Page 1

May 2009

incorporating The Number One magazine for the care sector

no.156 • £4.75 In association with

Home owner faces up to regulator By Dominic Musgrave AN ANGRY care home owner was forced to take on the might of the care regulator over the ‘adequate’ quality rating he received. Allen Heath, who runs Farriess Court in Derby, spent £3,000 on legal fees to get the grade improved to a ‘good’ after the then CSCI inspection claimed the home was failing over drug security, staff employment and residents’ privacy. He told Caring UK that he was forced to take the decision because the reasons for the lower rating for the 26bed home were, in his opinion, wrong. He said: “After getting my solicitor to write a letter to the commission pointing out their mistakes I got a phone call telling me the grading had been changed within a week. It cost me all that money, but I am not angry about that. I am angry because the bottom line is they got it wrong. “The regulator came back and said that I didn’t need to spend that money, but if I am telling them they are wrong I needed to have some clout behind me, and that meant involving my lawyer.” Allen said that if he had not appealed the decision he would have lost

thousands of pounds as Derby City Council pays more to higher rated homes. He added: “I spent the £3,000 on fees so they would listen, but the difference in stars equates to something like £5 per resident per week, which would probably mean around £7,000 over a year for a home like mine.” But Allen’s solicitor Stuart Marchant, who works for London care specialists Ridouts, says many owners are choosing not to challenge the regulator because they are scared of the possible repercussions. He added: “Many operators tell us they are scared of taking the inspectorate on, even though they are concerned about their report, because they don’t want to rock the boat. “At the same time, the care home operator needs to look after their business, and this can impact on them. Now that the reports are widely available to view online, many people looking to put a relative in a care home or not even considering one with either one or no stars.”  Are you scared of the care regulator? Let Dominic Musgrave know by ringing 01226 734407 or emailing

Reporters uncover chaos

Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips will host the annual Skills for Care Accolades ceremony, which celebrate the achievements of social care employers. The awards are a partnership between the workforce development agency and the Department of Health, and entries are invited from local authorities, private care homes, training providers, local colleges and individuals who provide high quality care or training.

TWO reporters worked undercover as home care workers for a BBC programme which exposed neglect and chaos in the sector. The Panorama ‘Britain's Homecare Scandal’ documentary uncovered carers on minimum wages – often with very little training – frequently frustrated by poor management. It also found evidence of missed and curtailed visits; failure to keep proper care plans – including inaccurate records of what medicines should be taken; and untrained staff using equipment such as hoists. ECCA chief executive Martin Green said: “The Government’s policy of keeping more people in the community must be underpinned by an understanding that this is not a cheap option. If it is done properly it requires a radical review of how services are commissioned.”  For further reaction to the programme turn to page 22.



Owners threaten legal action if fee cut goes ahead By Dominic Musgrave CARE home owners on the Wirral will take legal action if a scrutiny committee approves a council proposal to cut fees. The cabinet agreed to cut the fees for 2009/10 by 1.3 per cent of the 2008/09 rate following increasing pressure from operators. The new figure was agreed after director of adult social services John Webb performed a U-turn on proposals to reduce the money paid to homes by five per cent, and he says it would mean around four per cent more being paid than had been originally proposed. But Mike Vaughan, who runs Red Rocks Nursing Home in Hoylake and has been one of the leaders of the campaign, told Caring UK the plans would still mean a cut in fees that would leave them out of pocket, and inevitably lead to some homes closing. He said: “The 1.3 per cent pay cut that has been agreed is not enough, and in a few weeks it will be ‘called in’ by the Conservatives and put before a scrutiny committee, who will ensure that all considerations have been taken into account. “We will have a barrister with us, and

we hope that after we make our representations and have put forward our case that the committee will realise that the council has not done things properly and that they need to think again. “I can see some care home operators closing down and getting out if this new contract is accepted. Homes were already in economic crisis after the council gave us a take it or leave it contract in November which included a three per cent cut. Many were relying on an inflationary clause in it that in April would have given us a 4.7 per cent increase, and we see the council’s vote to not to give us that as a clear breach of contract.” But Wirral council has defended its decision, saying it still pays above the average for the North West. Moira McLaughlin, cabinet member for adult social services, said: “‘The current situation cannot be allowed to continue as it is not an efficient use of tax-payers money. Some care homes are currently operating with as little as 70 per cent bed occupancy which demonstrates an over provision of care home beds. “It is a very reasonable position that we have taken. We have listened to the care home owners’ concerns and have responded.” Advertising Sales and Marketing Director: Tony Barry Sales Manager: Jackie Brook National Sales Executive: Mandy Edwards Rachel Collins Tel: 01226 734333 Fax: 01226 734477 Telesales Executive: Karen Brooks Tel: 01226 734681

Publishers Wharncliffe Publishing Ltd. 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS. Email:

Editorial Group Editor: Andrew Harrod Tel: 01226 734639 Fax: 01226 734478 Healthcare Editor: Dominic Musgrave Tel: 01226 734407

Residents at a Basingstoke care home were treated to a visit by animals from a local farm. The grounds of HVHS Housing Group’s Basingfield Court were transformed into a miniature farmyard, including pens of goats, piglets, ducklings, guinea pigs, donkeys and sheep, which the residents were allowed to handle, stroke and feed. Manager Rachel Barry said: “It is very therapeutic for the residents and many of them invite their grandchildren along to share the afternoon with them.” Picture: Care co-ordinator Dave Jewell and resident Margaret Murray meet a sheep.

Reporters: Nicola Hyde Christina Eccles Mary Ferguson Louise Cordell Group Deputy Editor: Judith Halkerston Tel: 01226 734458 Database enquiries to Tel: 01226 734695 E-mail: circulation@ Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of all content, the publishers do not accept liability for error, printed or otherwise, that may occur.



A care home which has its own gym and a retirement village searching for its own Mr Motivator are just a few examples of how the industry is embracing fitness. Lyndsey Smith reports.

Wanted: Dynamic Mr Motivator MIDDLETON Hall retirement village is on the lookout for a Mr Motivator figure to inspire its residents to keep fit after spending £500,000 on a gymnasium, spa and pool. It wants someone to come in and structure fitness training programs for the residents, to inspire them to use the facilities and keep fit. Andrew Grimston, head of operations, said the coach would devise exercise classes as well as providing physiotherapy and support. He added: “It's a tall order but the right person must be out there. We have had some great candidates with experience of working with elderly people. “Experience outweighs everything else and we want someone dynamic who can come in and create programs that will inspire our residents.” Middleton offers residential care, complete care and assisted living with residents between 55 and 100 and Andrew said that fitness was becoming a big part of the caring industry. “It is all a part of the residents’ all round health and wellbeing and we

are taking it step by step. We are looking to Motor Motion for our gym equipment and also HUR – an air pressure system which means there are no weights, levers, wires or pulleys. It’s all very flexible. We will also have aromatherapy and treatment therapy.” The village had previously taken residents to a local hydrapool before deciding to invest in its own facilities. “This is a big step up for us and the first time we have had anything on this scale. We do a resident satisfaction survey annually and 65 per cent said they would be interested in using the facility so that makes it worthwhile for us.” Another residential home that has caught the fitness bug is Eden Cottage. Owners Maureen Horton and husband Ralph bought three pieces of cardiovascular equipment four years ago in a bid to keep themselves fit and eventually decided to move the treadmill, cross-trainer, and exercise bike to the care home instead. She added: “Our staff still use it but now our residents have latched on. The original equipment can be too difficult for some – the majority

Maureen in the foreground with Eden House deputy manager Sandra Hall helping 90-year-old Nancy Andrews on the treadmill of our residents are over 90 – so we decided to invest in smaller and more practical pieces as well, like mini weights, stability balls and balance boards.” The Hortons have turned two bedrooms into the gym after getting £8,000 from Darlington Borough Council to improve healthy lifestyles for residents. “The funding came has a great help and we have contributed ourselves to make this happen. A qualified gymnast has seen us

through every step of the way – helping with our risk assessment and she advised us on what equipment to get. She has also inducted every single person who uses it so everyone is safe.”  What do you think? Is fitness a crucial element in care today? Contact Dominic Musgrave on 01266 734407, email him at or send a letter to 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS.

Middleton Hall retirement village is on the lookout for a Mr Motivator figure to inspire its residents.



Placements suspended amid claims of neglect at home By Dominic Musgrave PLACEMENTS to a privately-owned care home have been suspended after claims that residents were neglected and mistreated. Merton Council’s head of adult services Terry Hutt took the decision after receiving complaints from social workers and members of the public about Eltandia Hall care home. He told Caring UK that he has also threatened the home’s owners Southern Cross that he will remove older people already living there if things do not improve. He said: “We have agreed an improvement plan with Southern Cross, which has given them various dates to do these tasks by. “We will review this again in a few weeks time, but I will only consider lifting the suspension and begin making placements again once I see evidence of sustained improvement over a period of time. “All of the residents currently living here have been individually assessed and, although I’m not looking at it yet, I am prepared to move people to other homes if things do not get better.” The main complaints received by

the council about the 83-bed home involved concerns about bedsores on patients, pressure care and wound management, problems delivering medication and bed sores. Terry added: “Southern Cross are working with us and have made changes, but I have called on the Care Quality Commission (formerly CSCI) to carry out an unannounced assessment at the home. “This will take place over the next few weeks to gather evidence of what improvements are being made. We

are not just going to take the group’s word for it.” A spokesperson for Southern Cross added: “Following a recent meeting with Merton Council we have agreed on a temporary suspension on new admissions to the home. “Management at the home are working closely with Merton Council, the commission and social services and a comprehensive action and improvement plan will be implemented in order to address any concerns raised.”

Terry Hutt

‘A third of recommendations already acted upon’ MORE than a third of the recommendations made in a damning report into council-managed care homes in Merton have already been acted upon and new measures implemented, it has been claimed. The study, carried out by the council's healthier communities and older people overview and scrutiny panel, found hygiene lapses, inaccurate records, allegations of violence and staff drinking alcohol at work. But head of adults services Terry Hutt told Caring UK that eight of the 23 recommendations made in the report had been dealt with, and that

the council were advertising a new role within the team. He added: “The council, the care commission and the PCT responded to the recommendations made in the report, and some of them have already been implemented. As part of the budget we have put some money aside for a new role within the department. We have now advertised for a new safeguarding officer job at the council to address issues within the older people’s services.” And he said plans are in place to act on the other recommendations made in the report.

Terry added: “Some of the other requirements require a more coordinated approach, such as training, but we have invited staff to participate in a variety of courses, and we will extend that out even further. “Independent homes may not have the budget that some of the larger providers have to make some of the changes required, such as changing the carpets because there is a smell of urine. But we as a council will do all we can to support these homes and will try and make some finances available for these sort of repairs and refurbishments.”



Minister agrees to look into home closure

Poorly-rated homes will not receive placements

A JUNIOR health minister has vowed to look into events leading up to the closure of a care home in Scotland. Shona Robison had previously rejected calls by Scottish parliament member Iain Gray for a public inquiry into how it handled the closure of Cockenzie House in East Lothian. But she has now reversed her decision after a delegation handed her a dossier of information, demanding answers. She said: “I understand how upsetting it can be for residents when the care home, which has become their home, closes. I have agreed to consider further some of the points of particular concern.” Cockenzie House Nursing Home closed last April following critical reports from the Care Commission. An independent report by Peter Daniels was damning of how the council handled the closure. Iain Gray added: “I do not make calls for public inquiries lightly, but I made clear to Ms Robison that the families and staff affected by the closure need answers. Issues they have concern about include the seemingly very high mortality rate of residents affected by the closure, the methodology of the Care Commission and whether East Lothian Council acted in the best interests of the welfare of the residents and delivered value for money for taxpayers. We need to get to the bottom of the closure so that families can begin to move on.”

By Dominic Musgrave CARE homes with a poor rating in Dorset will no longer receive placements from the county council. And those homes who receive a one-star adequate rating will only receive placements ‘with caution’ as the council aims to raise the standards of care in the county. Head of adult services commissioning Gill Slade told Caring UK that the move had been brought in as councils face increased scrutiny of the placements they make from CSCI. She said: “Some home operators didn’t like the decision we made, but we have had to do something because the regulator is looking very closely at where we place people and the balance of our placements. “I know of one local authority that lost a star for continuing to place in poor homes, and we don’t want that here. We cannot take the risk of placing people in poor care homes. Adequate care homes we will treat with caution, and our department will record the level of failures or risks in the system and assess each individual case accordingly.” A team of monitors has been set up to work closely with operators of low grade homes, and Gill said they

Frank Ursell will move residents already living in these facilities if they feel they are at risk. “We will do risk assessments of the residents already living in a home that gets a poor or adequate rating to see if their needs are being met,” she added. “If we feel it is necessary we will move them out into other homes, but in some cases it could have an adverse affect if the resident is very frail. “The team will visit the home and do a report on it. We will then work with them to try and improve the grades. Some of the major issues that keep cropping up are care plans, staffing and training, particularly with dementia.” But Frank Ursell, CEO of the Registered Nursing Homes Association, has criticised the

decision, saying councils have not thought about the long term consequences of their actions. He added: “If a 30-bed home is no longer receiving placements from the council their numbers will gradually diminish to the point that they become a 20-bed facility which is no longer viable. “The operator then decides to close the home, which would mean a lot of people out of work when jobs are at a premium in this difficult financial climate. “What would then happen to the residents at these homes if they close? “There has been no consideration for social care in this. “It is simply a focus on budgets – buying as much as possible as cheap as possible.”

Prestigious award presented to Tunbridge Wells care home A KENT care home has received a prestigious award for the way it looks after its staff and residents. Mount Ephraim House in Tunbridge Wells has been awarded the Investors in People standard after manager Karen Cooper successfully steered the organisation through a period of change. She joined the home, which has 38 residents, in November 2007 after the rating had dropped, and discovered a number of problems including a lack of trained staff, records that were not being kept and care practice requirements not being met.

Karen said: “We had experienced a very difficult year with an enormous amount of changes taking place so when it came to our Investors in People assessment, I didn’t think we would achieve the standard but I’m delighted that we did. It has helped to give me a good perspective on how far we have come in the last year. Instead of thinking about all the drastic changes we have had to make and not realising the benefits, we have gained a sense of achievement.” The home received a ‘good’ rating from CSCI at its most recent inspection.

Home’s plans fall flat A CARE home’s plan to showcase its facilities to potential residents on Mothers’ Day fell flat when no-one responded to the promotion. The Kensington Care Home in Immingham launched a competition for sons and daughters to nominate their elderly mothers in the community to win a prize for being ‘the best mum in the world’, with the contestants being invited to the home for a special dinner with residents. As the women had to be over 70, it was a chance for the home to show its services to those who may be considering residential care in the

near future. But deputy manager Vanessa Cole told Caring UK that no-one nominated their mothers – because they didn’t know about the competition. She said: “We ran an ad for it in the local paper but they printed it too late so no-one entered. The plan was for six mothers to enjoy a nice champagne dinner and trifle and get a bouquet of flowers, then we would choose one to be crowned best mum in the world. We ended up inviting the mother-in-law of one of our carers but there was no-one to join her.”



Death home owners cleared of wrongdoing By Dominic Musgrave THE OWNERS of an Oxfordshire care home at the centre of an inquiry after half of the residents died in the space of just two weeks have been cleared of any wrongdoing. The individuals all died of natural causes, an inquiry has found. Oxfordshire County Council said there was no direct link between the heating breakdown at the Crown Nursing Home in Harwell and the deaths of the pensioners, who all died between January 9 and 25. The home’s central heating broke down on Boxing Day and was not fixed until January 5. A spokesman for the council said: "As a result of the detailed look there was no evidence to suggest a direct link between the breakdown of the central heating at the nursing home and the sad deaths of people living there, who all died of natural causes. “Alternative heating was provided by the privately-run home and the quality of care provided by staff during this period was found to be of Charlie Dimmock with the home’s manager Pauline Goh

New Chelmsford home blossoming CELEBRITY gardener Charlie Dimmock officially opened a new care home in Chelmsford. She was joined by the city’s Mayor and Mayoress Tom and Jane Willis and bishop John Gladwin at Care UK’s Manor Lodge, while children from two local schools gave performances of singing and dancing. The 120 en suite bedrooms have been arranged in small groups of 15 or 20 bedrooms, each with its own dining and relaxation areas, while the site also boasts a cinema, café, hairdressing and therapy room. During the open day, Charlie

viewed the landscaped gardens and raised flowerbeds, which will allow gardeners to continue pursuing their hobby. Tony Hosking, managing director of residential care services, said: “This is a state of the art home, with magnificent residential facilities and gardens for residents, their families and our staff to enjoy. “We look forward to welcoming residents to the new home and to building a thriving community where residents can stay active and make their own decisions about what they do and how they spend their time.”

a good standard. “A further review of the case will be undertaken by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board so that any further learning to be derived from the circumstances of this case can be disseminated to other care providers in Oxfordshire." Owners Southern Cross said the residents, who included 107-year-old Elizabeth ‘Queenie’ Carpenter, died from “individual chest-related illnesses”. A spokesperson for the home said: “The staff and residents of the home are saddened by the deaths of these residents at the start of the year. “All regulatory authorities are aware of the deaths and there is no concern over the cause of each death. “The average age of each resident was 93 years old, and all had been happily living in the home for some years. “Management at the home have evaluated their infection control procedures, which were of the highest standard, and are reviewing newly issued NHS guidelines.”

‘Up Close & Personal’ theme for annual ECCA conference By Nicola Hyde ‘UP Close & Personal’ is the theme for the annual ECCA conference and exhibition in November. The Boots sponsored event, at the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury on November 12, will look at the Government’s personalisation agenda and explore in detail what it means for care providers. Chief executive Martin Green said: “Personalisation may be at the heart of government policy,

but what is the best way to deliver it? “This event will allow care providers to find out the latest thinking from some of the key figures in policy and practice and hopefully provide answers to some of the key questions. “For example, what will it cost and where will the resources to fund it come from?” Discounts are available for early bookings.



Scottish operators sign up for newsletter MORE than 5,000 Scottish care operators have signed up to receive an online electronic newsletter from the Care Commission. A regularly updated bulletin called Care News Online has been launched to accompany the watchdog’s quarterly magazine, which features report on best practice and changes in the sector and goes to 22,000 homes. Editor Sarah Wilkie said: “We want to keep changing and using new technology to better communicate with anyone interested in care issues, so we are really pleased with the response. “Last year we asked our readers exactly how they wanted to receive the magazine. “While 94 per cent told us they still wanted the hard copy, more than half said they’d also be happy to view an electronic version.”

Hate mail for owner over extension plans By Dominic Musgrave A DEVON operator has been forced to abandon plans to extend her home after a hate mail campaign from angry objectors. Pauleen Maitrise, who has run Kent Farm in Cullompton for four years, has been left thousands of pounds out of pocket after shelving plans to add a 10-bed dementia unit on the back of the home. She believed the extension would have satisfied a demand for dementia facilities in the area and told Caring UK she was disappointed to have to pull the plug after incurring £13,000 in fees for architects and solicitors. Pauleen said: “There is a big gap for dementia in this area so I thought I would develop a specialist unit here, with the backing of the local GPs.

“I put my plans on the board at the council and planned an open evening at the home for all local parties, and offered them a presentation but only one person attended. I then found out that more than 100 letters had been sent to local neighbours, calling on them to protest about the plans, and the basis of their argument was car parking.” She immediately got in touch with a solicitor about the letters but was told they could do little about it unless she had the name of the person sending the letters. Pauleen added: “A second round of letters then went out about my plans that were even stronger, and were personal and nasty. They said people should protest on the grounds of pets’ and children’s safety, and had some inaccurate information about

my plans in them. “A planning officer did a site visit and told me that if I made several changes to my original plans then they should get passed, but when the architect came back with the amendments it looked more like a prison and the rooms like hen huts. “The quality product I wanted to build with high ceilings and big windows was gone, and there was no way that I was going to build this. It is very disappointing, and what people don’t realise is that it costs a lot of money, but thankfully the bank have supported this. “I’m now thinking about buying a second home, but it all depends if I can find the right one of the highest quality. I don’t want to have to sell Kent Farm to fund buying a bigger one because we are in demand here.”

Heatwave guidelines to be issued for care homes GUIDELINES for care homes to safeguard their residents during a heatwave are to be launched by the Department of Health. Advice includes ensuring the provision of cool rooms or areas and creating cooling spaces, insulating buildings and applying reflective

coatings to windows and walls. A spokesman for the Department of Health told Caring UK: “The Heatwave Plan, as guidance, does not contain requirements. The Care Homes Regulations and National Minimum Standards include requirements that the care home

environment must be safe and comfortable and meet residents' needs. “Heating, lighting, water supply and ventilation in care homes must also meet relevant environmental and health and safety requirements.”



New owner serves new food policy By Dominic Musgrave

Author and MP Ann Widdecombe was the latest celebrity to visit the Nightingale Care Home in Clapham. She joined 40 residents at the facility for a lively debate about British life, with topics including knife crime, establishing a zero tolerance

policy within the police force, the Government’s management of the recession and the controversial issue of Holocaust denial.  Ann is pictured chatting with one of the residents.

A BUSINESSMAN who has bought his first care home has introduced a new food policy to combat malnutrition. Raj Nahal says the first change he made at Admorre House in Seaton Sluice was a new purchasing plan to ensure all the food is locally sourced. He said: “Going to the wholesalers is all right for toilet rolls but not for food. I want to make sure the residents eat healthy, and one of the first things I did was get a butcher on board to deliver our meat, a grocer to bring our fruit and vegetables and to make sure the fish we serve here is of the finest quality.” Raj, who owns a petrol station and other property in the North East, has also employed a full-time maintenance person to ensure the home is up to scratch. He added: “If a door handle breaks and needs replacing I don’t want it to take days to get fixed so I have put our handyman on a full-time contract to make sure any problems get fixed straight away.” He spent 18 months considering more than a dozen sites in Yorkshire and the North East before settling on the 17-bed home by the coast. Now, he expects to purchase a second home to add to his portfolio

Admorre House in Seaton Sluice within the next six months. He said: “One of the selling points to me about this home was the location and whether people would want to be here. This was probably the sixth or seventh home I visited, and it kept coming back to me. “There is a homely feel that a lot of the homes I looked at which had better star ratings than here do not have. “That is the most important thing to me. I always work on the theory of whether I would be happy to put my parents in here, and I’m glad to say that I would. I can expand in future, but at the moment I just want to offer a more personal service.”

Venue set for NCA annual conference in November THE National Care Association’s annual conference and exhibition will be held at Alexandra House in Swindon in November. Chief executive Sheila Scott OBE said: “There are massive challenges confronting the care sector – so this year's conference is expected to again be lively and controversial.

“It will be a vital opportunity for NCA members and non-members to listen to and cross examine representatives of Government, civil service and national organisations, and meet with fellow care home professionals.” The event takes place on November 11 and 12.

Food hygiene success is great compliment to Joyce MAIDS Moreton Hall care home in Aylesbury has become the fourth Fremantle Trust facility to receive a five-star rating for its food hygiene as part of the Government’s Scores on the Doors scheme. Home manager Lynn Winkworth said: “We have worked very hard to ensure that our food hygiene

standards are tip top and that our residents receive well prepared, well balanced, appetising meals which they have had a choice in selecting. “This award is a great compliment to cook Joyce Neil and her support staff and it is highly pleasing for us to receive it.”



Firm installing evacuation chairs

Sunrise Senior Living UK

SUNRISE Senior Living UK has begun introducing stairway evacuation chairs from Evac+Chair International into all 25 of its homes. They form an integral part of the company’s emergency building evacuation plan, assisting it to comply with Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005. The chairs are intelligently designed, using continuous rotating v-belts to provide smooth and controlled descent over stair nosings in proportion to passenger weight. This enables a single user to evacuate a mobility impaired person down stairs and out to safety in an emergency. Sunrise Senior Living UK’s fire safety advisors, Quality Fire Safety Management Ltd, were responsible for specifying the Evac+Chairs. A spokesman for the company said: “All our staff have a fire service background and so have experienced the difficult reality of trying to evacuate people who need to be

carried down stairs when dealing with a fire. The Evac+Chair is an excellent solution and an excellent product. It is quick, comfortable, safe and reliable and does not require exceptional strength to operate.” The homes, which accommodate 80-100 residents, all have sprinkler systems, lowering the likelihood of the need for complete evacuation in a fire. Two Evac+Chairs were required for the majority of the homes for reasonable compliance. Evac+Chair International also offers a complete aftersales back-up service to ensure customers remain compliant with regulations such as the Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulation (1998), giving peace of mind under the ServiCare© maintenance programme. Sunrise is undertaking the company’s key trainer masterclass© programme, which enables employees who attend to train others.

Inspections ‘using out-of-date figures’ SOME fire services are using out-ofdate figures as the basis for care home inspections, it has been claimed. Tom Welland, fire services manager at Fireco, told Caring UK that the ‘two-and-a-half minute rule’ was used before the advent of fire regulations and fire engineering, but is not part of fire law and is not referred to in the Residential Care Premises guide. He said: “I do know of people who use this figure because there’s no

other way to benchmark evacuation from a room or compartment – unless you fire engineer the means of escape. “Although, to evacuate an entire care home to ‘ultimate safety’ in 2.5 minutes is, I would suggest, impossible – except for the very smallest of homes. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order states ‘the ability of staff to conduct an evacuation of each protected area with 2.5 minutes is a starting point upon which to make assessments.”



Wireless solution chosen LEADING care home management specialists BML Healthcare Ltd has bought more than 40 Dorgard fire door hold open devices to ease access for residents and staff in walk-through areas throughout its managed care homes. Dorgard from Fireco is the wireless solution that offers the simplest, most costeffective way of legally holding open fire doors safely in any position, automatically releasing them should the fire alarm sound. A spokesman for BML Healthcare Ltd said: “The company has installed Dorgard fire door hold open devices throughout our managed properties to satisfy both our duty of care and to provide residents and staff with a neat and safe solution to meet their needs.” There are more than 275,000 Dorgards installed across the UK. The Dorgard range is the solution to the illegally wedged open fire door problem, in any environment that complies fully with all relevant British standards and EU directives.

Product ‘do not rely on the physical strength of operator’

The hold open devices ease access for residents

SWALLOW evacuation and mobility products has a large range of products for customers with disabilities and also for evacuation purposes. The huge advantage is that they do not rely on the physical strength of the operator, meaning helpers or buddies are happy and confident when using them. A Swallow spokesman said: “We are an experienced and committed company who want to improve the experiences for people, in as many situations as possible. “We believe we can provide a solution for your specific situation as we believe that one product can’t cover all situations. Our range covers basic downward evacuation to a powered mobile lift (SuperTrac) that will take motorised wheelchair and also for moving bariatric people.” The range includes:  Chairs that people can be transferred into - these can go up and down stairs and a model is available for spiral and flared stairs.  Chairs that the user in their non motorised wheelchair can be attached to.  A ‘mobile lift’ that a motorised wheelchair and its user can be taken up and downstairs as well as normal transfer.  A plastic security chair or wheelchair which can be used in ‘wet areas’.  A plastic chair with large wheels that can be taken onto a beach and also into the sea.  A plastic bariatric chair that can take people up to 200 kilos. The company will be showing their range at the Fire & Rescue Show at the Birmingham NEC on May 12-14, hall two stand R30.



Council suspends placements at criticised home By Dominic Musgrave

Janet Simpson from the Halle receives flowers from resident Elsie Parker watched by artist in residence Sarah Edwards.

Orchestra strikes a chord A GROUP of residents from a Wales care organisation put on a performance with a leading orchestra. The concert at Pendine Park in Wrexham was the culmination of a series of creative music workshops with the world famous Hallé, and featured residents from each of the organisation’s six homes. Using water as its main theme, the culmination performance was a

Tea cosy breaks world record RESIDENTS at Bupa care homes nationwide and overseas have helped to set a new world record for the biggest tea cosy. The record was attempted to raise awareness of the group’s ‘Communitea Week’, a giant tea party which helps tackle the problems of isolation and loneliness in older people. It took 64.8km of wool to knit the giant tea cosy, which is made up of 1924 individual squares and stands at 3.9 metres tall and 11.1 metres in circumference. Director of Bupa care homes, Dean Cowley, said: “Communi-tea Week offers the perfect excuse to put on the kettle and could make a real difference to anyone who may be struggling on their own.”

multi-media experience involving three special compositions, art work, photography and poetry. The project was the result of links with Arts and Business Cymru, whose mission is to bring the worlds of business and the arts together. The home’s artist-in-residence Sarah Edwards said the music workshops and ‘magical’ finale had exceeded her expectations. She added: “We have not tried anything quite like this before and nobody could anticipate how it would work, or whether it would work, so to see the look on the residents’ faces made all the hard work worthwhile. It was magical – the residents felt it, the staff felt it, the musicians felt it and the audience felt it. We all got something out of it and you can’t put a price on that.”

NEW placements to a Workington care home which has been accused of putting its residents at ‘serious risk’ have been suspended by the county council. A pharmacist inspector found in January that, despite improvements being made to the way medicines were stored, drug record-keeping at the privately-run Stilecroft home was so bad that some of the 44 residents were at risk of being given double doses. The problem was one of several errors identified in the CSCI report. Others included:  Medication records not being signed by staff, so that it was not clear whether they had been given or not.  Doctors’ prescribed doses not being followed.  Medicines could not always be accounted for.  Staff relying on memory to complete records.  Some records being duplicated, creating a risk of doubling up medication. The report said staff who administer medication must be given further training and are assessed as competent. Gareth Cosslett, spokesman for Cumbria County Council, said: “New admissions have been suspended at Stilecroft since the report came out, and until we are happy that the

issues raised have been addressed then we won’t be putting new people in the home. “We have been helping the home to draw up an action plan to follow. We are not just leaving them to make the improvements on their own, and at this stage there are no plans to move people out who are currently living at the home out. That would be a huge decision for us to take and one that we would not take lightly.” Local MP Tony Cunningham says he is monitoring the situation after several constituents with relatives at the home made him aware of the problems. He added: “I visited the home recently and spent an hour there talking to the staff and residents. A lot of the residents told me that it is a wonderful place. “The home has a new manager, whom I also spoke to. She has only been there for a month, and I told her that the only way we could have a reasonable discussion was if she admitted that there were problems there in the past. “She told me that she has put a lot of work in at the home since taking over. She agreed to invite me back in two or three months to tell me what improvements have been made.” A spokesman from Stilecroft (MPS) Ltd, which runs the home, said they were unable to comment as the matter was with their solicitors.

Lock allows software to control access MANY care homes are required to keep their entrance doors locked at all times in order to avoid any residents wandering out, but also in some cases to prevent infection and cross-contamination. Aside of using standard key locks, many homes choose to have a pincode entry system that allows people who know the pin number to let

themselves in or out. The drawbacks with these entry systems are that they are impersonal and anyone knowing the pin number can access or exit the home without any controls. The Virdi-Lock works on the same principle as the pin-entry systems, but uses either a fingerprint or a smart card to identify the person.

It can be used as a stand-alone system or, for maximum control, it can be connected to the Elderly Care System (ECS) care management software via a local network. As both the fingerprint and smart card are unique, it allows the software to control who has access in and out of the home and when.



Claim that Welsh operators who opt out of care standards scheme will be left behind By Mary Ferguson CARE home operators who do not sign up to a new care standards scheme in Wales will be left behind, it has been claimed. Mario Kreft, chief executive of Care Forum Wales – one of the main instigators of the Memorandum of Understanding for Social Services – told Caring UK that it is in service providers’ interests to sign up the the scheme as the country bids to raise the standards of it services. “Those who do not agree to this will be left on the sidelines,” he said. “If an operator has 100 per cent privately funded people in their care and wants to do his or her own thing then it is up to them. “If a care home didn’t sign up to this then what they are really saying is that they don’t want to be part of any commissioning and planning of future services. “It wouldn’t be a good business decision for not only them but for their workforce and the residents. “The government has shown its commitment to this by giving £12m a year to provide training and support for people who

provide services, so on the one hand if you are taking part of the money then surely you would want to be part of the club.” There will be a small cost involved to join the scheme, but Mario was unable to confirm how much it would be. “This is a Welsh Assembly document so because it has come from them there will be some cost involved,though it will probably equate to something like a cup of tea a day,” he added. “The purpose of this is to put together a professional structure for the commissioning of services, rather than it being five or six people meeting in a pub each month to discuss the sector. “We are never going to please everybody, but the question you have to ask is that if an operator feels this is not for them then what they are really saying is that they don’t want to contribute to the commissioning and planning of services in future.” A new website will be launched in the near future, informing people of which schemes have signed up to the agreement, while information meetings will also be held.

Mario Kreft



Care providers should have a specialist dementia champion to cope with the rising numbers of people with the condition, it has been claimed. Dominic Musgrave found out more

Barbara Hobbs

Call for dementia champions BARBARA Hobbs, head of community care at Audley, which provides domiciliary care as well as operating a number of retirement villages, says more should be done to improve the lives of both the person with the condition and their carer. She told Caring UK it is time the Government stopped spending money on reports and made more funding available to raise the standard of care. Barbara said: “There have been numerous reports into the condition since 2001, some of which have been very useful, but not a lot has moved forward. I believe that many care organisations are merely paying lip service to the issue. “I think the way forward is for all care homes or homecare agencies to have a specialist dementia champion who keeps up to date with what is happening and can also inform all staff of what they need to know by running informative training programmes. “They should also be a good communicator who is willing to stand up and point out to other carers what they are doing wrong. It would be such a rewarding role.” She says a simple, personal approach is required to improve a person with dementia’s quality of life, and called for all dementia training to be standardised and delivered by specialists in the field. Barbara added: “Some operators are only putting their staff through dementia training or buying the

‘I think the way forward is for all care homes or homecare agencies to have a specialist dementia champion who keeps up to date with what is happening’ necessary DVD because the care inspectorate is telling them they have to. “This is not the way forward, and the watchdog should be looking closely at what sort of training is being provided. “Not all operators can afford to put their all managers through expert courses from the likes of the Alzheimer’s Association, but more should be done to make good quality training and support available to care staff.” But before any progress can be made, Barbara said raising public awareness and a general change of attitude towards dementia is required in the UK. She added: “We need to get back to the core values and delivering a more personalised service. Talking to the person as an individual and finding out about them – everything about how they like their cup of tea to what they did for a job – is a good start. “There are some excellent models in countries like Australia, New Zealand and across Europe that we can learn from, to make sure our elderly can maintain their dignity throughout.”

Service offers ‘safety net of support and care’ BARBARA says Audley Care strives to offer a personalised service to its clients both at its retirement villages and through its homecare service. She told Caring UK many people are now choosing to move into an extra care scheme as they offer a safety net of support and care services. Barbara added: “We are finding that the average age of our clients is around 81, and our services include everything from doing their shopping to feeding the cat if they have to go into hospital, which can give them peace of mind and make them less anxious. “We offer care and support in a

safe and secure environment. Just because a person has dementia doesn’t mean that they don’t have any aspirations. A person may want to do something as simple as going for a drink to a coffee shop or catching a train, and that is something we can offer as part of a care package.” She said allowing a person with dementia to stay independent and not having to move into a care home is very rewarding for the carer. Barbara added: “It enriches not only the person’s life but the carer’s too. People can have a career in care, and those that are happy with the job they are doing tend not to leave the industry.”


Nominated for award: Tina Smit

Tina visited sick resident on days off By Louise Cordell A NEW Forest care assistant who visited a sick resident on her days off has been nominated for an award for her dedication. Tina Smit, lead care assistant at The Shelbourne in Sway, has been shortlisted for Hampshire The County Magazine’s carer of the year accolade after being put forward by her managing director. On her days off she regularly sat with residents John Charlton, who was terminally ill with cancer, and his wife Barbara, despite her teenage son being posted out to Afghanistan with the Royal Marines’ logistics corp. She said: “I was shocked to hear that I had been nominated because I knew nothing about it. Whether I win the award or not I’m not too worried. Just knowing that I am appreciated is enough for me. “I was off duty when John took a turn for the worse, but wanted to be there to give support to them both. I just sat with them and we talked and drunk copious amounts of tea. “It was a difficult time for me also, but I got through it as I always do by thinking positive, knuckling down

and just getting on with it.” Ken Waterhouse, who nominated her for the award, said: “This meant so much to the resident and his wife and she helped to make this difficult time manageable for the people around. “While this was a very sad time Tina managed to put on a brave face when appropriate and treat residents and other team members in a sensitive manner.” Tina moved to the Shelbourne when it opened last May, and spends most of her time looking after residents with dementia in the ‘Nostalgia Neighbourhood’. She says her only regret is that she did not become a carer at a younger age, having only done it for the past three-and-a-half years. Tina added: “I look after my elderly aunt who lives on her own having been a widow for a long time. I do a lot for her, but only really thought about changing careers when one of my friends suggested it to me “I’ve never looked back since and love looking after people. I love my job and could not think of doing anything else.”

Home plans for derelict site in Luton PLANNING permission has been secured for a 70-bed care dementia home on a derelict site in Luton. The project, which will provide specialist nursing and dementia

care for older people, is one of a number of care home schemes that planning consultancy RPS is pursuing on behalf of Cardiff based Castleoak care developments limited.




Ministers who back individual budget plans are labelled ‘mad’ Pat Sanford receives her award from South Oxfordshire District Council's chairman Colin Daukes

Care home celebrates A CARE home is celebrating after scooping a South Oxfordshire district council healthy choice award. Pat Sanford, catering manager at Sanctuary’s Watlington care home, was nominated for the award following a spot check inspection by one of the council’s environmental health officers. The facility was judged on strict criteria, including general hygiene, structure and confidence in management. The award means the home will qualify for the highest five star ‘excellent’ rating in the council’s Scores on the Doors food hygiene scheme, which is being launched in June.

PLANS to give elderly people more of a say in the care they receive will not save money, the head of a leading association has claimed. Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association, says care homes have always been delivering a personal service, and that the Government is wasting money putting together plans for individual budgets. “I have been involved in the care sector for many years, and have always believed that I have been delivering a personal service,” she added. “When an elderly person moves into a home we put a care plan together and then sit with staff to set out their needs. We look at the individual as an individual and then deliver their personal needs. “Ministers who think this is a better way of delivering care are mad, and no way will it be cheaper than the current system. They have lost the plot and should put the money they are spending back into the care system and let us deliver what we do. “If we are doing wrong then they should tell us what we are doing

Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association needing more money for training,” wrong, but nobody went into the she added. care system to deliver a poor service, “The recruitment and retention and it should now be funded problem in the care sector has not appropriately. gone away, but if a service is in it for “Local authorities need to the long haul then they need to get it concentrate on delivery more.” right, and they should be respected Nadra, who was speaking at the for getting it right. Care Show in Bournemouth, also “It is time for the head banging to called on care home operators to stop and for the sector to have demand extra money from local confidence in what it does.” authorities for staff development  Do you agree with Nadra? Let when they are negotiating fees with Dominic Musgrave know your their commissioners. thoughts by ringing 01226 734407 or “In the annual process I believe by emailing people are not saying enough about


Operations manager Debbie Thomson, care centre manager from neighbouring Roby House Anne Cowgill and manager Debbie Wilson receive a bouquet of flowers at the opening from the Mayor of Knowsley.

Residents ‘need to be stimulated’ A SPECIALIST activities programme which features music, movement and games is being developed for residents at a newly opened dementia care facility in Huyton. The events at Roby Lodge have been put together by the home’s manager Debbie Wilson and her deputy Lesley Vaughan based on a review with the residents and their families prior to the opening. Debbie told Caring UK that keeping residents with dementia stimulated is vital for their future well being. She said: “People with dementia need to be stimulated, and by keeping the brain active we can slow the deterioration process, rather than having them just sitting in front of the television. “We are putting together a pro-

gramme to meet our clients’ need based on our findings from the relatives, which will include everything from bingo and gardening to trips out.” It is also using the Sonas sensory programme, which stimulates residents’ senses using smells, taste and music. Debbie added: “We use various music - everything from classical to country and western, stuff from the sixties to the old time songs. It relaxes the residents, as does the armchair aerobics class that we have also brought into the the home.” The 40-bed facility, which was opened by mayor of Knowsley Michael Foulkes, also has a relaxation therapy room which includes sensory equipment.




A BBC investigation into the UK’s domiciliary care services has discovered carers on minimum wages, often with very little training. Dominic Musgrave reports on the effects the programme could have on the sector.

Industry responds to Panorama claims MISSED and curtailed visits and a failure to keep proper care plans were just some of the issues that the Panorama programme ‘Britain's Homecare Scandal’ exposed. Reporters worked undercover for two months for Care UK, which has 48 care contracts with local authorities, mainly in England, and Carewatch, which describes itself as the fastest growing social care provider in the country. Its York office hired a Panorama journalist and allowed her to work without waiting for her Criminal Records' Bureau check to clear. But the company has hit back at the programme, saying it failed to report that the company had been taken over by new management shortly before the undercover reporter started work. A spokesman said: “Carewatch Care

Services Ltd is very disturbed that the BBC Panorama programme examining home care did not present a balanced view of the industry in general and Carewatch’s service for the City of York Council in particular. “Poor editing of the programme also gave the impression certain service users were with Carewatch York when they were actually the responsibility of other providers. “A client satisfaction survey carried out by Carewatch in York since the Panorama reporter worked undercover, revealed that 85 per cent of the service users responding stated they were happy with the quality of the care provided and the training and competence of staff. Panorama chose not to report that.” Care UK has also criticised the programme, saying they were ‘isolated examples’ and that 93 per

Warning from commission chief HOMECARE providers who fail to make the improvements required of them will be closed down, the head of the new regulator has claimed. Following on from the Panorama programme ‘Britain's Homecare Scandal’, Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, told Caring UK that the treatment which appeared to have been received by the people was ‘very disturbing and of great concern’. She said: “In general, homecare agencies have steadily improved their standards in recent years. But cases of bad practice and, in some cases, sheer neglect do occur and these must be rigorously addressed through our enforcement process. “Any evidence shown in the Panorama programme that we were not aware of will be followed up as a matter of urgency. “Where necessary, we will use our

cent of the domiciliary care services are rated as excellent or good by the inspectorate. The spokesman added: “Care UK takes its responsibilities as a care provider extremely seriously and we seek at all times to deliver the highest quality of care. We feel a real sense of duty to the people who depend on us. “For these reasons we are sorry that our performance fell below our usual high standards in some cases and we have apologised publicly and privately where appropriate. “We are far from complacent and we have made immediate changes and improvements. This has included a comprehensive review of all care plans, the implementation of new processes backed by new software to improve the timeliness of visits and further training for our staff.”

Picture courtesy of BBC/David Gillanders

Association leaders say the Panorama programme has highlighted the fact that the industry is under-funded. Healthcare editor Dominic Musgrave gauges their reaction.

‘Funding is at the root of the problem’ Cynthia Bower statutory powers to take action to protect the welfare of people who use those services. Ultimately we can, and will, close down any care providers that fail to make improvements required of them.”

THOUSANDS of people who provide the best care they can are being undermined by a system that has been failing for years, according to Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse. He added: “It is time that the public woke up to the reality of what living at home means for many thousands of older people. “A minimal service often run on a shoe-string, supported by carers who are invariably over-worked and under-paid, and provided by agencies who are forced to operate with smaller and smaller budgets. “While there may well be individual carers who must be held to account for their failings, the real culprits here are not those carers or indeed their employers, but a system whereby local authorities drive down costs at the expense of the most vulnerable people in our society.” UKHCA chairman Mike Padgham also said funding was at the root of problem, saying it impacts on the recruitment and retention of staff. “It is disingenuous of the programme makers to lay the levels of low pay at the door of providers themselves. Homecare providers can only pay staff at levels which are allowed by the fees they receive. “Providers would be delighted to

be able to reward workers better and to raise the quality of service through more training and better retention of experienced staff, but regrettably this is often not possible under the current purchasing arrangements. “The attention that the programme has drawn to the impact of these practices on real people must lead to positive changes in the way services are commissioned and funded.” WRVS chief executive Lynne Berry has called on the new Care Quality Commission to crack down on councils and contractors who do not meet or exceed good standards of care for older people. She said: “The scandal of poor quality care needs to be sorted, and clearly the new Care Quality Commission is in the best place to crack down on any council or their contractors who do not offer a consistently high standard of care to people who need help to continue living at home. “Too many older people do not get the support they deserve, particularly those with the most needs. Funding is always an issue, but we also need to sort out the problem of complacency. The most vulnerable in our society are rarely heard and the terrible suffering they face when good care is not provided is often brushed under the carpet.”



Cruise ship ‘surfers’ give idea A TRIP on a cruise a few years ago gave Angela the idea of putting an internet cafe at the home. The room will have two computers fitted with Skype and webcams so that residents can keep in touch with relatives and friends. She said: “I went down to the IT room on board the ship to check my emails and couldn’t get near any of the machines because there were elderly people on them. “The average age in there must have been 80, and the staff were showing them the basics, such as sending emails and searching the internet. “There is a feeling that older people aren’t interested in computers, but why not when they can keep in regular contact with people? “When I spoke to the ship’s operators they told me that the room is always full of elderly people who want to learn, so when I decided to build the care home I decided we must have a computer room for them.” Angela says her plans have been welcomed by potential residents’ families, and those residents who do not wish to use the computers will have emails delivered to their rooms.

With her first care home set to open in the spring, a former estate agent is already planning the construction of her second. Dominic Musgrave found out more.

How Angela’s new project has taken over her life ANGELA Swift wanted to build a care home in her home town of Yarm following a disappointing experience when looking for one for her father. And, after visiting more than 100 care homes nationwide as part of her research, Reuben Manor, an 83-bed home which will provide both EMI and dementia care, is set to open. She said: “At first it was just an idea to go into the care sector, but the more I visited to see what was on offer the more I thought I could do that, but better. “I thought about buying a converted care home at first, but I wanted one of my own. It is ironic that when I was younger I always dreamed of living on Yarm Road where the home is because it was the street to live on in the town. “It has taken over my life, and my husband never thought he would be the one that stayed at home. My gym membership has not been used for the last nine months, and my social life has had to be put on hold.

Angela Swift with Reuben Manor care home manager Julie Peyton “I am so excited about this and it is going to be difficult for me to leave the place when it has opened. “But at the same time I cannot wait to start building our second one in Burnley because when you have one you then want another.” The building is set to come in on budget following a £5m loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland, but will be handed over three weeks later than originally planned due to the bad weather. As well as having a coffee shop, beauty salon and a gift shop, the home will also have a music room with baby grand piano and jukebox and a memory room. Angela and the home’s manager Julie Peyton have also worked closely with both the Alzheimer’s Society and an interior designer to choose the right colours and textures that aid those with dementia. “A lot of what we are doing is

The building under construction

ground work because we want to make sure we get it right first time,” she added. “I don’t want to leave anything to chance and say we can get it right at the next build. “It is not about the the building though – the most important thing about all this is the care that we provide. “I am out of my comfort zone when it comes to care, but I want to put together the best possible team so that what we provide is of the highest standard. “The skeleton staff will start a month before the home opens, and will do various training courses to make sure they are ready.” The home is set to create 60 full and part time jobs ranging from nurses, care staff, housekeepers and gardeners. It already has a dozen reservations.


Property, finance, insurance, training & recruitment

Bed shortage predicted after closures By Dominic Musgrave A NEW study has predicted a bed shortage in care homes if they continue to close at the current rate. A Local Government Association survey has found that the current financial climate has already caused at least one independently run home at one-in-seven authorities to close, putting extra pressure on resources. And more than three-quarters of councils expect to feel the impact of further closures in the future, prompting the association to call on the political parties to make care for the elderly one of its top three priorities. LGA chairman Margaret Eaton told Caring UK that several councils are putting new initiatives in place to help homes remain open. She said: “The impact of the recession is being felt up and down the country - by everyone from hardpressed families to struggling businesses. Steps to help care homes stay open are among the many examples of things councils are doing to protect their residents from the downturn as much as possible. “People who live in care homes are some of the most vulnerable in the country. Any warning signs that there A CARE group’s trainer has been shortlisted for the Ceretas national home care awards. Care South’s Karen Hodges will be interviewed in the near future before the winner is announced at a prestigious ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in London on June 6. She has worked in Care South’s training and NVQ assessment centre since 2005, following a career in both domiciliary and residential care settings.  Karen Hodges with training manager Nicky Smith

could be problems providing places where they can be properly cared for need to be identified in good time, which councils are clearly doing. “Town halls are taking decisive action. By co-operating with private operators and taking the lead on providing alternative care, councils are ensuring people living in many residential homes will be spared upheaval and worry.” In Poole the borough council has begun a policy of fortnightly payments to providers, one week in arrears and one in advance. John Dermody, head of adult social services commissioning, said it was to try and provide financial stability. He added: “We have put a system in place which works for us and the care home operators as it gives them a regular income. I know that one or two homes have closed in the area, but I don’t know whether the recession has had anything to do with this. “We are currently going out to tender to increase the number of dementia beds in the borough. This will also be done a block booking basis for three years, rather than spot placements, because this will again give owners security in terms of their beds.”

Welcome to your newlook Commerce section, bringing you all the latest property, business and training news.

In this issue:  Approval for £20m extra care scheme - page 26  Care group buys second home - page 28  Resident sits in on recruitment interview - page 29

Margaret Eaton

 Caring should be cool career choice - page 30



Lacks of funds for training ‘at root of problems’

Approval for £20m extra care scheme By Mary Ferguson

MORE money should be made available for staff training in the care sector, it has been claimed. Jon Gray, regional manager of Unison in the south west, said a lack of funding is at the root of the problems facing the sector. “Nobody comes into this profession to get rich,” he said. “They do so because they want to make a difference and want to look after other people. They cannot do this if they are not properly trained. “There is also a problem with the status of the industry, and funding is at the root of it. Poor pay is the primary factor affecting individuals in the industry, and how much commitment Government makes and how much society makes is fundamental to this.” Jon also called on better working conditions to be put in place for people working in the sector. “Carers would work better if they had better, high quality information available to them,” he added. “They should have more flexible working hours, which must take into account other responsibilities such as family life. Properly structured working patterns would help carer development.”

PLANS to build a £20m extra care scheme in Ormskirk have been given the go ahead by the county council. The new state-of-the-art development, which will replace the county council’s existing care home on part of the Brookside site, will create 111 extra care one and two bedroom apartments as well as a health and well being centre, enhanced day care service and an outreach service serving the local community. A local multi-agency consortium comprising Lancashire County Council, NHS Central Lancashire, West Lancashire District Council, Age Concern, U3A, Alzheimer’s Society and Arena Housing secured a Government grant of £7.32m to develop the housing scheme last July as part of an £80m cash injection into extra care housing. Brookside secured the highest amount of the 25 projects across the country to be awarded funding. The remainder of the cost will be met by Arena Housing, the County Council and the NHS. Len Andrews, director of independent architectural practice Pozzoni, said: “The funding came with a couple of stipulations; the first

An impression of the new development being that planning would be achieved by March and the second that the project should start on site by September. “We are delighted we have achieved the first milestone for our clients in obtaining planning approval, securing the funding arrangements from the Department of Health, and enabling the scheme to move

forward to its next stage.” The new facility will provide additional community facilities such as a bistro, library and resource centre, fitness suite, hairdresser, IT suite, lounge areas, meeting rooms for craft and hobbies, training and education, relaxation and recreation for use by residents and the wider community.

Lord Spencer opened Avery Healthcare’s new Brampton View care village and admitted it exceeded all his expectations. The new facility is home to more than 50 residents. It also has 20 apartments and 14 cottages for assisted living. Lord Spencer, whose Althorp home is nearby, said he was impressed by the beauty of the care home building and described it as a “really lovely fresh open space.” He added: “I had an old fashioned view of what a care home might be. But it is a long, long way from this fantastic place. “The residents all seem to like it. It is lovely that Northamptonshire can now boast a place like this.” Picture: Lord Spencer unveils a plaque with Avery managing director John Strowbridge

Northern Ireland first for Priory THE Priory Group is to open its first care home in Northern Ireland. Ben Madigan, a 64-bedded purpose-built home being built by NMC Developments Ltd, is adjacent to an existing home in Newtonabbey, County Antrim. Continuity of care and the transfer of the existing residents to the new home will be co-ordinated by home manager Muriel Shirley, and residents and relatives will continue to be kept informed throughout the move.

Healthcare company ‘one to watch’ says national newspaper survey HALLMARK Healthcare has been described as ‘one to watch’ in 2009 by a national newspaper survey. The Sunday Times’ Best Companies To Work For research aims to recognise and acknowledge corporate excellence in the workplace by looking at great work practices and employee care. Hallmark scored a strong positive response from staff in three key areas including: My Company, which reflects employees overall connection

to their job and the organisation; My Team, which indicates how employees feel about their connection with colleagues and how well they work together as a team and My Personal Growth, which outlines how employees feel towards training and their future prospects at the company. Hallmark was first recognised by Best Companies in 2005, and managing director Avnish Goyal said: “Hallmark is quite a different

business to what it was four years ago. “We have expanded considerably and now have 25 homes in our portfolio. “Such growth brings its own challenges, but as always, we remain committed to nurturing a workforce that pursues excellence at its core. “It is very rewarding to hear once again that our employees are not only happy at Hallmark but also share our long term vision.”



A Cornwall-based care group has expanded with the purchase of a second care home more than 200 miles away in Gloucestershire. Dominic Musgrave found out more.

‘If the staff look after the residents well then we will look after them’ HELEN and Paul Hutson plan to immediately add a further 10 staff in a variety of roles to the team at Stinchcombe Manor in Dursley. The additional nurses, carers, caterers and gardeners will take the staff headcount to more than 90, and Helen told Caring UK they plan to take advantage of the better training opportunities the purchase has given them. She said: “The recruitment drive will allow us to improve the quality of care we offer. It also provides us with a great opportunity to take our business further. I plan to send some of our staff from the Cornwall home up to Gloucestershire because there is better access to training available than there is down here. “I want our staff to become more specialised in the jobs they do, so some may do training in tissue viability, others in rehabilitation and some in the Mental Capacity Act, rather than just everyone doing NVQ level 2.” The couple, who have been in the care business for more than 10 years, also run the Benoni nursing home in St Just, which they have extended from 21 to 25 beds, and domiciliary care service Kernow Homecare. Helen added: “We will be putting a system in place at Stinchcombe that is successful at Benoni. Both my husband and I are very caring people and we expect our staff to

Centenarian Martha Hyde joins in the champagne celebration with new proprietor Helen Hutson, Shaun Elliot from NatWest, and home manager Joanne Howells. be the same. We have a theory that if the staff look after the residents well then we will look after them. “When I am interviewing new staff I know immediately whether they are right for our home. If they are not right at the beginning then we cannot make them. They must be dedicated and compassionate, and I always make sure they know exactly where we are coming from. “I always work on the theory that would I be happy for this person to look after my parents.”

Helen, a trainee nurse, and Paul, who has a business degree, acquired the home thanks to a funding package from NatWest to support the purchase price of £1.75m. She says they looked at several other homes before settling on Stinchcombe because it had the “family feel they were looking for”. The new home is registered for 36 people, and the couple plan an extensive refurbishment over the forthcoming months. But she says she does not expect

Building begins on home with no name

Sale of Flintshire home completed DC CARE has completed the sale of an EMI registered care home in Rhyll, Flintshire. Cartrefle, which has 15 single bedrooms and three shared rooms, has been acquired via a share purchase agreement by Pradeep Gunputh. It is his second acquisition. Vendors Mr and Mrs P. O’Donoghue have progressively extended the home since they first acquired the business in 1984, and made the decision to sell in order to pursue other business interests.

WORK has begun on the construction of a new 75bed care home in Whitchurch that when completed will create 100 jobs. MP for North Shropshire Owen Paterson and town mayor Doris Ankers used a commemorative spade to celebrate the start of building work of the Coverage Care home being built by Castlemead. The so far unnamed facility, which is set to open early next year, will support older people who require nursing care and may have special needs arising from dementia.

Care home sold

Owen said: “With the anticipated increase in the number of older people needing places in care homes, I was delighted to be asked to support this project which will provide additional care facilities and create new opportunities for employment in the centre of Whitchurch.” The new two-storey home has been designed to blend in with the surrounding homes by dividing it into smaller domestic-sized modules, using different roof lines, gables and dormer windows to create a street scene.

to be making any further purchases in the near future. Helen added: “We are both very hands on people and all of the staff know that we are just a phone call away. “If I am at Stinchcombe, Paul is usually at Benoni, or vice versa. “If we were to buy another home then I think we would lose that. People like to see the owners on a regular basis and want to know who is caring for them, but you never say never.”

MP for North Shropshire Owen Paterson and town mayor Doris Ankers cut the first sod with Coverage Care chief executive David Coull

CHRISTIES has sold a North East care home which was originally a vicarage to a first-time buyer. Mr Sahajpal and his business partners have purchased Manor House residential home in Fencehouses, Houghton Le Spring from the retiring Mr Jewitt for an undisclosed sum. The property is registered for 39 residents.


The manager of a Huddersfield care home has enlisted the help of one of the residents when she interviews possible new staff. Dominic Musgrave found out more.

Why care home resident Alison sat in on recruitment interview WHEN Kim Hirst was recruiting for a new member of the night staff team she turned to resident Alison Mitchell for help. Alison has lived at Highroyd residential home for two years, and despite being unsure at first, she was soon persuaded to take a more active role in the day to day running of the home. Kim told Caring UK that they both chose Raeffaella Catone for the job, and that she would definitely use Alison again when she is recruiting staff. She said: “Alison is a very independent woman who has a busier lifestyle than me. She goes out most days and still does her own shopping, so she was the perfect choice when I had decided I wanted to get a resident involved in the interviews. “I am not here 24 hours and the staff are not looking after me so I feel it is important that the residents make their feelings known and are comfortable with everyone who works here. I will definitely be using Alison again when we interview. She soon got the hang of it and asked some questions that I wouldn’t have thought of. I’m glad to say that we

both agreed on Raeffaella for the job.” Kim also plans to give Alison a leading role in a residents and relatives committee that she is forming for the home in the near future, and has invited her to staff training sessions. She added: “I want the residents and their relatives to get more involved in the running of the home, and by forming this committee they will able to voice their opinions on a wide variety of subjects, including activities and what is on the menu. “Alison says she is shy, but she is one of the more vocal residents at the home and is always happy to give presentations and voice any concerns she may have. “When the staff are doing the mandatory health and safety and fire safety training, I see no reason why the residents can not get involved and be more aware of what to look out for around the home, so will be inviting them along.”  Do you think it is a good idea involve residents when recruiting staff? Let Dominic Musgrave know your thoughts by ringing 01226 734407 or email

Raeffaella Catone and Alison Mitchell




New care village opens A NEW care village has opened its doors in Northampton. Avery’s Brampton View has 20 apartments and 14 cottages as well as an 88 bed care home and dementia unit. The care home and apartments are connected by a large communal entrance, and facilities include a hairdressing salon, shop, lounge and recreational facilities. The company has just announced a £53m development capital package from Graphite Capital and RBS for investment in new company Willowbrook, which will come under the Avery umbrella brand.

Acquisition KINGSLEY Healthcare has acquired a nursing and dementia care home in Christchurch, Dorset. Highcliffe accommodates 45 residents, and Kinglsey is planning an extensive refurbishment programme which will begin with updating the lounges and dining areas.

Call to make caring a cool career choice By Dominic Musgrave THE care sector should get into schools to make caring a cooler career choice for young people, it has been claimed. Speaking at the Care Show in Bournemouth, Annie Stevenson, programme director for older people at the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said it’s important to ‘get people while they are young’. She said: “We have to get them when they are young to try and build up communities again because care is not perceived as being cool. “We live in a society that is riddled with age discrimination and that doesn’t value older people. We value people who contribute to the economy and don’t care for each other as a community any more. “This means that those who do work in the care sector are also devalued, and reflects the poor attitudes to the older people they are caring for like a mirror.” Annie also said the sector should stop complaining about the financial

GRP Finance has completed a refinancing package for the owners and operators of a purpose-built care home in Shrewsbury. The company were able to secure a substantial new line of funding for managing director of The Uplands Mandy Thorn, who runs Marches Care Ltd with her parents Tony and Tricia West. Completed and opened in 2007, The Uplands provides 40 nursing beds and 40 nursing dementia beds has received a three-star rating from CSCI.

problems it faces and present itself in a more positive light. She claims more people would consider a career in the industry if carers were more confident and proud about the job they do. “It is really difficult to attract new blood into the sector as it is tarnished by some sections of the media,” Annie added. “We need to think smarter about how we are going to attract new, committed and highly-motivated people to work with people. “We need to take a more creative approach and be better at selling ourselves as a sector. We need to get across that you get a sense of pride and status in doing the job well, rather than complaining all of the time about a lack of money, not that it is not an issue.” “But the largest barrier in all of this is age discrimination, and without understanding the deeper issues we will never make any progress.”

A Midlands care group has added another home to its portfolio with the purchase of The Squirrels. Merron Care has bought the Wolverhampton facility, which is registered for 11, to add to the three others it owns across the Midlands. Christies sold the home, on behalf of Mrs Reynolds, for an undisclosed sum from an asking price of £500,000.

Purpose-built home in Rotherham to create 80 jobs ROTHERHAM Healthcare Limited has started construction on a new care home in a deal funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland. DC CARE has completed the sale of Springfield House care home in Launceston, Cornwall for an undisclosed amount. The business has been operated by the former owner for approximately 10 years, who decided to sell to pursue other business interests.

The new care home will be situated on the site of the former Moorgate hospital and will provide facilities for rehabilitation and services prescribed by a consultant or physiotherapist.

Annie Stevenson

Due for completion in November, it will create up to 80 jobs. Rotherham Healthcare Ltd director Glennys Oliver said: “There is a strong demand for specialist residential care across Rotherham and our aim is to provide residents with a high standard of care in a homely environment.”

New home for Kingsley KINGSLEY Healthcare has acquired a nursing and dementia care home in Christchurch, Dorset. Highcliffe accommodates 45 residents, and Kinglsey is planning an extensive refurbishment programme which will begin with updating the lounges and dining areas.



Taking care to communicate By Mark Kerr THE front page of last month’s Caring UK (‘Home plans halted amid violence’) highlighted how controversial new schemes can be with local communities. Proposals for a care home in the north east were put on hold following a furious reaction from some local residents to the scheme at an exhibition. This is evidence of a real challenge facing the care home and healthcare sector - the ever pressing need to engage, consult, educate and communicate the aims and rationale behind every new development to the people and groups they will affect. Fear of change and concern about all forms of development are to be expected and this is not helped by a general cynicism about the motivations of developers. Within this, the care home sector needs to address a number of specific misconceptions and obstacles. As shown by last month’s Caring UK story, the level of mistrust and apprehension that exists towards the sector and new development is worryingly high. There is a real lack of understanding and deep felt concerns about what a new care

Challenges facing the care home development sector and the role communications has to play home could mean for an area. The most pressing issue to address is local engagement and consultation on individual projects. A care or residential home for elderly people has very different requirements needs than say, a new housing estate, so requires a different communications approach. Increasingly, care home operators are looking at sites outside of town centre locations, potentially on greenfield (or even in the green belt). This can be unpopular and controversial and is compounded by a lack of understanding over the requirements of such development. Older people and particularly those with special care needs like dementia are shown to respond well to calmer, more tranquil environments. In addition growing efforts to improve care standards have inevitably led to different site requirements. In some cases town centres will still offer the right conditions – but

there is a solid argument for special circumstances that should be communicated effectively, not simply to planners but to the local community, for development in more isolated locations around urban areas. Other genuine local concerns also fall prey to misunderstanding. For instance, care homes are often opposed on the grounds that they will cause a significant increase in traffic and place extra pressure on local services, particularly local PCTs. Neither of these are founded in the facts – care homes bring a relatively low level of traffic, and measures can be put in place to reduce this further. The development of a new care home should be seen in a positive light by the local community. As the UK’s population ages and health issues become more commonplace, more homes will be needed to assist people who can no longer live independently but deserve a good quality of life.

 Mark Kerr is a director of PPS Group, which was set up in 1990 to advise companies on how best to communicate with councils, local communities and the media.

Homecare market’s value to continue growing By Dominic Musgrave THE value of the UK domiciliary care market is expected to grow to £59.4billion over the next five years, according to a new study. A report by the leading analysts Market and Business Development says that demand in the sector rose by two per cent in the last 12 months, meaning it is now worth £52.7billion. The study goes on to predict that the it will benefit from the ageing population and more people wanting to remain in their own homes longer, and will increase by approximately 13 per cent by 2013. An analyst said: “The positive market development is a partial reflection of government initiatives to promote independent living, in line with continued emphasis of reducing demand for residential care through the provision of improved domiciliary services. “However, figures also show that the number of official receivers of homecare is on the decline, although the average vale of contracts has increased.” Mike Padgham, chairman of the UKHCA, said the sector faces challenging times over the next few years as the government brings in the new personalisation agenda. He added: “Domiciliary care will no doubt increase over the next few years because of the ageing population, but with it I think there will be more pressure on funding and costs.

Alan Johnson with Oakbridge chief executive Andrew Stow.

Alan opens new village UKHCA chairman Mike Padgham “There needs to be a period of consolidation in the market place, but we need to make sure that the smaller agencies survive in the current financial climate when they are finding it increasingly difficult to borrow money from the banks. “Agencies are going to have to deal increasingly with individuals under the new personalisation agenda, and the challenge is going to be how they satisfy their needs and meeting their costs. I don’t think the Government is helping the sector with the transition like it would do others.”  How difficult is it to make ends meet in the current financial climate, and are you planning to tackle the challenges of the personalisation agenda? Let Dominic Musgrave know by emailing or by ringing 01226 734407.

HEALTH secretary Alan Johnson has officially opened the £45 million Buckshaw Retirement Village near Chorley in Lancashire. During his visit he met staff, residents and their families of the Oakbridge development, which is split into three units - The Lodge dementia care centre; The Grange assisted living facility and The Court, which is for residents who

are active and independent but like the idea of home ownership in a village community. Alan said: “Facilities such as the Buckshaw Retirement Village are so important. They offer a range of options, providing support yet enabling people to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.”

Housing 21 awarded contract HOUSING 21 has been awarded a £2million per year contract to provide care and support services for older people in Kent. The five year contract is part of the Better Homes Active Lives PFI, which is providing 275 apartments for older people in Ashford, Shepway, Canterbury, Thanet, Dover, Dartford and Maidstone.

Graham Gibbens, cabinet member for Kent adult social services, said: “Getting the right care and support will make an important difference for those living in extra care schemes across Kent.” Housing 21 signed a deal in October 2007 to develop and manage 340 new apartments across 13 sites in Kent.

In-demand care group bucks trend By Dominic Musgrave A CARE group is defying the current financial climate and is actively looking for more staff for its domiciliary care service to meet increased demand. Pentlow Community Care, which is part of Canford Healthcare, provides services ranging from shopping for its clients to helping with household chores. The company, which was set up two years ago by Barry Lambert and Brian Cooney, also runs three care homes – two in Eastbourne where the group is based, and one in Maidstone. Barry said: “Increased manpower will mean we can reach more people in need of support with daily tasks. With more and more people choosing to opt for care support in their own homes, we certainly have the capacity for more staff. “We are also looking to expand to join the services up between Eastbourne and Maidstone. We have a variety of full and part time hours available, and training is given to all new workers.” He added: “We had a recruitment drive at one of our care homes

recently, and that had a better response than usual. In today’s world we are stable financially, and look after our staff as much as we possibly can.” The group is also planning to increase the care home side of the business, and Barry says the finances are in place to purchase a further seven homes over the next 12-18 months. He said: “We want to expand the business, but it would be wrong for us to grow extensively so we are going to do it slowly. “We will be looking to purchase care homes and extend them over the next few months, but we are not going to rush because the market has changed so much recently.” The group is currently building a 27-bed single storey extension at its Barty House nursing home site in Maidstone. All rooms in the glass dominated facility will have French doors and en suite facilities with wet rooms.  Is your homecare business thriving in the recession? Let Dominic Musgrave know by emailing or by ringing 01226 734407.

Barry Lambert



Recession helps company double its turnover in just 12 months By Mary Ferguson OPERATORS of a national home care service say the recession has helped them more than double their turnover in just 12 months. Home Instead Senior Care, which provides non-medical help to the elderly, has forecast a turnover for 2009 of £30m, compared to £18m last year. Operator Trevor Brocklebank said the company is dealing with a surge of new franchise owners, as those finding themselves redundant look to invest their lump sums in a business. He said: “Even in the current climate, the banks are keen to lend

£370k boost for elderly MORE elderly people will be able to live independently at home in Somerset for the next two years thanks to a large cash injection. The county council successfully bid for £370,000 which will mean that a thousand frail or elderly people will be helped by the handyperson service, which gives access to smallscale home repairs for an affordable charge. Councillor Justin Robinson, portfolio holder for health and well being, said: “This is great news for the many elderly people or those with disabilities who are living at home in Somerset who will now benefit from this scheme. “This will keep them safe and secure and help prevent admissions to hospital or to care homes.”

money to secure businesses and we have a proven business model. Franchisees are finding it easier to recruit people – often of a higher calibre – because there are so many out of work, and because many offices are now empty, rental prices have dropped.” Trevor said enquiry levels are up 200 per cent year on year and hits on the website have trebled. But of an average of 100 franchise applications per month, only one will be accepted. “Many people are attracted to the business purely because of the opportunity to make money but because we deal with such a vulnerable group of people we need to

be selective – and we only take those that are genuinely interested in helping people. You can teach people how to offer care services but you can’t teach them how to be compassionate.” Home Instead has won a number of franchise awards and became the first care franchise company in the UK to win a Dignity in Care Award from the NHS. Trevor added: “With all the legislation in care it’s virtually impossible to set up independently. And not only is there a huge demand for care as a result of an ageing population, but there are simply not enough resources in the current health system to deliver it.”

Trevor Brocklebank

Council in talks amid anger over monthly pay changes By Mary Ferguson A SCOTTISH council is meeting with trade unions after home care workers reacted angrily to changes to how they are being paid. Carers in the Western Isles are unhappy that they will now be paid monthly, as opposed to fortnightly, while overtime, which used to be paid on a fortnightly basis will now be paid paid every three months.

A spokesman for Western Isles Council told Caring UK that management is hoping to come to a ‘satisfactory conclusion for the carers’ following meetings with the unions. He added: “Arising out of single status (a scheme to blend pay scales) the council has recognised the valued work provided by the home care workers and has improved the overall financial package accordingly. “The number of hours a carer works

can vary greatly from week to week, meaning that the payment of overtime can fluctuate also. “The decision has been taken to average out payments over a threemonth period to include sickness benefit and holiday entitlements, and talks are ongoing on this matter.” Home care workers are paid £8.29 per hour, which rises to £12.43 for every overtime hour they work.

Homecare service awarded Investors in People HEALTHCARE Homes’ domiciliary care service Manorcourt Homecare has achieved Investors in People status. The accolade was presented to the East Anglia based company following a rigorous assessment process, during which 50 staff were interviewed across the group’s seven offices in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Training director Sandie Oxborrow said the staff were proud of the achievement. She added: “In order to be granted the status, we had to provide evidence to show how we met the 10 national standards against which all prospective recipients are judged. “The final report took into account

feedback from staff and our values as well as our vision and plans for the future. “It is part of the Healthcare Homes ethos to make our employees feel valued and appreciated and we recognise the important role they play in contributing to the success of the organisation.”



The homecare sector is bucking the trend and the number of people enquiring about starting a new franchise has risen dramatically. Dominic Musgrave and Mary Ferguson found out more.

Paul Tarsey

2009 plans for 1,000 new jobs THE founder of a domiciliary care service plans to create around 1,000 jobs in 2009 with the opening of 18 new offices nationwide. Paul Tarsey, who started Bluebird Care with his wife Lisa in 2004 from a single office in Petersfield, says the company has grown by 769 per cent in the last 18 months, with turnover hitting the £5m mark. He told Caring UK that an increased number of potential franchisees are coming forward, often using redundancy payments to fund start-up

costs for their new venture. He said: “Throughout 2008 we opened on average a new office every three weeks and, despite the economic difficulties, I am confident that we are going to at least match or beat that in 2009, including our first ones in Wales. “We are getting a lot of people who have either been made redundant or are worried about their job in these testing times getting in contact with us. “But my wife and I are very selec-

tive about who we award franchises to because we set up the company so it is our brand. There is no way someone is going to come in and make a mess of it.” The company now has 34 franchises in England, Scotland and Ireland, and had a month-on-month growth of 20 per cent in 2008, despite the recession. Each employs between 40 and 50 staff. Paul said the banks are looking favourably on lending money to people who want to join companies like

his, and that potential franchisees do not require a massive pot of money to to set up a business. He added: “Franchises like ours tick two key boxes for the banks, and we are working closely with all of the major ones to secure funding. “They like franchises because they are much stronger than somebody looking to set up their own business. They also like the healthcare sector because it is strong compared to a lot of others.”

Change will bring branches together under one brand

Andy Bantock looks through the first newsletter with general manager Janice King

EAST Anglia care provider Healthcare Homes has renamed its domiciliary care division Manorcourt Homecare. This brings together several companies acquired by the company over the past year, including its first acquisition Manorcourt Care. The group’s financial controller Andy Bantock said: “The move will bring together our branches and staff under one recognisable brand and make it easier for healthcare organisations, social services departments and individuals to recognise and find us. “Manorcourt is a strong brand, synonymous with the delivery of high-

Dementia expert to develop training plan for homecarers By Louise Cordell A DEMENTIA expert has been brought in to develop training plans and technology for homecarers across the UK.

training, help design new homes, and research and introduce new technology to enhance the lives of people using its extra care and domiciliary care services.

Maria Parsons, executive director at the London Centre for Dementia Care, has worked as a consultant for Sanctuary Care for three years and has now taken on the role of lead dementia advisor.

She said: “I hope to make a difference to the quality of life of people receiving Sanctuary Care services through supporting staff and influencing policy.”

She will be responsible for developing a strategy for dementia care services within the organisation and will introduce a plan for staff

Maria will continue to work part-time as the executive director of the London Centre for Dementia Care.

Maria Parsons

quality homecare services and is well known throughout Norfolk. “We want to utilise this branding and extend it across all of our homecare branches in East Anglia.” To celebrate the launch of the new brand, the company has also launched a homecare newsletter. Andy added: “It is a means of connecting with all our staff and encouraging them to connect with each other. “As the company grows it is important to keep everybody up to date with what’s happening in the division.”



In the first of a series of articles, Richmond Villages founder Keith Cockell looks at the concept in the UK and how it could develop in the future

Why we should all concentrate on what we do best ... PURPOSE-built retirement villages have to date come about because, in each instance, the company that conceived and developed them has also operated them. But why should a company whose core expertise is caring for the elderly also have the skills to locate a site, get planning permission, design and speculatively build housing and all the care facilities? Not to mention attracting the right investors. By undertaking the lot there is a real danger that a company becomes a jack of all trades and master of none. My solution would be to split the whole process between three separate enterprises, namely the

builder, the investor and the operator. They would co-operate with each other from the outset, while being able to focus exclusively on what they do best. In other words, the quality builder would build, the experienced operator would operate and the canny investor would have a solid investment in bricks and mortar with a guaranteed rental income and growth of assets. Established quality house builders are already in the business of designing and building many categories of houses from starter homes and apartments to executive homes. Why not add purpose-built

retirement communities with a care centre to their list? In doing so, the all too common situation where a house builder needs to sell part of a larger site to a competitor might also be avoided. They would design and build all the saleable residential properties in the retirement village based on the best of the existing models. But they would also design and build the village centre, with its care home, restaurant and other facilities. The latter would be funded by the long term investor. The third and final collaborator would be the operator. A company with a proven track record in the provision of first class care and care home management. They will

have been involved in all aspects of the design and development and will then be able to take over operation of a ‘ready-to-go’ business. Some people may consider that to have the care industry adopted by house builders is controversial. Radical even. But having lived every moment of every aspect of the creation of five award-winning retirement communities I really believe that this new approach will give rise to more such communities. It will also go a long way to help break down old prejudices. Given the growing demand, I can only hope that other key players will come round to my way of thinking.

Free emergency home care service launched in Leicestershire

Eric Buckmaster with his son Mark and care coordinator Gemma Holland

A FREE emergency home care service that steps in to help people who are cared for by friends and family has been launched in Leicestershire. Claimar Care have joined forced with the local council to provide the back-up service to cover for unpaid carers in case of emergency. Gemma Holland, Claimar's care coordinator said: “This is a great scheme, it's free to unpaid or informal carers, those are people who may look after a spouse, relative or friend, who, because of disability or the effects of old age, cannot manage at home

without their help. It gives the carer and the person being cared for the reassurance that a plan is in place to deliver whatever care they need, if in case of emergency the person who usually delivers care can't do so.” The cover lasts for 48 hours, to give family time to find a longer-term alternative. Mark Buckmaster – who cares for his elderly father – and was one of the first people to sign up for the scheme. He said: “It's like insurance, maybe you'll need it, maybe you won't, but it's nice to know it's there.”



Flower arranging, corresponding with children at a local school and putting together a pub guide are just some of the activities that residents at one home get up to. Dominic Musgrave found that there is never a dull moment at St Johns.

Residents to produce pub guide RESIDENTS at the home like nothing more than going for a pint and a meal at one of the many pubs in the area. So much so that they have decided to put together a good pub booklet which they plan to send to other homes, detailing everything from how accessible it is to how courteous the staff are and the quality of the food and drink. Manager Andrena Piggins said: “We tend to have a visit to a pub at least once or twice each month, and decided that it would be useful to put our findings in a booklet that we will distribute to all the other homes around here in Harrogate and York at the end of the year. “We have put together a scoring system for a variety of different topics, and up to now have found that all of the places we have visited have been very good, but some have been very helpful.” Food is vitally important at the Clifton St. Annes run home, which has recently been upgraded from two stars to three by CSCI, and the chef tries to use as much fresh

There are lots of activities planned for residents at St Johns produce as possible. Andrena added: “All our vegetables come from the local farm shop and are fresh every day.

All our food is home made and the chef regularly updates the menus and responds to the wants and needs of the residents.

“The chefs have also been going to classes at Betty’s tea-rooms in Harrogate to get new ideas that they can bring back to the home.” Residents are encouraged to get out into the local community as much as possible, and regularly attend coffee mornings and quiz nights at the local village hall. The home has also forged close links with the local school, and a new pen pal scheme has been set up between the two. Andrena said: “Once a month we try to bring the local community into the home for some sort of event, and in the summer months we have the children doing something on the lawns. “Ten primary school pupils have also started writing to the residents, who write back to them telling them about their life experiences and what they are getting up to.” Those residents that are too frail to leave the home can still get their weekly dose of exercise as the home runs armchair aerobics classes to music on a Friday morning.

Homes should ensure regular exercise CARE homes should make sure residents exercise regularly to stave off illness, according to an expert. Stuart Wise, who runs the Pent Valley leisure centre in Folkestone, Kent, welcomes groups from day centres across the county and says exercise can keep people both physically and mentally active. “The residents go out of the care home and spend the day with their local day centres,” he said.

“We have groups of between 10 and 15 coming here from a variety of places such as Lifeskills, Home Harm Trust and Shepway Resource Centre to use our equipment. “Each person is individually assessed by one of our fitness instructors, and a programme is then created tailored to the individual’s needs. “There are a lot of things which we have to consider when putting a plan together such as whether the person has limited mobility.”

It was life in the fast lane for a 107-yearold care home resident when she reached speeds up to 108mph during four laps around Brands Hatch. Dulcibella King-Hall, from Elizabeth Finn Care’s Halliwell nursing home in Tunbridge Wells, was driven in a BMW M3 by the circuit’s chief instructor Gary Palmer as part of a birthday treat. The charity’s Lena Akers, who organised the day, said: “Cars are an abiding

passion of Dulcibella’s; during the Second World War she tested a wide variety of vehicles commandeered from civilian use. Her love of speed has her constantly asking our mini bus driver ‘to go a little faster, please. What Dulcibella was really after was a chance to go that bit faster than ever before; 100mph or more. I’m so pleased she got the opportunity.”  Dulcibella is pictured getting ready for her trip.

Co-ordinator qualification launched ONE of the country’s largest care providers has launched the first national level qualification for activity co-ordinators. The new programme will see staff being trained to the equivalent of NVQ level two, and has been specially developed by Bupa’s care homes in association with NAPA. Tim Brooke, head of hotel services for Bupa care services, told Caring

UK that a key part of the training programme is to ensure that activities are tailored to the individual needs and preferences of each resident. He said: “The course aims to ensure that we continue to offer a diverse range of activities tailored to meet our individual residents’ needs, whilst also building on our activity co-ordinators’ existing knowledge.”



Drama therapy helps residents share feelings RESIDENTS at a London care home are using a drama therapy as a way of communicating better with each other. The programme, run by the Central School of Speech and Drama, involves three students visiting the home weekly to work with residents, either on a one-to-one basis or in small groups, using everything from music to story telling. Nightingale head of activities Alastair Addison told Caring UK that the course lasts on average for 10 weeks and has proved beneficial for many people living at the home. He said: “We are a 200-bed home so it is difficult at times for residents to get one-to-one attention for an hour

Sensory garden is built

every week in this type of environment. “This is a positive experience for both the residents and the staff also, as it makes them aware of how they can communicate with another person.” The course is based on the Sesame approach, which uses drama and movement as a key to unlock otherwise closed doors in people's emotional lives. Alistair said some of the biggest changes they have seen from residents who they have referred to the course have come from those who either have dementia, have lost a loved one or are finding it difficult to communicate with relatives or other

A NEW sensory garden has been built for the residents at a Perthshire nursing home. Dundee College’s Prince’s Trust team has completed a community project at Louise Brae nursing home, which has turned a landscaped garden into a safe area for the residents. The new development took five

Students work with residents on a weekly basis and turning it into a character so they can see themself through another person, using props to illustrate what they are saying. “Family members have also noticed improvements in their residents who have dementia. “The course provides an opportunity for the person with the illness to share their emotions and experiences and tell their story.”

people living at the home. He added: “We cannot measure how successful the course is but it has helped residents to share how they feel about losing a loved one, or who are feeling isolated find a platform to speak and gain some worth again. “One of the most effective and therapeutic ways of using the drama we have seen is taking a resident’s story

weeks to complete, and includes a pond, rockery, different textured paths of bark, gravel, slabs and grass and a decked area where the residents can plant pots. A wall was also built to support a raised flower bed created out of an old metal container. Home manager Fran Long said: “The residents think the new garden is mar-

velous and are looking forward to getting out it in the summer because there will be more for them to do. “They really enjoyed watching the garden being transformed to what it is now, and are now planning on changing another part of the garden into an allotment where they can grow various vegetables.”

Vitalyz promote health, independence and emotional wellbeing by training people to deliver basic chairbased exercises to less able and/or senior persons. Vitalyz are coming to a town near you!

1940s glamour was the theme of a charity event hosted by a Northamptonshire care home. People were invited to wear clothes in keeping with the era. The event, for Grangefield residents and their relatives and friends, featured music from tribute band New Vintage, and raised almost £850 for Cancer Research UK. Picture: Grangefield care home staff dress up for the 1940s themed night.

Residents turn roving reporters RESIDENTS at a Nottinghamshire care home have taken on the role of roving reporters and have become the news team for their very own newspaper. Those living at Forest Manor Care Home have been given the task of hunting out stories within the home or coming up with regular feature ideas and columns. The co-editors of the Forest Manor Gazette, David Copley and Keith Hoctor, will make sure the content of each edition is up to scratch. The newspaper was the brainchild of activities co-ordinator, Michelle Reid. She said: “The idea came from a recent meeting we had with the residents to discuss what activities they would like to do in the home. “They are really enthusiastic about the newspaper and have put together loads of ideas for regular columns

and features. One of our residents who is deaf has even written a few poems to be printed. We are starting with just a few news pages but planning to add in gardening and sports columns as well as regular features as the paper grows in future.” Residents will also write reviews of all events that take place at the home, which recently have included a barn dance, a treasure hunt and murder mystery evening, and the films watched at the cinema days. Michelle added: “We printed around 40 copies at first and gave them out to the relatives and friends of the families, but since then we have printed a few more and they have all gone. One residents is currently undertaking a computer course so that he will be able to type it up and play around with the design and layout of the paper in future.”

Level 1 accredited seated exercise course Endorsed by College of Occupational Therapists 13th May-YORK 15th June-PORTSMOUTH 7th July Falkirk-SCOTLAND 9th July-HARTLEPOOL 10th July-HALIFAX 8th Sept-CAMBRIDGE

“I recommend Vitalyz as the training was Clear, informative and friendly” Vitalise day centre, Derby

Book now as spaces are limited! Vitalyz activity training is designed to be motivational, relevant, useful, achievable & FUN! WWW.VITALYZ.COM

023 9235 8285



As one of the industry’s biggest players, Southern Cross has been faced with more bad press than most and employed Recognition Marketing and PR to help. In the first of a special two part series, partner Graham Robb advises independent care homes how to handle the media.

How to be a media player ... AN excellent reputation is essential to the development of any business and a care home is certainly no different. It is too important an issue to leave to chance. It takes years to build a reputation, which can be destroyed in a matter of hours, particularly with today's proliferation of media outlets. There have been big changes in the media in the last quarter of a century. The number of news outlets has multiplied tenfold. Digital technology and satellite communications have made news travel faster and further. The internet provides instant news updates and most regional newspapers now break stories on their websites long before the paper is published. But with 24-hour news coverage, tighter time scales and shrinking budgets, all journalists are under greater pressure. If you don’t provide the facts, they’ll look for ‘the truth’ elsewhere. Your crisis can be worldwide news in seconds and it is imperative that you are represented

in the story. There are a variety of ways in which the media obtain information on a breaking news story. Official bodies, such as the police or fire service place details of major incidents on a media ‘voice-bank’, which is accessible to all journalists and checked on a regular basis. Under the Freedom of Information Act journalists can obtain a wide range of information from official bodies, such as the number and nature of complaints – this is becoming more common practice to build negative features around ‘league tables’ sourced in this way. Disgruntled residents, relatives or ex-members of staff can be a rich source of information for journalists. The first a home manager hears of a possible press story about their home could well be a call from a reporter asking to verify so-called ‘facts’ they have been given. When a situation arises time is of the essence and an immediate

response is required. It used to be said that the first 24 hours of a crisis were critical. Now, it’s the first hour. Instant judgments are made on the basis of photos, eyewitness reports and early briefings. Recognition has even had to counter stories based on footage taken from camera-phones. In these circumstances it is vital that organisations can communicate quickly to establish control over a situation. In cases involving the suspicious death of a resident, an outbreak of a communicable disease, a fire or serious abuse issue with police involvement media attention is likely and should be planned for. It is important to remember that crisis situations can arise very quickly and cause a great deal of stress to everyone involved. Care staff are not media or PR professionals. Being prepared and practiced will help everyone be more confident dealing with crisis situations as they arise and help reduce the pressure on everyone.

Graham Robb

Coverage can You can’t lick good publicity be frustrating NEWSPAPERS don’t always tell the full story and for the operators involved, it can be a frustrating time. When a Scottish daily newspaper ran the headline ‘The Old Rage Pensioners’, it hid the real story behind claims of soaring abuse cases in care homes. The story in the Sun boasted ‘feisty’ pensioners were turning their care homes into ‘violent battlegrounds’ and it quoted figures from East Lothian Council which stated that 39 forms of ‘abuse’ had been recorded at Eskgreen Old People's Home in Musselburgh and 14 at Fa'side Lodge Old People's Home in Tranent in 2008. But the council insisted that these numbers were simply down to the fact that it had clamped down on the reporting of incidents in all facilities, including leisure centres, schools and even libraries. And that meant even something as trivial as tripping on a walking stick had to be reported as a form of ‘abuse’. Council bosses weren’t happy with the headline-grabbing story which was used in several other newspapers. Principal communications officer Jill Mackay told Caring UK: “Any media coverage suggesting a shocking outbreak of physical fights within East Lothian Council managed care homes is far from the truth. The information sent in response to a Freedom of Inquest request from an Edinburgh-based news agency detailing the range of health and safety records listed at all council owned/managed properties was grossly misinterpreted and then sold on as a salacious news story to various outlets.”

WALKER Lodge Care Home in Newcastle took in an elderly man and his dog when other homes refused to accommodate his four legged friend. Despite being operated by Four Seasons – which employs its own PR company – manager Sylvia Tidmus decided to tell the local press herself, generating positive coverage for the home. She wrote her own press release and invited the newspaper to come to the home and photograph Oliver and Sheba. She said: “I got a lot of coverage from Oliver and Sheba and I aim to get at least one thing in the paper every week. “There are so many things that local media will pick up on and it’s normally things that have the ‘ahhh’ factor – like children and animals – that work well. “We also look at our clients and see if any of them have an interesting tale to tell, but it’s important to make sure you get permission from them and their relatives.” The home has linked with the local nursery so when the children come in – for example for an Easter egg hunt – Sylvia lets the newspapers and magazines in her local area know. She added: “Getting the community involved in the home is a good way of generating coverage. “A lot of the press only seem to pick up on the bad things but there is a lot of good stuff that goes on and operators just need to tell

Sylvia with Sheba people. Part of my job as manager is to market the home and any good press we get works as a great free advert.”  Has your home done something

to be proud of? Let us know by writing to Caring UK, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS, or email



When something goes wrong in a care home, operators can find themselves faced with tough questions from journalists. In this special report, Mary Ferguson investigates how managers can weather a media storm. Left: Daniel Blake Right: Stephen Burke

‘Care champions’ are way forward WHEN an old lady fell to her death from a window at one care home and a manager was exposed for stealing thousands from her clients at another, dramatic headlines were printed in newspapers across the country. It seems that care homes are always in the news – a low star rating from CSCI can cause negative press attention and operators involved in abuse cases can find themselves in the eye of an even bigger storm. But how much damage can the media do? Daniel Blake, policy manager at Action On Elder Abuse believes news coverage of abuse cases is a double edged sword. He said: “We welcome the fact that attention is now being given to this area and reporting helps to drive up standards. However there tends to be

a degree of care home bashing in the media, which ignores the good work that many of them do. “The media don’t portray a balanced view of care provision and negative reporting contributes to the public viewing care homes as end of the road.” Daniel said the industry should focus on creating ‘care champions’ to counteract these views, by letting the media know about the good things that happen in a facility. And Stephen Burke, chief executive of Counsel and Care, said if care providers do more to highlight good practice they can influence public opinion of the industry and the elderly. He said: “Positive media coverage helps people understand the care

Mary Ferguson found out what care homes think about how the media report their industry news

Hitting back against the headlines ... WHEN Lou Squires, manager of The Millings in North Yorkshire, contacted her local paper after winning an employment award, she said she was angry that they didn’t seem to be interested. She said: “It’s a classic case of bad news makes good news, even though we are one of the biggest employers in the area. The standards of the sector have been raised brilliantly, but it’s a shame when the public only get to read about the bad stuff. “The care sector has had a poor reputation because of bad stories for a number of years, but with the drive to increase standards, hopefully that will change.” Valerie Gaines, manager of Threshfield Court in Skipton agreed that the media rarely seem to report positive things about the industry but said she had been lucky in securing some good coverage for her own home. “I can imagine that the negative reporting does create suspicion and drag people’s perceptions of the industry down, especially with the constant debate about fees. “It would be great for the media to

“The care sector has had a poor reputation because of bad stories for a number of years, but with the drive to increase standards, hopefully that will change.” report on the good things that happen in care homes, but unfortunately that doesn’t sell papers.” As manager of Heffle Court in Sussex, Sue Burke said she has noticed how negative news reports about care homes affect staff morale. She said: “They read the papers and watch the news and I hear them talking about the awful things that have happened but we all discuss it and we do sometimes wonder how much of it is true or how much has been exaggerated. “If something particularly bad has been reported I make a point of sitting down with the staff and we discuss how we could prevent anything like that happening at Heffle Court, so in a way we are using the headlines as a learning tool when we can.”

industry more and that in turn will place more value on it. “The way that older people are portrayed in the media has a crucial effect not only on how they are treated by wider society, but also by care and support services. “Media coverage sets the tone for debate in this country and if we are going to win more resources for care for older people we need more positive value placed on them and their care.” To highlight good and bad examples of media coverage relating to the elderly, Counsel and Care has launched The Older People in the Media Awards to recognise individuals and organisations for positively portraying older people. ‘Raspberries’ will be given to those whose work

shows them in a negative light. Martin Green, chairman of ECCA said negative headlines have a big effect on the industry because they reduce both staff morale and public confidence in care providers. He added: “I think media training is useful but it is no substitute for being confident about your own services. “If a care home has adverse media coverage I would advise the operator to make contact very early with the residents and relatives about the issue, and make sure the Care Commission is briefed before it becomes public. “The operator must then have a good recovery plan in place which focuses as much on how to restore the morale of the home as it does dealing with the situation.”



Bulgarian visitors come to Bristol for advice ... By Louise Cordell A BRISTOL care home has shown two visitors from a Bulgarian institution how to provide a better quality of life for their residents. Pete Brady, from the Aspects and Milestones Trust’s Russell House in Almondsbury, invited Yuksel Aliev and Porlina Raycheva, from the 100-bed Samuil Institution for adults with learning difficulties, to the home to share ideas about improving standards of care. He first visited the institution while visiting a Bulgarian children’s

home called Mogilino with the charity Holding Out Hope, which he is also the director of, having seen the terrible conditions that they were living in on a television documentary. Pete told Caring UK that the main purpose of their visit to the home was to show that inexpensive activities such as drama and art classes can be beneficial for residents. He added: “Homes like this in Bulgaria have been called warehouses of neglect in the past but we want to help change that.

“During their trip we tried to point out that you can achieve quite a lot without a great deal of money. A lot of the activities we do at the home cost very little. “From our visits to Bulgaria we found that a lot of residents often either watch whatever the staff are watching on television or sit rocking aimlessly in their chairs. It is easy for people in these countries to say you need money to improve lives, but it wasn’t only about changing practices but attitudes as well.” Later this month two Holding Out

Hope volunteers will visit the Samuil Institution, taking with them £1,000 worth of resources to introduce a range of new activities with patients. Pete added: “In an ideal world large institutions like the one in Bulgaria would be shut down and the residents moved into smaller homes or somewhere more suitable, but that is not going to happen. “But we as a small charity are doing our best to help where we can to develop regular activities for the residents over there.”

Groups unite to implement programme By Dominic Musgrave

Theatre group Ladder to the Moon engaged residents, staff and visitors

Residents feature in TV programme CARE homes residents in Hampstead tasted their 15 minutes of fame when they appeared on Channel Four as part of a programme on dementia care. Clients at Rathmore House and Compton Lodge, operated by housing association Central & Cecil, were filmed enjoying visits from theatre group Ladder to the Moon, who engaged residents, staff and visitors in their virtual world. The homes were transformed into ‘grand hotels’ and the actors performed in the lounge for an hour

every afternoon, acting out a story of a love affair between a maid and guest – with highlights including a tea dance and engagement party. Residents also participated in workshops and activities connected to the events of the residency, creating wedding collages and baking cakes. The drama aimed to provide increased social opportunities for residents – as well as creating a focal point for interaction and creativity – and the nostalgic setting provided further opportunities for reminiscence and conversation.

LEADING associations across the UK are to join forces to implement a programme of best practice into care homes. The groups will come together to deliver the My Home Life programme, which aims to improve the quality of life for those who are living, dying, visiting and working in facilities for older people. The programme, being led by Help the Aged in partnership with the National Care Forum (NCF) and City University, wants to celebrate and build upon the good practice that already exists in care homes and share it across the country. Professor Julienne Meyer, executive director of the programme, said: “Over the past two years we have pulled the sector together and have developed a pioneering vision of care, and we now want to implement the best practice from our findings. “We have the support of all of the

organisation and want to develop a centre from which to deliver a programme which we hope will improve the quality of life for residents, relatives and staff in care homes.” Funding for the programme to date has been provided by Bupa, and the group is now in the process of finding other pots of money to help them continue. It is based on eight key themes, two which help managers, and six to improve the experiences of elderly people in the home, including making the move from a person’s own home into care easier and creating a community atmosphere. The programme is free for care home owners and has been backed by ECCA, NCF, the Registered Nursing Home Association, National Care Association, Care Forum Wales, Scottish Care and the Independent Health Care Providers (Northern Ireland).

Design award cash goes to charity A LEEDS care home has donated the prize money it received for winning a design award to a local charity. Rievaulx House care centre in Armley, run by Meridian Healthcare, donated the £500 Healthcare Design Award prize to Age Concern after being nominated in the care home for the elderly new development category. Judges awarded the home the cheque to donate to a charity of their choice for becoming one of the three finalists for the award. Manager Carl Stevenson said: “The award highlights the quality and innovative nature of the development. It’s an amazing care home and it is nice to see this recognised by the industry through this award. We had no trouble deciding to give the money to Age Concern, they provide an excellent service for older people in the area.”

Rievaulx House manager Carl Stevenson and Meridian operations director (designate) Mandy Bennett present the cheque to Age Concern’s Carol Wardman and Pat Cronin with Pinders director of care and education Steve Marriot and Jerry Webb


New Knightsbridge suite combines domestic styling with contract specification NEW from Knightsbridge Furniture is Madison, a lounge suite which is designed to foster a sense of domestic comfort and harmony within residential homes and other caring environments. Comprising a generously proportioned armchair, plus twin and triple-seat settees, Madison features a high back, sumptuously upholstered arms and seat cushions which are both removable and reversible to ensure even wear and prolong fabric appeal. A full range of upholstery fabrics include vinyls for areas where infection-control is an issue, with customer-specific fabrics also accommodated by request. Complementing the upholstery are on-trend wooden feet in natural beech, golden oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany and wenge as standard, or in bespoke finishes to order. Madison is ideal for creating an inviting domestic landscape within all types of caring environments, including facilities for residents with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour patterns. To meet such special needs, Knightsbridge offers Madison to its ‘reinforced’ and ‘extreme’ specifications alongside the standard range. Enquiries: Telephone 01274 731900 or visit

Premiere’s SDP 35B reduces labour costs and improves hygiene standards MOP or scrub - which method would you choose to deliver the highest cleaning standards? Historically large areas have benefitted from the superior cleaning delivered by scrubber driers, while smaller areas have been mopped. Innovation through technology has delivered a threat to these traditionally mopped areas with a range of compact scrubber driers available from Premiere Products. Now detergent can be applied, scrubbed and picked up in the tightest of areas, delivering higher standards with more labour efficiency. At the same size as a standard rotary machine, it can easily be manoeuvred around fixtures and fittings and the fully adjustable handle allows for easy reach under tables and beds. With its unique parabolic squeegee the SDP 35 can literally ‘clean on a circle’ allowing wall to wall cleaning with 100 per cent water pick up, even in corners. Premiere’s SDP 35 is available in both battery and mains options. Enquiries: Telephone 01242 537192 or email

Complete safeguard innovation from Triton BRIDGING the previously untouched gap between BEAB Care accredited safety and limited water pressure, Triton has launched its unique-to-market Safeguard Care Thermostatic Pumped electric shower to offer unrivalled temperature control for areas with low water pressure. Triton has worked with BEAB to create the first BEAB Care safety mark available for the pumped shower sector, setting the benchmark for the industry. Additionally, the Safeguard Care Pumped carries the sought-after RNIB endorsement for inclusive design, ease of use and overall safety right from the start; an endorsement previously only awarded to Triton’s Safeguard T100 Care thermostatic shower in late 2008. Ideal for new or upgrade projects this innovative showering technology incorporates Triton’s unique ‘three stage thermostatic control system’, and with its own built-in pump it is able to deliver thermostatic temperature control in compliance with the BEAB care standard. Enquiries: Visit

Building a better future - student work placement schemes INTERNATIONAL Student Advisors 4U (ISA) is pleased to provide students to nursing, residential and domiciliary care organisations. Those involved in ISA have extensive experience in providing students to the UK enabling them to achieve qualifications in chosen fields, whilst working within a full time placement Unique courses for caregivers, midwives, under board nurses, registered nurses and other allied medical courses, which allow students to have paid employment and study at a University in the United Kingdom If you feel you can offer vocational work placements for students please contact Tracey or Janet. Offices in the UK, Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore. International Student Advisors, call 01245 226625/226064 or visit


Accessible gardening from NRS PEOPLE with restricted movements no longer have to be denied the pleasures of gardening thanks to a range of new products from Nottingham Rehab Supplies. The leading provider of rehabilitation equipment and daily living aids prides itself on offering a vast range of products that can improve the quality of life for older people and those with a disability. And the new Natural Radius grip tools are designed to minimise stress on the wrist so that people can work in the garden without pain because the angled handles ensure the wrist is kept in a natural position, and a non-slip grip provides greater comfort and control. The range includes the Ezimate Back Saving Accessory, which is exclusive to NRS in the UK and improves posture productivity and safety while gardening. There are also garden kneelers, reachers and a wheeled garden stool, which is ideal for moving along the edge of a flower-bed while weeding. Enquiries: Telephone 0845 121 8111 or visit

Greater safety and laundry protection from Miele WHEREVER infectious or potentially infectious laundry has to be washed, such as in nursing homes, hospitals and contract laundries working on behalf of such institutions, legislation requires a barrier setup for clean and unclean sides. This involves the installation of washerextractors in a diaphragm wall. Innovative technology on board Miele's new barrier washer-extractor guarantees gentle laundry care, user convenience, safety and costefficiency. The PW 6163 model offers a 16kg load capacity and a whole gamut of optional extras, ranging from an integrated weighing system to process data acquisition. It features interlocking doors, facilitating the secure segregation of infeed and outfeed operations, and has been equipped with a honeycomb drum. Thanks to its web-like, sculptured surface finish, the drum creates a thin film of water on which laundry glides gently. Once a programme is complete, the drum automatically turns to the unloading position, where it is secured for safety. Enquiries: Telephone 0845 330 3618 or visit

Jangro’s new catalogue now bigger and better NEW from Jangro is the 2009, 150 page full colour illustrated product catalogue, the biggest and best in the organisation’s 29 year history. Jangro is the UK’s leading group of independent distributors of hygiene, cleaning, janitorial and catering supplies with 37 privately owned, regional branches providing a high quality service throughout the UK. This new publication is the biggest yet industrial buyers’ guide for washroom, housekeeping, kitchen hygiene, catering, floor care, waste management, window cleaning, industrial cleaning, wiping, health and safety, personal protective equipment and workwear. The catalogue has an increased range of products in almost every sector, and is a must for anyone with a purchasing or cleaning function. It contains thousands of well known products, in addition to a wide range of Jangro branded products, developed by leading manufacturers to compete with the market leaders on both quality and performance. Enquiries: Telephone 0845 458 5223 or visit

Clean Approach changes its name to Avica CLEAN Approach, the independent education sector distributor of medical, cleaning, hygiene and catering supplies has changed its name to Avica, bringing together all facets of its business. Formed in 1991 as a family run cleaning supply company, the organisation grew rapidly under the directorship of Jeremy Thorn. In 2007 it bought a medical supplies business and in 2008 a catering supplies business. The company now offers a range of nearly 8,000 products, supplied direct from its distribution centre. Avica is part of Jangro, the largest UK network of independent distributors of washroom, housekeeping, catering, floor care, waste management, window cleaning, wiping, health and safety, PPE and workwear products. Based in Watford, Avica is becoming one of the largest independent distributors in the south east. It provides a next day delivery service on orders placed by 5pm to most London postal codes, Herts, Bucks, Beds, Essex and Middlesex, with weekly deliveries to customers as far away as Bournemouth and Bristol. Enquiries: Telephone 01923 210009 or e-mail



Residents knit for Malawi hospital RESIDENTS at a Barchester Healthcare home have knitted jumpers to send to a children’s hospital in Malawi. The knitting club at Wimbledon Beaumont, which consists of Lady Dacie, Phyllis Pugh, Anne Pendlebury and Joan Parsons were inspired to take up their needles by Lady Dacie, who has been knitting for many years. Activities manager Paul Christopher said: “The ladies really enjoy their knitting club, it’s one of the many activities that we offer. They really enjoy the social side of it too and it’s great that they’re able to put their skills to good use for the benefit of people in need.”


Report claims operators not recognising dementia demand By Dominic Musgrave CARE home operators are yet to fully tap into demand for dedicated dementia care services, it has been claimed. A study by Laing and Buisson has found that only 57 per cent of approximately 142,000 care home residents in the UK with dementia are receiving appropriate care. The report’s author Alex Mitchell told Caring UK that residential care operators were missing out on “significant fee premiums over nondementia clients” by not specialising their services. He added: “Dementia is going to increase massively and care homes should consider making changes now because there is definitely going to be a need for more specialist units. “In the past it was always seen as a Cinderella service, and something that is a natural progression for people when they get old. “This will change though for the

If you have a story for Caring UK email Dominic Musgrave at or ring 01226 734407.

better now that is has become a political hot potato, and we have seen the tipping point in this country with regards to dementia for sure.” But ECCA chief executive Martin Green says care home operators have not committed to changing their services because commissioners would not realise the difference. He added: “It would cost a lot of money for a care home operator to change and become a specialist dementia centre. “I don’t think a lot of local authorities would recognise this, and would expect to still be receiving the service at the price they would pay a regular care home. “Some would look to do block contracts, but very few would commission specialist dementia services.” The report also found that a third of care homes specialising in dementia do not provide staff with necessary training. Martin added: “Commissioners in

Radiator covers


No.1 in used Wheelchair Accessible Transport ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT AT AFFORDABLE PRICES • We specialise in the sale and purchase of quality used wheelchair accessible and ambulance vehicles. • They can be bought as seen or refurbished and signwritten to your own requirements. • 12 months MOT Class 5, and 12 months warranty. • Independent engineers report supplied FOC. • Delivery service available. • All buses fitted with seatbelts and comply to seatbelt legislation.

Always wanted late wheelchair accessible vehicles Gardiners Lane North, Crays Hill, Billericay, Essex CM11 2XE Tel: 01268 521033 • Mobile: 07860 894331 • Fax: 01268 284951 •

Visit our website for photos of current stock

Care Alarms


Martin Green this country do not recognise dementia as a specialist subject, and what they don’t realise is that care home operators will only start training their staff to deliver a service when they do. “Having said that, a lot of people being placed into care homes will have some form of dementia, and providers should start making sure it is an important part of their training budget.”



Report says homes must update methods ALMOST half of care homes in Scotland need to modernise their palliative care methods, a new report by the country’s regulator has claimed. The Care Commission study ‘Better care every step of the way’ found that staff at 449 of the country’s 1036 homes did not realise they should be offering end-of-life care to residents with life-limiting illnesses. It also found that 54 per cent of services had not fully trained their team or given them enough support to deal with sensitive issues surrounding death and dying, making it difficult for staff members to talk to residents and their relatives and carers about the subject. Susan Brimelow, the commission’s director of healthcare regulation, said

the survey had found numerous examples of good palliative care provided in care homes across the country, but further action needed to be taken to ensure improved access for all residents. She added: “The increase in demand from an ageing population means that more people are living longer with life-limiting, long-term conditions and an increased need for palliative and end of life care. “Care home providers and managers must recognise the need for increased knowledge, skills and educational support to ensure residents, families and carers receive high quality palliative and end of life care. Improved access to this specialist care for everyone who needs it is vital.”

Plymouth home gets highest rating A PLYMOUTH care home which has created activity plans to suit residents’ needs and interests has been upgraded to the highest rating from the inspectorate. Four Seasons’ Springfields in Plymouth has been recognised for the improvements to its services by the commission, which include improving the gardens and a sensory room being installed. The home, which has a number of dementia residents, has also under-

gone extensive refurbishment, while a review of staff and an overhaul of training has also been carried out. Manager Nicola Kelly said: “Following a period of hard work involving a great deal of commitment from the staff at the care home and the support of the management team, we have now been formally recognised by the commission, as well as by local medical and healthcare professionals, as providing an excellent standard of care.”

George Randell and senior carer Joe Robson with the members of the Red Arrows.

Resident’s Red Arrows visit A RESIDENT’S dream came true when he visited the Red Arrows at RAF Scampton thanks to the generosity of the owner of the care home where he lives. George Randell, of Hallmark Healthcare’s Tuxford Manor care home, had always dreamed of going to see a Red Arrows display, and his wish was granted after managing

director Avnish Goyal donated a trip that he had successfully bid for in a charity auction. Following the experience George said: “It was a truly fantastic day and a real dream come true for me. I am so happy to have seen the Red Arrows display in person and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Youngsters perform at home CHILDREN from a local school entertained residents at a Worcestershire care home with a special performance. The pupils from Wolverley

Sebright First School dropped into Westley Court Care Home and sung songs from hit musical Mamma Mia! as well as tunes from their production of The Pied Piper.



Firm gets its Wide range skates on YTM staff donned roller skates to promote their new ytmexpress range at the Bournemouth Care Show. This concept features both furniture and soft furnishings, and will be available in 10 working days from order to delivery, ensuring that when rooms become vacant they can be refurnished and put back on line, keeping revenue loss to a minimum. Marketing manager Jessica Mckenzie said: “We couldn’t think of a better way to show visitors that ytmexpress is a range available quickly than by putting on roller skates and getting visitors to ask us why we were wearing them, not to mention the ridiculous outfits.”

AID CALL offers a wide range of products including Nurse Call, Staff Attack and DECT communication systems, designed specifically to meet the needs of NHS trusts, private hospitals, care groups, sheltered accommodation and care homes. Aid Call provides individually tailored solutions to meet customers’ specific requirements. Products are installed with minimum disturbance and disruption to premises, their patients and residents. A company spokesman said: “Aid Call is committed to extensive product development to meet the challenging demands of today’s care industry.”

Sky Chemicals launch quick acting odour neutraliser SKY chemicals have launched Magic, a highly concentrated, effective and quick acting odour neutraliser. It is specifically formulated to destroy urine and other bad odours at the source, and not mask them using only a small application. Magic’s modern formulation leaves a long lasting fresh fragrance to the working and living environment. It is suitable for use on carpets, fabrics, upholstery, soft furnishings, mattresses, floors and hard surfaces, and to pre-soak linen before the wash to remove unwanted smells. Magic has been tested to BSEN 1276 against MRSA and E-Coli. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, easy to use and environmentally friendly. Magic is packed in 2x5 litre boxes and costs £4.99 per litre. This price includes free full COSHH data sheets, pelican pump dispenser to save on waste, labeled, spray gun in accordance with HSE, free delivery and 30 day credit. Enquiries: Telephone 0114 2346730 or email

Simple solutions SINCE 1982, Colne (Lancs) based, Richards Residential Supplies have concentrated upon supplying simple solutions to common nursing home problems. The new WACMAT® adheres strongly to this tradition. With its ultra absorbent cotton pile and 100 per cent waterproof backing, the remarkable WACMAT® is an ideal accessory where spills may occur. Used as a commode mat, in bedrooms or bathrooms, the WACMAT® ensures full carpet protection. Then, after use, simply machine wash and tumble dry! It’s that simple... The WACMAT® will then be clean and odour-free, ready to perform time and time again. Alternatively the flat-laying WACMAT® can be used as an entrance mat, saving you hundreds of pounds in rental costs alone. Enquiries: Telephone 0800 074 3749.

Reva to continue manufacture of Appollo special needs range REVA Industries, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of acrylic baths, has purchased the Appollo brand of special needs baths and will continue to supply the collection to the market. The Appollo accessible bathing range is designed specifically around the needs of elderly, infirm or physically disabled users. The collection features powered seats, walkin facilities and wheelchair accessibility, ensuring mobility problems do not become a barrier to relaxed bathing. The range comprises seven different models, all of which can be upgraded to include the Appollo Air Spa system so bathers can enjoy the benefits of hydrotherapy. Each model in the range is suitable for varying degrees of mobility and the walk in shower bath is particularly suited to those who find it difficult getting in and out of the bath. Other models in the range include the Appollo, Aries, Excalibur and Elegance. Enquiries: Telephone 01482 327704 or email

CQC chair to speak at conference CQC chair Baroness Barbara Young will be the keynote speaker at a conference which will examine how the government’s strategies can be implemented throughout the UKwide network of care and public service providers. She told GovNet’s first Ageing Population event in January that the agency wants “to focus on how services can be improved, rather than just achieving minimum standards”. And she will discuss this and how to ensure the UK’s care system is fit for purpose at the latest event on June 30 entitled ‘Strategies for an Ageing Population’. She will be joined by Rosie Winterton MP, who has been appointed to ensure the government provides a high standard of care and social equality, and the Department for Health’s head of social care strategy Alexandra Norrish.

Baroness Barbara Young

Cairn tackles infection problem INFECTION prevention in care homes is a big problem and has a huge impact on the running of a home, the well-being of its residents, its quality star rating as well as the balance sheet. It is possible to disinfect areas against C-diff and Norovirus where there are soft furnishings and carpets, without causing damage to fittings or health risks to staff from aggressive cleaning chemicals. Cairn, a health, safety and infection control consultancy, has worked with the NHS for years to help break the

chain of infection through good occupational hygiene, cleaning systems and environmental controls. Cairn’s joint managing director Dr Peter Binns said: “It seems care homes are often left in the dark about up-to-date infection control practices and information. People are dealing with serious outbreaks due to a lack of infection control training, equipment and adequate policy. “We’re trying to tackle the problem at its root in an area where many patients are over 65 and more susceptible to infection.”

Helping homes’ food needs WITH the imminent review of the Nutrition Action Plan and BAPEN’s on-going programme of nutritional screening, care home managers and chefs need to be mindful of providing good quality food services more than ever before. Big multi-site companies and local authorities can afford to employ a dedicated catering specialist to help them keep up to date. However, smaller groups and individual care homes do not have this option. Care Home Food sets out to fill this

gap, providing help both with special one-off projects while also offering everyday on-going support to help care homes keep on track. The company’s proprietor Andrea Guest said: “Care home managers and cooks are busy people with limited time to keep abreast and implement all the latest advice. Care Home Food will help care homes to work out what could work better and support them through the process of delivering improvements for their residents.”

Giants are perfect for small laundries MIELE’S Little Giants are the ideal entry level machines for small inhouse laundries. Tested and approved by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme, these machines can be connected to mains water in any application, including category five high risk establishments such as nursing homes. The machines are made with the highest quality materials and expert workmanship. All components, from the shock-absorbers on the drum cradle and drum bearings to the outer casing and the very last nut and bolt in the machines, are quality

tested to ensure many years of good service. Depending on the model, both the washer-extractors and tumble dryers are available with either a high-grade stainless steel housing or a highquality vitreous direct enamel housing which is resistant to corrosion, yellowing and chipping. Miele’s unique patented Honeycomb drum is made from a high-grade stainless steel. In the washer extractors the patented honeycomb drum ensures that the laundry load glides on a thin film of water.

Caring UK (May 09)  

The Number One magazine for the care sector

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you