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An older lady getting home care from her daughter

The CQC fundamental standards highlight the need to support people to express their views and be actively involved in making decisions about their care, treatment and support. Organisations need to show that staff routinely involve people who use their services, in planning and making decisions about their care and treatment. The era of health professionals deciding care and goals is over. Technology can support residents, clients, staff and managers alike, achieve these aims if the right type of technology / software is used.

Staff are responsible for ensuring a person’s clinical, medical and care needs, preferences and lifestyle choices are professionally assessed, and that a care plan is created that describes all these. If the resident is to be involved as possible in the process, technology needs to enable them to contribute to these assessments and plans. Does your technology support a resident’s contribution to care planning?

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Dentist chair used for oral health in Care Homes

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published the findings of an in-depth review on the state of oral health care in care homes across England.

The review draws on one hundred inspections of care homes on which CQC inspectors were accompanied by inspectors from dental regulation. It reveals that three years on from the publication of NICE guidance on oral health in care homes, steps are often not being taken to ensure that people get the oral health care they need to ensure that they are pain-free and that their dignity is respected. 

Key findings include: 

  • The majority (52%) of care homes visited had no policy to promote and protect people’s oral health
  • Nearly half (47%) of care homes were not providing any staff training to support people’s daily oral healthcare.
  • 73% of residents’ care plans we reviewed only partly covered or did not cover oral health at all – homes looking after people with dementia being the most likely to have no plan in place.
  • 17% of care homes said they did not assess people’s oral health on admission
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Male resident having a cup of tea with NHS workers

Advances in healthcare and higher living standards means the UK’s over-65 population is set to increase by almost half by the mid-2030s and the number of people living with complex care needs continues to grow. New roles and skills are needed therefore to meet this increase in complex care with an extra focus on person centred care. This will have a direct effect on the number of Health and Social Care workers needed on a scale never seen before and this cannot be ignored.

In England there are more than 80,000 vacancies in Health and Social Care at any one time. The industry is already at tipping point but with the increased number of people needing complex care and a significant lack of highly-skilled carers, action must be taken now to attract and retain more talent. 

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Two seniors on a walk in forest

A platform to help seniors stay independent longer and improve their quality of life

Oscar Senior, the company that develops solutions to connect seniors with caregivers and family members, is coming to the UK. Upon invitation by the British Government, Oscar Senior management has visited care-related companies in the London area in April. Because of the need for healthcare innovation as well as technology enhancement in the UK, Oscar Senior has decided to take the initiative to help the UK’s aging population stay connected and age at home.

Caregiving made easier with technology

The Oscar Senior platform for care organizations evolved from the idea of an easy to use app for the elderly, with the goal of simplifying technology so they can stay in touch with their loved ones. Following the demand for an age-specific solution, Oscar Senior has become present in 80 countries worldwide.

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Care home resident at Cats Cafe

CARE home residents enjoyed a close encounter with cats at a Sheffield café – bringing back memories of their own kitties.

Several residents living at The Laurels Care Home, on Manchester Road, made a trip into the city centre to visit Tabby Teas Cat Café, on Cemetery Road.

The elderly visitors made lots of furry friends while enjoying a cuppa, stroking the cats and feeding them treats.

Resident Edith Keech said: “I had a black cat for 11 years. We named him Kilty as he was a Scot and it stuck. 

“It’s been lovely to see all of the moggys here. They’ve brought back lovely memories.”

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Riders at Care UK’s national fundraiser

Care UK’s national fundraiser focuses the organisation on health, fitness and wellbeing

Hundreds of Care UK’s care home team members, residents and their relatives have come together in a nationwide fundraising programme based around cycling and fitness to raise over £41,000 for three national charities.

The centrepiece of the fundraising programme was Ride800, a gruelling 800 mile, 15 day cycling challenge from Care UK’s southern-most care home in Poole to its northern-most in Aberdeen. This ride was undertaken by Andrew Knight, chief executive of residential care, Jacqui White, marketing director, and Tony Weedon, strategic programme director.   Dozens of care home colleagues also rode individual stages of the route which zig-zagged across England and Scotland to visit 26 Care UK homes.

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5 Ways Nurses Can Empower Their Patients

Patient empowerment is part of a process to help people who have gone through care take ownership of their healthcare journey. According to the World Health Organisation, empowerment is a process which allows patients to gain greater control over decisions which affect their health.

Of course, what taking ownership means will vary from patient to patient depending on their needs. A change in an aspect of a patient's lifestyle, like their diet or an exercise regime, might be the trigger that results in a significant change. Alternatively, the support they need might be specific to their condition.

Whatever the case, frontline healthcare staff, like nurses, can play a central role in this process. After all, they do the majority of the daily work, and they’re also the people patients have the most contact with. Given this fact, let’s take a look at the role nurses can play in empowering their patients.

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Access 21 Interiors

One of the common questions we are asked is how to provide the safety features and wayfinding pointers that residents need whilst still maintaining a homely, comfortable environment?

For safety:

  • Handrails need to be provided at the correct height and which contrast to the walls and carpets but which complement both; Inverted studs or similar should be provided at the end of each run so that residents with visual difficulties know when they are nearing the end of the rail.
  • There is a wide variety of safety flooring for care in a range of finishes which look domestic, but try to avoid changes of height - when unavoidable (eg ramps and stairs) then highlight the change to avoid falls.
  • Chairs, toilets etc have to be at a height which are easy for residents to rise from and which contrast to the flooring and walls around.
  • Avoid trailing wires and clutter (eg delivery boxes) particularly on the floors which can cause trips.
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Pupils with care home staff learning about dementia

SCHOOL children have been learning about dementia from visiting care home staff who look after those with the condition every day.

Ingleby Care Home activities coordinator Kirsty Walsh and unit manager Cassie McCloskey visited St Thérèse of Lisieux R C Primary School to talk to pupils.

Both the care home and school are based on Lamb Lane, Ingleby Barwick, near Middlesbrough, and have taken part in joint activities previously.

The school’s year five and six teachers contacted the home to ask if anyone could visit to explain the types of dementia and how it can affect people in different ways.

There was also an opportunity for the children to ask questions, which included “does everyone get dementia”, “is it only old people that develop it” and “can they still remember things”.

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Amie from Bluebird Care reading a book outside

Back in April, Bluebird Care celebrated Book Month to emphasise the power of reading and the joy it can bring to so many. The Franchise Support Team encouraged staff and customers from across the Bluebird Care network to share their favourite books with the world, using the Bluebird Care social media channels. 

The network were asked to do any and all of the following: 

  • Share on social media, photographs of your favourite book and why you love it, using the hash tag #BookMonth
  • Create a ‘reading corner’ in the office where people can enjoy reading on their breaks
  • Set up a ‘book swap table’ where people can bring in books they have finished to share with others for free
  • Host a charity book sale
  • Start a #BluebirdCareBookClub with your staff and customers.

The network jumped at the opportunity to share their current reads and promote the importance of reading. Many of the franchises got involved by hosting book swaps and setting up reading corners too spread the message.

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Care home residents cast their vote in European election

ELDERLY care home residents have taken to the polling booths to cast their votes in the European election.

Staff at Ingleby Care Home, in Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, wanted to ensure residents could exercise their right to vote despite their mobility issues.

Those keen to cast their vote were taken to their nearest polling station in wheelchairs by their carers.

Resident Sheila Colburn was among them. She said: “I couldn’t thank the staff enough for taking me to vote.

“I’ve always voted and didn’t know what would happen after moving to Ingleby Care Home, with my family working. I really appreciated the staff taking me.”

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Care home worker with resident

Fastroi are gearing up to deliver our Real-Time Care (RTC) product to Leeds County Council this Autumn, as we do this, we wanted to share some thoughts from our latest White Paper. In it we try to understand the reasons why so many care companies have struggled to improve or even maintain their CQC ratings in the 2018 State of Care report. We believe that many companies are still using pen and paper with no form of care management software. However, we don’t think it is that straightforward either. Care Management Software is a tool that if used properly can help to improve the levels of care quality, but underneath the bonnet of any organisation are the quality processes and continuous improvement strategies that really affect a company’s ability to deliver that quality care. These are completely separate from the job of looking after our service users. In the White Paper we look at some of the ideas surrounding lean health and highlight the different forms of waste that can hamper quality if they are allowed to flourish. We also examine some practical examples of how these ideas could be implemented in the care industry. 

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Shetland Ponies with Care Home residents

Residents at a care home in Kemnay have been horsing around this week thanks to an in-house visit from some new equine friends.

Meallmore Ltd’s Grove Care Home welcomed two Shetland ponies into the home to give residents the chance to meet and interact with the animals. They were encouraged to get to know the ponies who have been highly trained to handle any situation.

Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to be very beneficial in elderly care, as physical contact with the animals encourages communication, can reduce stress and anxiety and even improve motor skills and self-esteem.

Karen Paul, Care Home Manager at Grove Care Home, said: “It’s not every day you get ponies wandering through the home, so it was lovely for the residents to have the opportunity to enjoy their company.

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Jennifer Johnston on Assistive tech and the legal implications

The background and the benefits

Increasingly, assistive technology is being adopted to support those living with various debilitating conditions to improve their quality of life.

An impressive variety of aids can be used to help with those living with dementia, ranging from everyday technologies that you can find in your smartphone, to specific medical aids. 

For example, those living with dementia can utilise aspects of popular technology to improve their daily lives. Phone calendars can be set with daily reminders to take medication or attend appointments, and location finder apps are a clever way to track a person’s whereabouts. 

There’s also a selection of new technologies created specifically for those with conditions such as dementia. These are being adopted by care providers, both in care homes and for domiciliary care. Technologies include movement sensors that play a message to remind people to perform an activity such as turn the oven off, water isolation devices that turn taps off if they’re left running, and fall mats which are placed near the bed to alert staff if a service user is out of bed. 

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Hill Care residents at a Vintage Motor Show

VINTAGE cars from the 1920s to 1950s paraded around a Bakewell care home as part of National Care Home Open Day.

The classic vehicles were on display at Burton Closes Hall Care Home, on Haddon Road, with an open invitation to visitors.

The show involved almost 20 cars, all belonging to members of The Old Motor Club, including a 1929 Rolls Royce and a 1933Austin Light 12-4 Harley. 

They also brought along an Austin 7, Ford Consul, Ford Prefect, Wolseley, Austin 10 and more.

The care home’s maintenance man Keith Thomas also displayed his awarding winning 1953 Morris Z Van.

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