neighbouring Powys County Council which has responded in a positive way after it was highlighted last year that they were the worst paying council in Wales. “In Powys, the council’s Cabinet has agreed that the fees paid to independent residential homes should increase by £110 to £120 per person a week, depending on the type of care residents receive. “As Powys has shown, this is about political priorities. They are political decisions not budgetary ones. “This is an unforgiveable insult to all the heroic people who have been on the front line throughout the coronavirus. It’s nothing less than shocking. “At the same time, care providers are facing a double whammy of soaring costs and falling income. Everything has gone up in price with 50 per cent increases in insurance not uncommon, for less protection and no cover for Covid-related claims. “Instead of clapping for carers Denbighshire County Council are slapping them in the face condemning them to live on low wages which is an absolute scandal. “They should be treated as national treasures for showing tremendous courage as well as skill and dedication in the face of this frightening disease during a global pandemic. “And then to add insult to injury they pay their own employees working in care homes at a much higher rate. They deserve so much more. “We cannot just stand by and accept that a local authority with a budget of hundreds of millions of pounds and a statutory responsibility for social care can apply dual standards – for those who work for the council and those who don’t. “When we published our Cheapskate Awards last year, Denbighshire were very unhappy but I make no apology for bringing this important issue, this injustice, to the attention of the public when others would seek to hide it. “Quite frankly the public need to know and councils need to stop blaming providers for poor terms and conditions when they themselves set the financial rules. It’s sheer, unashamed hypocrisy.”
Former Model Celebrates 104 Years With 104 Birthday Cards
There were celebrations at Fremantle Court care home in Aylesbury this weekend to mark the 104th birthday of Phyllis Williams. Phyllis, who was born in 1917 just before the end of the first world war, spent many years as a fashion model featuring in catwalk shows, modelling for department stores and in catalogues and magazines.
Her birthday wish was to have a makeover, which the team at Fremantle Court arranged, by helping Phyllis with her make up before her family visited. Phyllis explains: “To this day, I style my own hair and always like to look and feel good”. Phyllis lived independently until she was 101 and has been living at Fremantle Court since. Asked for the secret to living such a long and healthy life, she commented: “It just seems to run in the family . My mum passed away at the age of 106, just before her 107th birthday and her sister reached 107 years old. I also have a very big family, which keeps things interesting.” Thanks to the kindness of the local community, Phyllis received over 104 cards together with gifts from her family and close friends. All five of her children were able to visit during the day using a designated area, which had been set up to facilitate safe visits and on this occasion was decorated with balloons and streamers! Ewa Banaszcyk, Leisure and Lifestyle Team Manager, was involved in planning Phyllis’ birthday celebration and said: “Phyllis really is an extraordinary women, so we wanted to make sure she had a day to remember. We reached out the local community via social media, asking for cards and well wishes and at the last count, Phyllis had received 107 cards! She is planning to read through all of them and was blown away by the kindness offered to her. The Fremantle Trust are delighted to be part of the local community and would like to thank everyone who sent birthday cards.”
One Bike, One Team, One Month, 4,000 Miles! Throughout March, staff at Brendoncare Froxfield are cycling 4,000 miles on an exercise bike to enable them to travel the equivalent distance of Froxfield to Fargo in United States. The staff have packed their virtual bags and, with the help of cheering and support from the nursing home residents, the team of cyclists are turning the pedals thousands of times to cycle a minimum of 129 miles every day to enable them to reach their target of 4,000 by the end of March. The challenge is aiming to raise funds towards a homely refurbishment of the lounge space at Brendoncare Froxfield for their residents to enjoy. The lounge is the heart of the home and they want to make it extra cosy by installing a bigger television, homely furnishings, new curtains and an electric log burner. Resident Ann Tapper commented, “They are all doing so well. A makeover
will be lovely and a log burner will make it nice and cosy, and some colour too.” Jodie Cannings, Administration Assistant, at Brendoncare Froxfield, said, “It’s incredibly tough, my legs are aching! The team here is amazing and very dedicated, all departments are getting involved, pedalling through lunchbreaks, before and after hours, and attaching keyboards to the bike! Everyone knows the positive impact a homely refurbishment of our main lounge will bring to our residents and this is really spurring everyone on through their aches and pains!” And Clare Brown, Care Assistant, added, “To be honest when I first heard about the challenge, I was like 12 hours on my feet then exercise bike no chance…but it’s been brilliant, the atmosphere is great, residents have walked past and taken an interest, my legs are now pedalling away!”
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HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Cleanliness and Hygiene: Continuing Care With a new, more contagious strain of COVID spreading across the UK, cleanliness and hygiene has never been more critical. Here, 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.
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 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
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
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.
CHECK THE QUALITY 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
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.
Care Home Industry Facing Customer Exodus Due To Infection Fears As care homes continue to contend with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, new research reveals that care homes across the country are facing millions more in lost revenues due to customer fears around infection risk. According to the nationally-representative survey into 2,000 members of the public, more than one in three Brits (34.5%) are less likely to trust care homes with their loved ones’ care due to fears around infection. The findings also revealed that the overwhelming majority of the public (80.5%) would be reassured by visible proof that a care home takes cleanliness and infection control seriously. Significantly, 10.7% would be less likely to use a care home that did not have this proof, and 6% would no longer use a care home that could not prove that they adhered to the highest standards of hygiene and infection control. The research was carried out by infection control specialist JLA, a trusted partner to thousands of care homes across the UK, as part of its “Infection Insights” campaign to improve industry standards, customer reassurance and peace of mind across the care sector. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was revealed that the events of 2020 have prompted a nationwide change in attitudes towards hygiene and infection control, with 77% of the public holding greater concerns in this area than a year previously – attributing this change directly to COVID-19. Concerningly, over a fifth (20.4%) of the public also currently hold a poor opinion of hygiene and infection control in care homes, and do not believe standards are currently at the levels required. Just under a third
(30.1%) of Brits feel confident that care homes are clean and sanitised, and a further 10.7% reported that they believed standards are “excellent”. According to the research, 87.6% of Brits now deem it important that a business has a good reputation for hygiene and infection control, and 58.1% of these proclaim a positive standing for hygiene “extremely important”. This indicates that hygiene ratings – traditionally a significant indicator of quality for many care home customers – have also become more important than ever before in the eyes of the public. Ben Gujral, CEO at JLA, commented: “The events of the past year have laid bare the need for care homes to do everything they can to reassure anxious residents over the coming weeks, with major growth opportunities in store for those that do invest what is needed now. “Expectations of the businesses customers will trust their money – and their loved ones’ health – with are virtually unrecognisable from even a year ago and, at a time where care homes need the continued loyalty of their customers more than ever before, it is crucial that they action all possible infection control measures to put the public’s minds at ease. “Care homes that take the time to do this now will reap the benefits over the coming months, providing reassurance to those who need it, and ensuring the loyalty of customers both old and new for years to come.” For more information about JLA, the research findings and for products which can help with infection control, please visit: https://jla.com/knowledge/icir-2021-care
ASAP Innovations Ensures Medi-Inn’s PPE Supply to UK Healthcare Sector is Maintained Throughout Pandemic Certified PPE manufacturer and leading supplier of medical and hygiene consumables join forces to ensure the UK healthcare sector continues to have access to certified PPE Following an unreliable and sporadic PPE supply during the beginning of the pandemic, supplier of medical and hygiene consumables, Medi-Inn partnered with ASAP Innovations, a leading manufacturer of medical PPE for the healthcare industries, to ensure dependable and trustworthy supply of critical equipment. Throughout 2020, Medi-Inn – which manufactures and distributes medical and hygiene products to the UK healthcare sector – saw its supplies of medical gloves became sporadic and unreliable due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many central governments were buying PPE directly from manufacturers and as a result, manufacturing companies were bypassing distribution companies, even suppliers they had worked with for years. At the same time, demand continued to increase throughout the summer of last year and Medi-Inn was in need of a reliable and certified PPE provider that could ensure it was able to keep serving its customers at this difficult time. Wayne Dobson, Managing Director, Medi-Inn explains, “In 2020 we were approached by ASAP Innovations as it was seeking a glove distributor in the medical field. While the brand was fairly new to us, we were familiar with its impressive presence in Asia and everything we had heard about the manufacturer was very positive. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as a partnership with ASAP Innovations meant
we were able to continue supplying certified and high-quality PPE to our loyal and longstanding customer base, at a time when they needed our supplies the most. “ASAP Innovations’ packaging stands out from other products on the market and it also incorporates a grading system so that the different glove types are easily identifiable, which – as far as we are aware – is fairly unique. In fact, this design feature of the products is something we leverage in our marketing activities as the colour coding certainly increases brand awareness. We have been particularly impressed with ASAP Innovations’ development initiatives and are looking forward to supplying its soon-to-be launched vitrile gloves and children’s face masks. “Despite the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in, the support levels we have received from ASAP Innovations has been second to none which has made our partnership run that extra bit smoother.
PPE is the sort of product where customers would complain if they had problems with the quality of the products and seeing as we have had no complaints about ASAP Innovations products, we have the reassurance that our customers are more than satisfied with its products. “When ASAP agreed to fulfil our requirement for the rest of 2020 and up until October 2021 we were delighted, and I believe this is just the beginning of a long-term relationship where Medi-Inn can help establish the brand in the medical and hygiene sector in the UK. We are excited for what’s to come from our partnership with ASAP Innovations and we look forward to expanding business with the manufacturer in the months ahead,” Wayne concludes. Sean Keller, Managing Director, ASAP Innovations adds: “We are delighted to have entered a partnership with a highly regarded supplier of medical and hygiene consumables to the UK healthcare sector. It goes without saying that healthcare workers have gone above and beyond to serve the public throughout what has been a very challenging year and we are very glad we have been able to continue supplying PPE to the people that need it the most, through our trusted partner, Medi-Inn. This is just the beginning of our partnership and we are thrilled to be able to continue providing certified PPE to the UK’s healthcare sector.” For further information, visit Medi-Inn at www.medi-inn.co.uk and ASAP Innovations at www.whyasapco.uk
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HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL GermErase Launches to Give Confidence to UK Businesses and Hospitals, With Efficacy Against SARS-Cov-2 First British commercial product to be tested on live SARS-Cov-2, the virus causing COVID-19 Multi-surface protector kills up to 99.9999% of pathogens in under 30 seconds and provides a protective barrier for up to 48 hours British scientific breakthrough can turn the tide against hospital infections and superbugs, while supporting vaccines in the fight against COVID-19 and saving the NHS billions GermErase, a new brand at the frontline of protecting against COVID19, infections and superbugs, has today launched its first product range. Available as a cleaning spray and a hand spray with wipes, with aerosols and hand wash to follow, GermErase is a unique formulation that kills up to 99.9999% of pathogens, including the virus that causes COVID-19, in under 30 seconds – faster and more effective than the next best product. It bonds to surfaces to provide total protection without any reduction in performance for up to 48 hours and remains effective for 28 days. GermErase has been tested to global standards in independent facilities at the University of Southampton, including on live strains of SARSCov-2. The British business has invested £1m in testing the product. As 99.9% water, GermErase is safe and has low toxicity, meaning it
does not irritate skin in the way alcohol gels can and, unlike alcohol gels, is not flammable. It uses common ingredients that have already been approved for medical and cleaning purposes and is ready to distribute at scale across the country via specialist cleaning supplier, Denis Rawlins Ltd. Professor Bill Keevil, Professor of Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton, comments, “An invention like this does not come across your desk very often. We have found that GermErase demonstrates remarkable breadth of efficacy against bacteria and viruses, speed of kill, residual efficacy and shows no evidence of antimicrobial resistance.” GermErase is more effective than alcohol gel and, alongside vaccines, can help to turn the tide against COVID-19 and a broad spectrum of other dangerous pathogens. While alcohol gels and sanitisers – products recommended by the World Health Organisation – are dependent on concentration levels and a lengthy period of application, GermErase is easy to use and completely kills the virus within seconds with a simple spray. The products can be used by medical professionals in hospitals but are also quick and easy to use by private sector businesses – giving employers and employees the confidence to return to work safely and unlock the economic recovery in the UK. GermErase will launch a consumer product range for the general public in Spring 2021. The urgency of antibiotic resistance is well known among the medical community and increasingly by wider society. GermErase provides a defence by preventing infection, instead of relying on the development of new cures and antibiotics. Inspired by the most human of stories, GermErase was invented by
Rob Scoones, a former retail business owner. After losing someone very close to him, Rob dedicated his life to eradicating the superbug crisis in our hospitals and worldwide. Through the relentless pursuit of this vision, Rob developed the GermErase product, combining common ingredients in a way that has delivered remarkable efficacy against all known pathogens, including SARS-Cov-2. It has been estimated that a 10% reduction in infections and superbugs in hospitals would save the NHS £1bn annually. GermErase can kill and protect against all known infections and superbugs and is available to use throughout healthcare facilities immediately. Matthew Higdon, Chairman of GermErase, comments, “Our intention is for GermErase to become the first line of defence against infection for hospitals, businesses and families across the country. This product will allow us to get our freedom back and live with peace of mind that we are protected against pathogens like Coronavirus. Our ambition is for this British breakthrough to represent a landmark moment in the fightback against COVID-19, infections and superbugs.” GermErase is the new British brand at the frontline of protection the fightback against coronavirus, infections and superbugs. It provides a new multi-surface protector proven to kill the virus that causes COVID-19 within 30 seconds and provides protection for 48 hours. Clinically proven to be more effective than alcohol gel or existing disinfectant, GermErase products are the breakthrough Britain needs to get back to work, turn the tide against the Coronavirus in healthcare and save the NHS billions of pounds handling infections and superbugs. GermErase is available from Dennis Rawlins Ltd at www.rawlins.co.uk/brands/germerase.html
Regular Cleaning Plays a Vital Role In Limiting the Transmission of Covid-19 In 2020, TCFM completed over 500 nationwide Covid-19 decontamination and electrostatic sprays, in 4-hour response times National Coverage Over the last six months we have completed specialist Covid-19 cleans across a dynamic, nationwide portfolio of sites for clients in a variety of industries, ranging from retail, distribution to corporate. All calls for our Covid-19 cleaning solution have been attended to within 24 hours. Our electrostatic sprays kill Coronavirus on contact and offer up to 4 weeks protection from pathogens, providing you with: • A safe working environment • Employees which feel valued
• Credibility with your clients • Peace of mind TCFM is proactively working with a diverse portfolio of national customers to keep their sites safe including: Tesco, Yodel, Makro, RS Components, Travis Perkins, Wincanton and many others across a range of industries including distribution, retail, telecommunications and finance. TCFM’s national coverage is key to responding promptly to calls for the Covid-19 decontamination solution, which mitigates disruption to BAU at even their most remote sites. See the advert below for further details.
In 2020, TC Facilities Management (TCFM) completed over 500 nationwide Covid-19 decontamination and electrostatic sprays, in 4-hour response times. As we enter Lockdown 3.0, TCFM is continuing to keep their customers’ sites safe across the UK with their Covid-19 decontamination solution. The electrostatic spraying technology that TCFM offers provides 360° coverage to the premises, in contrast to traditional fogging methods which only protect surfaces. Environmentally f riendly, human and food-safe chemicals kill Coronavirus on con-tact, offering up to 4 weeks’ protection f rom pathogens. This solution provides TCFM’s customers with: A safe working environment;
Credibility with their clients;
Employees who feel valued;
Peace of mind.
Working tto Working o Minimise Disruption A Across cross a National Portfolio P ortffolio TCFM is proactively working with a diverse portfolio of national customers to keep their sites safe including: Tesco, Yodel, Makro, RS range of industries including distribution, retail, telecommunications and finance. TCFM’s national coverage is key to responding promptly to calls for the Covid-19 decontamination solution, which mitigates disruption to BAU at even their most remote sites.
Ho How wT TCFM CFM C Can an Suppor Supportt You You Thr Through ough Th The e Developing Developing C Covid-19 ovid-19 Cr Crisis isis TCFM is committed to supporting customers across the country to safeguard sites against Coronavirus as the situation continues to develop. To ensure they can deliver a solution tailored to the requirements of your premises, TCFM offers a f ree site visit and quote for their Covid-19 decontamination solu-tion and a certificate on completion. As many of your colleagues will be site-based, this will give them the peace of mind that you are committed to safeguarding their health and safety. This identifies TCFM as a trusted partner in the fight against Coronavirus. Haris Niksic, TCFM’s Head of Specialist Services, comments: “Our specialist service colleagues wor work extremely hard to prevent disruption d to y your our business while saffeguarding a saffe ew wor orking environment ffor or your colleagues and customers.”
To book your free site assessment & Covid-19 quote please visit: https://tcfm.online/return-to-work-safely-with-covid19-decontamination-cleans/ or contact Nicola Heywood directly on: 07920 539 265
PAGE 32 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Angloplas Dispensers Help Reduce the Risk of Cross Infection Angloplas are a UK manufacturer who specialise in producing dispensers for the health and hygiene industry. Although these are designed to keep the workplace tidy and uncluttered they are, more importantly, built knowing the control of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) are a priority for healthcare providers, and who are employing a combination of infection prevention and control strategies, including hand hygiene, cleaning, training and the adoption of new technologies, to tackle the problem. As a result, a wide range of infection control products and technologies are emerging on the market, including antimicrobial technology. Angloplas’ range of dispensers are produced in the world’s first proven Antimicrobial PVC with silver ion technology and which is
exclusive to Angloplas. This helps reduce the risk of cross infection by stopping the growth of bacteria and mould and works continuously for the lifetime of the product, reducing levels of bacteria such as MRSA, E Coli, Legionella, Salmonella and mould by up to 99.99%. For non-clinical environments Angloplas has recently launched its new Budget Range of products which are made to the same exacting standards as the antimicrobial protected ones but with lower price tags. You can order Angloplas products directly from its website by going to www.angloplas.co.uk and clicking Hospital, Health and Hygiene or by using the Quick Response code.
Safe Infection Control Solution Gives Day Centre Residents Increased Reassurance Award-winning First City Nursing, provider of nursing care that is rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, was swift to develop a robust Covid-prevention protocol prior to re-opening its day-centres following the first lockdown of the current pandemic. Central to this protocol is MicroSafe® disinfectant, a new arrival in the UK, making First City Nursing one of the pioneers to adopt this 100% toxin-free, highly effective disinfectant and one that sets the gold standard in safe sanitisation. Covid-19 has forced us to look at infection control in a new way; none more so than in the care home and day-centre setting. There is mounting concern that many commonly used disinfectants may not be up to the job of dealing with a pandemic; contact time may be too long, efficacy questionable with often a moderate pathogen control and many include chemicals that could be harmful to health and the environment, especially when used with the frequency required to prevent spread of the virus. The vaccination programme has brought down levels of the virus substantially and in turn a reduction in cases; but with the opening of care homes to one visitor per resident from the 8th March, there is still a risk that residents could be exposed to a new variant which may be resistant to vaccines. Following the first lockdown, First City Nursing needed a disinfectant
that was effective, safe and easy to use around elderly and vulnerable residents in their care, particularly in day-centres where they gather for meals and socialising. It also needed to be kind to the environment and able to be stored safely. The day-centre environment, with a number of residents coming and going, could be a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria as well as contributing to the spread of Covid-19, therefore infection management is a top priority for First City Nursing. “The day-centres are essential to the residents’ mental as well as physical well-being and it is important that they feel safe, especially within the current climate. We are careful to disinfect everything that is touched by staff and residents right down to their bingo chips, cutlery and handrails so we have a handy spray for intermittent treatment between fumigation sessions before and after new groups enter the centres. It is super easy and time saving; we simply spray and leave it to dry naturally within about a minute. We will be relying on MicroSafe to help us reopen the day centres as soon as possible post lockdown” says Kerry Harris, Community Living Manager. MicroSafe is 99.9999% (Log 6) effective in killing viruses, bacteria and other pathogens within a contact time of 30 seconds, and has a proven track record of combatting epidemics around the world (MERS, SARS,
Ebola) as well SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in Australia and the Middle East. Purazine introduced MicroSafe to the UK in 2020 in direct response to the pandemic. The result of 20 years’ research, the patented and internationally approved Microcyn® technology that makes MicroSafe so unique, uses an electrochemical process to produce Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) similar to the natural HOCl produced by the human immune system to fight pathogens. This process results in a pH balanced disinfectant, that is free of harmful chemicals. MicroSafe can be ‘fogged’ as a fine mist to ensure that no surface is left un-sanitised. Historically, HOCl disinfectants’ shelf life was very limited but uniquely, MicroSafe remains shelf-stable for two years, needing no special storage, handling or disposal and is kind to the environment. Dr Hugh Martin, recent former Head of Agricultural Science at RAU and consultant with HOCl Trust said: “With this level of efficacy, contact time, shelf life and being non-corrosive, MicroSafe sets the gold standard in disinfectants making it ideal for use in clinical and care home settings as well as for general disinfection application.” Dr David Cox of Purazine who distributes MicroSafe in the UK says; “It is clear, with new variants still being discovered, that we are going to have to learn to co-exist with Covid-19 and other viruses in the future but it is vital that our solution to the virus does not cause additional problems. Increasingly, care homes are using MicroSafe as they have embraced the importance of putting measures in place to prevent Covid-19 that are free of harmful chemicals, efficient and easy to use, and most importantly limit the interruption in the vital care they provide for their residents.”
To book your Covid prevention protocol consultation please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 03300 880660 or visit www.purazine.co.uk
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 33
HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL React-Air Pathogen Neutralisers
React-Air pathogen neutralisers have helped to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff in Britain’s care homes since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain. Designed for use in virtually any indoor environment, the React-Air range utilises the power of UVC, HEPA 13 and activated carbon filtration to clean air and surfaces, killing viruses such as Covid-19, norovirus, flu and the common cold. Manufactured in the UK it is the only system of its kind and has already been successfully utilised in the fight against coronavirus in many care homes across the country. There are 4 products in the React-Air range including
the React-Air X - a portable air sanitiser designed for use in hospital and care environments. Using a unique UV-C light array, powerful fans drive the airflow through the decontamination chamber, neutralising bacteria, viruses, pollen and odours, delivering clean and sterile air to a room. It can be used whilst people remain in the room and generates no harmful gasses, and at a fraction of the price of leading portable ozone generators. When used in conjunction with normal cleaning techniques, it is highly effective in the fight against bacteria and viruses. Deborah Blick of Parmenter Care said, “We realised it was a way of keeping our rrsidents, staff and visitors safe, primarily during the pandemic but going forward when this does pass. It won't just be Covid it can deal with, but other pathogens - flu, norovirus and many others.” For further information, see the advert on this page or contact the Reaction Group Limited: www.reaction-grp.com or Tel: 0203 885 2299
Haigh Engineering Resident and patient waste is a day to day practical matter that simply cannot become a problem for frontline carers and nursing staff. With the raised awareness of cross infection risks, the proven reliable waste disposal systems from Haigh are recognised more than ever as being a key part of the toolkit for ensuring that human waste is effectively and efficiently removed as a source of risk, day in day out, without the risks and complications of either washing pots or manual bagging waste for collection. The team from Haigh have been working hard to support this beyond just the manufacture of the
Incomaster and Quattro waste disposers here in the UK, but also developing innovative and safe methods to enhance the servicing provisions that are available to customers. The recently launched allinclusive rental proposition has proven particularly effective and popular with new and existing customers alike, not least as it reduces the operational, maintenance and financing headaches from sites which have more critical matters to address. For more information about incontinence and bedpan waste disposal please feel free to contact the Haigh team on 01989 763131 or email@example.com
PAGE 34 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
CATERING FOR CARE
By Jane Clarke, Dietician and Founder of Nourish Drinks (www.nourishbyjaneclarke.com)
EATING FOR RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY
As carers, it can seem an uphill challenge to provide the people most in need with the nourishment their body craves. It seems so cruel that when someone is at their weakest and most vulnerable – when recovering from illness, such as Covid-19, recuperating from a fall, or living with a critical health condition like cancer or dementia – getting the nutrients necessary for convalescence is such a challenge. You may find that, rather than sipping the vitamin-rich broth or soup you have provided, the individual you are looking after simply wants to eat a biscuit or piece of cake. It seems counterintuitive, but this is the body’s natural response to perceived threat. When the body is in crisis, or has digestive or other challenges, we instinctively crave the nourishment that is easiest to absorb - and top of the list is sugar. We know how delicious it is but also, because some of it is instantly absorbed through the roof of the mouth, we get an endorphin response soon after eating, which gives us an instant boost. Doctors worry about losing too much weight when we are ill. These shifts are not always down to the disease itself – sometimes medication and the anxiety around your illness can cause you to lose some of your appetite. The problem is that losing weight while we are undergoing treatment can alter our blood work and disrupt our body’s reaction to the drugs and therapies. My advice is not to be scared of giving a little sugar to someone who is convalescing. When a person is struggling to eat, some of the usual rules around healthy eating can be relaxed, or simply don’t apply. In fact,you can harness that energy-endorphin response to sugar to help tempt the appetite and help give the person you are caring for the energy, strength and willpower to move forward and get better.
When we are fighting a virus or infection, coping with cancer treatments or the high metabolic requirements created by tumour cells, or recovering from surgery, our body requires many more calories than usual. Without them, not only do we not have the physical strength to recover, but we run the very real risk of becoming undernourished and increasingly vulnerable to infection. Low-fat, high-fibre and sugar-free foods simply won’t give our body the fuel it needs to help build strength and endurance. Healthy fats give us energy and help the absorption of certain vitamins; too much fibre fills us up and, when the appetite is already poor, prevents us getting essential nourishment; and sugar provides a source of easily absorbed energy. This is why energy dense foods, where only a small quantity will supply a huge amount of much-needed calories and nutrition, come into their own. Fortunately, there are lots of delicious, easy ways to tweak he simple foods to super-charge the nourishment they provide. Don’t be afraid to use fats. They not only provide a great source of calories, but can also make a dish taste far better, which can be just what’s needed when you’re struggling with a jaded appetite. Add the classic butter, cream (single or double), thick, Greek-style, full-fat yoghurt, olive or avocado oil (one of my favourites), or some finely grated hard cheese such as Parmesan to puréed and mashed vegetables. Coconut cream or oil, or a nut butter, are also delicious if you want to use a non-dairy fat. Serve a thick creamy custard, cream or ice cream with easy to eat stewed fruits, and add a soft, melt-in-your-mouth buttery biscuit on the side. Make porridge with all milk (instead of water) and stir in some cream when serving. Top with brown sugar or a drizzle of honey. A small bowl of this classic is a great calorie-intense hit of a morning. Add a good layer of butter or nut butter to toast or crumpets. Not only will make it them taste delicious but they will also be easier to swallow and more enjoyable to eat, and the fat will help to boost the calories. Enrich favourite meals. Add a swirl of cream or yoghurt to a mug of soup, add some grated cheese to mashed potato, add avocado to a salad, or sip a smoothie or milkshake. Take the pressure off eating. Large portions can overwhelm someone who is struggling to eat. Try to ease back on portion size, serve foods in small portions, say in ramekins, so that you are more likely to think, ‘I can eat that’. You can always serve them seconds.
HEALTHY EATING FOR THE OLDER GENERATION
one you are caring for is generally well and has a good appetite, you should encourage them to eat five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day, have a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and the healthy omega 3 fats found in foods like nuts, oily fish and avocado, and opt for fresh, unprocessed ingredients over pre-prepared meals that can be high in sugar, salt and saturated fats. But there are a few key factors that can maintain or even improve wellbeing in our later years, and are vital if we face a health challenge and want to recover well.
TOP UP VITAMIN D Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because we synthesise it in our body when sunlight comes into contact with our skin. Not only does the ability to produce vitamin D this way decrease with age, but people in their later years may spend less time outdoors, exacerbating the problem – especially during the current lockdown and social isolation rules. It can lead to a deficiency in this vital nutrient, which is needed to maintain healthy bones and also has an important role in preventing respiratory infections and improving immune response – important factors in your later years, when you may be at greater risk of chest infections, and which could be crucial if you are infected with Covid-19. Older people are also recommended to take a supplement containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D daily.
GET YOUR VITAMINS Some older people in the UK, especially those living in care homes, have been found to have low intakes of micronutrients – so although they get all the calories they need from their food, it doesn’t necessarily give them the vitamins and minerals they need to stay fit and well. I’m a big believer in ordinary, affordable foods that just happen to be nutritional champions – apples, carrots, beetroot, cabbage and tomatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals and will bring valuable goodness to your diet.
KEEP A FOOD DIARY Weight gain and weight loss can become a problem in the later years. It can be easy to think someone has eaten less than they have, or to miss a meal without noticing. Keeping a food diary for a resident can help you track how often they’re really eating (don’t forget to make a note of snacks). Keep the diary for at least two weeks, then with the information to hand, you can tweak their eating so they feel stronger, fitter and more resilient.
ENJOY MEALTIMES Try to make mealtimes ‘occasions’ to look forward to. Spending time at the table together, chatting with fellow residents and carers, can be the highlight of someone’s day - and we tend to eat better when we feel happy and relaxed.
The general principles of healthy eating apply at any age, so if some-
Texture Modified Foods – Eating For Pleasure and Health
By Mandy Davies, Head of Nutrition & Dietetics at Elior UK (www.elior.co.uk)
Let me tell you about dysphagia Imagine being too scared to eat. Imagine not being able to eat your favourite foods. It’s simply unimaginable for most of us, yet for many care home residents it’s very real. Up to 75% live with dysphagia (swallowing difficulties) leaving them unable to eat everyday foods in an everyday way. Various health events can lead to dysphagia, such as stroke, cancers including head and neck cancer, learning disabilities and progressive neurological disorders. Whilst dysphagia can affect all ages, its occurrence disproportionally affects the ‘older adult’, hence the prevalence in the care home setting. Dysphagia can affect swallowing food or drinks, chewing, sucking, controlling saliva, taking medication, or protecting the airway from choking. Having swallowing difficulties greatly impacts on an individual’s quality of life. People who do not receive a diet that meets their individual needs are vulnerable to malnutrition, dehydration and weight loss, as well as psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Why Texture Modified Foods? – The swallowing process is made
up of 3 stages (oral, pharyngeal and oesophageal). Safe and successful swallowing depends on each stage of the swallowing process being completed and happening at the right time. In a person with dysphagia, any or all the swallowing stages may be delayed. This increases the risk of choking and aspiration, which can be fatal. Altering the consistency of food and liquids (TMF) provides individuals with a better opportunity to swallow food and drink safely. NHS Improvements called for all NHS staff to use clearly categorised food textures, as published by the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). This was enforced internationally from March 2019 to ensure patients of all ages and all cultures, are fed safely and correctly according to their individual needs across all care settings. TMF must be prescribed by a Speech & Language Therapist. The Food: TMF is not just pureed food and it’s certainly more than just mashed potato. It is about modifying the consistency and texture of foods and drinks to safely maintain oral nutrition wherever possible. It is about offering texture modified meals that are consistent in texture using a variety of safe foods. It is about enabling people living with dysphagia to dine with dignity by offering tasty, nutritious and recognisable meals. It is about inclusion. The People: Supporting people living with dysphagia is everyone’s responsibility. It is vital that IDDSI descriptors are used by all health professionals in the UK, and that food is cooked and prepared to the required consistency – with love! Chef’s preparing TMF should undergo robust training and have competencies assessed at regular intervals. Enhanced training, including
piping skills is a must for an integrous approach. Food service is just as important, and the social opportunities should be not be overshadowed by medicalisation. We’re all human and mealtimes should be enjoyed by all. Mandy Davies, Head of Nutrition & Dietetics, joined the Elior UK family last year. Following on from Caterplus’ award for their Dining with Dignity Programme in 2020 she is on a mission to drive inclusivity and promote great food choices for everyone. When she’s not working, you can find her walking, trail running or entertaining friends.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 35
CATERING FOR CARE Chefs’ Favourite Irish Food is Colcannon Finds Lakeland Dairies’ Survey for St Patrick’s Day Lakeland Dairies, a dairy farming co-operative steeped in Irish heritage has partnered with the UK’s leading Chef organisation The Craft Guild of Chefs, to survey their members during their annual Celebrate Green campaign. Celebrate Green incorporates St Patrick’s Day (17th March 2021) and runs for the whole month of March. Its focus is to celebrate the lush green grass of the Co-operative’s 3200 family farms, where Lakeland Dairies’ milk is made from contented cows grazing freely on lush, green pastures of its family farms, located on the beautiful Isle of Ireland. The survey found chefs’ favourite Irish food is Colcannon (25%). A delicious and popular side dish created with a comforting creamy mixture of buttery mash and greens. Colcannon was closely followed by Irish Coffee Cheesecake (20%) and Dublin Bay Prawns (17%). 40% of Chefs surveyed said they will be making a special dinner to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17th March 2021, with an additional 35% saying they normally make a special dinner to celebrate the day but won’t be doing so this year due to Covid. 56% of chefs said it is important (40%), or extremely important (16%) to buy dairy products that come from Northern Ireland (UK), or Ireland. And 97% of chefs said it is important (35%) or extremely important (62%) to them that their dairy products come from farms where cows can graze freely on green grass. Paul Chmielewski, Head of Marketing and International at Lakeland Dairies comments:
“Celebrate Green during the month of March is a fantastic opportunity to embrace our Irish heritage and dairy farming excellence. St Patricks Day is such a popular event throughout the globe, when many households will be creating some of their favourite Irish dishes and food. We were delighted to see Colcannon come out on top!” Lakeland Dairies creates professional dairy products for chefs including a range of creams which have been carefully crafted and treated to have great taste, and to provide a longer life for added convenience in busy kitchens. The survey found chefs top three valuable properties in cream were taste (86%), quality (83%), and performance (64%). With 91% of chefs agreeing that long life creams have excellent properties for professional cooking, with 16% of those ‘strongly agreeing’. The survey also found 70% of chefs use long life cream at work, with 24% of those chefs using them often.
THE CHEFS’ TOP TEN FAVOURITE IRISH FOODS Colcannon Irish Coffee Cheesecake Dublin Bay Prawns Irish Sone and Jam Boxty Pancakes Dublin Coddle and Chump Chocolate & Stout Cake Seafood Chowder Irish Stew Irish Porter Cheese
LAKELAND DAIRIES’ COLCANNON RECIPE Makes 12 portions
Ingredients 100ml Millac Gold Double 1kg Mashed Potato 150g Diced Leeks 200g Shredded Cabbage 100g Lakeland Dairies Butter Sea Salt Milled Black Pepper
Method Melt the butter in a pan and cook with the leeks without colour Add the cabbage and wilt Pour in the cream and then add the potato Add seasoning and serve
Care Home Catering Teams – Do You Need To Be Preparing For Natasha’s Law?
October 2021 will see new legislation, ‘Natasha’s Law’ come into effect, requiring all catering teams to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) on the premises. Tess Warnes BSc RD, from allmanhall (www. allmanhall.co.uk) the independently owned food procurement experts, explains how the new legislation will affect the labelling of foods, and gives advice to catering providers on how to prepare for these changes. Until now only foods which are packaged and are sold off-site (such as in a supermarket) have to label the ingredients. ‘Natasha’s Law’ is the first new legislation around allergen management passed in the House of commons since the introduction of the EU Food Information for
Consumers Regulation in 2014. ‘Natasha’s Law’ followed the tragic death of the teenager, Natasha Ednan-Laperou, who suffered a fatal anaphylaxis reaction as a result of eating a sandwich containing sesame seeds bought from Pret a Manger. Her parents subsequently fought for a change in the law to tighten up allergen management. With as many as 20% of the population experiencing an adverse reaction to one of the 14 allergens, the new law will require foodservice providers and catering teams to provide full ingredient labelling on foods that are prepared and packed on the same premises from which they are sold or offered, so protecting those with food allergies and giving consumers greater confidence in the food they eat. According to Tess, “With the law coming into force from October 2021, now is the time to plan and get ready to ensure the necessary training, processes, technology and support are in place. Firstly, it is important to understand which businesses and types of food will be affected, and whether - or how - the new legislation will affect you.” Now is the time to understand the intricacies surrounding PPDS and the solutions available to you, should you need them.
WHAT DOES FULL LABELLING INVOLVE? According to the new rules, PPDS food will have to have the following information clearly displayed on the packaging or a label attached: • The name of the food • An ingredients list including allergenic ingredients. The allergenic ingredients within the food must be emphasised every time they appear in the ingredients list (in the same way as labels on pre-packed foods). For example, the allergens in the food can be listed in bold, in capital letters, in contrasting colours or underlined.
Made For You Softer Foods For Dysphagia Made For You Softer Foods is a softer foods range of frozen ready meals. We offer a wide range of dishes, that are beautifully shaped and made with quality ingredients to provide a nutritious and satisfying meal, suitable for people who experience chewing or swallowing difficulties known as dysphagia. The Made For You range includes 80 dishes to choose from including chicken, beef, lamb, fish and vegetarian recipes. We also offer a tasty selection of lighter bites, desserts, and breakfast
options as well as mini meals for those with smaller appetites. All our meals have been prepared in line with the IDDSI Framework. • Delicious softer foods frozen ready meals • 80 dishes to choose from • IDDSI compliant • Suitable for a Level 4 Puréed, Level 5 Minced & Moist, Level 6 Soft & Bite-Sized diet. • No contracts – secure online or telephone ordering process • Clear and easy to use cooking instructions on every sleeve To find out more about Made For You and our softer foods range at www.itsmadeforyou.co.uk
HOW CATERING TEAMS CAN PREPARE FOR NATASHA’S LAW: The new law will mean that all caterers need to consider how to label any foods packaged on site to ensure the information is accurate. Now would be a good time to start thinking about what products would fall into the PPDS category and start to consider if any changes to process or any training or tech support will be required, so that you can be ready in advance of 1 October 2021. Foodservice and catering operations will need to consider how labelling would be done in the most accurate but time effective way, and the implications of labelling specific allergens in situations where there is any risk of cross-contamination, such as in the ‘May Contain’ statements on labels. Current law requires businesses to manage cross-contamination risks effectively but recognises that where risk cannot be removed it is acceptable to communicate this to consumers. A compliance and allergen audit may also be a consideration, once catering operations re-open. “As a leading independent food procurement provider, allmanhall offers foodservice consultancy to all our clients“ explains Tess. “We are able to provide advice and resources to support a range of operational and regulatory compliance issues, including Natasha’s Law. As part of our fully managed procurement solution, we give access to platforms and tech integrations that will facilitate labelling requirements. As one of allmanhall’s (www. allmanhall.co.uk) Registered Dietitians, I provide clients with expert advice on allergen considerations, with any necessary training and the provision of guides and materials.”
PAGE 26 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 37
CATERING FOR CARE
Facing the Challenges of Catering for Care Article by Sophie Murray on behalf of the National Association of Care Catering (www.thenacc.co.uk) be especially significant for a person who has dementia and who may, at a glance, appear to be able to pick up a knife and fork and feed themselves. However, on closer inspection, little food may be reaching their mouth and they could need handover-hand support and gentle ongoing prompting by a member of the care team eating a meal with them. There have been in the past some less dignified functional dining aids but there are now many more on the market that enable a person to remain independent with dignity. the outcomes that can be achieved. The dining rooms and dining room teams will influence Our regulator requirement is centred around providing for front-of-house delivery and the experience enjoyed (or not) the nutritional needs of all residents, whilst ensuring choice. by residents. My biggest tip is to eat with a resident to know Food allergies, choking risk, religious or culturally influenced their needs and create an efficient hospitality style delivery. diets, special diets or any other therapeutic diet also need to The teams, whether from care or catering, need to have idenbe catered for. But our specialised service does not stop at tified roles at mealtimes. For example, they could be waiters delivering great food in a great environment. It relies on personalised knowledge of the individual receiving care. This is a to designated tables or servers trained to serve attractive complex area and, in my view, it requires participation by care food with the right implements. Washing up should not take teams in the dining experience to support those that have dif- place during service in front of the customer, and ‘back-officulty in eating a full meal. Sometimes, time taken to eat can house’ activities must not compromise the resource needed for resident support. be an indicator of difficulties with food consumption. The dining environment should also be as encouraging as Quality care relies on the skills of team members to assess people’s needs and be aware of their changing needs. This can possible, resembling the comfort of somebody’s home. Catering is a skill. Caring is a skill. Care catering is a doubly skilled combination requiring expertise and application from both areas. It is also doubly rewarding when you see
Carefully chosen curtains, chairs and furniture that perfectly balance this comfort functionality is important. Music and lighting, again, can be homely. For some people, finger foods are appropriate whilst others require increased support to eat the foods they like. In summary, establishments need to know what ‘good’ looks like and create systems, policies, procedures and working practices that align to catering in care excellence. Sometimes, for team members who have not experienced this excellence, taking them to different environments, such as restaurants that capture the vision, can be very beneficial. Whilst this is not a practical option in the current situation, we can use online restaurant tours, and educating and involving team members in the taste testing of food too. Dignity never needs to be compromised when catering in care. The skill of careful assessment to attribute the correct care levels can be the difference between good and poor care. This should be included in any procedure around care. In the same way that a service may have a food charter, it may also have dining and care standards, focusing on the environment as one specific area and the personalised support as another.
Radnor to Launch First Vitamin D Spring Water Drink in Tetra Pak Packages Wales’ leading family owned branded soft drinks company is launching a new product to help customers to get their daily vitamin D dose. Radnor Vits, which will launch on March 1st, is the first vitamin D flavoured spring water in Tetra Pak® packages. Designed to be straw-free, you can drink it straight from the pack. Public Health England and NICE advise that 10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed every day for healthy bones and muscles. Everyone is advised to take a vitamin D supplement between October and March, when the sun is too low in the sky for our bodies to naturally make vitamin D from sunlight. Vits is a low-calorie sugar-free drink which is also suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans. It comes in two flavours: Lemon & Lime and Apple & Raspberry. Radnor is targeting listings in supermarkets and health stores as well as care homes and hospitals. Vits is also available to buy as a three-pack from Radnor’s own online shop and also from Amazon.
Radnor Vits’ benefits include: Vitamin D – Contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function, cell division, teeth and bones. Copper - Contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissues. Folic Acid - Helps make healthy red blood cells Selenium - Contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, nails, immune system, and thyroid function. Zinc – Contributes to metabolism, brain function and normal. William Watkins, Owner and Managing Director of Radnor, said: “When we heard that 20 per cent of the British population is deficient in vitamin D, and that this is a growing problem thanks to Lockdown and people staying indoors, we decided to create a new daily drink to help tackle the problem. “Radnor Vits is the first functional drink of its kind in Tetra Pak® packages and, as well as providing your daily dose of vitamin D, it also contains other vital vitamins and minerals to help support a balanced diet. “Our new drink, designed as your once-a-day vitamin and minerals boost, increases your daily intake of vitamin D and other recommended vitamins and minerals up to 200%.” Over the past 12 months, there have been reports about vitamin D potentially reducing the risk of coronavirus and the Government is keeping a close eye on the results of trials currently underway. Trade samples are available on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Radnor’s online shop https://www.radnorhills.co.uk/shop/ Radnor’s Amazon shop https://www.amazon.co.uk/Radnor-Hills/s?k=Radnor+Hills
Planning Your Catering Budgets with allmanhall Alain Bremond-Torrent mused, “Sardines or not sardines, that is the question.” Or indeed, some salmon, but what should it all cost? In the face of unprecedented and extraordinary cost pressures, planning your budgets for the coming year is challenging. allmanhall (www.allmanhall.co.uk) can help. Covid-19 has brought enormous pressure, with operational compliance costs and additional PPE taking their toll. Then there is Brexit – although a trade agreement has been struck, food costs are rising. All exacerbated by escalating business rates. Food and catering related costs are a significant element of any care home or group’s budget. Scrutiny of key areas will enable planning and ensure good due diligence. You may not have benchmarked your suppliers’ pricing for months if not years. How do your suppliers compare? Recipes should be accurately costed and areas for greater efficiencies and savings identified.
These unprecedented times present an opportunity - now may be the time to challenge long established ‘norms’, rethinking and reviewing your budgets for the better. Contact independent food procurement specialists, allmanhall to arrange your free of charge benchmark via www.allmanhall.co.uk See the advert on the facing page for details.
DISCOVER THE NEW MATCHING TOOL THAT WILL SHOW YOU WHICH BOUILLON IS BEST FOR YOUR NEEDS When it comes to creating great dishes for residents living in care settings, a quality base is key. With a good bouillon or stock at the base, chefs can transform everyday favourites into rich, flavoursome dishes. Knorr® Professional is the UK’s number one brand for bouillons in foodservice*. They’re passionate about providing chefs in the care sector with the building blocks to creating dishes which make mealtimes memorable. They believe that, when it comes to choosing a bouillon, getting the right format for your needs is fundamental. Their range includes Powders, Jellies, Cubes and Pastes – which are also available in a Rich and Roast formats for an even stronger flavour. But how you use each of these formats will depend on a number of factors. If you’re not sure which bouillon is right for your menu, then why not try Knorr® Professional’s new online matching tool. By answering just a few simple questions, the tool will help you discover the right bouillon for you in less than a minute.
Visit ufs.com/knorrprofessional to find out more
*Aggregated UK wholesaler value sales 52 w/e 21st August 2020
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 41
Laundry is Critical as Covid-19 Survives on Healthcare Uniforms for Up To 3 Days As reported below, scientists at the De Montford University have been conducting an in-depth study of viruses with similar structures and survival patterns to Covid-19. The research was led by a team of microbiologist and virologist experts who monitored the stability of virus traces over 72 hours and evaluated different infection control methods. The results strongly reinforce the need for all healthcare workers’ uniforms to be washed on-site and using appropriate commercial or industrial washing machines. The University discovered that the virus can survive on polyester for 72 hours, on cotton for 24 hour and on poly-cotton for 6 hours. The scientists contaminated various textiles with virus traces and analysed different wash methods, using varying temperatures with both domestic and commercial/ industrial laundry machines. The results demonstrated that domestic machines did not fully remove the virus from contaminated textiles and that the water dilution and agitation was insufficient as a means of infection control. Their findings concluded that it necessitated detergent and a temperature of at least 67C for the virus to be efficiently killed. Encouragingly, the research showed that the virus did not transmit to other items within the wash load. However, traces can transfer from uniforms to other surfaces and consequently it is crucial that uniforms do not leave the healthcare environment
and are processed in laundry machines that will reach the requisite high temperatures to ensure that there is no onward transmission. Dr Laird, Microbiologist and Head of Infectious Disease Research Group, is quoted on the University’s website as saying, Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk of transmission of the virus. If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could be leaving traces of virus on other surfaces. Forbes Professional provides healthcare compliant commercial laundry equipment to the NHS, care homes and private hospitals across the UK. As proud partners of Miele, we offer premium laundry solutions that adhere to WRAS and CQC guidelines whilst enabling both sluice and thermal disinfection. Our commercial washers hold validated temperatures of 71°C for 3 minutes and 83°C for 15 minutes, killing viruses and bacteria in adherence with the most stringent hygiene requirements. With our Complete Care solution, all laundry equipment is supported by our multi award-winning service support, with no repair or replacement bills for the life of the contract. Forbes Professional Telephone 0345 070 2335 email@example.com www.forbespro.co.uk
Infection Control and Laundry Cash’s Labels- “The Name Study Published Behind the Name” In a study looking at how coronavirus behaves on three fabrics commonly used in the healthcare industry, scientists at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have warned tthat traces can remain infectious for up to three days. Led by microbiologist Dr Katie Laird, virologist Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar and postdoctoral researcher Dr Lucy Owen, the research involved adding droplets of a model coronavirus called HCoV-OC43 – which has a very similar structure and survival pattern to that of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19 – to polyester, polycotton and 100% cotton. The results showed that polyester poses the highest risk for transmission of the virus, with infectious virus still present after three days that could transfer to other surfaces. On 100% cotton, the virus lasted for 24 hours, while on polycotton, the virus only survived for six hours. “When the pandemic first started, there was very little understanding of how long coronavirus could survive on textiles,” said Dr Katie Laird, Head of the Infectious Disease Research Group at DMU. “Our findings show that three of the most commonly used textiles in healthcare pose a risk for transmission of the virus. If nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could be leaving traces of the virus on other surfaces.” In response, she advised the government that all healthcare uniforms should be laundered in hospitals to commercial standards or by an industrial laundry. She has since co-published an updated, fully comprehensive literature review which evaluates the risk of textiles in the transmission of disease, highlighting the need to for infection control procedures when handling contaminated healthcare textiles. “After the literature review, the next stage of our work was to evaluate the infection control risk of washing healthcare uniforms contaminated with coronavirus,” she continued. “Once we had determined the survival rate of coronavirus on each of the textiles, we turned our attention to identifying the most reliable wash method for removing the virus.” Using 100% cotton, the most commonly used healthcare textile, the scientists conducted a number of tests using different water temperatures and wash methods, including domestic washing machines, industrial washing machines, on-premise hospital washing machines, and an ozone (a highly reactive gas) wash system. The results showed that the agitation and dilution effect of the water in all of the washing machines tested was enough to remove the virus. However, when the team soiled the textiles with an artificial saliva containing the virus (to mimic the risk of spread from an infected person’s mouth), they found that domestic washing machines did not fully remove the virus and some traces survived. It was only when they added a detergent and increased the water temperature that the virus was completely eliminated. Investigating the tolerance of the virus to heat alone, findings showed that coronavirus was stable in water up to 60°C, but was inactivated at 67°C.
Next, the team looked at the risk of cross contamination, placing clean items of clothing in the same wash as those with traces of the virus. They found all wash systems removed the virus and there was no risk of the other items being contaminated. Dr Laird explained: “While we can see from the research that washing these materials at a high temperature, even in a domestic washing machine, does remove the virus, it does not eliminate the risk of the contaminated clothing leaving traces of coronavirus on other surfaces in the home or car before they are washed. “We now know that the virus can survive for up to 72 hours on some textiles and that it can transfer to other surfaces too. “This research has reinforced my recommendation that all healthcare uniforms should be washed on site at hospitals or at an industrial laundry. These wash methods are regulated and nurses and healthcare workers do not have to worry about potentially taking the virus home.”
With the support of the UK Textiles Trade Association, Dr Laird, Dr Shivkumar and Dr Owen have since shared their findings with industry experts across the UK, USA and Europe. “The response has been very positive,” said Dr Laird. “Textile and laundry associations around the world are now implementing our key messages in their guidance for healthcare laundering, to prevent further transmission of coronavirus.” David Stevens, CEO of Textiles Services Association UK, the trade association for the textile care services industry, said: “Going into a pandemic situation, we had the basic understanding that textiles were not among the top transmission media for coronaviruses. “However, we really had a lack of information about the stability of these viruses in different fabric types and in different wash programmes. This resulted in several misinformation floating around and excessive recommendations for washing. “We have considered in detail the methodologies and research practices used by Dr Laird and her team and find this research to be reliable, repeatable and reproducible. The conclusion of this work completed by DMU reinforces the vital role of contamination controls – whether it is domestic or industrial settings.” To further the research, the team is also working on a project in collaboration with DMU’s Psychology team and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, surveying nurses and healthcare workers about their knowledge and attitudes towards washing their uniforms during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At Cash's, we aim to capture, reinforce and communicate our clients’ brand equity through quality and innovation, from design to distribution. Our product range fully caters for the needs of both small and large retailers and brand owners alike comprising of woven and printed labels, woven badges, care labels, branded and promotional swing tags, garment accessories, packaging and barcoding. Our ground breaking labelling and security technologies are also able to provide an unrivalled level of protection to our customers'
brand by assisting to combat counterfeiting and grey market activity. Our industry leading eCommerce system is designed to reduce cost, improve efficiency and streamline supply chain management and will fully protect the integrity and accuracy of critical business data. The order entry process is very simple meaning suppliers and vendors can spend their valuable time on tasks other than ordering apparel labelling and accessories. See the advert this page for details.
PAGE 42 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
Omnicell's eMAR Solution Helping Care Homes to Manage Their COVID-19 Vaccination Programmes As the COVID-19 vaccination programme is being rolled out across the UK, Omnicell’s eMAR solution has recently been enhanced to help support care homes to manage recording of the medication in terms of timings, dosage as well as the type of vaccination used. As with any other medication, this vaccine needs to be managed and administered safely. New features to the eMAR care home solution have been introduced to ensure that staff can easily record the type of vaccine, when it was administered and whether it was the first or second injection. As with all medication, residents have the right to refuse and should that be the case, the Omnicell eMAR solution also captures this information too. The Omnicell eMAR system automates the entire medication management and administration process for each care home resident, ensuring they receive their right medication at the right time. Now, care home management and staff can have the COVID-19 vaccine status of each resident at the touch of their fingertips as part of the eMAR Reporting Suite. The eMAR system gathers information, provides prompts and accurate instructions for staff and managers in real time at the touch of a button. Each individual medication is identified through a barcode, normally applied in pharmacy, which can then be tracked at all stages from check in at the care home through to administration to a resident. It provides an invaluable medicines history for each patient and includes a simple alert and verification system to minimise the risk of medication errors in the home. Residents in care homes take an average of 7.2 medicines per day. With each additional medicine comes an increased risk of errors in prescription, monitoring, dispensing or administration, adverse drug reactions, impaired medicines adherence which can lead to compromised quality of life for
patients. CQC’s annual state of care report found that safety was the biggest concern with one of the main contributing factors being poor medicines management.1 Recently, Omnicell UK, the market leader in medication and supplies automation, and Nourish Care, a leading electronic care planning provider, came together to provide a new integration that gives care staff greater visibility of a patient’s medication regime as part of their overall care plan. Managing and monitoring resident’s medication regimes effectively can significantly impact the delivery and quality of care. Historically care plan-
ning and medication administration systems have been managed completely separately. This can potentially contribute to failings in support of residents’ care. The new integration means that Omnicell eMAR can now share data related to medication with the Nourish Care system, giving greater insight and driving best practice into the safety and individual care of each resident in the home. Heather Bethune, Care Home Manager at Abbeyfield House Care Home, comments; "The new COVID-19 recording feature has been a huge help for our care home. All of the vaccine information is recorded in one place and it's presented alongside all the medication that we've administered - where it should be, so it's great to have a simple overview of everything that’s medication related. We can record the type of vaccine that resident has been given and the date they were administered it, this allows us to know when the second vaccination is required for each resident. The system allows you to input information retrospectively which is a great help when we have new residents join the home who have already had the vaccine. It's a really simple and easy to use system that is helping us to manage the COVID-19 virus.” Cyrus Hodivala, Medicines Adherence Sales Director at Omnicell UK & Ireland, comments; “Here at Omnicell we are constantly looking at new ways to respond to our clients needs with innovative solutions. And as such, we are pleased to announce the new features and enhancements to our eMAR solution which will help support care homes to manage their COVID-19 vaccination programmes. We anticipate that this will help to drive much needed times efficiencies for staff during this difficult time, as well as ensure patient safety within the care sector.” For further information contact www.omnicell.co.uk/products/emar
ATLAS eMAR - The Only Proven eMar for Care Homes in the UK ATLAS eMAR is the only independently evaluated medication administration system that has been shown to eradicate 21 out of 23 medication error types, save 65 staff hours per month on medication, representing over £1500 savings per month and improve accountability by reducing missing entries by 85%. There are four unique features of ATLAS eMAR: 1. Use of barcode validation to ensure all the rights of medicine administration are checked. This feature eradicates most common medication errors. 2. Automatic two-way link between the pharmacy and care home. This ensures that the pharmacy is aware of therapy changes made at the home and can sort out discrepancies with prescriptions before they become errors. The pharmacy can also see all prescription requests and the actual stock counts of each medicine at the care home. This leads to efficiencies in ordering, booking in and returning of medicines.
3. The data from ATLAS eMAR on medication administrations can now be viewed on most e-care planning platforms through our open API. This means that all aspects of resident care including medications can now be viewed in one place. 4. ATLAS eMAR can now be used on any suitable android device. This means that if you already have an android device for e-care plans, then you can run ATLAS eMAR on it, making it a very cost effective option. ATLAS eMAR has a national network of enabled pharmacies and can work with any pharmacy, as long as they agree to support the care home with the technology. The implementation is detailed and fully supported. Training is via on-line elearning and webinars. Over 95% of care homes who implemented ATLAS eMAR indicated that they would never go back to their traditional medication system. Visit www.atlasemar.com or see the advert on page 44 for further details.
Well Pharmacy Partners with PainChek to Promote Person-Centred Care Well Pharmacy, the UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain, is pleased to announce a partnership with PainChek®, the world’s first AI-powered pain assessment tool to help people who are unable to verbalise if they have pain, such as those living with dementia. Sadly, pain often goes un-detected and under-treated in people with communication difficulties from medical conditions. The Well Care Home Services Team are actively signposting more than 350 care homes across the UK to use PainChek® as an effective solution to help measure pain in residents and promote the highest standards of care in residential homes. This secure medical device is simple and straightforward to use via mobile or tablet. It uses artificial intelligence (facial detection and analysis technology) and smart automation to detect and score pain in real time allowing informed clinical decisions around appropriate and effective pain management to be made. This partnership further highlights how Well Pharmacy are committed to offering a local community service with a real focus on person-centred care, quality and safety. Tandeep Gill, Care Home Business Lead at Well Pharmacy said: “Well Pharmacy is delighted to partner with PainChek®. At Well we strive to offer an outstanding local service to care homes and their residents. PainChek® uses innovative technology to help residents who are not able to communicate for themselves to identify
the presence of pain. “We’re delighted that through this partnership we are able to pass on an exclusive discount to benefit our care homes customers across the UK, so they can help improve the quality of life for their residents and offer person-centred care.” Pete Shergill, PainChek® UK&I Country Director said: “About half of people living with dementia suffer from pain, but they are often unable to verbalise they have pain, and sadly, it goes unmanaged and untreated. “Ensuring residents’ pain is assessed effectively is critical for care home operators, healthcare professionals and carers but it can be challenging. Therefore, we are really pleased that Well Pharmacy is partnering with us to promote and deliver a quick and easy-to-use solution that will allow carers and healthcare professionals to measure pain in residents, document checks and make informed clinical decisions for effective pain management. “By harnessing the power of medtech, care providers can deliver more efficient and effective care, streamline processes, and ultimately cut costs and save time – allowing staff to focus on delivering the highest standard of care.” For more information, about Well Pharmacy’s Care Home Service please visit www.well.co.uk/carehomes For more information about PainChek® email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: https://painchek.com/uk/
PAGE 44 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Antimicrobial Contract Fabrics Adaptawear Iona Nightie: Full Opening-Back Nightie for Added Reassurance Skopos has recently launched a new sub-brand, Skopos Pro-tect Plus, as a marker for all Skopos products offered with an antimicrobial finish. Skopos has been offering antimicrobial fabrics for over 15 years, however the new sub-brand helps to clearly identify this offer to our customers, at a time where extra reassurance within contract interiors has never been more relevant. Within Pro-tect Plus Skopos customers have a choice of fabrics for different end uses; Antimicrobial drapery fabrics, Antimicrobial woven upholstery fabrics, Antimicrobial faux leather and vinyls. The upholstery fabrics offer includes luxury velvet, printed fabrics, vinyls and a large range of
woven collections, mostly waterproof, soil and stain resist, perfect for caring interiors. Many of our drapery and bedding fabrics can be finished with an antimicrobial treatment, so please ask. Choices include print base-cloths, plain and woven designs. All Skopos fabrics are flame retardant and tested to the high standards required for contract interiors. Skopos antimicrobial fabrics have bacteriostatic, viralreducing and anti-fungal properties. Free samples of our fabrics are available online or via our customer services team: email@example.com. www.skoposfabrics.com See the advert on page 5.
CareZips Dignity Trousers ™
CareZips™ preserve dignity and privacy of people receiving care during diaper changes. CareZips™ make diaper changes easier and faster, reducing workload, saving efforts, and saving time! CareZips™ help to deliver better standards of care! Fitted with unique 3-zip fastening system, the CareZips™ make changing of incontinence diapers more dignified and comfortable for the patients and easier and faster for the carers. CareZips™ feature 3 strategically positioned zips, 2 of which run from the waist to the knees on both sides of the body. The 3rd zip goes from the inside of one knee up to the crotch and down to the second knee on the inside of the other leg. This zip facilitates total opening of the trousers at the crotch during diaper changes. The 3-zip system ensures fast and easy access to the abdomen and crotch without having to undress the patients or pull their trousers down. CareZips™ are suitable for men and women. They
are available in 7 sizes for perfect fit. CareZips™ are soft and wrinkle resistant with stretch and give for extra comfort. Practical, durable, washable and noniron, the CareZips™ trousers are the perfect choice for daily use. Contact Win Health Medical Ltd - 01835 864866 www.win-health.com or see the advert on page 5.
Jolly Trolley Brings Therapeutic Activity and Entertainment to Patients That Are Isolating The Jolly Trolley® is an essential for any care establishment as it promotes social interaction between the service users and their carers. This innovative system is fully mobile and battery operated, allowing residents who may be unable to leave their rooms to also be included with ease. The Jolly Trolley® comes complete with its own videos, quizzes, karaoke and other content, but personal music, photos and films can then be added from a USB stick to really bring out the magic! Don’t just take our word for it here are just some testimonials from our very happy Health and Social Care clients:
Chester Park- Megan Allan, Activities “The fact that we can upload what is relevant to the specific Individual is so meaningful for that person and I can assure you we have shed some tears being able to be part of that residents memory journey. It has been an amazing addition to our care home – from staff and residents – thank you.” Pennine NHS Trust - Beech Ward“we have been able to provide therapeutic activity & entertainment with ease to patients that are isolating” To see what the Jolly Trolley® can do for you, call us for a free demonstration on 0800 093 8499. See the advert on page 13.
Write Your Life Story! With Reminiscence Journal Game Imagine you’re playing a board game with your family and carers as you write the story of your life. You can do this Our mission is to help the silver seniors to become more creative in the using use of their imagination. To help them stay focused with their memory activity. To help them interact and avoid the feeling of loneliness and aloneness. To Help the seniors Preserve their stories through Print, video and Online publishing, keep record of their oral history with legacy building for future generations. To continue in making the life of the silver seniors relevant to the society. To help in bring out the hidden skills the Silver seniors may never know or recognize they possess. The Pack includes a 120 paged journal, 40 cardboard game, a timer, two reusable maze games including a water marker. Playing the 40 cards prompts seniors to write in their life journal. includes:, Moviefy 360 Website, 20 pictures flipbook photo album, 10 minute video, Life story flipbook with 4 paged Quiz. Visit https://storytellingforsilverseniors.com or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Call Jean On +44 791 630 6888 today
Ideal for those bed-ridden, struggling with mobility or needing palliative end of life care - the Iona nightie from adaptawear.com has been specifically designed with these people in mind. This unique product comes with a fully opening back, shoulder openings on both sides, and easy poppers, which fasten quickly with limited effort. As the nightgown opens up completely flat, it can be put on from a lying or seated position, ensuring less stress for both the wearer and carer. The open back function with a generous overlap also ensures dignity when toileting and a quick drying cotton fabric is comfortable and practical. As well as the Iona
adapted nightie, Adaptawear have a range of other back opening nighties, including their popular Petal Back range, and also fully front button nightwear. Their men and women's ranges feature a full range of adaptive daywear, including front fastening bras and comfortable cotton underwear; with a customer recently sharing they had ‘regained their independence with such helpful items.’ All items can be found at www.adaptawear.com or call 0800 051 1931 for more info. Don’t forget to use code CR10M at checkout for 10% off your order. See the advert on page 5 for further details.
Care Homes Pilot Diagnostic Telemedicine Developed by GPs video consultation platform allows clinicians and their patients to communicate easily, discuss test results and agree next steps. The Hub reduces the need for clinicians to visit care homes and the need for residents to visit healthcare settings. In addition to improving patient safety, associated costs such as PPE and travel time and mileage are minimised. Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister and MP for Copeland (including Millom), said: “I’m delighted that some care home residents in my constituency will be among the first to benefit from remote diagnostics consultations with their GPs. Tools such as Teki-Hub have the potential not only to reduce infection risk during a pandemic Pathfinders Specialist and Complex Care centre for but also to help deliver care to more patients more physical health needs in Nottinghamshire and quickly and it’s great to see more organisations triKirksanton Care Home in Millom, Cumbria, are the lat- alling these new innovations.” est care homes to trial an innovative telemedicine unit To date Teki-Hub has been used to conduct which allows GPs to complete detailed assessments approximately 180 remote consultations. Initial evaluaon patients remotely – saving time and improving tion by NHS Arden & GEM CSU shows clinicians have patient safety during the coronavirus pandemic. been very satisfied with the quality of the audio and The Teki-Hub telemedicine solution, developed by images, and ease of system use, with an average satpioneering GPs Dr Stephen Katebe and Dr Omobolaji isfaction score of 4.7 out of 5. Over 90% of patients Iji, is already providing a solution to the additional risks who have responded to a post-consultation survey of in-person consultations during the COVID-19 panrated the overall treatment experience as excellent. demic in 18 care homes in England and Scotland,. Initial trials also indicate that use of Teki-Hub can Unlike standard video consultations, the Teki-Hub reduce the need for ambulance callouts and emerunit includes high quality diagnostic equipment, gency hospital admissions. enabling GPs and other clinicians to undertake virtual Dr Stephen Katebe, co-founder of Tekihealth care home rounds, and respond to emergencies Solutions, said: “As GPs ourselves, we fully understand quickly, safely and efficiently. Teki-Hub can use WiFi, the barriers to providing swift and comprehensive care mobile or satellite networks to connect reliably to GP to care home residents – particularly during COVID-19. practices, community services or hospitals, with care With Teki-Hub installed, clinicians can see up to six home staff administering tests as directed by the clini- patients an hour, with no lost time spent travelling, cian. and without the additional risks currently associated The equipment includes a no-touch infrared basal with in-person consultations. We’ve seen a significant thermometer, and set of digital stethoscope, otoscope increase in demand for pilots as NHS organisations and tongue depressor attachments, allowing GPs to look to enhance the quality and safety of care, particconduct thorough assessments of a patient’s respiraularly during the pandemic.” tory, ear nose and throat, and heart health. The in-built Visit www.tekihealth.com or @tekihealth
Why Specify a Yeoman Shield Fire Rated Door Edge Protector? When specifying for a structure, it’s important to be aware of the level of wear and tear a door can be exposed to in a public building. Door edges, in particular, can be easily damaged or worn down by regular use – which can then render them non-compliant for fire safety regulations. To ensure that a project remains compliant, an architect can specify durable door edge protectors to add durability and longevity to doors. Not only will specifying edge protectors increase the longevity of doors, they will enhance the cost efficiency of a project by reducing maintenance demands and the possibility of having to replace unsafe fire doors. Yeoman Shield fire rated Door Edge Protectors are unique with a 2.0 mm Vinylac outer and a specially formulated 9mm PVCu reinforced core. They are FD30 (1/2 hour) and FD60 (1 hour) rated
with intumescent seals that are in accordance to the fire door’s specification. Fire rated Door Edge Protectors are suitable for commercial applications such as residential blocks, schools and hospitals etc. Door Edge Protectors can also be specified with different fire seals, from a plain intumescent fire seal to a brush, fire and smoke variant. Of course, for doors that are non-fire rated in an architect’s project Yeoman Shield also provide quality edge protectors without seals to enhance durability and reduce wear. Source a full range of door protection panels and kick plates from a single supplier by choosing Yeoman Shield. Our door protection panels and kick plates offer the same lasting durability and quality as our door edge protectors. See page 10 or visit www.yeomanshield.com for details.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 45
TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Reliant Care Solutions Ltd WHY SHOULD CARE HOMES MOVE FROM PAPER TO ELECTRONIC TIME SHEETS
The industry is under considerable financial pressures. An efficient electronic booking on/off system that will schedule, provide budgets, calculate hours worked, overtime and absence such as sickness and holiday entitlement will save Time and Money.
HOW IS TIME AND MONEY SAVED BY DOING THINGS ELECTRONICALLY?
Collecting payroll information from paper timesheets can be slow, prone to errors, and very labour intensive. Staff rosters can be produced as far in advance as practical and accurate within budgeted hours. Staff book on and off-duty electronically, thus eliminating any time errors. Wage queries are virtually eliminated and immediate checks can be made without wading through reams of paper which invariably are inaccurate, misfiled or even 'lost".
THERE ARE MANY SYSTEMS ON THE MARKET WHY FACIAL RECOGNITION IS IMPORTANT AND HOW IT WORKS
Some systems use tokens, which can be lost or left at home, requiring management involvement in the booking on/off procedure. Fingerprint systems can be beaten and Social media is awash with ways to copy fingerprints. Face recognition combined with a staff PIN is simple to use and manage using touch screen technology and web cams. Staff see their image displayed immediately when booking on or off and confirms their identity visually. It provides the best deterrent available as it builds a greater 'image knowledge’ of each employee, a picture is worth a thousand words. Eliminates 'buddy punching' where employees can book colleagues on/off duty using someone’s tokens, swipe card or even fingerprint.
HOW IS DATA PROTECTED? With the correct security setup computer systems provide more data protection than paper-based records which can be easily removed or stolen. GDPR covers all data including paper records and therefore the chances of infringing the rules and incurring fines is greater with paper. For further information visit www.rcscare.net or call 03333 444 562.
WristPIT from Pinpoint The WristPIT from Pinpoint,is a bespoke patient call transmitter designed to be worn on the wrist. This wrist-worn personal infrared transmitter (WristPIT) is easily accessible and allows patients to activate a call for even if they are away from their bed or a fixed call-point. Pinpoint’s renowned PIT technology (usually worn by staff for personal safety) has, for the first time, been designed around patient use. The WristPIT can withstand showering and brief submersion in water and also incorporates antimicrobial product protection, reducing the ability for bacteria to grow. According to figures published by the National Reporting and Learning System, around 250,000 incidents where patients required assistance in hospital were reported in 2015/16. In many cases, nursing staff remained unaware that a patient had had a fall for quite some time. Pressing the clearly labelled call button on
the WristPIT notifies the personnel on duty that a patient is requesting help and informs staff exactly where the patient is. The call button is recessed and surrounded by a bump guard to prevent false alarms. Pinpoint Alarm Systems are installed in thousands of medical facilities throughout the UK and USA. The new WristPIT is backward compatible and easily integrated into existing Pinpoint Systems. A green LED indicates the WristPIT is ‘activated’ with good battery level. When the battery requires changing, the LED flashes red until the battery is changed and the device has been retested. In addition to being water-resistant, the WristPIT has been designed to withstand harsh environments and user tampering, meaning suitability for facilities where service users may be at risk of selfharm. For more information: www.pinpointlimited.com or see the advert on this page.
Please Please mention mention THE THE CARER CARER when when responding responding to to advertising. advertising.
PINPOINT WRISTPIT The WristPIT is a wrist worn Personal Infrared Transmitter designed exclusively for patient use. The latest call button is recessed and surrounded by a bump guard to prevent false alarms. It is also backward compatible, allowing seamless integration into existing Pinpoint Systems.
DID YOU KNOW? Biomaster Technology is incorporated into all surface areas of the product during manufacture, inhibiting the growth of contaminating bacteria 24/7 for the lifetime of the product.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 47
TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Imagine a Piece of Equipment for Your Care Home CARE VISION That Can Enhance the Experience of Your Residents Mentally, Physically and Also Emotionally Inspired Inspirations have been working directly with care homes in developing their interactive touch screen activity tables over the last few years, to provide a range of screen sizes and units to suit every care setting. Just think of a giant Android tablet built into a solid oak surround, on a base that houses a large battery to allow you to use it all day long and smooth running wheels for easy movement between rooms in your care home. "This amazing bit of technology is making a huge difference to our residents" Melanie Dawson Manager, The Lawns at Heritage Manor ' The screen is 5mm tempered glass for your residents safety and sealed against fluid ingress meaning a spill of a cup of tea won't ruin your equipment. It also means an easy clean solution to stop cross contamination using any normal surface cleaner.
How to enhance your residents experience Mentally - Brain training apps, memory apps, quizzes, board games, reasoning challenges.
Physically - Exercise for the elderly online classes, hand eye coordination, increased movement to move hands around a large screen. Emotionally- Reminiscence tours on Google Earth, past and present clips on YouTube of hobbies or interests, religious services and Group ZOOM calls to loved ones who cant get to visit in your residents person! "We use it daily and would not be without it now, even the residents find it easy and fun to use. Thank you!" Sandie Evans, Registered Manager, Oakland's Care Home, Crickhowell All tables are made to order, if you'd like to enquire on a price guide and time scales for deliveries, just visit their website www.inspiredinspirations.com or scan the QR code on the right. "We've noticed that quieter residents who didn't interact too much with others have suddenly been more active and more vocal." Lindsey Davies, Home Manager,Cwrt Enfys See the advert on page 10.
Care Control Systems Care Control Systems Ltd is proud to create the UK's best Care Management Software designed for use within all standard, niche and complex care settings. Care Control has been in constant development since 2010 and was made commercially available in 2016. Since then we have expanded across hundreds of providers within the UK and are well recognised as leaders in our field. Care Control is used by over 15,000 care professionals daily across the UK in multiple service types ensuring their services have
live, up-to-date essential information. Located in Tavistock, Devon our expert team is comprised of numerous industry specialists with many years of direct, hands-on care experience. This is one of our key USP’s. Our Managing Director, Matt Luckham started the creation of the original Care Control Software in 2010 with the aim to provide essential, accurate information for Spring House Care House in Devon. Matt had purchased Spring House in 2010. Matt developed the software and then spent 6 years proving its functional-
ity within Spring House. It soon became apparent the software could add real value to other service providers and after numerous requests we decided to commercialise the software. In 2016 Care Control Systems Ltd was founded and since then has gone from strength-tostrength with exponential growth. We now have an exceptional team of more than 20 staff who have over 70 years of direct hands-on care experience between them. On top of this our team of Software Developers are experts in their field and are constantly developing our products to ensure they offer everything our customers expect in what is a particularly complex sector. 2020 has been a record year for Care Control with record numbers of customers choosing us, office expansion, overseas sales and an ever growing team to name just a few things. We are so excited for the future! Visit www.carecontrolsystems.co.uk or see the advert below for further details.
At Care Vision we believe care may never be the same again. Outstanding care truly is at the heart of everything we do, with a clear purpose of Less Admin, More Care. Growing up and working in a family owned care home, Rishi Jawaheer saw at first hand the main needs in the care sector; to cut down on the burden of manual paperwork while maintaining good practice and to encourage people to become more involved in care. Using his experience as a registered manager, with some of the smartest minds in tech, Rishi was driven to create Care Vision, an all in one cloudbased care management, system incorporating all your care and admin into one easy to use system. Presently the care industry has our work cut out to keep in line with statutory and legislative compliance in addition to the essential everyday tasks of looking after our clients. Care Vision acts as a bridge which uses technology that organises care work, ensures a safer, better and more intimate experience for every member of the community, from administration, the carer to family, friends and the people we care for. Care Vision provides An easy to use system for carers, managers, relatives; bringing care and admin into one platform; to manage time, attendance, rota, HR, housekeeping, maintenance and much more An E-mar system, fully compliant with NICE, reducing medication errors and keeping people safe An intuative daily notes section that can be completed at the point of service quickly and accurately A pictorial food order system that allows the individual to choose from a menu even if they forgot what a meal looks like Daily reminders in the form of care routines which reminds staff of key aspects of care for the individual
Care Plans / Risk assessments/ Life stories which allows you to customise care plans to specifically suit the person’s needs. Reminding all about one’s history and who Is important in one’s life A family app that allows families to keep track of their loved one’s wellbeing through videos and pictures, which has been essential during the pandemic. Care Vision gives you the freedom to access it using mobile, tablet, laptop, or pc in real time whilst safely securing and storing data. within the platform. Built flexibly to adapt to services of any size, large or small, Care Vision’s structured, interactive features engage carers in sharing information with the end-user and their family. Registered manager and director of Summerhayes Care says “The carers have taken to Care Vision like a duck to water and the information that we are gathering is streets ahead of the previous system we used we are very impressed. They make it easy to understand and nothing is any trouble. I highly recommend taking a look at this system if you are wanting to meet your quality standards and CQC requirements”.
Nationally our data has shown that working with homes Care Vision can save 2-4 hours every week per carer by reducing tasks that could be better spent with the people we care for. As both carers and developers, we are unique in our focus on developing software that benefits the care sector. This allows us to continually develop and update software for our clients. The Care Vision team would love to talk to you about what the system can do for you, come and join us, we believe the future of Social care is in good hands with “Care vision” Contact us at email@example.com or call 0208 768 9809
PAGE 48 | THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021
NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION Lotus Care Technology The New MPCSA11 from Medpage The NurseAlert pressure mat has been one of the most successful floor pressure mats due to it being non slip and carpeted which makes it feel very natural under a residents foot. Lotus Care Technology Ltd have many other fall saving devices that can give you peace of mind whilst caring for this at risk of falls. Having many years of experience in
fitting and maintaining Nurse Call Systems helps the guys at Lotus Care Technology understand that every home is different and has different needs. They can specify not only the best system for the environmental factors in the home but also take into consideration the best products that will make your carers and nurses jobs that little bit easier. Visit lctuk.com for details.
Medpage is a family ran company, with a huge heart and resources gathered over our 35- year trading history. The majority of the technologies we design, manufacture and distribute originate from enquiries received from healthcare professionals and personal family care observations. Our product portfolio provides a wide variety of care solutions for epilepsy, dementia, senior care, special needs and sensory loss. Our latest innovation, currently in use in several Hospitals, presents an effective fall monitoring, detection and reporting solution. The MPCSA11 is a complex software driven sensor monitor made to be user and operator friendly. This device has already proven successful in hospital and care home trials by reducing patient falls while
also reducing false positives from a safe patient. The device can monitor and interact with up to three sensor products: bed and chair occupancy pressure pads, PIR movement detection sensors and proximity signal products. In use, a patient or resident rising from their bed would be considered a falls risk, but what if they are simply moving to sit in a chair close to their bed? A standard bed monitor would raise an alarm alerting care staff, who would arrive to find the person safely seated. The MPCSA11 would only generate an alarm if the person was out of their bed or chair for a selectable time duration. Learn more www.easylinkuk.co.uk/mpcsa11 Or see the advert on page 2.
Fall Savers - Affordable Fall Monitoring Solutions Fall Savers®, are an experienced market leading healthcare provider of resident safety solutions for over 15 years.
FALL SAVERS ® WIRELESS MONITOR Eliminate all cables with our new generation falls management solutions! Upgrade your falls programme with the latest technology from Fall Savers®. The NEW Fall Savers® Wireless eliminates the cord between the monitor and sensor pad. This results in less work for nursing staff, improved safety for patients and reduced wear and tear on sensor pads. Wireless advantages include the ability to use one monitor with two sensor pads simultaneously and support for many new wireless devices.
Benefits include: Safer for patients; less work for staff Bed and chair pads available One monitor works with two sensor pads Integrates with most nurse call systems A variety of options, including: Call button Pager Floor sensor mat
Wireless door/window exit alerts
TREADNOUGHT ®FLOOR SENSOR PAD The TreadNought® Floor Sensor Pad is built to last with a durable construction that far out lasts the competition. Our antibacterial floor sensor pad is compatible with most nurse call systems or can be used with a portable pager to sound an alert when a person steps on to the sensor pad. Caregivers typically place the sensor pad at the bedside, in a doorway or other locations to monitor persons at risk for falls or wandering. An optional anti-slip mesh reduces the potential for slippage on hard surface floors.
Features include: Connects directly to most nurse call systems High Quality anti-bacterial Floor Sensor Pad Large Size Pad: Measures (L) 91cm x (H) 61cm Options (sold separately): Anti-slip mesh for hard surface floors See the advert on this page for further details.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 49
NURSE CALL AND FALLS PREVENTION
A Digital Future of Care in a Post COVID-19 Era The New Year brings good news and light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with the roll out of vaccination programs, despite this the UK has been forced into stricter lockdown regulations. Health and care sectors are acutely aware of their responsibilities and the importance to look after technology that is fundamental to caring for the vulnerable and their carers. Should systems fail, technology suppliers should provide help and assistance remotely with telephone support and using remote diagnostic tools. At Courtney Thorne we find that most issues are resolved over the phone, where this proves difficult and further checks or reconfiguration is necessary this is done by remotely accessing systems and running diagnostics. 95% of the service inquiries we receive are resolved this way reducing the need to physically attend the site. Inquiries that cannot be rectified remotely will require an engineer to visit. To ensure the safety of residents, staff and the engineers themselves, service providers need to adopt stringent policies with rigorous
clarification processes concluding with written confirmation that there is no COVID-19 on site or where there is, that those suffering are suitably isolated. In the case of Courtney Thorne our process includes asking authorised care home management to fill out a questionnaire prior to our engineer turning up. We also insist that our staff are regularly checked, including logging daily body temperature. Finally equipping field staff with necessary PPE, making sure it is always used and includes a hand washing regime before, during and after any site visit. Courtney Thorne provides our fieldbased engineering staff with overalls, gloves, face masks and plenty of hand sanitiser. By diligently observing these protocols, and despite our staff visiting care homes and hospitals on a daily basis throughout the pandemic, not one of them has developed any COVID-19 symptoms at any time. For further information visit www.nursecallsystems.co.uk or see the advert on this page.
Nurse Call from Edison Telecom We here at Edison Telecom Ltd have been providing specialist solutions to your call system requirements tailor-made to each customers needs for over 25 years, says director Bob Johnson. Is your current Nurse Call “legacy”, obsolete, so full of software bugs or commercially not viable for your current supplier/maintainer to maintain? We may have just the part and
expertise that you are looking for to give your nurse call a further extension to life, adds Bob, “Edison will treat your nurse call with the same compassion that you give to those in your care. There will come a time when your equipment is beyond repair but Edison are experts in extending the life of obsolete systems.” www.edisontelecom.co.uk
IT’S NOT OBSOLETE UNTIL THE OPERA LADY SINGS
EDISON TELECOM LTD (IN BUSINESS SINCE 1984)
have spares, enhancements and expertise for wired and wireless systems abandoned by the original manufacturer, whoever they are.
Call us on 01252-330220 We can give most systems a new lease of life and maintain them into the future.
www.edisontelecom.co.uk Please Please mention mention THE THE CARER CARER when when responding responding to to advertising. advertising.
THE CARER | MAR/APR 2021 | PAGE 51
TRAINING & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Skills, Knowledge, and Skills Gaps in Health and Social Care Confidence Delivered Online By Nicole Bewley, Learning Curve Group (www.lcgonline.co.uk/carermag-skillsguarantee) It has been highlighted in recent years that the skills gaps within health and social care are set to be at an all time high with increasing numbers of vacancies across the sector. Nicole Bewley, Director of Skills at one of the largest providers of health and social care training, Learning Curve Group, explores the true impact that Covid-19 has had on the sector and ways that employers can adapt. I don’t think anyone can argue that the work of those across the health and social care sector has never been more appreciated. As Covid-19 has devastated care staff in many ways, it has also increased solidarity as our care workers across the country faced the crisis head on. For many years, health and social care has been tarnished as low skilled and low paid. Although care workers have not been afraid to show the harsh realities of Covid, with long shifts wearing PPE and losing patients and residents who haven’t seen their families in months, clapping for carers and praise for key workers has arguably glamorised the sector. University applications to study nursing were reported to be at a record high in February, increasing by almost a third. The work that carers have been doing for centuries has been under the microscope for all to see, and whilst the sector is incredibly rewarding, I think it would be wrong to suggest that it isn’t equally hard, both physically and mentally.
The Government launched a recruitment campaign to encourage people to re-skill and join the health and social care sector. Many sectors have been particularly hard hit from the pandemic; hospitality, aviation, travel and tourism, and it’s likely that they’ll take significantly longer to recover as we work through the easing of restrictions. With an aging workforce, and skills gaps left by brexit, if we don’t act now to fill vacancies, the sector is really going to struggle in the next few years. As vacancies are left unfilled and we see an increasing strain on services as people are living longer, Skills for Care have estimated a need for 650,000 to 950,000 new adult social care jobs by 2035. Employers across the sector need to look at how they are going to bridge the gap, and upskilling and reskilling is going to be key. Supporting individuals to transition into the sector would support the recruitment drive, however, a holistic approach to their training to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge for the job is vitally important. The government has announced a range of incentives for employers looking to support their staff with high quality training, and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee could be a lifeline for care providers looking for free training. Aimed at levelling up adults without an existing level three qualification, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee initiative from the government offers funding for a range of health and social care courses to individuals looking to progress their knowledge over and above the already free Level 2 qualifications. This is extremely welcome news from the government, as it means that employers in the care sector can really focus on upskilling any staff who aren’t already qualified to level three, and also recruit new members of staff who might not have any care experience, but want to get into the sector, narrowing skills gaps and providing better overall care. See the advert on the facing page for details.
With COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing and staff/employers looking ahead to a safer and more normal future, the Laser Learning team are proud to have supported both the large numbers of furloughed staff, as well as those in Care Homes and the NHS, who bravely worked on the frontline during the lockdown. Through the Laser Care Certificate course and Skills For Care endorsed CPD short courses, we are continuing to deliver skills, knowledge, and confidence online, to the sector which was undoubtedly affected the most during this pandemic. The Laser Care Certificate course provides knowledge to cover every standard included in the official Skills for Care specification. Every lesson includes bespoke video tutorials specifically for the Care Certificate course, as well as reading materials and good practice examples. Furthermore, a mandatory quiz at the end of each lesson (which requires a 100% pass mark) ensures both competence and confidence. Managers are able to create their own accounts to enrol staff on the course
and track their progress. All of the content is accessible remotely via computer, smartphone or tablet, enabling care professionals to make progress towards the certificate in a way that suits their circumstances. Additionally, Laser delivers CPD short courses to help the ongoing development of skills and expertise of both furloughed staff, who had the silver lining of time on their side, as well as those working through the pandemic amidst concerns of job security. Two courses in particular – ‘Causes and Spread of Infection’ and ‘Infection Control and Prevention’ – were especially popular during this period. Unlimited use subscriptions are available at affordable rates, for organisations wishing to take advantage of a large number of short courses. Whether you are an owner, manager or independent learner, please don't hesitate to get in touch for a free demo of the Care Certificate course platform, and/or the CPD short course offering. The Laser Learning team can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)1753 584 112.
Engage With Your Residents - In-House Practical Training Workshop Scripts Bring About Happy Days Happy Days Dementia Activities & Design has created a new range of engagement training scripts for residential care and dementia homes. The workshops are designed to be presented in-house, saving time and costs. Easy to follow training scripts are practical in nature and help care teams engage with elderly and people living with dementia. Through activity, discussions, role-play and practise with nostalgic materials, carers can feel more equipped to engage and enrich social care. Packages include demonstration materials to use during your workshop. Training Scripts and engagement materials can be created to suit your organisation, care team requirements and resident interests. Ideal for home care services too - Help your carers engage and create meaningful
moments during visits. With Covid19’s restrictions and safety procedures, it makes sense to train your care teams on site. ‘Bringing your care teams together can build carer confidence, boost morale and uplift mood. If a carer feels good, this will reflect on the the person being cared for’ says Gillian Hesketh, MD of Happy Days Dementia Activities & Design. Passionate about helping people living with dementia to live well, Happy Days also supplies nostalgic displays, reminiscence baskets, conversation prompts and more - See The Carer front page or Shop Online: www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk - We accept NHS purchase order numbers and care home accounts. Phone Gillian direct on: 07971-953620 or see the advert on page 1.
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TRAINING & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Government U-Turn - Senior Care Workers Added to Shortage Occupation List By Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors (www.astonbrooke.co.uk) The Social Care Sector has long called for senior care workers among other key roles to be added to the Shortage Occupation List. Aston Brooke Solicitors has worked with Care England to ensure that the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations are adopted by the Government. Initially, the Secretary of State refused to add the role of senior care workers to the shortage occupation list and she was faced with widespread criticism from the sector. This prompted calls from the sector to legal challenge the decision. This recent announcement means that the Government has finally recognised the voice of the sector and this important change builds on the government’s delivery of the new pointsbased immigration system introduced in January 2021. Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said: “Every year we welcome healthcare workers from across the world to our United Kingdom, with many having played a key role on the frontline of the NHS during the recent pandemic. This latest set of changes, combined with our Health and Care Visa, will ensure they can easily get the immigration status they deserve.” Professor Martin Green OBE said: “I am pleased that the Government has acknowledged the challenges of recruiting senior care workers and residential day managers, this is something
Care Home Finance from Global Business Finance Global assists clients throughout the U.K. who specialise in the healthcare sector to achieve their objectives of purchase, development and refinance. We have organised over £1.8bn for clients in the past 30 years, providing clients with competitively priced funding to refinance existing debt, ease cashflow and develop businesses further. From helping clients make their first purchase through to allowing groups to grow significantly in size we assist at every stage of your business expansion. Every proposal is individual and deserves to be treated that way, so we hope you will allow us to be of assistance to you and call us to chat through your plans and requirements, I am sure we will be able to tailor a facility to your requirements. Call us on 01242 227172 or e-mail us at email@example.com
we have long called for with our partner law firm Aston Brooke Solicitors. We hope that this is the start of a process towards the creation of a migration system which supports rather than undermines the development of the adult social care workforce”. Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors welcomed the announcement and said: “The addition of the senior carer position to the shortage occupation list means care providers are now able to recruit suitable candidates outside of the UK on a minimum annual salary of £20,480. Prior to this announcement, the minimum annual salary payable for this role would be £25,600, which is unsustainable in the sector.” As part of the points-based immigration system, people applying to come to the UK through the skilled worker route must reach 70 ‘points’ to be eligible for a work visa. A job on the Shortage Occupation List is worth 20 points. Combined with the mandatory criteria – having an acceptable standard of English, an offer from a licensed sponsor and the required skill level, which are worth 50 points – will ensure people in these roles reach the 70 points necessary. See the advert on page 17 for further details.
Giving Learning and Development the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ Treatment Jane Brightman, social care lead at the Institute of Health and Social Care Management gives some practical advice to help modernise approaches to learning and development. Hands up if you remember the BBC programme Tomorrow’s World? Back in the sixties and seventies it was accurately predicting that we’d all have home computers, mobiles phones and the information superhighway. In one episode in 1989, they told us that in 2020 we would have smart homes. Impressive to be predicting this pace of advancement 30-60 years before it happened. It leads me to think – what could happen if we gave the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ treatment to social care; in particular to learning and development in the sector? It’s an area we have allowed to become stale and outdated whilst the world that has changed so much. I’m really talking about all learning and development for everyone working in social care, but for the purpose of this article, let’s narrow that focus down to leadership and management. Firstly, we should ask why leadership and management development is seen as something important for those in charge only? Everyone, at every level of an organisation, should be supported to be a leader. If we only ever provide management development when people become managers, how on earth can we identify potential and expect people to be able to do a great job from the off? If we really examine the current offering for our social care leaders and managers, it is fairly limited. We also know that many managers struggle to find the time (and sometimes budget) to undertake training and development for themselves. They often feel responsible for ensuring the boxes are ticked for their staff to be trained, leaving little room for their own personal development. I’d go even further and say that many programmes available, for example qualifica-
tions and apprenticeships, are no longer fit for purpose, both being around five years old now. There are big gaps in content – digital and technological skills, entrepreneurial knowledge, confidence to support workforce wellbeing and a better understanding of green and sustainability issues to name a few. Training programmes can also fail to support innovation, creativity, collaboration, and often don’t look outside of the sector or explore the future. It’s time to remedy this and to demand more from learning for our social care leaders and managers, at all levels. And there are actions we can take in social care now: Spend time reviewing your current programme of leadership and management development, be brutally honest, what impact is it really having? Have conversations internally and externally. Talk to other care providers or leaders. Listen to staff teams, the people using your services and their loved ones. Find out what people want from learning and development in 2021 and beyond. Seek out learning opportunities that are different. Talk to training providers, colleges and universities but widen that field too, learning can be found in many places such as webinars, conferences, blogs and podcasts. Identify the things that people need to learn and then search for the solutions. For example, reverse mentoring, where someone in a junior role mentors a colleague more senior to them. This works really well for topics such as using technology or social media. Remember that often the best learning comes when things go wrong. Learning from mistakes (events, incidents, or failures) is incredibly powerful. Consider future skills and development needs. The past year has taught us to be prepared for the unexpected and unprecedented. It’s time to gaze into the future of social care. What do you want it to look like? Resolve to stop repeating training. It’s expensive, time consuming, frustrating and has no impact on practice or confidence. Look for different ways to reinforce or build on learning. Let’s apply the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ lens to social care learning and development and grow our ambition for the sector, its workforce, and the people we support.
Workshops & Webinars: Empowering Social Care with the Tools To Be Outstanding Meaningful Care Matters is a leading care and organisational development group that specialises in helping health and social care providers to access a variety of support services. The group helps to facilitate the creation, reinvigoration and sustainable implementation of person-centred care cultures where people matter, feelings matter, and we are ‘Free to be Me’. Currently, care providers can make use of the group’s range educational and innovative online tools, including:
• Finding ways of balancing infection control and quality of life • Enhancing individual problem solving and communication skills in a safe environment What does the course involve? • Six 60-minute zoom sessions over a six-week period with teams of 8 to 10 participants • Specific resources and tools from Meaningful Care Matters to support learning and outcomes • Wellness and mindfulness support with tools from The Coach Approach
BACK TO PERSON CENTRED CARE – THE IMPORTANCE OF SELFCARE
These webinar sessions offer support materials on 5 key topics unique to each home The weekly group support sessions can accommodate teams of up to ten. A facilitator will oversee the live discussion, exploring the impacts COVID-19 and other lifestyle factors that can result in decreased resilience and compassion fatigue. Based on 5 sessions over 5 weeks, the forums cover ideas, strategies, and support mechanisms for how to achieve a meaningful connection. The group sessions are split into two parts: 1. Connections Matter A 40-minute session where five key challenges unique to each home are reviewed, before looking at how they have impacted the team and how members can make positive changes to improve their well-being. 2. A Practical Approach A 20-minute session where practical implications are explored before looking at how to support the learnings from the aspect of the live webinar. For more information on these online training sessions and other services Meaningful Care Matters provides, please visit www.meaningfulcarematters.com/
This online workshop will focus on the compassion fatigue that has become prevalent with frontline teams in this COVID pandemic. The course is all about person centredness and coming back to the heart and soul of what care culture is about. Achieved through an action learning process, participants can: • Reflect - consider the feelings and emotions as well as the practical implications of operating in a person-centred way • Recharge - look at strategies that will energise and maintain mindfulness and well-being to help support individuals and teams • Regenerate – refresh the passion, vision, and structure of a personcentred approach in a tangible, practical and meaningful way Key outcomes include • Renewing the care team by bringing members together and having space to reflect on the emotional impact of working in the climate of COVID-19 • Building an emotionally intelligent and self-aware leadership team that has the confidence and clarity it needs to support person-centred approaches in challenging times • Establishing resilient and reflective care teams
ACTION LEARNING TO IMPROVE PERSON CENTRED CARE THROUGH MINDFULNESS
Issue #53 of The Carer - The leading independent publication for nursing and residential care homes. Published March 2021.