The Carer #58 January/February 2022

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 2

Editor's Viewpoint

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Products & Services

28-29

Catering for Care

Hygiene & Infection Control 30-31 Laundry Solutions

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Nurse Call & Falls Monitoring 34-37 Technology & Software

38-40

Insurance for Care

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Professional Services

WW WW. W.TTH HEEC CA ARREERRU UKK..C CO OM M W

£1.75 where where sold sold £1.75

JAN/FEB 2022 Issue 19 2022 JANUARY/FEBRUARY

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Issue 58

Famous Faces Urge “Take Up a Career in Care” as Care Home Vacancies Almost Double

A huge campaign is underway urging the public to consider a career in care as celebrities pledge their support for the sector. Reality TV star and campaigner, who recently fronted a BBC show on her fam-

Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) ‘Made with Care’ recruitment campaign. The stars have united to help show a job in adult social care is a career like no other. They have written their own insights into the qualities, rather than qualifi-

ily’s experience of autism, Christine McGuiness, TV presenter and Paralympian

cations, needed to be a care worker and to shine a light on the extraordinary

Ade Adepitan, rapper and star of Dancing on Ice 2021 Lady Leshurr, and author

parts of the job often not included in traditional job adverts.

and influencer Toni Tone have come together to support the Department for

(CONTINUED ON PAGE 3...)


PAGE 2 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

VIEWPOINT Editor

Peter Adams

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

A report from property specialist Christies in this issue (see page 14) makes for rather welcome reading. The report highlights the “great resilience” in the care sector market, both through care providers and the staff, going on to say there is currently a “shortage of stock and strong buyer demand” within the sector. Many operators, the report says, continued with development site acquisitions in 2021, “fulfilling strategic long-term objectives, with investor

appetite increasing”. All this in spite of the severe operational difficulties the sector faces. Which brings me onto my next point; the government is undertaking a recruitment campaign and has called in some “big gun celebrities”, (as set out on our front page), urging people to take up a career in care. The ‘Made with Care’ campaign first was launched in November 2021 to help fill vacancies across the adult social care sector, and now the government has drafted in some celebrities to give the campaign a boost. Currently, as we all know there are more than 105,000 vacancies in the sector, however the campaign highlights that there will be half-amillion extra job opportunities in adult social care expected by 2035. However, staff turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 28.5% in 2020/21, equating to approximately 410,000 people leaving their jobs over the course of the year. According to a Skills for care report: • Those that travel further for work were more likely to leave their role. Average turnover rate for care workers in the independent sector was 7.3 percentage points higher for those that travel more than 20km (32.3%) to work compared to those that travel less than 1km (25.0%). • The sector struggles to retain younger workers. Turnover rates amongst under 20s was 46.9%, compared to 22.4% for those 60 and above. • People leave the sector soon after joining the sector. The average turnover rate for those with less than one year of experience in sector was 43.8%. This decreased to just 21.0% for those with 20 years or more experience. • Turnover rates were higher for those on zero-hours contracts. Those on zero-hours contracts had an average turnover rate of 33.2% compared to 26.7% for those not on zero-hours contracts. The alarming statistic for me is the number of young workers leaving the sector, which is more than twice as many than those aged 60 and above. If those issues are not addressed then the campaign, no matter who fronts it is doomed to fail. On a side note, it’s been of a bumper month for awards, anniversaries, birthdays and special events, so thank you once again for sending them in. It is a pleasure to reproduce these positive stories, and please do keep them coming to editor@thecareruk.com

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THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 3

Famous Faces Urge “Take Up a Career in Care” as Care Home Vacancies Almost Double (CONTINUED FROM FRONT COVER) The campaign follows a report which revealed that more than one in 10 care home staff positions in England were vacant at the end of 2021, according to a report, increasing from 6% to 11.5%. The staff vacancy rate “continued to steadily increase” throughout last year to reach 11.5% at the end of December, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report said. The data is based on responses to the regulator between April 1 to December 31, concerning 8,260 services, around 54% of all residential adult social care services. In the final quarter of 2021, care home staff vacancies were highest in London – 12.5 per cent – and lowest in the north-east and Yorkshire at 9.5 per cent. In a related development, the CQC said its survey on the impact of lockdown measures on the wellbeing of people who use care services has a “stark message” on the challenges faced by health and social care services in England.

IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH Almost three quarters of carers (73 per cent) said lockdown restrictions have had an impact on the mental health of the person they care for, while over half (56 per cent) of carers said lockdown restrictions have had an impact on the dignity and independence of the person they care for. “The recent pressures on services, the emergence of the Omicron variant and the impact this is having on the availability of workforce – a workforce that CQC reported to be exhausted and depleted in our State of Care report in October, continue to impact on the availability and quality of care people receive,” said CQC chief inspector of adult social care Kate Terroni .

“MADE WITH CARE” CAMPAIGN” To help address the growing staffing issues the celebrity backed ‘Made with Care’ campaign was launched in November 2021 to help fill vacancies across the adult social care sector. With more than 105,000 vacancies, and almost half-a-million extra job opportunities in adult social care expected by 2035, the campaign aims to encourage people to apply for exciting and rewarding roles across the country. To support this, the department announced £5.4 billion of additional funding to reform social care over the next three years, including at least £500 million to support training and career development for the workforce. This is on top of £462.5million to support the recruitment

natural qualities, there’s training for everything else. Working in care really does change lives. I have a massive respect for the profession and would encourage anyone looking for a career where they can make a difference to apply.”

“WORKFORCE IN CRISIS

and retention of staff. Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said: “A role in care can provide a truly rewarding and fulfilling career. You need empathy, compassion and patience. For everything else there’s training. You don’t need qualifications to get started and there are many opportunities for professional development. “Those already working in adult social care are doing an amazing job and we need more people to join them. “I would urge anyone who thinks they might have something to offer to consider applying for a rewarding, fulfilling and varied career in adult social care.” Each of the celebrities has a direct, personal connection to care or a particular passion and desire to support the sector. Christine McGuinness recently filmed a documentary following her family as they found out more about autism after their three children received their autism diagnoses, including meeting with adults with autism and their care workers.

WORKING IN CARE “CHANGES LIVES” Christine said: “My three children have all been diagnosed with autism and I received my diagnoses towards the end of last year. As part of my research into autism, I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to remarkable people working in the adult social care sector and seen what an incredible impact they have on individuals’ lives. “All people need to get started in their career in social care is their

Care England and the National Care Forum (NCF) meanwhile urged the government to do more to end the “workforce crisis” in adult social care. “We need to develop some clear skills and competency frameworks, and a set of portable qualifications, so that people can easily move between employers in social care and indeed between the social care and health sectors,” said chief executive Martin Green. “The adult social care workforce needs to be recognised as a profession; care workers are skilled individuals who need commensurate pay and career pathways,” he added. Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the NCF said: “For months now, the National Care Forum has been warning of a staffing crisis in social care as reported by our members. Providers responding to our most recent survey in January 2022 reported evidence of a deteriorating situation, with 18% vacancy rate and a further 14% absence because of the Omicron variant. “This data is backed up by ADASS’s winter contingency survey which has found that 49 local authorities are now rationing the care services they commission or taking a number of other exceptional measures, due to staffing shortages. “This crisis has not been created by Omicron, rather the pandemic has exacerbated pressures caused by chronic underfunding and a lack of workforce planning that were years in the making.

EXTRA £478 MILLION FOR RECRUITMENT A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Care staff are working incredibly hard, and to strengthen the workforce we have provided £462.5 million for recruitment and retention, expanded the Health and Care Visa scheme, and are running our Made with Care recruitment campaign. “We have invested a further £478 million to support safe and timely hospital discharges to get patients into the best place for their care and support to continue.” For more information on the campaign and how to apply for a job in care visit: www.adultsocialcare.co.uk


PAGE 4 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

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

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

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

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

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


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 5

Care Homes On “War Footing” Because of Covid Crisis

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

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

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

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

Big Quiz of the Year. General Manager, Mevin Sohorye, said: “We’ve all

of festivities along with the staff and residents at

had a challenging year so we wanted to ensure the

over seventy Barchester care homes across the

Christmas celebrations for our residents and staff

south of England, Jersey and the Isle of Wight. Upton Bay’s staff and residents pulled out all the

were an extra special treat. ‘Meeting up’ with the other homes virtually has given them all such a

with their party props, to link up with over 2,500 resi-

boost. We’ve all had such fun waving streamers and

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

wearing silly hats, even our Companion Puppy Milo

different fun activities, culminating in the Barchester

couldn’t resist the party poppers!”


PAGE 6 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

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

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

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

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

known tunes such as Nat King Cole’s Let There Be Love and Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.

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

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

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

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


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 7

Over a Third of Care Home Residents Caught Covid-19 in Early Waves of Pandemic More than a third of care home residents and a quarter of care home staff in England showed evidence of infection with SARS-CoV-2 during the first two waves of the pandemic, according to a new study led by UCL researchers. The study, published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, looked at blood samples from nearly 5,000 residents (with a median age of 87) and staff (with a median age of 48) at 201 care homes across England between June 2020 and May 2021. The researchers found that 34.6% of residents and 26.1% of staff tested positive for the nucleocapsid antibody, which indicates prior SARSCoV-2 infection. (This compares to 16% for the general population over a similar period*). The data did not include residents and staff who died of Covid-19, meaning the true prevalence would have been higher. Analysing repeat samples from 619 participants and how they changed over time, the researchers found that the nucleocapsid antibody (antibody specific to the virus’s nucleocapsid protein) became undetectable in half of the population within eight months – that is, in half of the population the test no longer picked up evidence of prior infection. The researchers said this quick waning of detectable levels of the nucleocapsid antibody showed the need to investigate different antibodies that may not become undetectable so quickly in order to accurately assess levels of prior infection in a population. Commonly used commercial tests currently target the nucleocapsid antibody and may

be subject to the same time limitation as the particular test used in the study. Lead author Dr Maria Krutikov (UCL Institute of Health Informatics) said: “Our study shows the prevalence of Covid-19 in care homes was much higher than in the general population in England up until May this year. In the period we looked at, before the Delta variant became dominant in the UK, the proportion of care home residents with evidence of previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 was more than double that of the general population.” Senior author Professor Laura Shallcross (UCL Institute of Health Informatics), leader of the Vivaldi study looking at Covid-19 in care homes, said: “In our study the nucleocapsid-specific antibody disappears within a year and the wide use of tests targeting these antibodies to see if people have had Covid-19 before could underestimate the number of prior infections. “It is important to distinguish immunity caused by infection from immunity generated by a vaccine within a population. Underestimating the number of past infections could affect our estimates of the effectiveness of a vaccine and the level of protection against infection in care homes as both of these are boosted by naturally acquired immunity.” For the study, researchers looked at 9,488 blood samples donated by 1,434 residents and 3,288 staff between 11 June 2020, and 7 May 2021. Individuals donated a maximum of four samples, taken at least

eight weeks apart. To determine how quickly the antibodies waned, researchers looked at blood samples from 239 residents and 380 staff, donated over a period of about five months on average. During this time, antibodies became undetectable in 23% of residents and 35% of staff. Researchers estimated how long it would take for half of the population to become antibody-negative which they found to be 242 days (eight months). The study found that antibodies appeared to last longer among residents than among staff. One theory, not confirmed by the study, is that residents were more likely to have had severe infection, potentially resulting in a longer-lasting antibody response. It is also possible that residents who survive Covid-19 are particularly robust and this is reflected in their immune responses. Professor Shallcross added: “We would like to thank all the care home staff and residents who took part in the research. Being able to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in care homes, among an elderly population often excluded from research, is important in helping us better understand the pandemic and prevent new cases.” The research is part of the ongoing Vivaldi study, launched in June 2020, to investigate SARS-CoV-2 infections in care homes and inform strategies to protect residents. It is funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

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

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

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


PAGE 8 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

Leadership and Staff Retention in the Care Sector

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 9

NHS Backlog Causing Premature Deaths Says New Report A new report indicates that the NHS backlog is causing people to die before their time, with 86% of surveyed clinicians agreeing that some patients are now terminally ill due to either a late diagnosis or treatment delays. The Association of Palliative Medicine (APM) has surveyed members in conjunction with the end of life charity, Marie Curie, to understand the impact the pandemic is having on care for dying people. The APM’s members are doctors and nurses from hospitals, hospices and community-based settings, such as people’s private homes and care homes. Palliative and end of life care is given to people with long-term and terminal illnesses and is focused on supporting people to live as well as possible, with dignity, for the time they have left. Marie Curie is now calling for the Health and Care Bill, which is set to be debated in the House of Lords today, to be amended so local NHS teams are legally required to provide specialist palliative care services across England. Joanne Aitken’s mother died in March 2021, after she was told she had cancer in a number of places in her body. Her mother, Margaret, had been approaching five years in remission but began experiencing pain in September 2020. Despite her medical history and new symptoms, she was unable to get an appointment for assessment. It wasn’t until January,

when her pain became unbearable, that she was offered a scan which revealed the cancer. Just six weeks later, she died. “Given my mam’s health history and the fact she’d started calling the GP repeatedly for pain problems when she hadn’t before, why didn’t somebody notice something was wrong? Why wasn’t something done sooner?” says Joanne. “If my mam had been given the scan when she first told them about her back pains, and if she’d had her chemotherapy when she’d have been well enough to cope with it, she might still have been here for a little bit longer. “But because everything was delayed, by the time they came to give her the chemotherapy I knew she wasn’t well enough to have coped. I just knew. She was too weak. “If they’d looked into her pain sooner, it might have been a completely different story. All this suffering could have been avoided.” In relation to terminal patients paying the price for delays, 71% of survey respondents expressed a view that professionals were missing opportunities to refer patients, and 72% believed professionals were not recognising when patients need specialist palliative care. Almost three quarters (73%) felt there had not been sufficient capacity to deliver specialist palliative in care homes and people’s own homes, and more than half (52%) said capacity had also been lacking in hospitals and hospices. The ability of the sector to care for dying people in future, worryingly, looks set to plummet according to the report. An overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) felt either unconfident or unsure that there will be sufficient capacity to deliver high-quality specialist palliative care in ten years’ time with 57%

saying they were unconfident or very unconfident about this. Ruth Driscoll, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, at Marie Curie says: “This report makes clear that dying patients, whether newly diagnosed or not, are becoming collateral damage in this pandemic. The combination of gaps in palliative care and more people becoming terminally ill due to delays is frightening. Without action to provide proper care and support we can expect to see a generation of people dying in pain and without dignity in the coming years. “As the House of Lords debates issues around the Health and Care Bill today, we implore all parliamentarians to support our amendment to the bill. If passed, we can end the postcode lottery of care for the dying and make sure we are all able to access the vital care we need for our loved ones when the time comes.”

Orchard House Welcomes Fluffy Guests At the Nursing, Dementia and Residential home in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire is family and community. It was this sentiment that gave Denise, resident Amanda’s daughter the idea to organise a special visit from two very charming and fluffy Alpaca’s! The loveably and curious animals which traditional originate from Peru and are known for their beautiful soft fur, were met with cheers, gasps, laughter and even a few surprised faces when they took a guided tour around the home. In fact, resident Norma Caddick who at 102 has seen most

things gasped, “aren’t they just amazing”! Miranda Robinson, Lifestyle Lead, who

helped support Denise in making the special visit possible said, “it was so wonderful to see the joy on each and every resident’s faces when they got to meet the alpacas, feeding them carrots and feeling how soft their fur is. What a memorable experience had by all!” Home Manager Sarah Watson ” I would like to say a massive thank you to Denise for helping to organise this for the home. Staff and residents thoroughly enjoyed it and it was an absolute delight to see the reaction on the residents faces when they met the alpacas. A day to remember!”

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THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 11

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

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

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

Free PPE for Frontline Extended for Another Year The offer of free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline health and social care staff in England has been extended for another year. Supporting frontline workers remains a priority for the government and, following a public consultation, NHS trusts, primary care and adult social care providers will continue to receive COVID-19 PPE free of charge until 31st March 2023 or until infection prevention control (IPC) guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended. This is to ensure staff and their patients are protected. The government is also developing an improved platform for the procurement of PPE that will be quicker and easier to use. Health and social care providers have been invited to test-drive the new platform and help design a service that works best for them. The new and improved features will enable quick ordering options and status updates. Free, centrally-procured PPE relieves the financial burden of PPE procurement done on an individual basis, and also enables access to

quality PPE of a reliable standard. Health Minister Edward Argar said: Throughout the pandemic we have taken swift action to secure the PPE health and social care providers need to ensure staff, patients and residents are protected. We are extending the offer of free PPE to help relieve pressure on the health and care system, working hand in hand with providers to develop a new ordering platform that works best for them. Following customer testing and trial launch, the new PPE portal will be rolled out to all eligible users from April. Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “We are pleased that the Government has listened to Care England in extending the offer of free PPE. The sector is currently contending with a multitude of issues against a backdrop of outbreaks and rising infection levels, so this represents a welcome relief and will provide a real boost for the sector as we learn to live with covid. Most importantly, the continuation of free PPE will continue to help better protect some of society’s most vulnerable.”

The DHSC previously committed to providing free PPE to the sector

until 31 March 2022 and launched a consultation in October 2021 on whether to extend this offer for a further year. Today, the Government’s response to the consultation has been published. Care England’s response to the consultation highlighted that free PPE via a centralised mechanism had been an enormous win for Government and the potential return to a situation similar to March 2020, when there were huge challenges in accessing PPE, would be a retrograde step in the management of the ongoing pandemic. Martin Green continues: “This is a positive step forward in the Government’s response to aiding the sector, but this must be accompanied by further measures, including a comprehensive solution to the ongoing workforce pressures being felt by the sector. The adult social care workforce is our biggest resource and must be recognised and valued as such.”


PAGE 12 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

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

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

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

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

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

HOW WE CAN HELP We have extensive experience of assisting businesses in a wide range of sectors (including the care sector) with sponsor licence applications, visa applications for their employees and with providing general advice on remaining compliant with the UK's immigration system. Please contact our Head of Business Immigration, Shabana Muneer at shabana.muneer@walkermorris.co.uk if you would like to discuss how your business can take advantage of the Government's immigration offering to the care sector, or if you have any other queries regarding UK immigration law.

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

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

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

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

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


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 13

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

the NHS Confederation, said: “Despite doing everything possible and working closely with sister services in social care, NHS organisations cannot simply ask patients, many of them frail and elderly, who are ready to leave hospital to vacate the premises if there is no where appropriate for them to go. “These latest figures which show 6 in 10 patients are having to stay in hospital when they no longer need are very telling. “Health leaders have raised concerns that staff absences across care home and domiciliary services are having a significant impact on the NHS, where patients in hospital beds that don’t need them are waiting to be discharged while poorly patients may have to wait. “The NHS will continue to do everything it can to prioritise patients with the greatest clinical need but without a long term, properly funded strategy to increase the social care workforce, they are worried this situation will worsen.” “The NHS is under such pressure right now that two years into this pandemic the Government has felt it necessary to deploy military personnel to help out once again. Staff sickness and self-isolation levels are sky high, whilst access to testing for NHS staff is still patchy, which is making the situation very difficult.” “The Government must now urgently do more to relieve these extreme problems right now including acting on our six key proposed changes to support the NHS through January, which would have a wider impact on service delivery.” A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Throughout the pandemic we have done everything we can to protect those receiving care with the measures in place based on the latest scientific and expert advice. “A change has been made to outbreak restrictions reducing the period from 28 to 14 days in line with this advice.” He added: “We keep these measures under constant review to ensure

we continue to protect the lives, health and wellbeing of residents and fully recognise the impact of isolation and the importance of companionship on physical and mental wellbeing.” Martin Green, chief executive of Care England welcomed the change in policy, saying: “As the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care, Care England is glad that the government has listened to us and amended the parameters for classifying a Covid outbreak within a care home. “The Omicron virus is affecting over a third of care homes, but there are encouraging signs from the data that the impact of this new variant is not as severe as in the previous waves of the pandemic. “Staffing remains the most critical issue for social care and Care England will continue to push for a very swift response to changing guidance when it is appropriate, and when the data leads us in that direction.” Care homes and hospitals are experiencing crippling staff shortages this winter, amid record numbers of coronavirus cases in the UK. Existing staff shortfalls in the social care sector have been worsened by the Government’s decision to make Covid jabs mandatory for care workers, while the highly infectious Omicron variant has caused unprecedented numbers of staff isolation. Stephen Chandler, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass), said care providers in England had reported staff absences of between 5 and 10 per cent. Mr Chandler said he knew of two councils that had decided to cut the number of visits carers could give to patients living in their own homes. He also said that two national supported living providers, which help people with mental health needs and learning disabilities to live independently, had told him they were not able to support people going out as much.

10,000 Meals from Top City Hotel for Care Home Residents

Residents of 11 care homes across Lincolnshire are being provided with 10,000 luxury meals prepared by chefs at The Lincoln Hotel to support them through the omicron wave. The individuals, who have learning disabilities, autism and complex physical and mental health needs, are supported by family-owned care provider Home From Home Care, which ordered the meals to help reduce the risk of transmission in its homes and ease team members’ workload. The meals have been a welcome treat for the individuals and staff in their care homes, some of which are currently in lockdown to protect

vulnerable individuals. The Lincoln Hotel has been busy cooking and packaging the meals, which are delivered to each care home ready to be reheated and served by Home From Home Care team members each evening. Director of Home From Home Care Hugo de Savary said: “Normally, the individuals we support go out shopping and are involved in preparing their own meals, but the realities of home lockdowns and staff isolation requirements have made this more challenging. To turn a potential negative into a big positive, we’ve decided to treat everyone with a series of delicious meals from the team at The Lincoln Hotel. “Delivered fresh to each of our homes, our team then simply heat up the meals and serve, meaning that even during this current wave of the pandemic, the people we care for can enjoy fine dining with nutritious and delicious meals each day. This is a major undertaking which has had a huge impact on easing the workload for our team while also reducing the risk of Covid transmission. “I’d like to say thank you to The Lincoln Hotel. It’s absolutely fantastic to have two organisations in the same community that are able to help each other, especially in two sectors that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Around 5,000 meals have already been enjoyed by the individuals we support so far and they absolutely love them!” Taking charge of the preparation and delivery of the meals is Nicola

St Fillans Care Home Achieve TikTok Fame!

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

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

Houltby, Deputy General Manager at The Lincoln Hotel, which is located beside Lincoln Cathedral. The hotel has been making the meals while also remaining open to dine-in visitors. Nicola Houltby, Deputy General Manager at The Lincoln Hotel said: “Home From Home Care couldn’t have their Christmas lunch with us as normal due to the need for care homes to be protected during the pandemic, but we then got a call asking whether we would be able to collaborate by providing meals for their homes, and we said yes. “We’ve been doing it for the last three weeks and we’re now preparing meals until the end of January. We’ve done a monthly schedule so it’s been lasagne, chicken curry, chilli con carne; heartwarming meals provided seven days a week, which are quick and easy to warm through. The feedback has been great and it’d be lovely to continue this and help out as much as we can.”


PAGE 14 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE UK CARE MARKET?

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

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

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

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

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

The Year To Tackle Incontinence If like nearly half of the women Ontex surveyed, you or your residents are too embarrassed to even talk to friends about bladder weakness, make 2022 the year you put that behind you and tackle incontinence. In the UK, it is estimated that between three and six million people may have some degree of urinary incontinence , so isn’t it time we all found it a little easier to talk about? Incontinence can have an impact on so many aspects of our health and wellbeing, from diet and exercise to travel plans, but the first step to tackling these issues is to open up about this particular healthcare topic. Alex Shaw, Marketing Manager for Ontex in the UK and Ireland comments, “In today’s modern society where so many topics are openly discussed, it’s astounding that incontinence is still such a taboo subject. Here at Ontex we want to help women to open up about it and share their thoughts and feelings with their friends and medical professionals. She continues, “Here are our five top tips for managing incontinence.”

1. MANAGE YOUR FLUID INTAKE Drinking sufficient fluids each day is essential for maintaining a healthy bladder. If you don’t drink enough your bladder will become overly sensitive. You should try to consume at least 1.5-2 litres (or 6-8 glasses) of fluids each day.

2. AVOID CERTAIN DRINKS It is advisable to avoid certain types of drinks, such as tea, coffee, cola and chocolate, as they contain caffeine

which can irritate the bladder. An irritated bladder becomes overactive, which makes you feel as though you need to empty your bladder when it is not full.

3. EAT HEALTHILY Your diet should be balanced, not too high in fat, with plenty of fibre, and contain at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Healthy eating is also important because being overweight can increase bladder problems.

4. GIVE UP SMOKING There are a number of health risks associated with smoking. A ‘smokers cough’ can place extra pressure on the muscles of the pelvic floor, increasing your chances of experiencing stress incontinence.

5. STAY HYDRATED If you don’t drink enough your bladder will become more sensitive to smaller amounts of urine, which means you will go to the toilet more frequently. Finally remember it is a good idea to notify your GP if you are experiencing bladder weakness for the first time or if you already have bladder weakness and it has become worse. Ontex exclusively specialises in products for continence management, including products for light, advanced, male and junior continence through its range of iD products. The products offer dry zone technology for ultra-fast liquid absorption which keeps liquid locked in the pad as well as anti-leakage protection, fast absorption and odour control. So, don’t let bladder weakness hold you back because you’re definitely not alone. For further information see the advert on page 7 or visit www.ontex.com


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 15

Care Homes Face 30% Surge-Costs Driven by Labour, Supply and Finance costs UK care home operators are set to see costs rise by £165m this year, representing a 30% increase, due to the increased costs of labour, supply and finance according to research by global property adviser Knight Frank. The data from Knight Frank that points to the challenges posed to the sector as costs are driven higher covers the majority of the UK care home sector and surveys operators on their individual performance, including 98,000 beds across 781 towns and cities. This increase in costs for the sector is being driven by rapidly rising agency costs with the increase trending at 12%, combined with insurance and utilities becoming more expensive and challenges with supply chains that are further impacting build costs. This culmination of issues is predicted to result in a lag of new beds throughout 2023 and 2024. The UK is on the brink of a significant demographic shift that will see the over 85 population grow from 1.6 million in 2020 to 3.7 million by 2050. Knight Frank predicts that by 2035 there will be a shortfall of 58,000 beds across the sector whilst the growth in the UK’s elderly population is such that by 2050 an additional 350,000 people will

potentially need an elderly care bed, almost doubling the level of bed demand within 30 years. Furthermore, with 100,000 beds at risk of closure, this projected bed capacity hiatus means that existing operators will benefit from an increase in occupancy as demand is set to outstrip supply. Knight Frank has predicted the adaptations throughout the sector to support the needs of the care home inhabitants of the future, including a rise in dementia and nursing care specialists, the importance of clinical outcomes and KPIs, design adaptation for future Covid-19 events, a growth in technology and telemedicine and larger care home sites to include independent living units. Despite these forthcoming headwinds the sector remains attractive to investors, with ESG positively driving institutional capital into social care and senior living. Additionally, pension funds are reallocating capital away from retail and into defensive sectors with an especial increase of investment into “beds and sheds”. This interest in unsurprising given the sector has proved resilient with yields compressing despite the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit. Julian Evans, Head of Healthcare at Knight Frank, commented: “As

we continue to recover from the pandemic there is a sustained demand for high-quality beds, and increasing attraction from investors and pension funds. However, increased costs and disruptions in the supply chain are posing significant challenges to the development of the much-needed quality new build care homes. We currently face the perfect storm posed by rising costs of labour, supply and finance and if we do not act could risk a crisis in care provision. Urgent action from the government is needed to support this essential sector as it strives to deliver for our ageing population.” Knight Frank projects that the UK elderly care market is at risk of reaching capacity by the end of the decade, requiring as a priority the construction of new, high quality care homes and the renovation of existing stock to meet the needs of elderly residents and ensure the residential elderly care system is ready for the future. It expects that there will be an accelerated closure of tertiary assets and restrained care home development owing to building material inflation costs which will be exacerbated owing to further rising costs due to increased smart specifications necessary for future new build care homes.

New Care Introduces ‘Hugs’ for National Hugging Day Leading development-led care home operator New Care is spreading joy across its dementia communities with the introduction of new HUG companions in time for National Hugging Day on Friday 21 January. New Care is one of the first care home groups in the UK to introduce HUGs; innovative soft comforters that are designed to be cuddled and bring respite to those living with advanced dementia. With weighted limbs and a soft body that contains a simulated beating heart and music player that can be programmed with a playlist of the resident’s favourite tunes, HUGs can reduce anxiety and agitation, improve quality of life and enhance social interaction, providing many benefits for those living with dementia. Chief operating officer at New Care, Cath Fairhurst, commented: “As dementia progresses, people can become more isolated, agitated and anxious, something that has become especially evident over the last couple of years with the uncertainty and changes that the pandemic has thrust upon us. Anything we can do to enhance the exceptional care that our dementia community already enjoys is

important to us so when we learned about the HUGs we knew that we had to bring them to New Care. “Bringing comfort, helping individuals feel secure and loved, we can see first hand the warmth and joy the HUGs provide from the smiles on our residents’ faces. Every day is National Hugging Day with our wonderful new HUGs.” The HUGs have been exceptionally well received by residents at New Care. When the huggable was wrapped around her, resident at Formby Manor, Ann Cain, said “sometimes all you need is a hug to make you feel better,” and resident at The Hamptons, Enid Platt, said it was “love in a hug.” Developed at Cardiff Metropolitan University and tested in hospitals, care homes and domestic settings, HUG is scientifically proven to benefit those living with the advanced stages of dementia and the HUG by LAUGH business is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society to ensure it is widely available for those who need it most.


PAGE 16 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

‘Made With Care” A Halfway House According to Leading National Care Provider By Mike Ranson, commercial director at National Care Group (www.nationalcaregroup.com)

A LEADING national care provider has given its take on a domestic campaign aimed at encouraging more people into a career in care. National Care Group, which looks after the needs of vulnerable adults in the UK, stated that a government focus on skills was 'undoubtedly a good move', but that 'more work needs to be done' to address low pay and diversification in the industry. The comments come after 'Made with Care', a nationwide ad campaign, was recently backed by a number of famous faces, including model Christine McGuinness and Paralympian Ade Adepitan. Running until March, the campaign aims to help fulfil the 105,000 vacancies that remain vacant in the social care sector, exacerbating an already

stretched healthcare industry. Mike Ranson, commercial director at National Care Group said: "This is all about giving someone that comes into the sector, and those already in it, value. "A care worker puts in an incredible effort, sometimes switching from a variety of mindsets and roles, from caregiver to psychologist or financial planner to cook, and so much more. It's hard work so I applaud any focus that is put into identifying skills and recognising value in the social care sector. "But what I, and many others in my position, would really like to see is the core issues of pay and the type of people coming into the sector being addressed. For many, the big question is 'from support worker to what – where do I go?' they can't see past the day-to-day caregiving and the progression that may lay ahead. It's a mentally and physically demanding job and, of course, if there's a pay imbalance against other public sector roles, then undoubtedly there's going to be difficulties attracting a loyal, quality workforce. "Then you have to also consider the impact of Brexit and diversification in the sector. Having colleagues from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and experiences really enriches those we support and their lives. So, you have to question if we've lost something unique, which we had previously when the UK was in the EU." As a 30-year veteran in the health and social sector, Mike serves as the ideal example of the type of messaging the government is aiming to portray in 'Made with Care'. Having entered the industry as a care assistant in a private residential home, he now operates as commercial director of National Care Group,

which helps change the lives of vulnerable adults across the UK. For Mike, focus needs to be on retention of skilled individuals in the industry, as well as an expansion of the messaging, for 'Made with Care' to be a success. He said: "When I came into the industry, it was vastly populated by women, mainly stemming from a perception that the work was largely domestic. However, there are more men in the sector now, it's a healthy balance and the work is so varied. "From board level to support worker, we are all dependent on each other. That's what this campaign needs to recognise – the value of people working in this sector. If you have an appetite for life and you are motivated, you can not only do really well career-wise, but you can change lives – you can have massive impact on an individual's wellbeing and help them achieve what they previously thought was not possible. "I can't claim to have seen every ad, but there certainly needs to be an expansion of the messaging – all ages and backgrounds can make a difference and that's what we need to see." In discussing the proposed £500m to support the training and development for carers over the next three years, Mike added that the sector is yet to see fully 'how the money will filter through' but that 'expectations were as high as they ever were', with an ever-increasing skills gap in the industry. He said: "If this government can deliver a level of respect to what those in the sector do, then that is half the battle won. The rest will be on delivering on pay promises that has long gestated within this industry."

A Royal Reward: Learning and Development Manager at South East Care Group Recognised for Commitment to Nursing in Prestigious QNI Awards A South East care group is celebrating after one of its senior staff members was awarded one of the highest accolades in the profession for her ‘exceptional contribution’ to social care. Marisa Spice, Learning and Development Manager at Nellsar, a family-run group of 13 care homes throughout Kent, Surrey and Essex, has been given the prestigious ‘The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Award for Outstanding Service’ for her contribution to nursing care. The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) Awards recognise those committed to high standards of practice and patient-centred care. The QNI supports innovation and best practice to improve care for patients. Recognised for her high level of commitment to resident care and nursing practice, Marisa received the highly sought-after accolade during a recent online awards ceremony which included a prerecorded speech from the Prince of Wales. Marisa was commended for her commitment to the principles of excellent nursing care to the benefit of Nellsar’s residents, and the ability to demonstrate an outstanding contribution to both residents and the profession over and above the normal call of duty. In addition, she was praised for demonstrating passion and enthusiasm for nursing. Speaking on behalf of the award, Marisa said: “I’m so proud and honoured to receive this incredible accolade. Having worked in social care for over 15 years, my career has provided me with so many

rewarding experiences, and this is something I continue to value now! I have always enjoyed learning more about how to help others and this is for all people; residents, staff, families, health and social care professionals, and also other suppliers and providers I work or network with.” Marisa continued: “I’m passionate about working collaboratively with others. Progress is more likely when like-minded people come together and share their knowledge and experiences. I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful colleagues, who are at the heart of

everything I do. I’m so proud to be a part of a rich and diverse culture of caring individuals, who are determined to develop themselves and improve the quality of life of those in their care.” Marisa’s nursing career began in 1995 and includes substantial time working in Intensive Care before joining social care in Mallorca, Spain. Her nine years abroad saw her employed in various roles including Nurse, Clinical Coordinator and Nursing Home Manager, whilst enabling her to develop her Spanish language skills and obtain her Spanish Nursing Pin. Having enjoyed a variety of roles with Nellsar since 2013, from Registered Nurse to Operations and Compliance Manager, Marisa now specialises in learning and the development of the care group’s staff teams. Over the past four years, Marisa has been involved with a number of Skills for Care developments, including contributing towards the ‘Deployment of qualified registered nursing associates in social care settings guide’ (2021). Outside of work, Marisa has been fostering children for over two years and is currently supporting a 7-year-old boy. She has trained to support children and young people with complex emotional, psychological, and behavioural needs, providing Therapeutically Led Care. Martin Barrett, Managing Director at Nellsar, said: “We are so proud of Marisa, and the dedication and commitment she continuously delivers to those around her. She is a true credit to the team and nurses everywhere.”

Barchester Healthcare Announces New Staff Pay and Benefits Investment Package As part of its ongoing commitment to continually invest in the quality of care for residents and patients by recruiting and retaining the very best staff, Barchester Healthcare is delighted to be adding to its sectorleading staff benefits and rewards by announcing that it is investing an additional £8.1m in its pay and bonus structure. This will mean an annual net increase of 8.6% or an additional £1,950 gross annual pay for carers and home support staff working 42 hours per week, including a loyalty bonus payment of £700. What’s more, Barchester will now pay the NMC PIN for all its nurses on an annual basis. The only healthcare provider in the UK to be awarded 2 star ‘Outstanding’ status as one of the ‘Best Companies to work for’ by its own employees, Barchester is already proud of its sector-leading staff benefits, rewards and pay rates. Building on the great foundations of reward and recognition, in 2020/2021 Barchester paid its staff three additional Covid-related bonuses to thank them for their determination

and hard work during the pandemic. As of April 2021, all Barchester staff have been paid above the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW). For carers and home support staff, Barchester’s new bonus rewards staff retention and loyalty and will be paid to eligible staff in recognition of their commitment over a six month period. All staff who work at Barchester will continue to benefit from a number of other financial incentives such as: enhanced maternity/paternity pay, the Rewarding Excellence Scheme, aligned to its quality first approach, whereby if a care home/hospital achieves a ‘Good’ care rating (or equivalent), every member of the team receives a £100 gift card and for an ‘Outstanding’ rating (or equivalent), it’s a £500 gift card and the Refer a Friend Scheme (worth £250 – £500). These all form part of Barchester’s staff retention programme because from experience they know that longer serving staff deliver better quality of care for residents

as they have built a relationship and trust. Staff retention also enables a high standard of teamwork. Barchester also offers a broad range of career development opportunities through its extensive Learning & Development programme with career pathways in care, nursing and other operational roles mapped out to support staff to fulfil their potential progress through the ranks to more senior roles within the business. Barchester CEO, Dr Pete Calveley, who won four industry awards in 2021 in recognition of his leadership through the pandemic, comments: “The staff in our care homes have been at the frontline in the battle against Covid-19, working relentlessly together to keep our residents and patients safe and well. We are delighted to announce these additional benefits to thank our Barchester teams for their dedication and hard work. We will continue to invest in our staff by providing the best possible training, pay and benefits packages in our sector.”


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 17

Calls to Delay Compulsory Vaccine for Care Workers CARE providers have joined calls for the Government to delay the imposition of its ‘no jab, no job’ policy for their staff as the workforce shortage worsens. There have been calls for a delay to the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination policy for NHS staff because of fears it could create staff shortages. The care provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) says there should be a similar delay for those providing care in people’s home through homecare. They have backed a call from York Central MP Rachael Maskell for the Government to review the policy amidst fears that up to 115,000 NHS and healthcare staff could be sacked due to ‘no jab, no job’. Chair Mike Padgham said: “At the moment homecare workers, like their NHS counterparts, must have their first vaccination by 3 February and be fully vaccinated by 1 April to continue working. “We have heard calls for this to be delayed for NHS staff and support that for homecare workers, where the policy could have a dreadful impact on an already terrible staffing crisis. “We support the vaccine as the best way to protect the community.

But it has to be a personal choice and we cannot have this enforced ‘no jab, no job’ policy decimating staffing levels within the NHS and social care. “We have always opposed that policy and know that it robbed care and nursing homes of staff after it was introduced in them last

November.” The Homecare Association has called on the Government to immediately withdraw the compulsory vaccination of homecare staff. It fears up to 100,000 care workers could be lost because of the mandatory vaccination policy. Mr Padgham has repeated his call for the Government to set up a team of volunteers to support care settings through the current staff shortages. Meanwhile, the ICG is worried that the Government will delay its promised financial boost to NHS and social care. The 1.25% increase from April is to pay for a £36bn fund to help the NHS and social care. “There are voices calling for the increase in National Insurance, earmarked to help NHS and social care, to be delayed and of course we hope that doesn’t happen,” he said. “We argued at the time that the extra funding should be from income tax, which would share the burden more fairly. “As it is, we expect the NHS to eat up the lion’s share of the extra funding, at least initially. If it is delayed any further, it will be devastating for both the NHS and ultimately social care.”

Volunteer Army Needed to Fight Care Staff Crisis Worried care providers have repeated an urgent plea for an army of volunteers to be set up to tackle a growing staff crisis in the sector. The Independent Care Group (ICG) fears the shortage – fuelled by rapidly rising cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant – will leave providers unable to provide care. Its chair, Mike Padgham, has written to the Health Secretary for a second time, appealing to him to tackle the social care staffing crisis. He has called for the Government to set up an emergency arms of volunteers to step in and help in care settings. “I wrote in August and I am writing again now as the situation is becoming desperate,” Mr Padgham said.

HOMES “ON THEIR KNEES” “Every day we are hearing from the operators of nursing and care homes and from homecare providers who cannot operate properly because they are so short of staff. “Before Covid-19 the sector had around 120,000 care staff vacancies. After the upheaval of Brexit, the compulsory ‘no jab, no job’ and escalating cases of Covid-19, we are on our knees and we need help before we have to start rationing care.” In his letter to the Health Secretary Mr Padgham says: ‘Since I previously wrote to you, in August last year, the situation has worsened considerably to the point where care providers are increasingly

unable to provide care for our most vulnerable. I want to repeat my plea to you to consider setting up an emergency task force to step in to avoid situations where care simply stops being delivered. The staffing situation is now at the worst it has been throughout the pandemic and I can only see it getting worse. The rapid spread of the omicron variant means more and more nursing home, care home and homecare staff are contracting Covid19 and having to be off work and self-isolate. This is leaving those care providers chronically short of staff at a time when they most need to be fully staffed. As you know, we need a fully functioning social care sector to ensure that NHS hospital care can function effectively and not be overwhelmed because people cannot be discharged to care settings. At the moment that cannot be guaranteed and I fear the setting up of surge hubs is not a long-term solution as they too will be struggling for staff.

TASK FORCE I repeat my belief that we need the Government to quickly establish a volunteer task force to ease the crisis and ensure we can get through the winter. This would draw upon retired nurses, doctors, and carers, to help

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

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

Meddyg Care Unveils Training Centre as Next Phase of Development Overhaul Completes A Gwynedd care home group has opened the doors to a new training centre as part of bold plans to increase high-quality dementia support within North Wales. Meddyg Care, which has two homes in Criccieth and Porthmadog, has completed work on the dedicated space next door to the company's head office along Bank Place in Porthmadog. The facility, which occupies the former Cambrian News office in the town, has been renovated from the ground up to allow for staff development and specialised courses focused on the care sector. However, it won't just be Meddyg employees which will be able to take advantage of the new building, with the premises also available for other care groups and businesses within the region for use. Organisations utilising the new site will have access to a lecture theatre which will seat 10 under social distancing regulations, an e-learning centre, and a practical exercise simulation room. Learners can examine online educational resources and simulate on-site situations utilising technology such as hoisting machines to help ensure the best manner of practice is undertaken in the home when dealing with residents. Meddyg Care training and development manager Samantha Bowley said: "This investment will ensure Meddyg staff are kept up to the highest possible standard within the industry and we are thrilled to be in place in the new centre.

"One of our major goals for 2022 is to ensure all our employees are meeting and surpassing the relevant frameworks necessitated by Social Care Wales, and the new centre will allow these courses to be completed in ease and comfort. "We want to further take advantage of the new space over the coming 12 months to further enhance the range of educational programmes we offer our team and having these additional resources will allow us to make that push in a more focused manner." The opening of the centre marks the second phase of Meddyg Care's overhaul of staff professional development, following a revamp of its induction programme for new starters in 2021. Meddyg Care managing director Kevin Edwards said: "We are dedicated to ensuring all of our team members have the resources and opportunities available to them to not only better themselves and their skillsets, but also provide the highest quality of care to our residents. "This training centre is the bedrock on which this directive is built on, and I believe this development will be a major boost not just to Meddyg but the entire region's care sector as it provides a dedicated space for education within Gwynedd which is open to all. "Having a specialised site employees can attend which is close to where they live and work will cut out the need to travel for hours to attend similar locations and will further encourage them to put their own personal development more in the spotlight."

The Access Group Endorsed by Skills For Care Skills for Care has endorsed Access Health and Social Care's eLearning solution, highlighting it as a high quality provider of learning and development training. Endorsement from Skills for Care is a bespoke quality mark given to the best learning and development providers within the adult social care sector. For a provider to be endorsed, it must demonstrate the training it delivers makes a positive difference to both the carer and the people they care and support. Steve Sawyer, Managing Director of The Access Group Health and

Social Care division, said: "It's no secret that the sector is facing a challenging time when it comes to recruitment, upskilling, and staff retention. It is because of this that we want to ensure top quality training is available to all in an easy and efficient manner, but most importantly the highest standard of care is being delivered. "Skills for Care sets a benchmark for what providers should be seeking with their training. To be acknowledged for ours is a real achievement and testament to our team. It's more important than ever that we

are able to keep making a difference to care providers, helping them develop their skills within this industry as well as give them the confidence to progress within their role." Access Learning For Care covers training in areas such as medication, safeguarding, competency, and care certificates. For more information, visit: www.theaccessgroup.com/en-gb/ digital-learning/elearning-courses/health-social-care-courses/


PAGE 18 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

Care Home Sentencing a Salutary Reminder of the Importance of Fire Safety Responsibilities By Hannah Eales, partner at law firm Kingsley Napley LLP (www.kingsleynapley.co.uk) specialising in fire and safety law On 5 January 2022, Bupa pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Bupa were ordered to pay a fine of £937,500 and prosecution costs of £104,000. This is the highest ever fine imposed for fire safety breaches under the Fire Safety Order in the UK. London Fire Brigade brought the prosecution following the fire in March 2016 at a residential Care Home in South East London in which a 69 year old man in a wheelchair sadly died in a fire whilst smoking unsupervised in a shelter in the garden of the Home. The victim had been prescribed a paraffin based emollient cream. BUPA policy required emollient cream users to have further precautions for smoking such as a smoking apron or to be supervised, neither of which were done. Bupa pleaded guilty to a breach of Article 11(1) of the Fire Safety Order which states ‘(1) The responsible person must make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.’ In particular, Bupa accepted that it had failed to:

• Ensure staff understood the risks from the use of emollient creams; • Warn residents using paraffin-based products not to smoke, or, require precautions to be taken such as the use of a smock or apron; • Instruct staff not to leave a resident using paraffin-based products smoking unsupervised; and • Carry out an individual smoking risk assessment of the resident as normal with the control measures in place. The Judge approached the sentencing exercise using the Sentencing Council’s Health & Safety guidelines. The Judge considered the culpability of Bupa to be ‘High’ reflecting the fact that the risks of emollient cream by smokers was well known by 2016 and Bupa had been specifically warned of the risk. In terms of seriousness of harm risked, he considered this to be ‘Level A’, but determined the likelihood of harm to be ‘Medium’. As Bupa falls within the category of a ‘large’ organisation and reflecting the fact that the breaches had actually caused a fatality, the Judge set a starting point of a fine of £1.5 million. He discounted 25% on account of Bupa’s guilty plea and discounted a further £250,000 to reflect the current pressures on the care sector, partly due to the pandemic. This case serves as a valuable reminder to all care home managers and owners of the importance of complying with fire safety responsibilities and both the tragic personal and serious financial consequences when those responsibilities are not met.

Getting Your Fire Safety Right Passive Fire Protection maximises the time available to evacuate a property, and or prevent a fire from taking hold in the first place but it is vital it is completed by a reputable, competent and third-party accredited company. With so much attention in the media, it is not surprising that it is attracting non-specialised contractors who, even with the best of intentions, may not be completing the works correctly. Our aim is to provide a ‘Certified Solution,’ this means the processes and materials used in the repair have been tested in front of a furnace to ensure they can provide at least the specified protection time, dependant on the requirement. Where this is not possible, we consult our suppliers to establish an ‘Engineered Solution.’ The reality of employing a non-specialising contractor is that it is quite likely the work will be identified as inadequate during a fire risk assessment or fire authority inspection. The most common indicator of non-

compliant work is the use of pink Polyurethane (PU) foam fillers. Whist the cannister instructions will give you the assurance of up to 5 hours protection, this can only be achieved with strict requirements for installation. For most common repairs these requirements cannot be met and

the product cannot be installed. It is recommended by ASFP and BMTRADA that any installations of pink foam are removed and replaced with a true fire rated alternative. We are often asked “Can I do the work myself?” As stated by the HSE, competence can be described as the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them to perform a task safely. Unless suitable training has been undertaken, it is unlikely that you or your maintenance staff would be able to demonstrate competence in fire stopping works. Fire stopping is a very specialised part of the building works. We hold third party accreditation with International Fire Consultants (IFC) and are regularly audited to ensure we employ appropriate trained & competent staff, processes & procedures and only use suitable materials. We are also proud to be members of Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP). We are working hard to engage with the care industry to ensure you get the best advice and workmanship to ensure your buildings are safe for residence and staff as well as being compliant with current regulations. See the advert below for further details.


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 19

Care Heroes to be Recognised in Monthly Awards Programme Social care heroes across the country are set to be recognised for their hard work in a rolling awards programme which launched earlier this month. As the pressures on social care workers mount and the care sector faces the hardest winter on record, Support Social Care Heroes (SSCH) has launched its first recognition programme since being established last year. Social care employers are encouraged to nominate their staff for a care home hero award (employee of the month). Taking part has been made simple and easy: post a photo of your employee of the month and which care home you represent, to social media, with the hashtag #SocialCareHeroAwards and tag Support Social Care Heroes page. Tell us in 160 characters why the person is a social care hero. All nominations will be curated by the Support Social Care Heroes team and each month a winner will be chosen at random. Each winner will receive a £50 voucher for the grocery store of their choice, a box of chocolates, certificate and the nominating care home will receive a bunch of flowers. The prizes have been sponsored by VAT Solutions. SSCH, which is in the process of achieving charitable status, aims to preserve, protect and improve the

health and wellbeing of those providing social care. There are 1.54m people working in social care in the UK and this is expected to increase to 2.17m by 2035. This workforce is often overlooked yet they keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe and well. Carers often work long, anti-social hours and they don’t often get the recognition and rewards they deserve. The situation was desperate before the pandemic but the last two years has seen them struggle like never before. It is hoped that SSCH will receive significant support following research which found that the overwhelming majority of the public feel that social care staff are undervalued (81%) and underpaid (80%). Nicola Richards, Founder of Support Social Care Heroes, explained the thinking behind the idea: “Every month we know many care homes already reward the ‘employee of the month’ and we felt we should do something to bring all these nominations together from around the country to celebrate our care heroes. “This is the first step in our long-term plans to ensure those who need care, and those caring for them, are valued by society. “Our country’s social care heroes have been on the front line and in the headlines for over 18 months and this idea will help show them that they are valued and recognise the work they do.” Debbie Clarke, Care Manager at Leahyrst Care Home in Sheffield, added: “The last 18 months have been so tough for everyone in the care sector. This is a great idea to show the public some of the care heroes whose dedication and commitment often escapes mainstream attention.”

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

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

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

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

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

but we need more funding to understand what causes dementia, develop effective

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


PAGE 20 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

Soaring Energy Prices: Mitigating Bills and Maintaining Comfort By Ian Scattergood, Business Development Manager - Healthcare, Zenergi (www.zenergi.co.uk), a customer service company specialising in energy However, there are measures that can be taken to mitigate these costs, keeping waste at a minimum and maintaining high standards.

BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES Regular training for care staff is an engaging and effective way of eliminating energy waste and maintaining good habits, after all, the cheapest kWh is the one you don’t use. It is recommended that this activity takes place annually, as it can often become a short-term focus. By scheduling regular training, staff are more likely to maintain good energy saving behaviours, as it is being continuously refreshed. Savings can be made by ensuring that technology is switched off and not left on standby, which can be more easily achieved when using central power adaptors that can shut multiple devices down with one switch. Additionally, encouraging staff to close doors and windows and be vigilant of energy usage can offer savings of 5-10 per cent. By reducing wastage, more power can be dedicated to maintaining a warm environment.

SEEKING SUPPORT

The recent surge in energy prices has, unfortunately, followed us into 2022, with headlines still dominated by the crisis that is affecting all sectors, including care. Alongside this, the drop in temperature means the sector is finding itself in a balancing act of protecting budgets whilst keeping residents warm through the winter months. As a care manager, keeping residents safe and comfortable is a top priority. But the threat of budget restraints can put this in jeopardy, leaving no room for bad energy habits that can contribute to wastage and rising utility bills.

We must consider, managers are working relentlessly to provide a high quality of care and may not have the time, resource or experience to keep on top of energy contracts. And with an average of one in five bills being incorrect, this is another challenge managers can do without. Energy consultants that offer bill validation services can reduce this pressure by detecting overcharges, while ensuring that your energy contract suits your needs and budget. In this competitive market not all energy consultants work in the same way or offer the same services. Be wary of any company which guarantees to know what the market is going to do or always reduce your energy prices, as continuous fluctuations in the wholesale energy market make this claim impossible. An energy consultant can only help your organisa-

tion secure the best available rates from the same market that everyone has access to. In addition, energy consultants can provide value-added services that save you time and hassle in what is otherwise a highly complex industry.

EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY As well as eliminating human error, there are many different technologies that can support facilities to lower energy usage. Care homes that are still using incandescent light bulbs could see lighting contributing to19% of the total energy bill. Switching to LED lightbulbs will save 75 per cent, bringing long-term cost and environmental savings. Smart Meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters that have put an end to estimated billing, which can lead to inaccuracies or over-charging. All Smart Meters are connected to a secure smart data network, so readings can be automatically sent to the supplier on a monthly basis, or more frequently if required. This ensures that each bill is an accurate reflection of the energy used. Smart Meters also feature a display screen which indicates exactly how much energy has been consumed in pounds and pence, helping to keep track of usage and challenge any billing discrepancies. Lastly, acquiring a motion senser for lights will also give staff a much needed helping hand and one less thing to worry about in areas of the home where there is less regular traffic. Implementing simple energy saving measures is a good first step towards reducing a home’s carbon footprint with Net Zero targets in mind. An energy audit can help to identify further no cost and low-cost measures that can offer substantial savings in return. Additionally, for an illustration of the cost of leaving on some appliances unnecessarily please visit, https://bit.ly/3qaw6wc.

Ballroom Dancing Enthusiast’s 101st Birthday Is Full Of Surprises At Friends of the Elderly’s Little Bramingham Farm care home in Luton, Bedfordshire, the care team has been celebrating Blanche Fromenton’s milestone 101st Birthday with gifts, balloons, cards and a special birthday afternoon tea treat in the home’s beautiful tea room with her family and care home friends. Blanche, who has been a resident at Little Bramingham Farm for just over a year, grew up in Camberwell, South London. The eldest child of six, Blanche always looked after her siblings so it’s no surprise her first job was as a Nanny, caring for a two-yearold toddler. Blanche met her husband whilst she was working in a grocery store on Drury Lane in London. They married at St. Mary’s Church in Hornsey and had two sons and is now a proud Grandmother to three grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Emma Lawrance, the Care Home Manager at Little Bramingham Farm said: “Blanche is a quiet lady who is kind and considerate. She’s very independent and her intelligence

shines through. She loves her family dearly and is an absolute pleasure to be around.” Blanche said: “I decided to come to Little Bramingham Farm as it’s close to where I was living and I really liked the look of it. I’ve lived a very active life, with a love of ballroom dancing, so liked that there’s always something going on at the home. I particularly enjoy playing Scrabble and taking part in Musical Bingo.” Blanche concluded: “I have had a really wonderful 101st birthday, it’s been a lovely day. Seeing my family and care home friends, having a smashingly delicious afternoon tea, chatting and laughing, it has been wonderful. It’s definitely a day I’ll never forget. “The other day I was asked what was my secret to a long and happy life? Thinking about it, I’d have to say it must stem back from my school days when I was rather athletic, no alcohol and eating a healthy diet - and perhaps all my ballroom dancing has helped too.”

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

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

“remote review” feature. If required, TLC team members can call upon expertise from Tympa’s team of Audiology and ENT experts. If a review is requested, an Audiologist or ENT will look at the patient’s images and video and can provide support with diagnosis, and guidance given. This means residents have access to specialist care without the need to wait for and attend an outpatient appointment. It is even possible to send images and video of a resident’s ear directly to a GP, who is then able to prescribe directly, without the need to assess the resident in person or wait for an appointment. Thanks to this innovative new solution TLC can now provide an extra level of care to residents. It’s not just wax removal, but cleaning and maintaining hearing aids, carrying out regular hearing assessments, and providing instant access to care when needed. Residents remain engaged and active in the care home community and staff can more easily communicate with residents, making their job much easier. After a successful trial using the Tympa system, TLC are now expanding from 3 homes to all TLC Care homes. It has been an overwhelming success and the residents, staff and family members all approve of the new service. The Tympa system is revolutionising the way care home residents access ear and hearing health services. Bringing these services into the home ensures residents receive outstanding care whilst minimising any risks. The aim should be for this approach to be adopted more widely across the care sector so more residents can benefit from vastly improved ear and hearing health. Find out how you can bring TympaHealth services to your care home at tympahealth.io/TheCarer or by contacting enquiries@tympahealth.com and one of the Tympa team will be in touch. You can see the Tympa system in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDysiNR7_n0


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 21

How Has Lockdown Affected People’s Mental Health and Dignity? New research highlights the challenges faced by health and social care services in England and the importance of feedback for improving care. New research from the Care Quality Commission highlights the impact lockdown measures have had on the wellbeing of people who use care services: Nearly three-quarters of carers (73%) say that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have impacted on the mental health of the person they care for. Over half (56%) of carers say that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have impacted on the dignity and independence of the person they care for. These findings reflect concerns we have received from people who use care services about the impact of isolation and restrictions on visitors. How else has care been affected? The research also found that throughout the pandemic, care was most commonly impacted by: increased waiting times for appointments and procedures (49%) a lack of resources and equipment (24%) Despite almost half (42%) of respondents believing that sharing feedback would positively impact their care, just one in five (19%) care users have shared feedback on a negative experience since the start of

the pandemic. With just 17% of people in England expecting services to improve in the next 12 months, we are calling for you to feedback on the services you use as a crucial way to improve their quality. In response our Chair, Sir Robert Francis QC, said: “Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, public feedback has played an important part in helping the NHS and social care services spot and respond to issues caused by the virus. “As we continue to live with the pandemic, the NHS continues to face huge pressures across the whole system. NHS staff are grappling with many difficulties, including increased COVID demands, while trying to tackle the backlog in elective care and diagnostics that the pandemic had made so much worse. “It is important that this is managed as well as possible, to make sure that the risks and distress to patients are minimised. That’s why it is vital people have the opportunity to share their views and experiences of care whether they have needed treatment for COVID19 or other illnesses. Their feedback will help services understand both key national and local issues and the steps they can take to serve patients better.”

Staff Joining Scotland’s Social Care to Have Fees Waived New staff joining the social care workforce are to have entry costs paid by the Scottish Government until the end of March. Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration will now be funded to help encourage more staff into the profession and address winter staffing pressures. The scheme starts today and will include staff taking up direct care posts in adult social care, along with comparable roles in children’s social care services and the justice sector. It has been introduced following discussions with

COSLA and will cover local authority, private and third sectors. Social care minister Kevin Stewart said: “Care workers have been absolutely critical to our pandemic response, giving vulnerable people the care they need and avoiding further pressure falling on the NHS. “This trial aims to assist easing winter pressures in this sector by removing any financial barriers that may stop people from applying for a rewarding career in care. “There are significant pressures in social care due to high vacancy levels and increased demand. I hope this support will encourage those considering joining this vital workforce to go ahead and do so. “We will continue to work closely with our partners to identify all possible ways we can assist the social care sector to aid recruitment and retention within the workforce at this critical time.”

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PAGE 24 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

What can IoT do to Alleviate Pressure on Adult Social Care Providers Amid Widespread COVID Staff Shortages? By Emma Mahy is the CEO and co-founder of IoT Solutions Group (www.iotsg.co.uk) Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the delivery of adult social care services in the UK has been consistently affected by staff shortages caused by the rapid and everevolving spread of the disease. An October 2021 report by Skills for Care – the nation's care workforce development agency –lays bare the extent of these shortages. It found that levels of staff sickness have nearly doubled during the crisis – an average of 9.5 days were lost to illness in 2020/21, compared with 5.1 days prepandemic. This increase in sick days is primarily due to thousands of care workers having been forced to self-isolate at any given time, either because they have the virus themselves or have come into close contact with a positive case. The constant lack of availability this creates has placed tremendous pressure on the sector, which was already seriously understaffed and underfunded before COVID, with Local Government Association figures showing that adult social care costs have risen by £8.5 billion in the past decade. In comparison, total funding has only increased by £2.4 billion. With a depleted number of carers striving to fill the service gaps left by their absent colleagues and funding barely providing enough to meet future demand or tackle more immediate challenges, the industry is well and truly struggling. As COVID continues to disrupt care workers' regular routines and new variants enable the disease to spread with increasing ease, it seems likely that the staff shortage crisis will proceed indefinitely unless action is taken now to alleviate the pressure. One solution is emerging Internet of Things [IoT] technology, which is helping to give the ailing sector a much-needed shot in the arm by offering a cost-effective way of providing those most in need uninterrupted access to the care services they depend on.

WHAT IS IOT, AND HOW CAN IT HELP? Broadly speaking, the term 'Internet of Things' refers to devices connected to the internet that automatically gather information, analyse data, and create actions. While there are many everyday uses for IoT– voice-controlled TVs or apps for regulating fridge tempera-

ture – technology developers are doubling their efforts to implement IoT-driven solutions to help tackle this adult social care staffing crisis. For example, easy-to-use, IoT battery-powered sensors are being installed in the homes of vulnerable residents. They are helping to safeguard the residents' health and wellbeing by monitoring their day-to-day activity using a combination of historical and real-time data. In response to any sudden drop in activity, the sensors send an alert message to carers, enabling appropriate action to be taken. Initial pilot schemes suggest that the technology is highly effective at minimising the risk of sevre injury or even death. By unobtrusively monitoring a resident's daily activity, this low-cost technology not only helps to protect their health and safety but also alleviates financial and logistical pressure on care providers whose services are already stretched so thinly. Because the sensors reduce the need for in-person visits, carers can prioritise care provision more accurately depending on client needs, thereby freeing up vital resources for reallocation as required. What's more, a decrease in the number of physical visits made to a resident's home reduces the chance of a carer passing a COVID infection onto a resident, or vice versa, helping to mitigate further the pressure placed on health services, as well as the spread of the virus. On top of this, the introduction of IoT sensors provide residents with the opportunity to live more independent lives while safe in the knowledge that services are constantly on standby for as and when they might be needed.

TIME FOR ACTION As the pandemic persists in disrupting care services and staff continue to regularly self-isolate en masse, there are undoubtedly difficult days ahead for the sector. With Age UK concluding that, between 2017 and 2040, the population of the UK aged over 65 will increase by 49 per cent, there is a real danger that carers will soon be completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people whose wellbeing they are entrusted with. While not a silver bullet to resolving all the staffing issues that the care industry faces, IoT holds the potential to play a pivotal role in supporting service provision and empowering many elderly and vulnerable patients to retain their independence for as long as possible. As a low cost and versatile solution that offers views of both historical and real-time data, the technology is undoubtedly a viable option available to care providers for supplementing existing services. Moreover, it has already proven that it is fit for purpose in ensuring high-quality integrated care in the COVID age.

Care England Staff Changes Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care has announced that Ann Mackay and Louisa Collyer-Hamlin will be leaving Care England this year. Louisa will be leaving in the middle of February and Ann in the middle of March. Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: "Ann and Louisa will leave a very strong legacy for Care England and an enormous gap in our team. However, I want to reassure everyone that Ann and Louisa have developed a very strong and brilliant policy team, and though they are a tremendous loss, I have confidence that the team will continue their work and ensure Care England remains the premier representative body. I will be reviewing our cur-

rent structure and moving swiftly to ensure these vital roles and functions are covered". Ann has worked for Care England and its predecessor bodies for

many years, and she has decided to retire and take a very well earned rest. Ann's knowledge and networks within social care are unparalleled, and she is highly respected by Care England members and all key stakeholders, and she will leave Care England with a great legacy of achievement. Louisa has also worked for Care England, and its predecessor bodies, for many years, and she has decided to leave to concentrate on her family life and other interests. Louisa has worked tirelessly to ensure that Care England has a high media profile, and her Parliamentary work has also been outstanding and has positioned Care England as a respected and authoritative body with politicians of all parties, and in both Houses.

Orbis Education and Care Appoints Sarah Russell as its First Ever Principal Orbis Education and Care has appointed Sarah Russell as its first ever Principal, leading its care and education services under one role for the first time in its 15-year history. The organisation runs 16 schools, residential homes and day facilities for children and adults with complex needs associated with autism, and is one of the UK’s leading specialist providers. The new position of Principal will see Sarah take responsibility for both elements of service provision – education and care - at its Ty Bronllys school and home, near Brecon. During her journey from support worker through various administrative, education and care management roles, Sarah has continued to develop herself personally and professionally since she first joined Orbis in 2008. She has worked as a Learning Support Assistant, Care Manager, Head of Admissions, Specialist Education Teacher and as Head of Education during that time, completing industry recognised qualifications including her QCF Levels 3 and 5, and a PGCE in further education along the way. Lucy Pottinger, Director of Education at Orbis Education and Care, has worked alongside Sarah since she joined Orbis and said: “It is always a delight to see someone develop and achieve their true potential, but even more so to see that achieved in so many different areas.”

The new role reflects an exceptional combination of professional expertise on Sarah’s part as it is quite unusual for someone to demonstrate a passion for, as well as actively pursue, their thirst for knowledge in both the education and care aspects of what we do here at Orbis.” “This was a role created specifically for Sarah, therefore, and is reflective of the level of expertise she has built up with regards to autism care as well as specialist education approaches.” Lucy added. Sarah’s new role will enable her to further ensure that all elements of the support offered to those living and being educated at Ty Bronllys are both blended and consistent and wholly beneficial in supporting their individual needs. Sarah, who is from Caerphilly said: “I am really proud that Orbis has created this new role of Principal. There has always been a culture here of recognising hard work and enthusiasm, and of promoting from within. Orbis has always supported me to progress and be my very best and I have enjoyed every opportunity. I have also been very lucky to have some great leaders above me, spurring me on. “When I joined Orbis Education and Care, I had no relevant qualifications and very little experience in the specialist care or education sectors, so I’m hugely thankful for all the opportunities it has brought my way.” “I am genuinely passionate about making a difference to the lives of those we support. I think that is what has made me want to keep learning. There are always ways we can improve on what we do,” Sarah added. “I truly believe this is what lies at the heart of us all working to support those facing a wide range of challenges, and I would encourage anyone with a similar outlook, regardless of their current level of expertise, to consider the rewards a role in specialist care or education could bring them.” Orbis Education and Care are recruiting now across both of its centres in Powys, at Presteigne and near Brecon, as well as further afield in Wales.


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 25

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Care Homes Explored in New Research Researchers at the University of Chester are urging nurses and health and social care workers to take part in a survey looking at the impact of the COVID-19 on the sector. The research aims to capture the experiences of nurses and health and social care workers working in care homes over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also explores the challenges faced by care home staff during the pandemic and how these were addressed. This is important in order to identify learning to safeguard and protect older adults, nurses, and health and social care workers in the future. Findings from the survey will be used to produce a Toolkit (PROTECToolkit), which is intended to support professional staff working in care homes. The consequences of the pandemic on health, wellbeing and care systems have been devastating, as demonstrated by the mortality, morbidity and recovery rates. Evidence indicates that older people and staff living and working within the care home sector were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. It is imperative, therefore, that the consequences for older people and staff affected are investigated, with learn-

ing used to inform strategy and policy locally and nationally, to put systems and processes in place and offer key messages to professional and regulatory bodies. The research is funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing and is being led by Professor Robert McSherry, Dr Elizabeth Kumah, and Dr Jan Bailey at the Centre for Ageing and Mental Health within the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care. Dr Robert McSherry, Professor of Nursing and Practice Development, said: “The pandemic has created so many challenges for nurses, and health and social care staff, as such, it is vital that learning from this catastrophic situation is explored to help guide any potential outbreaks in the future. We would be keen to hear from individuals working in the care sector to know their views and experiences, which will help shape care delivery in the future.” To take part in the survey, visit, www.chester.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/care-home-staff-survey

A Day In The Life: The Realities of Working in Dementia Care This week, four celebrities have pledged their support to the government’s ‘Made With Care’ campaign, launched at the end of 2021 to encourage more people to pursue a career in care. Sheriff Marong, health care assistant at Nottinghamshire-based care group Church Farm Care, shares his experience and discusses why there is no better time to become a carer.

FOLLOWING IN THE FAMILY’S FOOTSTEPS After being born in Barcelona, Spain we moved to England in 2014 when I was 19-years-old. Caring is a profession that has always been close to my heart and home because my mum was a carer when I was younger meaning that, when I came to England and was considering careers, I knew it was an industry I would love to work in – so I applied for a role at Church Farm Care.

After two weeks of training, I started as a health care assistant in February 2018. Just one month into the role, I could feel in my heart that I was where I needed to be and I knew that I wanted to do it forever. It’s now been three years since I joined Church Farm and I can honestly say that I love what I do. At the heart of my role is caring for our family members, making them happy and keeping them busy. My favourite part of the job is talking with our family members, making a difference to their day, and seeing their reactions to all of the activities that we arrange for them.

THE CHANCE TO GIVE BACK At the heart of our ethos is that people matter, meaning that my day-to-day tasks are completely centred around our family members. Therefore, an average day includes supporting with washing, dressing and undressing, helping with mobility, serving meals and drinks and assisting those unable to eat independently, along with helping with the admissions of people moving here and supporting them to ensure they feel at home. My job also involves assisting with activities and helping to maintain a safe environment for people living and working in the home. Every aspect of a care assistant’s role is essential in keeping everyone healthy and happy, something that I thoroughly enjoy being able to do. At Church Farm Care, we don’t wear nametags or uniforms as we seek to remove formal barriers and prefer to see ourselves as people visiting the family members where they live, as opposed to being staff, which is such a refreshing model of care. This is something that is really important for our family members living with dementia as it helps them feel settled and at home. The pandemic proved to be an incredibly hard challenge, but I tried

to remain positive and keep spirits high in the care home. Together, we have managed to get through the crisis and have come out even stronger on the other side.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE When I was younger, I always thought my mum working as a carer was amazing and I really admired her for it. It wasn’t until I moved to England that I thought about replicating her career in care. When I applied, I didn’t have any previous experience. But Church Farm Care hire based on your levels of empathy and your emotional intelligence, rather than your education, so I was able to train to become a carer and can now proudly say that I’ve followed in my mum's footsteps. This recruitment method is fantastic as it not only makes a career in care accessible for it, but on a personal level it allowed me to show the emotional connections I’m able to form with family members which really helps to make them feel at home. To anyone else starting out in the world of work, or those considering a career change, then I would definitely say to consider pursuing a role in care. The best carers are often those who may not realise their untapped potential and now is the perfect time to take that first step to beginning a new, rewarding career as Church Farm Care is currently looking for care staff to take up positions across all four of its homes. The care group also supports the Kickstart Scheme so, if you are aged 18-24 and are interested in a Kickstart opportunity at Church Farm Care, please speak to your work coach at the JobCentre. Church Farm Care is also a Real Living Wage employer, which sees employees work at an increased rate than the national minimum wage, providing additional security as we are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

Ground-breaking Falls Prevention Programme Features in World Health Organization Report A trailblazing programme designed to reduce falls in older people recently received international recognition after being highlighted in a World Health Organization report. The Falls Management Exercise programme (FaME) targeted those at risk of falls in Leicestershire, Rutland and Derby, delivering specialist classes led by postural stability instructors over the course of 24 weeks. The classes were shown to improve balance, walking speed and reduce fear of falling, all the while helping to increase physical activity and reduce falls. Those taking part were also provided with techniques for getting down and up from the floor, should they have a fall. The success of the initiative, which saw the number of falls reduce over time, led to a blueprint being developed to allow health providers roll out the programme across the country. Now the FaME project has been given a global platform after being featured in the World Health Organization’s Step Safely report, which is designed to support practitioners, policy-makers and researchers in the prevention of falls and fall-related injuries. It identifies that each year in England, more than 200,000 emergency hospital admissions and four million bed days result from falls and fractures among those aged 65 years and over, costing the health service approximately £2b. With the NHS facing pressure as a result of falls, researchers from the University of Nottingham put together an Implementation Manual for Commissioners to allow the FaME programme to be rolled out across other

areas. They estimate widespread adoption of FaME could save the NHS more than £700m. The research was funded by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands. Following publication in the WHO report, those behind the FaME programme are delighted the initiative could have a far-reaching, global impact. Dr Liz Orton, Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham and Consultant in Public Health, said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better platform to share the impact of the FaME classes, which have been several years in the making and have shown such positive, encouraging results. “Exposure in the WHO report is hugely beneficial - the more people working in this field who hear about this preventative programme, the better.” Professor Adam Gordon, Professor of the Care of Older People, University of Nottingham and Lead for the Building Community Resilience and Enabling Independence theme for ARC East Midlands, added: “We’re extremely proud to have been part of a project which is now receiving world-wide recognition and is being showcased to clinicians and researchers working at the forefront of this field. “With the blueprint now in place for other areas to implement FaME, we look forward to seeing its impact on those vulnerable to the often debilitating effects of a fall.” NIHR ARC East Midlands funds vital work to tackle the region’s health and care priorities by speeding up the adoption of research onto the frontline of health and social care. The organisation puts in place evidencebased innovations which seek to drive up standards of care and save time and money. NIHR ARC East Midlands is hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and works in collaboration with the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network. It has bases at University of Leicester and University of Nottingham.


PAGE 26 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Covid Won’t Stop these Glasses Raising as Residents say Cheers in Home’s Pub Residents at a Cassington care home have been enjoying the British culture of ‘pub nights’ and making the most of drinking in their onsite pub. Churchfields Care Home built their public house two years ago at the residents’ request. Residents mentioned they wanted somewhere ‘cosy to sit’, enjoy a drink and also to socialise. The drinking hole is open all day and residents can order any drink they like, at any time. This comes as more care homes are now being urged to open onsite pubs after staff have revealed they boosted residents’ morale during lockdowns, according to carehome.co.uk. Churchfields Activities Coordinator, Faye Tanner, said; “Resident’s love to use the area to socialise, chat with friends and relax. When families visit

the residents, they often use the area to play cards, board games or dominoes. “The bar is a central part of the home, and it is used by everyone. For us, it is extra special because it was built and designed around our residents' requests. It’s become even more valuable now because of the pandemic and we are able to bring the atmosphere of the pub into the home, in a safe environment.” Care homes have been particularly hit by the pandemic, forcing many to close their doors to visitors for large periods of time. This has led to increased internal entertainment, with one in four staff saying their care home had created or enhanced their pub during lockdown. The research carried out by the UK’s leading care home reviews site, carehome.co.uk, found 53 per cent of care home staff who have pubs in their care homes say the wellbeing of residents was boosted when they socialised in the home’s pub or drinking facility. One fifth of care workers said residents used the pub on a daily basis. Jane Roberts, owner of Churchfields Care Home, said: “At Churchfields Care Home, our values are centred around residents having a sense of purpose, to live well, and to find enjoyment. This is supported by ensuring residents have a choice every day on how they want to spend their time. The on-site bar is a great way for our residents to enjoy each other’s company and to experience the atmosphere of going to the pub, in a safe environment.”

New Study Predicts the Number of People Living With Alzheimer’s Disease to Triple by 2050 A new study has revealed that global dementia cases are set to triple by 2050 – an estimated 153 million people will be living with dementia by 2050. On 6 January, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) published a study on dementia prevalence forecasts in 204 countries in The Lancet: Public Health. The study estimates that 57 million people were living with dementia globally in 2019, a number expected to rise to 153 million by 2050. The authors acknowledged that this was similar to data published by ADI in the World Alzheimer Report 2019. The study also reinforces the disproportionate burden that dementia places on women, also highlighted in the ADI report on Women and Dementia (2015). While these increases are predominantly attributed to global population growth and population ageing, the authors also explore four known risk factors for dementia: smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and low education, and highlight how they may impact these future estimates. Global improvements in access to, and quality of, education are predicted to reduce the dementia prevalence by 6.2 million.

However, this benefit is likely to be counteracted by anticipated increases in obesity, smoking and high blood sugar, leading to an additional 6.8 million people living with dementia. The authors conclude that the future implementation of risk reduction policies could have a significant impact in reducing these prevalence forecasts. As well as risk factors, the study also explores the future geographical regional burden of these increasing forecasts. The greatest increase in the prevalence of those living with dementia is expected to occur in sub-Saharan Africa and north-Africa, where the number of those living with dementia is expected to increase by 357% and 367% respectively. Poignantly, the African region remains the only World Health Organization (WHO) region where none of its Member States have a national dementia plan. Country level prevalence data for 204 countries is included in the study. On the study, Paola Barbarino said: “This data highlights the severity of the public health crisis of dementia and the alarming consequences of inaction. Dementia is already the 7th leading cause of death globally. We welcome the authors’ call for the urgent deployment of tailored

interventions to combat risk factors, alongside the need for increased research into effective disease-modifying treatments and new modifiable risk factors.” In practice, this means more public health campaigns at national and regional level. Too many people still do not know that they can change their lifestyle and make a difference. For decades, ADI, the WHO and the dementia community at large have been calling for governments to act to avert a public health crisis. Every three seconds, someone develops dementia. Time is running out and the time to act is now. ADI hopes these findings will highlight the need for governments to adopt funded national dementia plans. In 2017, all WHO Member States unanimously adopted the Global action plan on the public health response to dementia, agreeing to implement national dementia plans, which include risk reduction strategies (action area 3) and commitments to funding research and innovation (action area 7). Currently only 37 member states have implemented such plans and this study acts as a timely warning for those who are yet to act. As we move to the next stages of our campaign to encourage governments


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 27

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

MOWOOT II Combats Chronic Constipation MOWOOT II is a revolutionary non-invasive and nonpharmacological solution to chronic constipation. Developed by a team of medical professionals, MOWOOT II delivers gentle abdominal massage that speeds up intestinal transit in people with chronic constipation. Clinically proven and free from side-effects, MOWOOT II Chronic Constipation Therapy System fights constipation effectively, safely and comfortably without laxatives, enemas or colon cleansing supplements. Comfortable during use, MOWOOT II treats and manages chronic constipation in people with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease as well as helps to combat medication-related constipation issues. MOWOOT II also fights chronic constipation in menopausal and post-menopausal women and elderly people. In a published clinical study*, MOWOOT II increased evacuation frequency, softened stools, improved regularity, reduced gasses and bloating and relieved abdominal discomfort. Results showed that as many as 72.2% patients experienced increased bowel movements, 77.4% patients manifested reduction in constipation symptoms and 81.0% patients enjoyed better quality of life. In just 10 to 20 minutes per day of abdominal massage with MOWOOT II, significant improvements were

noted only days after the first treatment, whilst regular applications of MOWOOT II delivered positive health benefits and better quality of life. MOWOOT II – effective, safe and comfortable solution to chronic constipation! *McClurg D; Booth L; Herrero-Fresneda I. Safety and Efficacy of Intermittent Colonic Exoperistalsis Device to Treat Chronic Constipation: A Prospective Multicentric Clinical Trial. Clin Trans Gastroenterology 2020; 11(12): e00267. Contact Win Health Medical Ltd - 01835 864866 www.win-health.com

Skills, Knowledge, and Confidence Delivered Online Covid19 reminded us all just how important the NHS and care home staff are to our society. We are grateful for their hard work and bravery, and feel honoured to support them through our Laser Care Certificate course and CPD short courses. Working in the care sector is certainly demanding, so our objective is to make it convenient and straightforward for workers to upskill and acquire confidence in the process. 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 equip staff with highly-relevant skills and knowledge so they can tackle new challenges or progress in their career. Two courses in particular – ‘Causes and spread of infection’ and ‘Infection control and prevention’ – were very popular during the pandemic. 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 info@lasersys.co.uk or +44 (0)1753 584 112. See the advert on page 11.

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

C&S Seating Ltd is 30 Years Old! Since 1991, C&S Seating have provided postural control equipment to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and medical equipment services nationwide and supply regularly to the NHS. With 9 different sizes of TRolls and Log Rolls, in a removable and machine washable, Waterproof Titex or Soft Knit material. These rolls are used to control posture and position of the body in either supine or side lying. Our Knee & Leg support wedges are available in 2 sizes. C&S Seating is the sole manufacturer of the Alternative Positioning Support – Available in two sizes and ideal when more control of the abducted

lower limb is required, which has removable side cushions and middle pommel. Our popular and vibrant range of Soft Knit covers in a choice of 5 colours provide a softer alternative that fit easily over our standard Waterproof rolls. Ideal for the colder seasons and can also fit snug over our waterproof rolls for maximum protection and comfort. Contact us on 01424 853331 or visit www.cands-seating.co.uk to request or download a brochure, pricelist or order form, request an individualised quotation, speak to an advisor or to place an order.

Immersive Music Experiences for Care Homes Music can be an incredible tool for enhancing the quality of life and for evoking memories in people living with dementia and sensory impairments. At Silent Memories we provide wireless headset packages for care homes, providing a completely unique sensory audio experience for residents.

WHY USE HEADSETS?

Create a fully immersive experience through the power of headsets, helping develop a deeper sense of coherence, communication, and stimulation. The headsets contain 3 channels meaning 3 different types of music can be set up at the same time to cater for a range of musical tastes. Think meandering along to Mozart on channel 1, swinging to Vera Lynn on channel 2 or rocking out to Elvis Presley on channel 3! By playing familiar tracks through headsets, memories and feelings can be stimulated. Music can be carefully chosen by loved ones and care workers to really enhance the experience for residents.

KEEP ON MOVING!

Care homes using Silent Memories have noted a distinct increase in engagement, animation, and stimulation amongst residents. Using headsets allows them to opt in or out of the sessions. The sessions can be taking place in a communal area and anyone not taking part won’t be distracted by the activity. With a long transmission range, it also allows patients with limited mobility to take part in their own rooms.

WHAT THE CARE HOMES SAY...

"I have been astounded by the positive affects holding a ‘Silent Disco’ has had on my clients. Silent Memories have played within our care home setting and we have been surprised at the way in which the impact of intimate, personal music, especially tailored to clients, has engaged the most static, distant clients and really ‘brought them back to life’, and brought obvious pleasure and joy to many others.

Briony Sloan - Homecroft, Bradford Please contact the team at Silent Noize to find out how we can help improve the quality of living for your residents. info@silentnoizeevents.com, call 0203 727 5382 or visit www.silentnoizeevents.com/silentmemories See the advert on page 15.

Renray Healthcare Renray Healthcare has been producing high quality furniture for over 50 years and is one of the UK’s largest and leading suppliers to the healthcare sector. Whether you require a fast efficient delivery of quality furniture or a full room installation and fitting service, we have the experience and resources to handle your contract. We manufacture and assemble our products in our own purpose built factories in Cheshire and Europe to British Standards. Hence we are able to ensure your furniture is produced to the highest quality, working with you to plan and meet your projects time schedule and budget. We understand you are purchasing furniture that is fit for purpose, stylish and will continue to perform well into the future, which is why we design and build our furniture with you in mind. Telephone: +44 (0)1606 593456,

Email: info@renrayhealthcare.com, www.renrayhealthcare.com or see the advert on page 3 for details.

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

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. Visit www.cashslabels.com or see the advert on page 29.


PAGE 28 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

CATERING FOR CARE

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

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

It's Made For You - Texture Modified Meals

Written by Consultant Allied Health Professionals for It’s Made for You: Caroline Hill, Registered Dietitian Sandra Robinson, Independent Speech and Language Therapist & Consultant Dysphagia Practitioner Texture modified foods are often recommended by speech and language therapists for people with dysphagia. Whilst there may be some people for whom this reduces the risk of aspiration pneumonia, for many the reason for this compensatory measure is to reduce the risk of choking. Evidence demonstrates that the risk of choking on solids increases with age. This is for people with and without dysphagia. The number of care home residents living with dysphagia is between 50 to 75%, those with dementia up to 57% and those following a stroke up to 78%. There is often some confusion between what constitutes a coughing fit and choking. Choking is defined as occurring when you cannot breathe, cough or make any noise. People over 65 have seven times higher risk for choking on food than children aged 1–4 years. After falls, choking on food presents as the second highest cause of preventable death in aged care. A diagnosis of pneumonitis is positively correlated with increased risks associated with choking on food. Foods that are fibrous, hard, firm, stringy, chewy, sticky, dry, crumbly, crunchy or shaped in such a way that they can occlude the airway (round or long) pose a choking risk. Foods that are consistently associated with choking and reported on autopsy findings include; • meat especially on the bone • bread • sandwiches • toast • raw vegetables • crackers/rice cakes • hard boiled sweets • whole grapes • nuts and seeds • chewing gum • cheese chunks Sufficient stamina is needed to prepare the solids bolus for swallowing, with bite-sized pieces of meat

and bread requiring more than 20 chewing strokes per bolus. This highlights how important it is that the many people with dysphagia need safe texture modified food, however it is prepared. It’s Made for You provide a range of 80 delicious frozen meals and desserts for people with chewing and swallowing difficulties. Their meals comply with IDDSI Framework guidelines ensuring each meal can be prepared and enjoyed safely and with peace of mind. Prepared quickly in a microwave or oven, It’s Made For You can really help make mealtimes delicious, nutritious and easy. To find out more www.itsmadeforyou.co.uk. As a speech and language therapist, Sandra recommends the It’s Made for You Range as this provides people on IDDSI diets with an increased choice of delicious meals, which significantly reduce the risks of choking. This means that mealtimes are far more pleasant and enjoyable. As a registered dietitian, Caroline recognises that up to 50% of people with dysphagia are at risk of malnutrition. She recommends the It’s Made for You Range to ensure the provision of an adequate nutritional intake whilst consuming a safe and appetising textured modified diet.

References: Carrión S, Roca M, Costa A, Arreola V, Ortega O, Palomera E, Serra-Prat M, Cabré M, Clavé P. Nutritional status of older patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia in a chronic versus an acute clinical situation. Clin Nutr. 2017 Aug;36(4):11101116. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2016.07.009. Epub 2016 Jul 26. PMID: 27499393. CE Safety. 2019. Report: The Un-Usual Suspects – Main Causes of Choking Deaths in the UK 2019. Online at: https://cesafety.co.uk/choking-deaths-report2019/ [Accessed May 2021] Cichero, J., 2018. Age-Related Changes to Eating and Swallowing Impact Frailty: Aspiration, Choking Risk, Modified Food Texture and Autonomy of Choice. Geriatrics 3, 69. https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3040069 Kramarow, E., Warner, M., Chen, L.-H., 2014. Food-related choking deaths among the elderly. Inj Prev 20, 200. https://doi.org/10.1136/injuryprev-2013040795 RCSLT. 2020. Giving voice to people with swallowing difficulties. [Online]. Available from: https://www.rcslt.org/-/media/Project/RCSLT/rcslt-dysphagiafactsheet. pdf?la=en&hash=18AEDA640CDABD6D2CAB1A9293E8F44ED4E9572A [Accessed: September 2020].



PAGE 30 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

HYGIENE & INFECTION CONTROL Improving Hygiene To Create A Safe Environment For All With huge numbers of staff in the catering sectors reporting sick, the issue of hygiene has never been so critical. Rupert Lynch, Client Relationship Manager, at allmanhall (www.allmanhall.co.uk), the independently owned food procurement expert, looks at how a good hygiene regime can instill confidence in staff, and will ensure catering operations can continue operating. The last two years has seen huge changes in the way catering teams

source and deliver food, as the pandemic challenged the long-established way of doing things. Many new ideas have been tried and put in place, to establish an infrastructure to meet the ever-changing demands of providing an environment that is safe and COVID compliant. As we begin a new year, there are still many new challenges ahead, most notably staff shortages due to self-isolation and sickness. With so many changes already implemented to keep staff and customers safe, how can catering teams go the extra mile to ensure an even better level of safety. Kitchens have adapted to an ever-changing environment that was outside of their control and devised systems that could cope with the guidelines laid down by the Government. There is still a requirement for employers to complete and communicate a COVID-19 risk assessment, a key part of the Government’s ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)’ guidance, which remains unchanged. With varying rules still in place across the whole of the UK, catering teams have undertaken risk assessments to ascertain whether all or some of the changes made are still required, or whether they could adapt and implement some of the ‘enforced’ changes to enable a better and more efficient operation. Social distancing, PPE and staff working patterns all play a key part in the “new norm”, but hygiene is crucial in ensuring everyone remains safe and healthy, and therefore should necessitate particular attention. Many kitchens will be designed with good hygiene in mind, and continuing the changes implemented during the pandemic is crucial. Creating a safe, hygienic working environment necessitated new working practices, with the need for social distancing resulting in the staggering of the time of staff arrival and departure, creating shift working and introducing flexible rota systems. These new processes are still as important today as at the start of the pandemic. With the danger of complacency creeping in, now

is the time to review existing procedures and practices and implement changes that may have been previously considered. Cleaning schedules can be revisited and updated, concentrating on key touch points, cleaning every two hours, and cleaning seats and tables after every sitting. Look to reduce contact with certain surfaces and equipment, removing unnecessary furnishings and other items from eating and cooking areas which can harbor germs. Regular deep cleaning of the whole kitchen area during quieter periods, will ensure a healthy working place, and staff uniforms should be cleaned more frequently. Regular staff training will ensure all the team are on board for implementing new processes, and that they are smoothly and efficiently executed.. One key consideration caterers have had to deal with, and is currently an even greater threat, was addressing the risk of a complete kitchen shutdown due to one or more staff being off sick. This is a very real concern and limitation, and allmanhall has heard that a number of kitchen teams will be maintaining a ‘bubble’ status, whilst still trying to ensure an element of flexibility. Once measures are in place catering operators need to communicate the measures they are taking to make staff feel safer. This can be done through good staff training so there is confidence in the measures and everyone is clear.

Keep Your Home Infection Free with JLA As restrictions on visits to care homes start to ease, care home owners and managers are faced with the continuing challenge of ensuring their premises remains infection free. Research carried out at the start of the pandemic by critical equipment specialist, JLA, highlighted that 40% of people are less likely to trust care homes with their loved ones as a result of COVID-19 and 57.3% view standards in care homes to be poor. As a result of the pandemic, the public has much higher standards when it comes to cleanliness. Keeping customers, residents and staff safe and infection free is a priority for every business. JLA understands the pressures care home owners and managers are under to provide effective infection control. A key priority is protecting your residents from infection. The pandemic has reminded us just

how crucial continued infection control excellence is for care homes who want to keep their residents safe and reassure their anxious relatives. The easing of restrictions is welcome but care homes need to remain focussed on maintaining infection control excellence. Not only will it provide your clients and loved one peace of mind, but it’ll keep your reputation safe too. JLA’s state-of-the-art infection control solutions, created by expert chemists keeps residents and staff safe and reassure their families. We understand that care home needs to stay infection-free. That’s why our experts are on hand 24/7 365 to help you find efficient infection control solutions that work for you and keep you CQC compliant. From our OTEX laundry systems that reduce your carbon footprint whilst keeping sheets virus-free, to room sanitisers that work in as little as 45 minutes, our critical equipment takes care of it so your staff can focus on what matters most – your residents. Whatever critical equipment you need to reassure your residents and keep them safe this winter, we’ll take care of it. For more information on JLA’s infection control services, visit https://bit.ly/3qOUEeF

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 healthcareassociated 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.

Rensair Provides Extra Care at Rayners Care Home Air purification specialist Rensair has equipped Rayners residential care home with air purifiers to combat Covid-19 and other seasonal viruses. Located in Amersham, South Buckinghamshire, Rayners is family owned and managed. It offers residential care, assisted living and respite care for the elderly and prides itself on the ‘extra care’ it provides in the event of a resident becoming more dependent. “In the face of Covid-19, our approach has always been to exercise maximum caution”, said Chris Matthews, Managing Director at Rayners. “We locked down before we were instructed to do so and, even now that the vaccination programme has been rolled out, we can never be complacent. Our duty is to care for our residents and we don’t cut corners.” Rayners’ management conducted research into risk mitigation measures involving air purification and were impressed by Rensair’s patented combination of

technologies. Following a site visit from a Rensair expert, they ordered several units to cover all shared spaces, including lounge, dining and reading areas. “We had come across HEPA and UVC separately and Rensair’s ‘double whammy’ combining both technologies in one compact unit appealed to us”, said Jim Matthews, CEO. “The entrapment of particles prior to destruction with UVC is important, otherwise stray virus particles may still get through the system. The other key attribute was powerful air circulation”. Built in 1990, the Rayners establishment was the first purpose built care home in South Buckinghamshire and relies on natural ventilation. “With winter in sight, we knew that elderly people and cold air don’t mix, so air cleaning is the smart solution” continued Jim. “The Rensair units offer the perfect balance of efficiency and quietness. Some of the pure UVC units we acquired earlier are clackety by comparison, without delivering additional air circulation.” “The Rensair units are a resounding success”, said Chris . ”They filter and destroy all the other seasonal viruses and bacteria in addition to Covid-19 and give us clean air, truly a win-win situation.” For further information visit https://rensair.com/industries/care-homes/ or see the advert on this page.




THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 33

LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS

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

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

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

closely with clients to devise the solution best suited to their requirements; conducting comprehensive site-surveys, offering detailed CAD designs and always specifying the most appropriate, industry compliant machines. We choose our manufacturers extremely carefully to ensure that we are offering the highest quality of both product and service. For the care sector, hygiene is always of paramount importance and our commercial laundry equipment fully adheres to the relevant WRAS and CQC guidelines for infection control. We are proud to be Miele National Partner which enables us to offer market leading, energy efficient machines including a wide range of heat-pump dryers. All of our laundry equipment is available for rent, lease or purchase with maintenance. Our Complete Care rental solution gives access to premium equipment without upfront capital outlay and with no repair or replacement bills for the life of the contract. Clients are assigned a dedicated account manager who remains their point of contact, centralising all account management for a highly efficient process that keeps things simple for both procurement teams and care management staff. www.forbespro.co.uk info@forbes-professional.co.uk 0345 070 2335

Cash’s Labels- “The Name Behind the Name” At Cash's, we aim to capture, reinforce and communicate our clients’ brand equity through quality and innovation, from design to distribution. Our product range fully caters for the needs of both small and large retailers and brand owners alike comprising of woven and printed labels, woven badges, care labels, branded and promotional swing tags, garment accessories, packaging and barcoding. Our ground breaking labelling and security technologies are also able to provide an unrivalled level of protection to

our customers' brand by assisting to combat counterfeiting and grey market activity. Our industry leading eCommerce system is designed to reduce cost, improve efficiency and streamline supply chain management and will fully protect the integrity and accuracy of critical business data. The order entry process is very simple meaning suppliers and vendors can spend their valuable time on tasks other than ordering apparel labelling and accessories. See the advert this page for details.

For 10% discou nt on all woven an d iron-on nametapes, ad d CARE2022 at the checkout ! Valid to 30/04 /2022


PAGE 34 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

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

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

www.nursecallsystems.co.uk


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 35

NURSE CALL AND FALLS MONITORING

Why Ascom Took a Fresh Look at Fall Detection By Stuart Barclay, UK Sales Director, Vayyar Care (www.vayyar.com) When Ascom UK was looking for a fall solution to complement its advanced nurse call and resident response systems, the timing couldn’t have been better. I’d just got my feet under the table in my new role at Vayyar Care and knew that the UK telecare market was ready to take a smarter approach to falls management. Nursing homes and social care providers are crying out for new technologies that can enhance the protection people deserve, especially at times like these, when staffing resources are so stretched. Floor mats are a case in point. They can tell caregivers when a resident is up and about. But that’s it. When an at-risk resident gets out of bed, caregivers have to go running. They have zero visibility on whether help is actually needed or where in the room the resident is. That’s where Vayyar Care comes in. We call it a virtual caregiver in every room and that’s no overstatement. It scans the whole room 24/7, ensuring instant automatic fall detection. It’s a step change for care homes and social care providers. After a fall, many people can’t push a button or pull a cord. They might have forgotten to put on their fall detector that morning, or maybe they simply hate wearing it. And as for camerabased systems, well, would you want CCTV in your bathroom? What elderly people want is technology that respects their dignity, privacy and independence – holistic person-centred care. The Vayyar Care device uses 4D imaging based on radio waves. It sits on the wall

or ceiling, communicating constantly with the existing resident response solution over Wi-Fi. The fact that it integrates with many of the UK’s leading systems is crucial. It makes it quick, easy and painless for any care home or social care provider to get up and running. That was the case here. Ascom deployed Vayyar Care instead of floor mats alongside its Myco 3 enterprise-grade smartphones and the resulting pilot is well underway. We’re now proving the value of this unique touchless technology. Moving forward, we’re looking towards API integration with Ascom’s Smart Sense solution, supported by over-the-air software updates. That’s going to unlock the full capabilities of Vayyar Care for UK customers. I’m talking about sub-region presence detection that reveals how long people are spending in their beds and chairs, and how often they’re visiting the bathroom: precious data that indicates their level of mobility and overall wellbeing. And then there are imminent bed exit alerts, coming online later this year. Receiving a notification the moment someone sits up in bed will offer caregivers a golden window of opportunity to step in and assist. At the end of the day, Vayyar Care addresses both sides of the care equation: providing better protection and easing the burden on caregivers. If you’d like to know more, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to put some time in the calendar for us. stuart.barclay@vayyar.com

Assistive Technology Solutions from Medpage Medpage t/a Easylink UK is a company who have designed, manufactured, and distributed Assistive Technology solutions to aid independent and assisted living for over 35 years. We introduced the first wireless bed and chair leaving detection alarms into the UK market more than 25 years ago. During the Pandemic, against all odds, we launched a new brand of fall prevention and detection products. TumbleCare. TumbleCare products are simplistic, but effective, people sensors. The sensors detect a person in or out of their bed or chair, or physically falling. A warning notification is transmitted by radio signal to radio pagers, nurse call station, or over the internet to alert designated carers. Our philosophy over the years has not changed. To deliver

quality, reliability, and performance at realistic prices. We are key suppliers to the majority of Local Authorities throughout the UK and the NHS of fall prevention products. Our systems operate as stand-alone solutions or can integrate with most commercial nurse call systems. We offer attractive sales discounts for trade and volume buyers and provide free advice and help in developing a falls prevention strategy. Visit our website www.easylinkuk.co.uk and view our guide on wandering and falls or telephone our sales office on 01536 264869.


PAGE 36 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

NURSE CALL AND FALLS MONITORING

Specialist Pharmacist Leads Unique Pilot To Prevent Falls In Elderly Care Homes By Liz Butterfield, Immedicare (www.immedicare.co.uk) Specialist Pharmacist The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shine a spotlight on how we care for our elderly. The negative impact of the pandemic on care home residents has been immense, but there have also been glimmers of hope and opportunities to make positive transformations that improve integrated care now, and into the future. Nearly one year ago, NHS England asked primary care providers to increase their support for care homes.1 An important element of this was integrating a pharmacist into the care pathway and providing pharmacy and medication support such as structured medication reviews via telephone or video, supporting reviews of new residents or those recently discharged from hospital, and supporting care homes with medicines queries. Recent data suggests that some medications and combinations of treatments can contribute to an elderly person’s risk of falling.2-4 It is also well known that falls are the leading cause of emergency hospital admissions for older people5,6 and the most frequent reason for calling the telehealth clinical assessors for support and advice.7 During the pandemic, there was a clear and urgent need to protect care home residents from hospitalisation and the risk of hospital-related complications and infections, including COVID-19. To address the combination of these factors, Immedicare*, a clinical and technology partnership between Involve Visual Collaboration Ltd and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust (ANHSFT), took action. The idea was to undertake a pilot in the Bradford District and Craven area to reduce the risk of falls recurring in elderly care home residents through proactive medication reviews, and by doing so, reduce the negative impact falls have on the resident and local health services, such as hospitalisation. This was an area where I thought the expertise of a pharmacist, combined with the innovative technology of a telehealth service, could have a real impact. As a passionate advocate for the critical role pharmacists play in integrated care systems across the NHS, and with my experience in medicines optimisation for older people, I was keen to be involved in the pilot. When a resident falls in one of the 690 UK care homes where the telehealth service is in place, they receive an immediate virtual clinical assessment from a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team of specialist nurses based at ANHSFT. They determine whether the resident stays in their place of care or needs to be

admitted to hospital. Before the pilot was introduced, there was a significant unmet need in Bradford District and Craven. From 125 care homes in the area where the service was in place, there were 1,420 calls between March 2020 and February 2021 relating to falls. Following a virtual assessment, 89.3% stayed in their place of care without onward referral.7 While it is hugely beneficial for residents to receive expert clinical care in their home, there is a risk their medications are left unassessed, and a future fall may occur again and result in greater harm.2-4 This is where my unique role in the pilot comes in as it is my job to assess residents that remain in their place of care following a fall and identify those that are at a high risk of falling again. I then work directly with local GPs and care home pharmacists to optimise their medication and reduce their risk of a second, potentially more damaging, fall. The potential value of this approach is huge. Reviewing medications that are known to increase the risk of falls, and therefore reducing a person’s risk of falling, has significant benefits for the resident and local healthcare system. For the resident, it means protecting them from a stressful, disorienting hospital visit and reducing the risk of hospital-related complications and infections, such as COVID-19. For the local health system, it means reducing ambulance conveyances and emergency admissions. The approach is also fantastic for local care home and pharmacy communities, as it seeks to change the way care homes respond to their residents’ falls and ensure that a pharmacist’s input is a key component of the clinical assessment and rehabilitation plan. While the pilot is still in its infancy, early feedback from care homes, GPs and pharmacists in the Bradford region has been extremely positive and impact data is currently being collected on medication reviews and treatment adjustments following a fall. *Immedicare is a secure, video-enabled, clinical healthcare service linking care homes to the NHS with 24hour access to a highly skilled, multidisciplinary clinical team based at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. The service has been adopted by 690 UK care homes to date. References 1. https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/the-framework-for-enhanced-health-in-care-homes-v2-0.pdf (Last accessed May 2021] 2. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/file/933/download [Last accessed May 2021] 3. https://www.bgs.org.uk/resources/12-cga-in-primary-care-settings-patients-at-risk-of-falls-and-fractures [Last accessed May 2021] 4. Freeland KN, Thompson AN et al. Medication Use and Associated Risk of Falling in a Geriatric Outpatient Population. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2012; 46 (9):1188-1192 5. https://www.nhs.uk/Scorecard/Pages/IndicatorFacts.aspx?MetricId=8135 [Last accessed May 2021] 6. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/falls-applying-all-our-health/falls-applying-all-our-health [Last accessed May 2021] 7. Data on Immedicare file.


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 37

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

FALL SAVERS ® WIRELESS MONITOR

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

Benefits include:

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

Floor sensor mat Wireless door/window exit alerts

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

Features include:

Nurse Alert Mats Designed to combat the problem of residents who are inclined to walk undetected, the Nurse Alert Mat can help protect residents especially at night that are at risk of falls and accidents. When connected to a Nurse Call system or the mobile Floor Sentry Monitor it will then alert staff, sounding the alarm with a small amount of pressure thus enabling staff to investigate.

• Nurse Call Systems • Fire Alarm Systems • Door Access • Staff Attack • CCTV • Infection Control • Dementia Care • Electrical Contracting

Connects directly to most nurse call systems High Quality anti-bacterial Floor Sensor Pad Large Size Pad: Measures (L) 91cm x (H) 61cm Options (sold separately): Anti-slip mesh for hard surface floors See the advert on this page for further details or visit www.fallsavers.co.uk.

Lotus Care Technology 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 www.lctuk.com for details.

In addition The Floor Pressure Mat has a heavy non slip backing, It comes professionally sealed so can easily be cleaned for liquid spills and is fully serviceable.

INCLUDES A 12 MONTH GUARANTEE

sales@lctuk.com 0800 8499 121 www.LCTUK.com


PAGE 38 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Intelligent Care Software (ICS) If you are looking for a care management system which answers all of your quality, monitoring and compliance needs, then looks no further than Care is. Care is provides the intelligent software solution for care home and domiciliary care managers and owners looking to roll all of their care and management functions into one electronic platform. We know this to be true because unlike some other CMS’s Care is was conceived, designed, built and is managed by nurses, registered managers and care home owners. The ‘CARE is’ suite includes care and support, care planning platform, our policy app with over 200 high quality policies which are updated regularly and which also includes our supervision, appraisals and training record apps and our audit app which tem-

plates all the essential audits and includes a record of inspection visits. At Care is we can get you started on your journey from paper or another care management system with minimum fuss, plenty of support and all for what we believe to be good value for money. With eMAR, mandatory training and a complementary care certificate coming in 2022, there has never been a better time to get on board. https://careis.net

Check EU Employees Right To Work, Warns Bizimply

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

believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK. Details of the Settled Status regulations are at www.gov.uk/eusettledstatus. An employer toolkit is at www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit See the advert this page or visit www.bizimply.com



PAGE 40 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE Cloud Finance Software That is Helping Care Homes Thrive Healthcare organisations face unique challenges from cost containment and multientity reporting to new billing models and product offerings and a cloudbased accounting system allows you to better understand your organisation and succeed in the future. At Sage Intacct, we’re passionate about building accounting software that helps you better understand your business, maintain compliance, and succeed in the ever-evolving healthcare industry.

BUILT FOR HEALTHCARE

As healthcare grows in complexity, so does your organisation. You’re managing multiple locations and practices, navigating changing reimbursement methods, and initiating cost reduction initiatives, while manual processes are draining your productivity. You need insight into your growing breadth of financial and operational data, and we’ve built our healthcare accounting software with you in mind. We provide compliant financials with continuous consolidation across multiple offices, practices and locations. Sage Intacct healthcare customers have increased profitability by 30%

with better insight for informed decisions, realised 25% improvement in efficiency gains, and taken departmental reporting from 10 days to 10 minutes.

REAL-TIME VISIBILITY AND INSIGHTS

Sage Intacct’s real-time reporting allows you to understand and measure performance for both financial metrics and operational outcomes. Because every transaction in the system can be tagged with dimensions, finance professionals can sort, view, filter, and report on the specific information they need. With greater insight, our healthcare customers have reduced board budget reporting from three weeks to one hour and have improved revenues by 25% without adding additional headcount.

TRUE CLOUD TECHNOLOGY WITH OPEN API

True cloud technology with open API As an innovator in the cloud space, Sage Intacct’s multi-tenant, true cloud foundation brings robust technology infrastructure to your organisation, without the high costs of managing servers. Our open API lets you connect to existing systems or those you are considering in the future. This means you can leverage key data from electronic medical records, payroll, budget, CRMs (including Salesforce), and other systems to track key performance indicators. For more information on how Sage can help your business please visit: www.sage.com/en-gb/cp/intacct-carehomes/

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

USABILITY MADE AFFORDABLE

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

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


THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022 | PAGE 41

INSURANCE FOR CARE

A Guide to Care Home Insurance The building itself is just as important. If, for instance, the premises suffer a flood, how would the building hold? Would water cause damage to furniture? Would residents need to be temporarily rehomed? In extreme cases such as a fire or explosion, a total rebuild may be necessary, which would not only cost a considerable amount, but it could leave the business unable to operate and your residents in need of rehoming.

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION Business interruption insurance may also prove invaluable. This insurance is aimed at covering any increased costs of working or loss in gross revenue, as the result of an unexpected event. So, if you do suffer a flood or fire, sourcing an alternative property to operate from or employing temporary staff can be covered. Business interruption insurance can help you to pay your bills, retain your staff, and maintain your supplier and client relationships.

KEY MAN COVER Care home insurance falls into the specialist sector because there is no ‘one size fits all’. Not only does your insurance need to protect the care you give, but you also need to consider the regulatory bodies you adhere to, protection for your staff, as well as covering the premises and its contents. What’s more, care homes offer different types of care, from basic care and accommodation to respite, end-of-life and specialist care for dementia patients. Whatever type of care facility you operate, there are some basic covers that should form part of your care home insurance solution.

LIABILITY Liability insurance should be considered essential for your policy. Liability encompasses various types of cover: Employers’ liability is a legal requirement for anyone employing staff either paid or unpaid. If, for instance, one of your carers suffers an injury or loss due to your negligence or the negligence of the company, the carer may sue you. This covers you for any compensation costs and legal fees. Public liability although not a legal requirement, is similar to employers’ liability, relates to injuries or losses to members of the public. For instance, a resident’s family member may slip on an upturned carpet, or their car may be damaged by something you should have considered.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Unlike clinical treatment, care in a nursing home or care home is often to do with judgement as opposed to factual and evidential action. Your carers will be skilled in what they do and usually have several qualifications, but their decisions are often determined by best practice to ensure the resident or patient is as comfortable as they can be. Unfortunately, this means mistakes can creep in. A single mistake can have a disastrous effect, and the patient or their family may claim for medical malpractice. This cover aims to protect your team’s professional acumen, offering in-depth support and dealing with the legal costs.

Key Man Cover (or Key Person Cover) provides financial cover, should something happen to key personnel within your business. Most likely this is you as the business owner, or members of an executive leadership team who you class as crucial to the financial success of your business. If you or a key member of your team is absent due to the onset of a long-term illness or a permanent disability, or unexpectedly passes away, this form of life insurance could be vital to ensure the longevity of your business. Having key man cover in place reassures your team and those living within your care facility. By preparing for a worst-case scenario, you will be protecting your care home from potential risk and safeguarding its future – Key Man Cover is an invaluable and affordable investment for every care home owner to consider. Every care home is different, requiring different types and levels of cover based on individual needs. You need to partner with a reputable broker that will make sure that you have the right cover for your unique situation. For an industry which works on prestige, reputation and word of mouth, the right insurance is essential. It maintains your biggest assets—your staff and the residents you care for—whilst supporting you should something go wrong. At Barnes Commercial we offer specialist independent broking and risk management services for care home owners and care workers. You can learn more about how we support our clients with expert broking advice on our website: www.barnesinsurancebroker.co.uk Telephone 01480 272727 Email: enquiries@barnesinsurancebroker.co.uk

BUILDINGS AND CONTENTS Of course, your business is home for your residents or patients. Ensuring ample furniture is provided should be a necessity, from wardrobes and cupboards to tables and kitchen apparatus. If these are accidentally damaged, you are likely to need to replace them.

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

01480 272727

Impartial advice from experienced advisers

Exceptional service from a dedicated account executive

Let us help you to protect your business with a no obligation risk review today!

Market-leading products from A rated insurers

Send us an email: Visit our website: Follow us:

Support with claims

Guidance on risk management solutions including H&S and HR

enquiries@barnesinsurancebroker.co.uk www.barnesinsurancebroker.co.uk/care /barnes-commercial

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


PAGE 42 | THE CARER | JAN/FEB 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government Relaxes Rules to Add Care Workers to the Shortage Occupation List Aston Brooke Solicitors working in conjunction with Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, had urged the government to provide more support to stem the workforce crisis in adult social care, which included adding carers to the shortage occupation list. Care England wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, outlining the crisis in the sector and the steps required to be adopted by Government with immediate effect. Finally, the Government has relaxed immigration rules on care-worker jobs as the social care sector increasingly struggles to attract and retain key staff. This recent announcement means that the Government has finally recognised the voice of the sector and this important change builds on the government’s delivery of the new points-based immigration system introduced in January 2021.

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

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