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October 2008

incorporating The Number One magazine for the care sector

no.149 • £4.75 In association with

Website bid to beat staff shortages By Dominic Musgrave AN INDEPENDENT care home owner has set up a website which aims to overcome the problems of staff shortages at late notice. Peter Fry, of Friary House, wants care home managers and owners to sign up to Available 4 and share their staff with other homes in the local area. He believes it will save care homes money in having to employ temporary staff from agencies and can raise standards of care and residents’ quality of life. "We are in the care business ourselves and know just how it feels when you have set the roster for your staff and then someone can't come in,” he said. “We used to ring round and try to get someone to cover and inevitably call in agency cover if we could not contact any of our own off duty staff. “Unlike other industries it is a legal requirement for care homes to have a minimum number of staff and residents need somebody 24 hours a day. “By signing up to the website, care homes can share their staff with those in their local area and search

for cover should they need to.” It has taken 18 months to put together and has received support from the Commission for Social Care Inspection. “Every town has four or five agencies so someone is using them,” added Peter. “So far the response from care home managers and owners has been slow but we want them to see that there is another way. We wouldn’t be wasting our time or money putting the website together if we didn’t think it could be a success.” The website works by managers signing up and registering a minimum of 12.5 per cent of full time, part time and regular bank staff on the service. Registered staff then advise the automated database of their availability for particular shifts while not rostered, either online or by preset text message from their mobile phone. Searching for available off duty staff can then be done either online or by text message from a mobile phone. Each search, which costs £6.50, will contact up to three available staff. If the search fails to find any available staff there is no charge.

Flood-hit staff praised

Television personality Rolf Harris CBE and comedian Helen Lederer entertained the residents at South London care home Nightingale. Rolf used his array of musical instruments including his famous wobble board and didgerido, and had the audience and staff singing and dancing along to some of his classic hits including ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’ and ‘Jake the Peg’. Helen, best known for her roles in the television sitcoms French and Saunders and Absolutely Fabulous, spoke of her many amusing career highlights. She also admitted to being a master chef in the kitchen and promised to return to Nightingale to host a cheesecake cooking challenge.

STAFF have been praised for their dedication and professionalism after a Northumberland care home was hit by floods. They and the residents were forced to sleep on the first floor of Southern Cross’ Riverside House in Morpeth with no electricity or running water after the police deemed it too dangerous for the home to be evacuated. Despite some suffering personal problems with flooding, the staff worked extra hours to deliver care to the residents and facilitate a stress-free evacuation. The following day all 41 were moved to three sister homes in the nearby area. “I do want the carers mentioned because they kept everything in order,” said resident Alma Scott. “I would have been worried stiff if they hadn’t been there. There was no bother anywhere.”



Manager turns resident to put home to the test By Dominic Musgrave A MANAGER lived as a wheelchairbound resident for 48 hours to find out what her nursing home is like from a customer’s perspective. Cheri Halvorson, manager of the Fremantle Trust’s Cherry Garth home in Holmer Green, became 78-year-old MS sufferer Ethel Crabtree for the exercise, even drawing up her own care plan. Cheri, who has worked for the Trust for 13 years, said it was valuable for both her and her the staff. “I wanted to get a feeling of how it is to be a resident in the home,” she said. “Once the staff got over their fits of giggle it was a really worthwhile exercise and taught us a few things. “One of the main problems I came across was when I was putting on my make-up in the morning because the mirrors were too high for my wheelchair. The only mirror I could see into was in the lift so I had to keep going up and down until I had finished. “Since the exercise I have gone out and bought hand mirrors for the rooms.” Cheri also faced problems using the disabled toilets and struggled to get back into the home after going outside because of the steepness of the ramps. “I felt at times that my dignity and Advertising Sales and Marketing Director:

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Cheri Halvorson independence were being taken away from me and I’m sure the residents don’t like that,” she added. “I didn’t want to ring my bell and ask for help, but at times I had no choice. “The carers want to care, but at times they need to wait and not do anything until the resident really cannot do it for his or herself. “I would highly recommend all managers to try and live life as a resident, but next time I wouldn’t do it in the home

where I work because then you get a more objective view.” Chief executive Carole Sawyers added: “By carrying out this research Cheri was able to identify some practical improvements which will make life easier and more comfortable for some residents. “More importantly she personally experienced some of the feelings of frustration, embarrassment and loss of independence that older people can feel when they enter care.”

Reporters: Nicola Hyde Christina Eccles Mary Ferguson Louise Cordell Lyndsey Smith 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.



Association gets contracts HOUSING 21 has been awarded two extra care service contracts in West Sussex. Under the terms of the contracts, which will begin in October, the association will provide approximately 476 guaranteed hours of care each week with a further 200-300 hours as spot purchase. The two care contracts are for the provision of care and support at Arthur Bliss House, a Hanover managed extra care scheme in Lindfield and Marten House in Burgess Hill, which is managed by Downland Housing Association. “Extra care housing provides accommodation, care and support in schemes enabling people to continue living independently in the community but with the availability of 24 hour assistance as needed,” said West Sussex County Council cabinet member for adults’ services, John de Mierre. “For some people extra care is a real and desirable alternative to residential care. Housing 21 have been selected for these contracts because of the quality and value of their services.” This latest success follows Housing 21’s recent award of care contracts in Horsham and Crawley, bringing their total in West Sussex to six.

Closed care home wins appeal against ruling By Dominic Musgrave A NORTHAMPTONSHIRE care home threatened with closure following the deaths of two residents has won an appeal against a Commission for Social Care Inspection ruling. The Care Standards tribunal ruled that The Alton Centre care home in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire could remain open. A CSCI inspection at the home carried out at the beginning of August found serious issues concerning nutrition and hydration, wound care and the management of medication and medical conditions. Standards were so poor that inspectors considered there was a serious and immediate risk to the life, health and well-being of the residents. As a result, the commission, using its statutory enforcement powers under the Care Standards Act 2000, obtained an urgent court order from a magistrate to cancel the registration of the home. “The Care Standards tribunal gave Active Care Partnership Ltd one last chance to improve services to residents at The Alton Centre,” said Norwyn Cole, regional director of

Norwyn Cole CSCI for the east. "The tribunal, however, has chosen to impose stringent conditions on the company in order for the home to remain open. “This unprecedented decision by the tribunal recognises CSCI's concerns – that there was a serious risk to the residents and that the way The Alton Centre was being managed put vulnerable people at risk.” He added that the commission would “closely monitor and inspect the home on a frequent basis”. The management had originally

been told by a High Court judge that they must hand over the responsibility to the local social services and primary care trust following urgent action taken by CSCI after serious concerns emerged about the safety and welfare of people living there. Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Teaching Primary Care Trust sent in a team of nurses and carers to work with and supervise the home’s own staff in caring for the 28 residents, who have physical disabilities and need nursing care. A spokesperson for The Alton Centre said: “Following the successful outcome of the appeal, which confirms the professional care we have always maintained is delivered by our staff at The Alton Centre, we can now continue to focus on the care delivery for our residents. The health and safety of our residents is our main priority and we take our responsibilities as a care provider very seriously and are always looking to improve standards where possible. “We will work in partnership with the local authority and the regulator in continuing to move the service forward.”

Council warning after Edinburgh home is fined over fatal fall EDINBURGH care homes have been given a stark warning by the city council after investigations following a resident's fatal fall from an unsecured window resulted in a hefty fine. The Grand Lodge of Scotland was fined £100,000 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to contraventions of health and safety legislation. The case followed an investigation by council environmental health staff into a fatal accident in March 2006 when 87-year-old resident Leah Bell fell from a second floor window at the Sir James McKay House. "Mrs Bell's tragic death was wholly preventable – had the care home shown due regard for health and safety, it would not have been possible for her to have got on to the window ledge from where she then fell,” said councillor Robert Aldridge, environment leader. “Unfortunately, similar accidents have occurred elsewhere in the UK and residents climbing out of windows is a hazard that is clearly referred to in Health and Safety Executive guidance for the care sector. "This case is a lesson to all care homes about the importance of securing their windows so that

Coun Robert Aldridge nothing like this can happen again." Stephen Walker, environmental health and trading standards manager, added: "The management of the care home cooperated with the council's investigation into this matter. All businesses must consider the dangers of falls from height and the risks associated with persons, including members of the public such as the elderly and children, using their premises and put in place adequate control measures."



Keeping in touch – at the touch of a button ... By Mary Ferguson

Staff at Isle Care homes across the Isle of Wight were honoured at a ceremony in East Cowes. They were presented with awards in recognition of long service, or their efforts through the company’s internal awards scheme. Jim Iles, chairman of Isle Care and clients Tim Daish and Molly Guster made the presentations. Other non-executive directors and senior managers were also in attendance. Isle Care, a member of the Somerset Care Group, is based in Shanklin and has four care homes for elderly people and 11 group homes for adults with learning difficulties. I Sarah Woodford receives her manager award from Isle Care's chairman Jim Iles and client Tim Daish

ELDERLY care home residents can keep in touch with friends and family members at the touch of a button thanks to a new website. The team behind Finerdays have been working on this project for almost two years. It began when qualified care home manager Lilla Harris gave up her day job following a conversation about getting computers into care homes, and unwittingly became an entrepreneur. Her idea was to develop older people and family social networks, and she says it has been great to watch it develop and to see older, and younger people, use and enjoy the internet. “The trial has been very successful to date,” said Paul Brennan, marketing director at Four Seasons, who are trialling the system. “Any residents or relatives who want to have computer access have been able to set up the Finerdays system and, with its controlled but comprehensive access, it seems to allow good communication channels to be maintained by the resident with their relatives, of all generations, wherever they are in the world.” Jo and David Green, both 78, now email and share photos with all of their family, including their niece in Australia, 76-year-old sister in America and grandchildren.

“I think it is very good,” said David. “It is great to see pictures coming in from the kids and family and to think you can do that with relations overseas is brilliant.” Jo and David are new to computers but already use Finerday on a daily basis to check emails and look at new photos. Despite not being chosen in the long selection process for BBC’s Dragons Den just days before filming, Finerday has since built up a following and now works with Microsoft, Intel, Sun Microsystems and the BBC. Plans to turn the programme into Welsh and Polish are also under way. They were the sponsor of Age Concern’s recent 2008 Silver Surfer Campaign.



New immigration system ‘simply unrealistic’ By Dominic Musgrave

Mary Bennett

Fire death treated as murder POLICE are treating a fire at a care home in which a resident died as murder. Mary Bennett, 79, died from serious burns in Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester a week after the fire at Clayton Manor Care Centre in Congleton. A forensic post mortem examination revealed that Mary died as a result of the burns received in the fire. A Cheshire Police spokesman said that initial investigations had indicated that the fire was started maliciously and that the police are now

conducting a murder enquiry. The spokesman added: “Police are appealing to anyone who may have information about the fire or was in the Rood Hill area of Congleton on Sunday, August 17, 2008 between 8pm and 10.30pm, who may have witnessed anything or anyone suspicious, to contact them on 0845 458 000, or you can leave details anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.” The nursing and residential care home is part of the Care Home Group: Southern Cross Healthcare Ltd and has 78 beds.

EMPLOYING care workers from outside Europe will be a thing of the past under a new points-based immigration system which is to come into force in November. The provisional list of shortage occupations published by the Home Office's migration advisory committee recommends that only care workers earning at least £8.80 an hour should be allowed to come to Britain. Yet other occupations such as sheep shearers, manual frozen fish filleters and ballet dancers made it on the list with no salary requirements. English Community Care Association (ECCA) chief executive Martin Green described the minimum wage for care workers as “simply unrealistic and unworkable”. “The MAC have failed to understand that the care home sector is largely publicly funded and the funding received is simply not enough to pay £8.80 per hour in the vast majority of cases,” he added. “It is entirely inappropriate to use salary as a basis for skill. “Far more attention should have

been paid to the great array of skills a senior care worker needs, not just to demonstrate the current Government NVQ target, but on top of this maintain an up to date knowledge of the social and health care policy agenda.” The list, which reduces the number of jobs open to migrants from one million to 700,000, is likely to come into force in November, after the Government has studied the recommendations. “We cannot understand why skilled work riders and frozen fish cutters are deemed to be skilled without an attached required salary, while senior care workers will in essence be prevented from entering this country to undertake the valued work that those currently here already do,” Martin added. “It is another hammer blow to a sector that is struggling to meet rapidly increasing costs while maintaining a well-trained competent workforce.” But border and immigration minister Liam Byrne defended the list, saying it directly supports the Government's aim to upskill the British workforce and ensure Britain remains a global leader in skills.

Charity appoints new trustee A SOUTH Yorkshire charity which provides care for Sheffield’s elderly in 13 residential homes across the city has appointed a new trustee. Steve Essam, currently HR director for Tunstall, has worked in human resources for more than 23 years and lived in the the area for 30. “I’m delighted to be asked to join the SheffCare board,” said Steve, who has direct experience of helping to support his own parents when they developed Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. “My mother spent some time in a residential and nursing home and I believe passionately that appropriate high quality care should be available for all senior citizens that need

Steve Essam support. But I also believe that senior citizens are entitled to as much fun, social and intellectual stimulation as anyone else in society and that people are never too old to learn or try something new – life is for living.”



Residents get a flying tutorial from Goldie the Harris hawk'

Milton Keynes residents take Access to good a Hawk on the Wildside palliative care RESIDENTS at a Milton Keynes care home were treated to a visit by rare birds of prey.

Activities manager Mary Crouch organised the event for the 25 residents and staff at Kents Hill, which provides permanent and respite care for the elderly and those living with dementia. “A visit from Hawk on the Wildside provides many residents with a new

experience,” said Mary.

“The opportunity to see and handle the owls and hawks, and to watch them fly close by, is something most people have never had the opportunity to do before.” Kents Hill is part of a network of 15 care homes run by Carebase Ltd across the south east and east Anglia.

needs to improve By Louise Cordell ACCESS to good palliative care in Scotland needs to improve and it must be more consistently provided for the thousands of people who need it each year according to research. The Audit Scotland report ‘Review of palliative care services in Scotland’ looks at the provision of care for people with terminal illnesses. This care is provided both by ‘generalists’ such as GPs, hospital doctors, district nurses, care workers, and friends and families, and by ‘specialists’ such as hospice staff and specialist palliative care teams. The report says most people are cared for by generalist staff, but patients with any condition who need care from specialist services should be able to get this. Currently, specialist care mainly focuses on people with cancer. The availability of specialist care also varies significantly across Scotland and different areas have different models. For example, the number of specialist staff per 100,000 people ranges from 4.1 in NHS Ayrshire and Arran to 7.3 in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and 11.2 in NHS Highland.

Caroline Gardner, the deputy auditor general for Scotland, said: “More than 55,000 people die in Scotland each year. Palliative care should be an integral part of the support given to patients and their families and carers during the last months, days and hours of their lives. “In many areas of Scotland the voluntary sector and the health service provide excellent and much appreciated care. But access to good quality palliative care varies across the country. The Scottish Government needs to address these issues in the palliative care action plan it is due to publish this October.” The report says that generalists who are involved in palliative care need the support and guidance of specialists so they can recognise palliative care needs and improve the quality of care they give to patients and their families. But good practice guidelines for palliative care are not being applied everywhere that care is provided. The report finds that the total cost of providing palliative care is unknown. About £59 million was spent on specialist palliative care in 2006/07, and almost half of this money came from the voluntary sector.

What they said ... “The Care Commission welcomes this report which recognises and highlights the importance of good quality palliative care in Scotland. As we develop a growing, ageing population, it is increasingly vital that care homes ensure they offer excellent palliative care. The Care Commission is committed to making good care better in this important area.” Susan Brimelow, director of healthcare regulation at the Care Commission

“This report certainly cannot come too soon for people in the later stages of dementia who have not enjoyed the same level of access to specialist support as those with other conditions, such as cancer. End of life care for people with dementia could be significantly improved if similar resources and expertise were made available.” Henry Simmons, chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland



Lisa Moulding and Amanda O’Hagan

Following on from last month’s story about managers swapping care homes for a few weeks, Dominic Musgrave spoke to two Sussex managers who say it is good to talk.

Managers share ideas to meet the challenge LISA Moulding and Amanda O’Hagan speak to each other every day to discuss life in their respective care homes. The two managers of Cobham Care Ltd’s Avon Manor and Avon House respectively share ideas and talk over any problems they may have, as well as meeting once a week with the company’s owners. “It is really useful to have a fresh pair of eyes and ears and set of ideas, and we talk through and bounce things off each other,” said Lisa. “We feel that two heads are better than one and help each other because it is challenging and can be quite lonely being a manager.” The two homes house people over 65 with dementia, with Avon Manor having 24 residents and Avon House 25. “We know a few managers in the area and I would encourage them to get together and talk about things,” added Lisa. “We also get the views of the residents because it is their

home. They choose where they want to go for their weekly outings sometimes we go to a garden centre and other times to Arundel castle.” Amanda agrees, saying it is really useful to share ideas and experiences. “As a home manager you are surrounded by people needing your attention, whether it be CSCI, Environmental Health, staff, residents or their families,” she added. “It can be tough at times so it is nice to sit in the office and speak to somebody who knows what you are going through. “We help each other all the time and share each other’s information, such as we needed a tree surgeon here and I knew that Lisa had just had one working at her home so rung her and she gave me the details.” The two homes recently joined forces to host a dementia information evening for residents and their families. Other similar events are being planned.

Consultation launched SKILLS for Care has launched a consultation on future Training Strategy Implementation (TSI) funding to make sure support for workforce development reflects the changes in service delivery. The consultation will also find out how employers want TSI funding delivered and make sure more employers are given support

to access TSI funding. “TSI funding has been hugely popular with employers but Skills for Care felt it was the right time to open a wide-ranging consultation to make sure the millions spent through TSI continues to be used in the most effective way possible,” said Skills for Care CEO Andrea Rowe.



Healthcare editor Dominic Musgrave looks at the financial worries affecting the care sector and how the industry is fighting back with the development of new schemes.

Charities unite to offer single advice gateway TWO-THIRDS of adults over 35 are concerned about the future cost of care and accommodation facing them or an older member of their family according to a study. New research by care and older people’s charities Help the Aged, Counsel and Care and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel says the cost of care could be the biggest financial burden many people will ever face. Residential care home fees have increased by 51.5 per cent in the last five years and costs are predicted to double in the next 20 years. In response, the three groups have launched a single gateway to free, independent information and advice about all aspects of care, housing and finance for older people. FirstStop will offer advice on a wide range of topics including care fees and funding care fees, choosing the right care home, social care provision, benefits and rights. Callers to the advice line will first have their enquiry assessed by specially trained advisers before being passed directly to a specialist who can answer more complex questions. “We know from our advice service that there is a real frustration amongst older people and their carers with the lack of fairness and lack of clarity over who is actually eligible for care,” said Counsel and Care chief executive Stephen Burke. “Widespread confusion is also rife on issues like self-funding and there is a huge gap in information about local services, particularly from local authorities. “The new FirstStop will provide a portal for easy access to all areas of the current care and support system that are difficult to navigate at

“Even taking into consideration the latest figures, the policy only makes a marginal impact on other areas of public spending and the benefits far outweigh the cost,” Lindsay Scott from Help the Aged Scotland, pictured left

Cost of free care up 15% in a year Stephen Burke present, including getting a local council assessment, finding and funding care, and moving to more suitable accommodation.” The research found that many families and carers seeking advice and information about social care difficult and confusing and struggle to navigate a “maze of information”. Of those questioned in the survey who had recently been involved in a decision about care and accommodation, 61 per cent said they felt worried that they'd made the wrong decision about care, 44 per cent said they found it difficult to find sources of independent help and advice and almost three-quarters (71 per cent) said the process would have been much easier if they could have accessed information from one source.

THE cost of providing the Scottish Government’s free personal care has risen by 15 per cent in a year. Figures show that the cost of delivering the policy rose from by £41m from £280m to £321m in 2006-07. The rise has been partly explained by people choosing to be cared for in their own homes instead of going into residential care, while some councils also ended their practice of charging for meal preparation last year. “Even taking into consideration the latest figures, the policy only makes a marginal impact on other areas of public spending and the benefits far outweigh the cost,” said Lindsay Scott from Help the Aged Scotland. “Help the Aged in Scotland believes that free personal and nursing care has created a fairer system, one that is much more equitable and a definite improvement on the past. For example, the policy has particularly benefited older people with degenerative conditions such as dementia, ensuring that there are less money worries for older people with modest means at a time when they require increasing personal care.” The biggest rise was in free per-

sonal care payments for those staying in their own homes, which rose by 21 per cent from £185m in 2005-06 to £224m last year. The cost of providing care in residential homes rose in line with inflation. In 2003-04, 57 per cent of Scottish councils’ home care clients received the £145 weekly payments and by 2006-07 that proportion had risen to 72 per cent. The research also showed that the number of people receiving free personal care at home has increased from 33,030 in 2003-04 to 42,400 in 2007-08, a rise of 28 per cent. In care homes, the number of self-funding residents who receive free personal care has gone up from 8,340 in 2003-04 to 9,600 in 2007-08 - a 15 per cent rise. Of these, 6,160 also receive free nursing care, with payments of £65 per week. In total, councils spent more than £1b on older people’s services in 2006-07, a 20 per cent rise from the £853m in 2003-04. 31 per cent of the overall spending was on free personal and nursing care in 2006-07, compared to 26 per cent in 2003-04.

Inheritance danger revealed by new research FAMILIES may have to forego their inheritance as their parents fail to save for long-term care fees, according to new research. The study by Saga care funding advice services found that only one in ten adults has seriously discussed long-term care funding with their parents and almost half (47 per cent) underestimate its cost. This is despite figures showing that care home fees are set to dou-

ble in the next 20 years, meaning all adults could face huge bills for either their own care or that of their parents. More than half of people (56 per cent) with parents in their 60s have not discussed ways to meet the cost of long-term care at all, despite them being in the key age bracket where solutions need to be discussed and plans made. “The cost of care is not always something people think to talk to

their parents about, but it is vital to start planning as early as possible,” said Saga’s head of care funding services Owain Wright. “As this research reveals, there are a huge number of people who are relying on an inheritance from their parents, though underestimate the cost of long-term care. “By not discussing the issue and making provisions, they are neglecting the fact that their parents may be facing a situation

where they will be forced to turn to their children for financial help. With careful planning this can be avoided.” The Saga study also revealed a series of under-estimations and misunderstandings in how people anticipate their parents would pay for long-term care. The annual cost of care is between £25,000 and £30,000, however, 47 per cent of people underestimate the bill by as much as £20,000 a year.



Comment THE care industry has never struck me as one that has really embraced technology. Until now that is. Technology can be of major benefit to staff as well as residents, and from several stories in this month’s magazine it would appear that care homes are beginning to take that on board and install new systems. Quite often the simplest inventions prove to be the best, and several stories have proved that to be the case. A lot of care homes that I visit are now installing computers and the internet for the use of the residents, but social networking sites such as Facebook can at times be difficult to use. The creation of a website ( for residents to keep in touch with family and friends is a great idea, and one which I am sure will prove popular with care homes nationwide. And of benefit both in time and finance to manager and owners has to be Peter Fry’s idea for creating a website where homes can pool their staff and call a worker up at short notice to cover a shift, taking away the need for the use of agencies. Used properly, the ever changing world of technology and the internet can be a useful source and make the job a lot easier. Please get in touch by ringing me on 01226 734407 or by emailing and let me know what your home is doing with the latest in technology.

Sue Goodacre with Molly

Molly the marvel SUE GOODACRE, manager, The Old Rectory, Norfolk: I read with interest your article in the Caring UK (issue 148) about the residential care home with the farm. I thought you might like to know about the puppy bought to train as a therapeutic dog for the residents of The Old Rectory residential home in Acle, Norfolk. The puppy, Molly, is a Border Collie owned by myself, and is already a massive hit with the residents and visitors. She has already made a huge difference to the daily routine of the residents with many of them paying Molly a visit in the office. She has become an interest to them all and a subject to talk about. I cannot believe the difference she has already made.

Praise for ideas which show animal benefits LYNNDA COLEMAN National chairman, National Association for Safety and Health in Care Services (NASHiCS): HOW refreshing. Two articles in your September magazine about the positive benefits of animals in care establishments and not a single reference to the so-called health and safety people saying this is unsafe practice. It is wonderful to see the difference that the animals make to people’s lives and, in these days of person centred care, we should be thinking more and more about positive risk taking and these are perfect examples of how we can do it and do it well. The so called health and safety zealots (rarely actual health and safety professional, usually managers or others who can't be bothered to think further than long established practices) would seek to ban the introduction of animals on the basis that they may bring germs and infections into the care establishments. Clearly this is outweighed by the benefits to the well being and happiness of the service users. To address the risks, service users

Caring, September 2008 only need to be reminded to wash their hands etc. after being with the animals. I would venture to suggest that there have been very few animal related diseases reported to the HSE through this type of activity.

Words of the month "We chose to make the donation as Age Concern's work exemplifies both Excelcare's and my own family's view of the absolute importance of older people being provided with the support they need to live their lives with dignity. "For those in our society who require residential care, they should have the opportunity to live in accommodation with the sort of comfort, quality of service and sensitivity of provision that any one of us would expect for ourselves and for our loved ones.” Osman Ertosun, chief executive of Excelcare Holdings Plc, who donated £12,000 to Age Concern “This is a great outcome for the residents at Wickmeads, and one that we are very proud of. It reinforces Care South commitment to both staff training and development as well as maintaining and developing our residential homes to the highest standards of modern care

practice.” Director of Care Services at Care South, Richard Hawes, speaking about Wickmeads residential care home in Tuckton, Dorset which received an ‘Excellent’ rating in a recent Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) report "The Options for Excellence review of the social care workforce and the white paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say both stress the need for all social care agencies to ensure that their leaders and managers are competent and confident and able to ensure high quality for those who use their services. "High quality induction of new managers is therefore essential if they are to be able to ‘hit the ground running’. The standards set out clearly for the first time what a new manager needs to know, understand and be able to do.” Skills for Care CEO Andrea Rowe speaking about the launch of the Adult Social Care Manager Induction Standards programme.



New village strives for excellence By Dominic Musgrave A NEW care village has opened in Nottinghamshire which supports the Government’s idea of independent living. Forest Care Village on the outskirts of the village of New Ollerton will provide nursing and specialist care for people between the ages of 18 and 65 with long term neurological conditions. The L-shaped buildings have 44 bedrooms, all with internet and satellite television access and ensuite shower facilities. Business development manager Matthew Dudley said: “We worked closely with the architects to design a home using a concept of space, freedom, movement and choice. “As far as we are aware there is nothing like this around the UK, and the members of the PCT hubs that we have spoken to have told us they have never seen anything like this.” Residents are encouraged to take calculated risks and do a variety of daily tasks for themselves such as cooking, but for those who are unable there is a large kitchen facility. “We want to create a centre of excellence here. I know that is what

everyone says, but that really is our aim. We want to make this as comfortable a home as possible for our residents and one they can call home. “Residents will always be consulted about the decision making process of the home.” The rooms are split into groups of four or six individual units, with each having their own lounge and kitchen area. It is the first venture into care homes by its owners Pathfinders Care, but they all have healthcare backgrounds. “We want the home to be at the heart of the community,” added Matthew. “We have a good feel about it and thankfully so does everybody who has visited us so far.” Other facilities at the home include a cinema and snoozelum, while a hydrotherapy building and large garden will be developed at a later date.

Forest Care Village



Home staff urged to step up HELP the Aged is again calling on care home staff to host a dance event for residents and help raise vital funds for disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas. Taking place between September 27 and October 4, ‘Let’s Dance 2008’ is the charity’s latest national fundraising event which will see people across the UK organising their own dance event. For care homes in need of some inspiration, there is also the option for residents to learn a series of ballroom dance moves chosen by dancer and entertainer Lionel Blair for the Help the Aged Let’s Dance event. Alternatively, care homes can choose to donate the proceeds of an existing dance event to the charity. “I am absolutely thrilled to be supporting Help the Aged Let's Dance,” said Lionel. “There's nothing that lifts the spirits more than music and dancing for those of us still young at heart. “I think the event is such a lovely idea to bring people of all ages together.”

Care centre’s official opening LINDA Brown joined invited guests to mark the official opening of Geanann Care Centre for older adults in Dungannon, Tyrone. The deputy secretary for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) unveiled a plaque at the 54 en suite bedroom home, which has been built to meet the needs of people with dementia related illnesses. The new development is Southern Cross’ 23rd in Northern Ireland.

The development site in Whickham

Healthcare firm back in care market By Mary Ferguson A NORTH east firm has returned to the elderly care market with the acquisition of a development site in Whickham. Gateshead based Hadrian Healthcare, which sold its north-east portfolio of care homes in 2006, has purchased the former Bank Top Garage site, which has has stood dormant for a couple of years. Plans are being worked up to develop an around the clock residential facility for elderly clients with diverse needs ranging from assisted living to traditional residential and nursing care as well as specially designed facilities for elderly persons suffering from dementia. Managing director Ian Watson said: “While I appear to have been absent from the care market for the last two

years, I have been very active behind the scenes acquiring good, accessible sites in areas that are not particularly well served by current providers and working closely with my architect to get developments ready for planning so that they can become fully operational as quickly as possible. “We are already in discussions with Gateshead Council’s planning team about the Whickham site where we want to create a high quality facility which is likely to contain a hairdressing salon, tea rooms, an internet café, small group living areas, activities areas and full catering and laundry facilities.” The company also has 200 beds currently under construction in Humberside, North Lincolnshire and Bradford, with a further two planning applications under consideration for two sites in Leeds which will provide a further 150 beds.

Another planning application has been lodged with Newcastle City Council for a new elderly care centre in Brunton Park, Gosforth. “This is a major capital investment programme and we will be creating 500 new jobs throughout the northern region overall, 60 of which will be in Whickham,” he added. “We are committed to providing the most modern, innovative standards of care and giving the elderly the right environment, facilities and support they need to preserve independence, dignity and privacy so that they can continue to lead productive lives.” Work has also begun on a £6m development on the former Richardson Hospital site in Barnard Castle, which is scheduled for completion in September 2009 and will include a specialist single storey unit to cater for clients with varying degrees of dementia.

Dispensers boost hygiene campaign FOUR Seasons Health Care has introduced alcohol hand gel dispensers to all its care homes as part of a campaign to improve hand hygiene. The gel, which is an effective disinfectant against skin micro organisms including MRSA, was chosen by a clinical review group after they tested several other products. The idea, evidenced by NICE, is that the alcohol hand gels in conjunction with good hand washing practice equals the key to reducing health acquired infections.



Dominic Musgrave visited three East Midlands care homes and found that there is never a dull moment.

Kim Hirst

Manager Kim enjoying huge challenge ... A NOTTINGHAMSHIRE care home has opened a farm in its grounds. Alexandra Care Home in Long Eaton will house two pygmy goats, two rabbits and three hens to offer the residents additional activities. “We do a lot of activities at the home but wanted to offer the residents something extra,” said the home’s manager Gerry Martin. “Research has shown that pet therapy can be extremely beneficial to the elderly and we also hope it will encourage them to use the garden and

get out into the fresh air. “For those residents that are to frail to get out we are able to bring the rabbits and goats inside to visit.” Hens eggs will be sold to staff and visitors to raise the funds to maintain them, while the home is also doing its bit for the environment by producing its own fertilizer. The home is hosting a 12 hour 'Stride a Thon' on October 15 to raise additional funds to maintain the pets and pay the vet’s bills.

KIM Hirst began work at Meridian Healthcare’s April Park care home in Eckington in June having previously worked as the manager at an independent facility in Huddersfield. She says the move from a private provider to a large corporate one has been a huge challenge, but one that she is enjoying. “It is totally different from what I had been used to and I have had a lot to learn,” she said. “I have needed to get used to their policies to make sure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet. The home is also bigger than my last one, with 37 beds with nursing compared to 19 residential.” One of the first things Kim has implemented at the home is a family and residents committee where views can be aired which will shape the type of service the home offers. “I have always operated with an

open door policy and believe that the residents and their families are the most important part f the home, which is why they are invited to attend monthly meetings,” she added. “The same policy extends to the staff, who are welcome to come and talk to me about anything to do with work.” During her time at High Royd, the care home received awards for its quality of food and she plans to change the menu at April Park in the near future. “I want to make sure the food we serve here is as healthy as possible for the residents, “ she added. “We will be offering different meals in the near future. I want to promote the home as being family friendly and that also means the staff. I want to try and accommodate them as much as possible and will be looking at ways we can improve.”

Pat helping improve home’s environment

Pat Houston

DOWN the road at Hallmark’s Kirkby Manor care home in in Kirkby-inAshfield, Pat Houston is also new to the manager’s position, having previously managed a home in Boston, Lincolnshire. The home is currently restructuring and improving the environment to become more dementia care friendly, and is trying to raise awareness of its person centred dementia care through the home’s activities programme run by Karen Woods. “Karen offers one-to-one to some residents who don’t want to be part

of a group and wants them to use as many skills as they possibly can, everything from flower arranging to drawing,” said Pat. “We are also in the process of looking at how we provide training and support for staff to be able to support the residents in their daily lives. We want the residents to regain as much of their independence as possible.” Residents are being encouraged to personalise their bedrooms as much as possible. “We want the residents to fill their rooms with nik naks and pictures so

that when a carer goes in they can find out everything abut the person they are looking after,” she added. “We are slowly getting there but there is still a lot to be done here, although all of the staff here and at head office have been very supportive. It has been a wonderful experience so far and I am really enjoying myself.” Pat has been impressed with the quality of the care homes around Kirkby, and says more new homes are being built to deal with the shortage of dementia beds.




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Natalie Adams

At the age of 24 Natalie Adams is one of the youngest care home managers in the country. Dominic Musgrave spoke to her about her career.

Natalie runs home where she once made tea NATALIE celebrates her two-year anniversary as the manager of the Old Vicarage in Sherborne, Dorset at the end of the year. It has been a meteoric rise up the career ladder for the 24-year-old, who began working at the home making cups of tea at weekends while still at school. “I left school and began studying health and social care at college with the plan to have a career in nursing, and came to the home for a bit of work experience,” she said. “I took a year out and began doing my NVQ level two and three and it went from there.” Natalie did all the necessary qualifications and after a few years as the home’s deputy she got the manager’s job at the end of 2006. “I know I am young but I am always looking for new challenges, and after being the deputy for a few years I was confident that I could do the job,” she added. “I want to try and make a difference to people’s lives, and although it was challenging at first to take control of a large team of staff, it was something that I wanted to get my teeth into. “I hope I am an example to other young people that you don’t have to go to university and get a degree. “You can get a really good job like I have through work-based learning.” Natalie says that despite her young

age she has not had any problems with either staff or the 33 residents at the home. “I have a really good team of staff here and they know that I have worked my way up from the bottom and have been really supportive,” she added. “Although a lot of my time is taken up by paperwork in the office they know that I am not scared of hard work and I still do my fair share of caring when it is my turn to work at weekends. “I like to think of myself as a fair manager. I always try to involve both the staff and the residents in all of the major decisions that need to be made at the home.” Would you like or do you know somebody who you think should be featured in in our next Caring People? If so let Dominic Musgrave know by ringing 01226 734407 or email

Six things you may not know about Natalie: I She has walked over burning hot coal. I She has just recently got married. I She is a Capricorn. I She enjoys water sports I She used to play the clarinet. I She has completed a triathlon.



‘You never know what people experience until you walk in their shoes ...’ By Martin Green THERE was a time when people thought that expertise and knowledge should be closely guarded and the secret that should never be shared. Thankfully, we have moved away from this very insular approach and the care sector really understands the benefits and gains of sharing knowledge and experience. There has never been a truer proverb than you never know what people experience until you walk in their shoes and increasingly, we are seeing care home operators sharing and supporting one another even to the point where some members of staff in different facilities are being seconded so that they can learn from experience and share their own knowledge and skills with other providers. This development clearly marks the maturity of the sector and whilst we recognise that we may be in competition with each other for business, we have one unified objective and that is quality care for residents and the two different targets can sit side by side.

Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of work done to improve quality and deliver personalised care. In developing their services, care providers have realised that they have to work together and share knowledge and experience so that they are truly equipped to be flexible, innovative and deliver what an increasingly demanding and assertive community requires. Our sector is up to the challenge of innovation and development and we have proved this over the years. What we do require however is for this to be recognised by commissioners. There is a sad truth that lies at the heart of our system and that is all the rhetoric about innovation, development and personalisation is not matched by funding streams that facilitate it. It is a well-known fact in other parts of the economy that if you have personalised bespoke services that are fitted around your needs these are more expensive than the off the peg offering. This is a message that commissioners need to hear because currently the politicians are talking about creative, innovative and

bespoke services and commissioners are funding at a level that will not enable providers to develop sustainable services. Commissioners must stop the double standard, put their money where their mouth is and deliver proper funding for quality care. If they fail to do this then it is the responsibility of the regulator to call them to account and to ensure that there is fairness in the system between users, providers and commissioners and that each plays their respective part in defining and delivering quality care. The new regulator will provide us all with an opportunity to restate our commitment to quality and to challenge commissioners to provide the resources to deliver it. The ECCA conference on 12 November, Mind the Gap!, is focused on the many gaps between rhetoric and practice and we are very fortunate that Baroness Young, the new Chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), as well as the Minister and the ADASS President will all be at the conference to give their views on how the care sector

Martin Green should develop and more importantly to hear your views about what you require of them in order to sustain, develop and innovate for the future. I hope to see many of you at this conference because I think it will our opportunity to debate our future. I Martin Green is the chief executive of the English Community Care Association.

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Minister to outline major issues facing social care industry CARE services minister Ivan Lewis MP’s keynote speech at the Care Show will put forward the major issues facing the social care industry in the year ahead. As part of the seminar programme, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, it will be an ideal opportunity to hear a broad outline of some of the strategies planned to address them. Baroness Young, shadow chair of

the Care Quality Commission, will share her expertise in health care, giving particular focus to how the work of the Commission is likely to affect those working in the care home sector. Also speaking will be Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, Des Kelly OBE, chief executive of the National Care Forum, and Nadra Ahmed OBE, chairman of The National Care

Association. Legal issues will also be covered by specialist immigration solicitor, Kashif Majeed, principal solicitor at Aston Brooke and a member of the Immigration Lawyers Practitioners Association. The seminar programme will run alongside an exhibition, training zone and networking lunches. The Care Show takes place at the Birmingham NEC on November 5 and 6.

Ivan Lewis

Conference tackled dignity in care issues A CONFERENCE that tackled issues around dignity in care for older people took place in Armitage Bridge near Huddersfield. The conference featured an appearance by Amanda Warring, who wrote an emotive poem summing up the issues called 'Crabbit Old Women.' Councillor Margaret Bates said: "Unfortunately, older people are not always treated with the respect they deserve and work has taken place with residential homes and day services nationally and locally to develop and raise standards of care practices. This has been primarily through the national agendas on dementia care and dignity in care. This good practice has been shared with the independent sector "I hope that all services and everyone who comes into contact with senior citizens or those less fortunate than ourselves should treat people with dignity." It also included a market place with council services as well as those from the independent sector.

The organisers of The Healthcare Event are bringing their meetings formula to the private hospital and treatment centre industry this December with Medex UK. Medex UK will see senior purchasing decision makers from some of the UK’s largest and most active private hospitals,

rehabilitation centres, cosmetic surgery clinics and other treatment facilities, meet face-to-face with new and exciting suppliers to the industry. The event, organised by DP Events, gives suppliers an opportunity to network, socialise and discuss their products and

services directly with key senior decision makers, the likes of which are virtually impossible to meet with in day-to-day business and rarely attend trade shows and exhibitions themselves. Medex UK takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel, London on December 2 and 3.

Naidex organiser in campaign move NAIDEX organiser Emap Public Sector has appointed CAS Marketing Communications to manage its public relations campaign for 2009. For more than 35 years it has been the country’s largest and most diverse homecare, disability and

rehabilitation exhibition in the UK for healthcare professionals, trade representatives and consumers. Event manager Liz Virgo said: “The 2008 show was one of the most popular to date and we are looking for even more success in 2009. CAS

was chosen to handle the Naidex PR campaign due to its 15-year proven track record, its specialist knowledge of the disabled industry and the comprehensive programme it has promised to deliver.”

More education needed on food

Delegate offer

PEOPLE must be better educated in food and nutrition at school according to Ginny Storey from the Commission for Social Care Inspection. Speaking at the National Association of Care Catering annual conference in Birmingham, the head of quality and policy told the audience that more training was required to improve the standard of food in the care sector. “The UK has a major problem as people are not widely educated in basic food and nutrition,” she said. “Two generations of school leavers have not been taught domestic science as compulsory and have no school or family input into basic food skills and therefore have none or very

THE National Care Association has announced a special visitor delegate offer for care professionals wishing to attending the annual conference. For newcomer delegates, the introductory price is £199 (normally £250 for visitor delegates) for two days’ attendance at the event at the Brighton Thistle Hotel from October 29-30, including all refreshments and the gala dinner dance (but not including accommodation). Delegates will have the chance to listen to and cross examine representatives of Government, civil service and national organisations; meet with fellow care home professionals, visit the supplier exhibition and see the latest care sector products and solutions and enjoy the gala dinner dance.

little knowledge. This is something the Government needs to act upon.” Ginny used her speech to give an update on the progress of the work of the nutritional action plan delivery board and from the regulation and inspection sub groups. She also said that people should not accept the minimum standard and that companies should strive to be as good as they possibly can. “If Marks and Spencer settled for the minimum standard people would stop shopping there,” she added. “It beggars belief that in the 21st century we are having this debate and that there are people living in care homes who are malnourished. Is it too much to ask that care staff and health professionals think about

nutritional care?” She suggested taste tests of simple foods such as the choice of sausages, bread or tomato sauces as a good way of getting care home residents involved. “People going into care homes tell us that what hurts people most is the ability to take risks and make choices is taken away from them,” she added. “This is a good way of making residents feel like they are involved and avoids complaints about the food that is served to them.” Former world champion boxer Barry McGuigan, professor David Russell from the Russell Partnership and Kerry Burnett from the also Catering for a Sustainable Future Group were among speakers.

Cost of care at home in rapid rise By Dominic Musgrave THE cost of care at home for the elderly is rising rapidly according to an annual survey of local authorities by a charity. Counsel and Care’s Care Contradictions: putting people first? research found that the average hourly charge for council care services is now £12.84, a 16 per cent rise from £11.06 in 2007. The lowest charge amongst respondents is now £8.20 per hour, rising to the highest charge of £18. The maximum weekly charge for care set across all the survey respondents was £256.10 on average against £184.82 for the previous year, a 39 per cent increase. The highest maximum weekly charge is £450 per week and onefifth of councils do not set a maximum charge. For care in a residential home, the average standard rate paid by councils is £407.30 per week compared to an average of £379.35 per week in 2007. “A review of home care charging, and its impact on the lives of older people, their families and carers, should be undertaken as

a first priority, “ said Stephen Burke, chief executive of Counsel and Care. “Future reform of care and support must include charging procedures that are transparent and equitable, but most of all work to ensure a good quality of life for all those using services. “We call on councils to be brave and challenge existing practices with innovative new ways forward to ensure that the transformation agenda is not simply rhetoric, but makes a real difference to the reality of the lives of older people, their families and carers.” The survey also found that more than two-thirds of councils surveyed only consider an older person eligible to receive services if they have ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ needs. Three local councils say they provide support only for those older people with the most acute, critical needs, which the charity says confirms that fewer and fewer people are now eligible for council-funded care at home. It also believes that the findings show that the move towards person-centred care will be a revolution for the few, not the many.

Councillor Bob Harris with Sharon Lindsay and Hilda Currey

Sharon and Hilda win council carer award TWO residents have been chosen as joint winners of the second Haringey Council carer of the year 2008 award. Sharon Lindsay and Hilda Currey were chosen as the people who best exemplify the work and qualities of a carer. Sharon, who has learning difficulties, has a part-time job and looks after her mother Angela who is partially sighted. Hilda looks after her daughter Christine who is blind and her husband Terence who is wheelchair dependent. “It's a privilege to have so many dedicated carers in the borough,” said councillor Bob Harris, cabinet mem-

ber for adult social care. “This award is our way of recognising their hard work and commitment. “It's an unenviable task to choose winners – all carers deserve recognition, but Sharon and Hilda were the best among a wonderful group of people. Being a carer puts an enormous burden on the individual who sometimes has to sacrifice much of their own life to look after a loved one.” It is estimated that there are around 16,000 unpaid carers in Haringey, and 49 were nominated for an award this year. All those who were nominated received a certificate to mark their contribution.



A Doncaster homecare agency is growing rapidly in the wake of the Government’s announcement that it wants people to live in their own homes longer. Dominic Musgrave found out more.

Busy time for homecare agency SITUATED in new premises across the road from the town’s hospital, Care From Home Limited is ideally positioned to carry out assessments and deliver domiciliary care. Managed by Polly Munyeza, the private provider company set up two years ago provides a wide range of personal and specialist care services to a variety of service users, including people with learning disabilities and sensory impairments to mobility problems and dementia. The company does also work for the local council, with Polly carrying out the home visits herself. “We are very busy at the moment and have just come out tops in our inspection with no recommendations,” she said. “We expect to grow and grow following the Government’s plans to keep people living in their own homes for longer.” Employing 40 full-time and parttime staff, the company provide a wide range of services, everything from help with driving and light house work to cooking or shopping. Carers can also go on

holiday with the service users and a night service means that they can also sleep at their homes to give the client the confidence that there is someone around should their be any problems. “Although we cater for a wide range of service users we are finding that more and more of our clients are suffering in some way from dementia,” she added. “A lot of our carers are currently doing dementia courses so that we are able to give a better all round service.” Care From Home does a lot of its own training in-house, with staff able to choose from one of three options once they have passed their NVQ level two. Other forms of training in areas such as medication are also compulsory. “We want to retain our staff as much as possible so offer them a choice of where they want to go,” added Polly. “They can either continue their training to level three and four and become managers, focus on end of life care or become trainers themselves and teach other carers.”

Polly Munyeza

Escalating fuel prices could be the final straw ESCALATING fuel prices could be the final straw that leaves elderly and debilitated people unable to receive care at home according to a leading association. Almost two-thirds of homecare providers anticipate being forced to turn down packages of care in the next three months 'wholly’ or ‘mainly' because travel costs have become uneconomic, according to a survey by the United Kingdom Homecare Association. Rising costs for homecare providers, exacerbated by under-funding by local authority social service departments, could also result in an exodus of homecare workers from the sector according to the association, with 78 per cent of employers reporting that fuel prices are having 'major' or 'severe' impact on their ability to retain their workforce in the previous three months. Staff turnover in the homecare sector is already at almost a quarter, the highest in social care according to the survey, completed by the employers of 20,457 careworkers. Between one and two per cent of all care workers left in the last three months, giving increased travel costs as the whole (or at least a significant) reason for departure.

The association is adamant that fuel prices have exacerbated a much wider problem caused by persistent underfunding by local authority purchasers, who source up to 78 per cent of state-funded care from independent and voluntary organisations. And it is leading a campaign to achieve a fair price for homecare. They have written to the director of every local authority social services department (and health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland) to stress how damaging this is for the sector. UKHCA will use the Freedom of Information Act to demonstrate that councils have imposed below-inflation increases in contracts with independent and voluntary providers and to press councils to avoid a similar problem in the coming financial year. Head of policy Colin Angel said: “The capacity of the homecare sector is inextricably linked with what councils pay, and whether their contracts keep pace with additional inflationary costs. Even so, councils turn a deaf ear to the damage they are doing to the sector. “This campaign will use the Freedom of Information Act to expose the size of the problem and provide evidence to support homecare providers’ case for reaching a fair price for care.”

More money needed THE government must give more money to help Britain’s six million unpaid carers according to a group of MPs. The Commons work and pensions committee said people who looked after friends and relatives saved the taxpayer £87bn. It recommended income replacement for those unable to work because of their commitments, and compensation for costs incurred during “intensive” caring. The Carer's Allowance is currently £50.55 a week. Ministers said they were working to give carers more “balance”. In its Valuing and Supporting Carers report the committee said more state help was of “critical importance”. It recommended income replacement for carers who were only able to work parttime. Labour MP Terry Rooney, who chairs the committee, said: “Caring matters deeply to individuals, families and society in general. Sustaining the ability of carers to provide the care and support they give to others is of critical importance. He added: “DWP needs to provide adequate financial support for those who provide care when of working age, either by compensating them for the extra costs of caring, or, if they

need to give up work to care, through adequate income replacement and pension protection mechanisms.” The MPs said they were “disappointed” the government had not directly addressed financial help for carers in its Carers Strategy launched earlier this year, and that the group was identified as a long-term priority only from 2011. Carers struggled to stay in work and often suffered “opportunity penalties”, finding their vocational skills became rusty and out of date, they said. “We welcome the Committee’s acknowledgement that carers’ benefits are outdated and need urgent and radical reform,” said Carers UK chief executive Imelda Redmond. “This cross-party report, informed by expert evidence, backs up what carers have been telling us. We argued for improvements to benefits as part of the Government’s Carers Strategy and were bitterly disappointed when none were included. As well as being insultingly low at just £50.55 per week, Carer’s Allowance does not recognise carers’ individual circumstances and discourages them from combining caring with paid work.” Ministers are now calling for the weekly allowance to be increased to £100 per week.


Blaze-hit nursing home says thanks with a barbecue

Mike O’Brien, MP for North Warwickshire and minister of state for pensions reform, cuts the ribbon to open phase one of the rebuilding of the nursing home assisted by Jessica Hewitt, who helped on the afternoon of the fire, and Kate Simcock (left) operations director and village manager Louise Thompson.

Chief set to leave troubled home operator By Dominic Musgrave CHIEF executive Bill Colvin is to leave troubled care home operator Southern Cross after just eight months in the job. Bill, who has been running the company since January 1 following Philip Scott’s departure to The Priory Group, will leave the company before the end of the year “by mutual consent”. The company’s board has already started its search for a new chief executive with a view to an appointment being made by the end of this year. “Bill has provided much appreciated management continuity since taking on the chief executive role at the beginning of this year and has been one of the key architects of the transformation of Southern Cross over the last several years,” said chairman Ray Miles. “We are all very grateful to him for what he has done and continues to do for the company." Southern Cross has also announced the sale and long-term leaseback of the freehold interests of a further

seven care homes (including one day care centre and one assisted living unit). The homes have been acquired by three separate companies, Kirkhollow Limited, Keybank Limited and Kenplaid Limited, for a total of £20.7million – a £3m loss to Southern Cross. Leasing them back will cost the company £1.7m a year. At the end of August the company announced the sale and long-term leaseback of the freehold interests of nine care homes (including two day care centres) to a subsidiary of Daejan Holdings plc for a total of £31.1 million - a £6million loss. "Following the divestment of nine freehold interests, the sale of a further seven homes continues to substantially reduce the group's bank borrowings,” added Ray. “We have begun discussions with potential purchasers for the remaining 13 freeholds to be divested and look forward to progressing these in the coming weeks." The cash generated has helped the company to reduce its debt to £33.4m.

RICHMOND Villages Coventry held a celebratory barbecue to thank those who assisted following a fire at the nursing home at the beginning of July. The part of the nursing home worst affected by the fire has now been demolished, and re-building is under way, with 13 nursing beds already back in full operation and a further 12 scheduled to be available shortly. The company has also applied to the local planning authority to rebuild some of the care bedrooms destroyed by fire, with bosses also wanting to create activity and dining facilities, building and link corridors within the existing care village courtyard. At the height of the blaze, which is predicted to cost around £2m to repair, approximately 80 firefighters from across Warwickshire and the West Midlands were on site. It is thought the fire may have been caused by an electrical fault in downlighting units.



Time capsule buried on site

Manager Sarah Walsh Gibbon outside Ffordd Newydd

A TIME capsule has been buried in Southampton to mark the site where a new care home will soon be taking shape. Construction work on the Bupaowned Oak Lodge care home began when councillor Ivan White turned the soil on the site before burying a capsule which will be reopened in 50 years. The capsule will contain articles chosen by residents from Wilton Manor, which is another Bupa care home in the area. These include a copy of ‘Bupa Today’, a list of current residents staying at Wilton Manor and a newspaper cutting on the eye hospital which previously stood at Wilton Manor, amongst other memorabilia.

Bupa’s UK director of business development, Lyth Watson, said: “We believe that Oak Lodge will be a great example of our commitment to improving facilities for older people and are pleased to be working together with Southampton City Council on the development of this home. The time capsule is an excellent way to mark the occasion and celebrate the beginning of Oak Lodge”. Oak Lodge will cost an estimated £5.7million to build and will provide specialist dementia care for older people in Southampton. The home will have 71 single en suite rooms and a day centre for local older people. It will be completed in winter 2009.

A PURPOSE built care centre for older people has opened its doors to residents in Leeds. Rievaulx House in Armley has been built by Meridian Healthcare and will provide care for up to 48 residential clients in en suite rooms. It is built around a courtyard and lawned garden with raised beds, which it will share with the neighbouring Amber Lodge Care Centre. The new home also boasts free internet access for all from an internet hub and broadband WiFi available within the care centre, a cinema room, nail bar and

hairdressing salon. “We have had a fantastic response from people all over Leeds to this new facility,” said care centre manager Carl Stevenson. “The response from staff has been excellent with all care staff drawn from the local area with past experience in the field.” Rievaulx House was built on a piece of disused land in Armley and has been constructed over three floors with resident accommodation on the ground and upper floor and all services in the basement.

Alkare completes first apartments By Dominic Musgrave ALKARE has completed a £750,000 investment to develop its first apartment-style residential unit in Skewen. The Ffordd Newydd’s six selfcontained apartments have been built in the Old Post Office in an extensive refurbishment programme. The apartments will give clients the option of living in totally self contained units with fitted kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom while remaining in a residential care environment. The lower ground floor of the property has been set aside for communal activity and includes a spacious living area, kitchen and laundry facilities. “This development is the first of its type in Wales,” said Alkare’s chief executive Eric Millard. “Earmarked

specifically for clients who are ready to live a little more independently yet still need the support of 24 hour care, Ffordd Newydd promises to fulfil a growing need for this type of unit within the sector. “It has become clear over the past few years that while many clients require a traditional residential care setting, there are many others who will benefit from a different arrangement. “The self contained apartment configuration of the home gives us the opportunity to answer this need, while ensuring the levels of care and support we provide are of the highest standard.” Ffordd Newydd will be holding a number of open days for potential clients, their families, social workers and neighbours in the community to come and view the facilities and meet the staff.

£100m worth of funding secured A LEADING finance company says it has secured approximately £100m of funding for its clients across the retail, care and hospitality sectors this year despite lenders tightening their lending criteria. Christie Finance say this is an increase on the amount secured at the same time last year, and predicts the figure to rise further during the remainder of the year and into next as more businesses and first-time buyers face the frustration of lenders DC Care has completed the sale of St George’s Residential Home in Broughton, North Lincolnshire on behalf of vendor Mrs Lennox. The home, which offers 20 bedrooms for its registration of 22, has been sold to local operator Mr Singh.

putting forward increasingly stringent lending criteria, pulling out of the market, or revising the terms of their customers’ current facilities. “The current market conditions have certainly had an impact on the lending market and, as a result, more and more buyers and operators are seeking specialist independent advice rather than remaining loyal to their existing lender,” said the company’s managing director Sue Dougal.

Westward buys Leeds home WESTWARD Care has completed the acquisition of Southlands nursing care home in Oakwood, Leeds. The purchase comes as part of a multi-million pound programme of investment across the company's care services. Despite the home being awarded the highest three star rating by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the company has also unveiled plans to further improve the quality of care at Southlands, with proposals to develop the facility with

a new purpose built extension and refurbish the existing home, which has been operating for around 20 years. “We are looking forward immensely to ensuring a bright future for Southlands by improving and expanding its facilities and making it a beacon of high quality care provision in the region,” said Westward Care's managing director Peter Hodkinson. Westward also plans new investment in Headingley Hall.



Care group plans to build new home By Dominic Musgrave THE MHA care group is to build a new care home for older people in Leamington Spa in partnership with developer Earlplace. Planning permission has been granted for the new facility on Kenilworth Road, which will retain the façade of the Abbacourt Hotel. Work is expected to commence on site over the coming weeks and the new home is expected to be ready by late summer 2009. “We have been seeking opportunities to relocate our home in Leamington Spa for some time,” said MHA chief executive Roger Davies. “We are committed to providing the best environment for our care services and the new home will offer

the latest design to meet needs now and into the future. We will work hard to ensure that disruption is kept to an absolute minimum and both residents and staff can enjoy the new home as soon as possible.” The care home will offer 50 en suite purpose-built bedrooms over three storeys as well as communal lounges and dining rooms on each floor, and a garden for residents to enjoy. Once complete, the development will replace the charity’s existing care home, Homewood, which was opened in 1951, with residents and staff moving to the new facility. MHA is currently considering the potential options for the Homewood site, including sale and conversion to housing apartments with 24-hour care and support for older people.

The new extension.

£140,000 extension at 1930s home complete THE £140,000 extension of The Hollies care home in Cambridge has been completed. The work, which began last October, involved the enlargement of the residents’ dining area, the provision of en suite facilities to existing bedrooms, a staff training room and a treatment room, as well as the creation of a new entrance to improve access to the building. The Hollies is a large 1930s

FIRST time buyers from Manchester have purchased a care home in the popular retirement location of Bridlington in East Yorkshire through the Leeds office of Christies. A detached two-storey property with a further third storey extension, Brunswick

House is registered for 13 elderly residents in nine single and two twin bedrooms. The business was sold on behalf of Mark Wilson and Sarah Heath for an undisclosed sum.

New centre opens in the Wirral A NEW, purpose built care centre has opened in the village of Port Sunlight in The Wirral. Ashbourne Senior Living group’s Birch Tree Manor care centre provides nursing care for older adults who are experiencing physical frailty

as well as providing specialist dementia care. It has 62 bedrooms with their own en suite washrooms. The centre has four dining rooms and a variety of lounges for the benefit of the residents and their guests.

Quick questions with... Linda Murray, Linda Murray Care Sales When did you become interested in property and why? I have always been interested in property since buying my first home when I was 20. I’ve never got over what differing things people do with their own homes and in care homes you get the same thing – only on a bigger scale. It’s great to meet and talk to people with their own businesses and find out why they became interested in healthcare and how things have changed for them over the years. How did your career in the industry begin? After working for Bradford and Bingley Land and New Homes and Millers Homes in the 1990s I went to work for a local business transfer agency and have been involved with healthcare sales since then.

DC Care has completed the sale of The Mount Nursing Home in Clwyd, Wales. The 24 bed home was sold for an undisclosed sum to a first time buyer.

detached property and currently cares for 23 elderly residents. The home’s director Philip Curtis said: “The comfort and enjoyment of our residents has always been and continues to be our highest priority. “The residents and their families are delighted with the extension which has created a more welcoming and comfortable environment. It has also enabled us to provide an improved service and better staff facilities.”

What has been your biggest challenge? In the old days before the internet the biggest challenge was getting information out of local authorities about homes – but these days estate agency is serious business. With large amounts of money at stake and stress levels frequently hitting the roof, it’s a process of

Linda Murray perpetual fine-tuning to ensure that we keep on top of situations and provide answers. How have customer’s requirements changed over the years? Over the years I have found buyers have become more informed about the requirements for homes. The buyer looks at the longevity of the purchase and makes a distinction between the suitability of a building for the future and the current provision of care. How do you see the next 12 months panning out for the industry? It is in for an interesting time over the next year or so, speaking to lenders of all types, many refute the general perception of lack of funding for business purchases. Lenders are keen to lend in this market sector, deposits of course will vary depending on the circumstances but funding is definitely available underlying the strength of healthcare market sector compared to others.



Master vendor deal worth £6million JARK Healthcare has been named master vendor for Northern Ireland by leading nursing and care home specialists Four Seasons Health Care in a deal worth £6million over three years. The contract will see Jark’s Downpatrick, Lisburn and soon to open Belfast offices supplying care staff for all 65 of Four Seasons’ Northern Ireland care homes, as well as the creation of eight new permanent jobs at the Jark branches to help service the account. “We are delighted to have been named master vendor for Four Seasons Health Care and look forward to working closely with them over the coming months,” said Jark’s managing director Kevin Farr. “Our

Northern Ireland teams, headed up by account director Deborah OktarCampbell, are in a great position to facilitate supply and have embarked on a major campaign to assist the migration of existing staff to ensure the stability of the homes. They will also be working to attract new staff, all of whom will benefit from our extensive experience, excellent training services and support system. “This win further supports our long term growth plan of achieving a turnover of £250million within five years, making us a top 10 recruitment company.” Jark pays approximately 7,000 temporary staff per week across five specialist divisions and has 50 permanent staff at its head office in Norfolk.

Staff at Four Seasons care homes in the north east of England have received recognition for their hard work and dedication to looking after residents. They have been nominated for the company’s Recognition of Care and Kindness (ROCK) awards by the grateful relatives of resi-

dents. Four Seasons marketing director, Paul Brennan, said: “A lot of relatives and friends of Four Seasons residents want to recognise the excellence of the staff they meet and care they give and this method has proved an effective means by which they can give supportive feedback.”

By Dominic Musgrave

Karla Gibson with her award and care home manager Gail Bullock

Teenager takes care award KARLA Gibson has been named the Co-Operative Funeralcare carer of the year in Doncaster. The teenager, who works at The Old Rectory care home in Armthorpe, was nominated for the award by her manager Gail Bullock. She joined the home after leaving school three years ago, and Gail says she has made a massive difference and is liked by all residents. “Karla came here from Mencap on a trial period and wasn’t very confident,” said Gail. “She hadn’t worked in care before, but since she has been here she has become a vital member of the team and is a really good carer.

“She is a very understanding and caring person, and all the residents think the world of her.” Karla was unsure about a career in care when she first started at the home, but says she is glad she chose to stay. “I didn’t know what to do when I left school, but I knew I didn’t want to go to college,” she added. “I enjoy working here and looking after the residents, but was really surprised and happy when I was told I had won the award.” The home, which caters for elderly and dementia residents, has 35 residents.



Age is no barrier for Bette ... A CARE home housekeeper from Leicestershire has proved that age is no barrier to learning success. Of a pensionable age, Bette Freestone, who works at the Meadows Court residential care home in Aylestone, has gained an NVQ level two in support services from Leicester College.

She also completed the extended course where she learned to enter, retrieve and print data in databases, provide maintenance and authorised access to records, and administer the company systems. Bette says she would encourage anyone in a similar situation to

gain a qualification “I work for a very supportive company which encourages staff development, and it was my manager who first suggested doing the training,” she said. “I was a little apprehensive at first but once I found out what was involved I was very keen.

“The training has helped me to help other people. I’ve passed on what I have learnt to other members of staff and try to share my knowledge.” Bette is no stranger to achievement after receiving an award for care giving six years ago.

Commission appointments

Sharron Derry has been appointed to the role of service director at Gloucester based Parallel Options. Beginning her career as a support worker, she has worked in a range of care positions including home manager at a residential unit and project manager for a company specialising in domiciliary care. Most recently Sharron worked with Stroud Court Community Trust. Parallel Options provides supported living solutions for more than forty vulnerable adults in the community.

THE first three commissioners have been appointed to the Shadow Care Quality Commission. They are: Deirdre Kelly, professor of paediatric hepatology at Birmingham Children's Hospital; Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission and Dame Jo Williams, chief executive of the Royal Mencap Society. “I am very pleased to be joined by commissioners who bring a depth and breadth of experience across the new commission's roles,” said Barbara Young, shadow chair of the Care Quality Commission. “I welcomed the commitment in our founding act, the Health and Social Care Act 2008, to ensure that health, social care and mental health backgrounds were well represented at commissioner level.”

Hungry to be Heard project ‘a success’ A PROJECT inspired by Age Concern’s Hungry to be Heard report has been labelled a success by the company behind it. Excelcare’s Protected Mealtimes Scheme aims to ensure that residents across the company's 39 facilities eat their meals undisturbed by the usual hustle and bustle of life in a care home. Because of the importance of mealtimes, both nutritionally and socially, the company is structuring its day plans to ensure residents can eat their meals in peace, without the interruptions of medicine rounds and

non-urgent doctor’s calls. Appropriately trained staff members will be on hand to ensure that residents are serviced in good time. "We are committed to ensuring that good nutrition is high on the agenda within our care home companies,” said director of care Diane Jay. “We set high standards for the quality of the food our excellent chefs produce and this scheme will ensure that the meals are served in a sociable and unrushed environment with all staff understanding and being involved in achieving this."

Grant boost for residents OLDER people living at residential care homes across the London borough of Hounslow have benefited from a whole range of improvements thanks to a £175,000 grant from the Department of Health. In total, 16 care homes had modernisation work, which included new

furniture, flooring and carpets, new garden furniture and gazebos, new sensory equipment and music systems, and upgrades of rooms like kitchens, lounges and bathrooms. The amount of money distributed to each home was based upon the number of residents living there, and other criteria.

Bristol based Brunelcare’s annual Brunelcare in Bloom competition winners have been announced. Summerleaze in Fishponds won best entrance, with Maple Close, Stockwood second and St Michael’s Close, Bishopston third. St Barnabas, Knowle took the merit award. Sycamore Court, Bishopston won best communal garden, with Good Shepherd, Bishopston second and Garden Close, Sea Mill third. St John’s Court, Fishponds won the merit prize.

“It’s great to see so many tenants investing their time to make their gardens so beautiful,” said Brunelcare CEO Helen Joy. “It’s these kinds of activities which help the tenants to remain independent, while really becoming part of the community at each of the schemes. The judges had a difficult job in selecting the winners, as there was an outstanding level of talent and hard work on display.”


CFS Carpets offers a wide range CFS Carpets has a wide range that has been installed in thousands of care homes throughout the UK. Acropolis, Convention Care, Evesham, Recital and Supreme Care have been part of the CFS Carpets Care range for several years. Last year saw the launch of Hanbury Care, in both trellis design and plain and Norbury Care, a solution dyed nylon carpet with a sumptuous heathery twist. New ranges are always being introduced with the latest in design and colour to make residents feel at home. CFS Carpets Care range offers carpets with excellent anti-soiling properties that are stain resistant and easy to clean and impervious backed carpet which ensures liquid does not soak through. The company will be exhibiting at the Care Show in Birmingham on November 5 and 6. Enquiries: Telephone 0870 607 4321.

Tarkett provides for Birmingham City Council’s new care centres BIRMINGHAM City Council has selected Tarkett’s new Safetred Dimension Wood safety flooring for the bedrooms of four of its new care centres for older people. Offering a practical alternative to carpets, Safetred Dimension Wood is a vinyl floorcovering specially designed for heavy-duty environments where a less clinical, more homely finish is required. The range is available in six wood effect design options, incorporating all the benefits of Tarkett’s safety flooring. Safetred Dimension Wood offers slip resistance, both wet and dry, and meets the requirements of the new EN 13845 manufacturing standard, ensuring that the slip resistance properties will be sustained throughout the product’s life. As with all of Tarkett’s safety flooring, Dimension Wood is made with a minimum of 25 per cent recycled material, while the Safety Clean PUR surface reinforcement provides improved stain resistance and easier cleaning. The costs of maintenance can be reduced by up to 30 per cent. Enquiries: Telephone 01622 854040.

Energy savings with Porkka’s Future Plus cabinets PORKKA’S Future Plus range of chiller and freezer cabinets is designed to offer significantly lower cost of ownership than other cabinets on the market. Savings on energy alone can be as much as £100 per cabinet per annum and these units are now included on the Carbon Trust’s Energy Technology List, providing additional tax savings through Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs). All Future Plus units are also available with sophisticated temperature logging and supervising systems, providing full compliance with HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points). In independent tests Future Plus chillers consumed up to 35 per cent less energy than competing products, while freezers were 148 per cent more efficient per 100kg load. Storage volume for the same sized cabinet is also significantly greater than for many other brands. Through its simple yet clever design, Future Plus draws the cooler air in at the base, filters out dust and grease, and channels the air to the condenser at the top of the unit. Enquiries: Telephone 01923 779929

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. Contact: 0800 074 3749.


Natural technology from Signature Aromas THE Vaparoma range from Signature Aromas offers the very best in aroma technology. The electronic wall cabinet system uses unique, replaceable natural biodegradable oil disk technology and a programmable pulsing fan operation to create a natural deodorising dry vapour output, which can treat areas of up to 2,000 cubic feet. The Vaparoma system has the capacity for up to five disks, available in many popular fragrances, offering the option to customise the aroma output. With a convenient on and off switch, the battery operated system is easy to use, compact in size and can freshen any open area such as reception areas, communal spaces, bedrooms, dining rooms, washrooms, corridors, hospital wards, staff rooms and offices. Available in either stylish stainless steel or white plastic finishes, the system is suitable for any decor and offers an innovative alternative to messy gels and chemical sprays. Enquiries: Telephone 01902 678822.

Total Hygiene tackles continence issue CONTINENCE is increasingly an issue for care homes in the UK with approximately 60 per cent of residents in institutional care affected by urinary incontinence and 25 per cent by bowel incontinence. It affects not just residents’ selfesteem, but staff working conditions, hygiene control and overheads. The British Geriatric Society alleges all people should be able to choose and use the toilet in private, as a core human right, and that health care professionals have a legal duty to protect patients’ human rights*. The Behind Closed Doors campaign aims to introduce core standards and ‘best practice’ in institutional toileting. New developments by Total Hygiene aim to help care homes take steps to comply with both the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Behind Closed Doors campaign. The Clos-O-Mat Lima Lift combines conventional WC with an integral douche and drier to effectively cleanse the user after toileting, with the addition of fully automatic height adjustability. Enquiries: Telephone 0161 969 1199.

Electrolux understand the importance of talking ELECTROLUX Laundry Systems can offer every care home they visit a complete laundry audit. The audit breaks down the entire laundry process and looks at every aspect from what is to be washed, staff levels and energy prices to hygiene issues and available space. By taking this back to basics approach Electrolux are able to fully understand their customers’ requirements before making any proposals. Quite often a straight machine replacement is not the most economical, productive and cost effective option. But with so many issues to consider, gathering all the required information can take time and questions can be overlooked. However, the laundry audit carried out by Electrolux takes no more than an hour and from the information collated a number of proposals are automatically generated. The area sales manager can then explain these two or three options and recommend a preferred solution. Electrolux will be demonstrating at the Care Show. Information: Visit

Knightsbridge plays a vital role in new complex SEATING from the new Knightsbridge mental health furniture collection is playing a pivotal role in establishing a therapeutic environment within a pioneering mental health complex just opened in Leicestershire. The Herschel Prins Centre is a specialist low-secure facility run by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, catering for the needs of people from Leicestershire and Rutland with a diversity of mental health needs. Members of the Knightsbridge Mental Health Furniture team have worked closely with the project team in developing colour and design stories which engender a positive and therapeutic response. Woodwork is a light shade of natural beech and fabrics coordinate with the artwork which adorns the walls of every room. Yet all the furniture retains its suitability for use in challenging mental health environments: within patient areas, for example, non-retractable screws have been specified to avoid their use in a self-harming context. Enquiries: Telephone 01274 731900.



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Be aware ... OCTOBER is carbon monoxide awareness month and the Carbon Monoxide Consumer Awareness Alliance (COCAA) will be running an extensive nationwide safety campaign. The group is made up of organisations, including Safelincs, that have an interest in ensuring the public is aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to keep themselves safe from this poisonous gas. Care home owners and managers have responsibility for the safety of everyone in their homes. The duties apply to appliances and flues in occupied residential properties. Owners and managers must ensure that appliances are working correctly and guard against the dangers of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a flammable, colourless, odourless, tasteless toxic gas. Gas appliances such as hobs and ovens, fires and boilers, paraffin heaters, and solid fuel appliances such as fires, ovens and heaters are all capable of producing carbon monoxide if they are incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or if there is a lack of ventilation. It is the most common cause of fatal poison in Britain today.

More people can be funded CARE Training East Midlands’ Train to Gain funding has changed and the company can now offer fully funded health and social care NVQs to more people at level two and three. Previously, funding for a level two qualification was only available to those taking it for the first time. Now the funding allows Care Training to reach a much wider group of learners by offering fully funded level two NVQs to people who already possess a similar qualification in a different area. More people than ever before will be able to access the funding, meaning fully trained staff for the service users. Level three NVQs are also open to more learners as full funding is available for those jumping straight to level three and to those between 19 and 25 years old.

Top international New entry award for company system unveiled A NORTH Yorkshire company has been honoured with a top international award recognising the high level of service it provides to its customers. Thirsk-based hygiene products company Hygicare has been awarded the ISO 9001 quality standard following a stringent assessment by an independent organisation. This prestigious government-supported certification has so far been achieved by only five per cent of businesses in the UK. ISO 9001 is the world’s most established quality framework and is recognised as an impressive achievement in 170 countries. It sets

a very high standard for management systems in general, with a particular emphasis on quality and service. “Here at Hygicare we have always been proud of the way we conduct our business and the service we offer to our clients,” said managing director Tony Fawcett. “With the award of ISO 9001 certification, this has now been recognised by outside experts who are used to judging standards on a daily basis in a wide variety of trades and businesses. “It’s been a great effort from all the team at Hygicare to get us to this standard of quality management and the award is a fantastic boost for the company.”

Online company launched A NEW online risk management company specifically for care homes has been launched at the House of Commons. Part of the Access Risk Management Group Limited, the people behind Access for Care say they aim to relieve some of the strains care home managers and owners face by providing 24 hour support, information and access to a variety of documentation. The site enables care managers to manage employees, improve risk management, stay up-to-date with changing legislation and reduce the threat of litigation fines. “We've worked really hard with a number of care providers to get Access for Care really delivering what is needed by the sector,” said

executive and founding director Nicky Amor. “With the interest that has been shown already from care homes we're really delighted with how the launch of Access for Care has been received and believe we have a lot to offer the sector.” The new development has been supported by Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association (ECCA). “At a time when services are required to be personalised to the needs of the individual, care providers need robust and comprehensive risk assessment and monitoring systems,” he said. “Access for Care certainly provides a user friendly system that supports providers to deliver high quality personalised care.”

MANY care homes are required to have their entrance doors locked at all times in order to avoid any residents wandering out. 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 is that they are impersonal and anyone knowing the pin number can access the home. The VIRDI-Lock is the brand new entry system from Blue Parrot Software. It works on the same principle as the pin-code entry systems, but uses either the person’s fingerprint or a smart card to identify the person. The lock is connected to the Elderly Care System (ECS) software via your local network. As both the fingerprint and smart card are unique, it allows the ECS software to control who has access in and out of the home and when. From the software you can set individual permissions for each of your residents and employees, but you can also set permissions based on the door being accessed or on a group of users such as doctors and family members. See the VIRDI-Lock and the Elderly Care System software in action at the Care Show on stand C1.

Machine range has continued success STIMVAK machines continue to be manufactured in the UK by 2CC’s of Buckinghamshire. The range of machines produced are the Compact, Maestro, Metro, Toto and Power Brush, and are popular in nursing and care homes because of their ease of use, reliability and exceptional cleaning results. A complete range of chemicals

Fireco - leaders in fire safety for the care sector COME and meet Fireco, the official fire safety consultants to the UK’s leading care sector associations, on stand F13 at the Care Show, hall seven, Birmingham NEC on November 5 and 6 and discover why we are the UK’s leading specialists in simple, effective services and solutions for fire safety management. Talk to Fireco’s fully qualified fire safety consultants about how they assist care home owners and managers to meet their responsibilities for Fire Risk Assessment through the company's training and consultancy services; and see Fireco’s wide range of fire safety solutions including Dorgard, Deafgard and System X. Be among the first to see a live demonstration of Fireco’s new innovative e-learning fire safety awareness course - the cost-effective solution that’s designed to meet the legal requirement to deliver fire safety training to care staff. Enquiries: Telephone 0845 241 7474

specifically recommended for use with the Stimvak machines are always in stock at 2CC’s “The reason for the continued success of Stimvak is the insistence that parts used in the manufacture are of the very best quality, the machines are designed to last,” said the company’s Christopher Clarke. The most popular Stimvak machine is the all new Compact

which boasts many unique features including a one piece stainless steel chassis, but retains the original extremely reliable vacuum motor, brush motor, and pressure pump. The Holmes Care (Group) Ltd have opened several new care homes in Scotland and have recently purchased new machines for each of them.

Business offers catering solutions A LEADING healthcare catering business is now offering its bespoke range of service catering solutions to the care homes sector. OCS has national buying power and catering expertise within a wide selection of healthcare environments and strives to make top quality catering services affordable to the operator as well as enjoyable for residents. The company operates catering and other support service

contracts across the UK at healthcare locations, ranging from acute and community hospitals to health centres. Family owned OCS – One Complete Solution – will survey the needs of your care home and prepare a tailored solution aimed at transforming the catering offering. OCS will be exhibiting at The Care Show, Birmingham NEC on November 5 and 6 on stand E27.

Zoe cycles to raise charity cash BVS Training’s marketing consultant Zoe Farrell completed a cycle ride from London to Paris to raise money for a medical research charity. The four-day cycle ride supported Action Medical Research, which funds

research into a wide range of causes. Several care sector organisations got behind the event, with sponsors including BVS Training, Tomorrow’s Guides and Care Choices.



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