Contaminated Laundry a Huge Infection Risk for Care Home Residents

88607__Room-Decor-Ideas-Room-Ideas-Room-Design-Laundry-Room-Laundry-Room-Ideas-15-640x635 One of the greatest threats to care home residents, usually comprising of elderly patients with weakened immune systems, is the risk of infections especially those that are known to spread rather easily. Cleanliness is also vital for residents’ wellbeing, as bad smells and feeling unclean impacts on mental health as well as physical health.

A survey carried out by Electrolux Professional, shockingly found that five per cent of care workers knowingly experienced an instance where an infection outbreak could be traceable to laundry procedures. Add to that, a whopping 26% did not feel that their laundry was adequately managed in order to avoid infections.

Amanda Dufrane, care segment manager of Electrolux Professional UK and Ireland, said: “As laundry is a potential carrier of healthcare acquired infections, it is vital that care home staff are able to control its flow, which often means special measures must be taken to ensure hygiene levels are maintained.

“The ultimate aim is to make sure laundry items themselves do not pose a threat to health and remain harmless at every stage of their storage, usage, and handling.

“This means that clean linen needs to be handled just as carefully as the dirty, which in turn gives rise to a multi-staged management of the laundry cycle.”

Britain’s largest Care provider Four Seasons makes survival appeal as interest deadline looms

elderly senior being brought meal by carer or nurseFour Seasons Health Care, the largest care service provider in Britain which is owned by Terra Firma, the private equity firm controlled by the controversial financier Guy Hands has made a desparate appeal to its lenders to agree to radical restructuring of its heavy debts to avert a cash crisis that would cast uncertainty over the future of hundreds of nursing homes nationwide.

The company which is scheduled to make a £26m interest payment in December, warned that it will not be able to make the payment, threatening to breach obligations to bondholders who could then seize control of its estate of 360 nursing homes as they seek to recover £525m loaned to Four Seasons. Such a move would raise questions for Four Seasons’ 17,000 residents and would be likely to trigger intervention by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The regulator said on Tuesday it did not believe services were likely to be disrupted “at this time” and that the restructuring proposal was “an important step in securing the long-term financial future of this company”.

Guy Hands’s Terra Firma bought Four Seasons for £825m in 2012, including £525m of debt.

Social Segregation between the young & elderly a recurring problem

Report suggests measures such as care home sharing schemes to correct the issue

Young spouses receiving irritated senior neighbor at doorway

A research in the UK has called for care homes to open its doors to the student population looking for accommodation. The suggestion comes after it was discovered that older individuals living in care homes are becoming increasingly distant from the younger generation with little to almost no interaction with anyone apart from their families. The report termed this phenomenon as ‘inter-generational apartheid’.

In an effort to combat the issue at hand, students seeking a place to stay could be provided with accommodation at care homes, where they can help out with daily chores and interact with elderly occupants in exchange for subsidized rent. While schemes that encourage the sharing of homes have become popular in other parts of Europe, they’re yet to take off in the UK. The schemes have proven successful because it provides a solution to two important problems plaguing the society today. On one hand students can save up on living expenses and afford expensive tuition fees, and on the other hand elderly residents can network with the students to counter their loneliness and help fight ageism.

The growing rift between generations in the UK recently manifested itself in the form of blatant contrast in political ideology, when nearly 75% of individuals’ aged 18-24 voted to remain in the recent EU referendum and more than half of those who belong to the age group of 65 and above voted to leave.

Here’s hoping going forward, steps are taken to end the age apartheid prevalent in the UK society where the average Briton has 56 per cent less contact with younger age groups than would be likely if there was no societal isolation. Lives that are often lived in parallel can be integrated for the greater benefit of the society.


Nearly half of complaints in Scotland are related to care homes

Scottish care home complaints

Scotland’s independent scrutiny and improvement body for care services, the Care Inspectorate, resolved  884 out of 1815 complaints which are related to care homes accounting for 49.1% of all complaints. Nearly 20% of complaints were about childminders and 15.7% were about support services. More than 1100 complaints were at least partially upheld – including more than two thirds of all complaints about care homes, over issues including poor health care, under staffing, management of medication or poor communications.

One area of future change in the inspectorate’s work will be a greater focus on partnership working, given the Scottish Government’s legislative push towards integration of health and social care.

The Care Inspectorate’s CEO, Annette Bruton, expressed that one area of future change in the inspectorate’s work will be a greater focus on partnership working, given the Scottish Government’s legislative push towards integration of health and social care.

The rising cost of care homes in the UK


Thousands of patients were also hit by sudden care home bills

Recent reports suggest that the cost of care homes soared by 40% in the year gone by. The sharp rise in costs is believed to reflect the increase in minimum wages. While the increasing costs are a cause of concern in itself, to make matters worse the quality at care homes is believed to be heading the other way.

Families of care home residents are said to be faces with a dilemma as they’re paying exorbitantly high rates for quality of service which can be described sub-standard at best. The research shows that the most expensive care homes are in Buckinghamshire and in County Durham, both at £907 a week, followed by Oxfordshire, Surrey and Warwickshire. In Durham, average care home fees doubled in just one year, from £492 last year, the figures show.

Many occupants of the care homes also complained of steep bills which were issues rather suddenly under the guise of management fees or phone bills. The unexpected bills resulted from hidden charges that the families of tenants of the care homes were unaware of prior to admission.

Enlisting the services of a care home is considered to be big financial commitment but despite that, many families failed to shop around before admitting their loved ones. This could be owing to the fact that decisions regarding care homes are often taken in haste after an accident or sudden deterioration in health of the elderly patient.

The importance of appropriate research into picking the right care home which is transparent in financial matters is being reiterated by recent news making headlines. Websites such as are great tools for families to connect with and compare different accredited care home facilities that provide care services for all kinds of circumstances.

Severe shortage of beds in care homes in the UK could spell disaster

iStock_000016132671XSmallA BBC research has revealed disturbing information regarding the state of care homes in the UK. The research revealed that a significant shortage for bed space in care homes is sweeping the nation with up to 3,000 elderly people predicted to not be able to get beds in UK care homes by the end of next year. The number is said to go up to 70,000 in the next 9 years.

The Department of Health said local authorities in England had been given an extra £2bn to help fund social care. But in the past three years one in 20 UK care home beds has closed, and research suggests not enough are being added to fill the gap.

Lead researcher James Kingdom said: “We’re currently building half the number of care home beds every year that we need.”

“There are more people living longer.

“We know that over the course of the next decade there is going to be 2.5 million more over-65s, and as a result that means there is going to be demand for care home beds.

“To fix that, we need to double the rate of delivery”.

The third largest care provider in the UK, Barchester health care also voiced its concern regarding the gap in capacity which meant extremely vulnerable people are not getting the care they need.

Chief executive Pete Calveley commented: “Increasingly, highly dependent people are left at home.

“We feel that leaves them socially isolated and doesn’t meet their needs.

“So, one of the ways they reduce demand is by raising the criteria, which I don’t think is always appropriate.”

In the past three years, 21,500 care beds have closed in the UK.

Care Homes serve better food than NHS Hospitals finds survey

According to a recent survey carried out by YouGov on ‘Care Home Catering’, over half of people with friends and relatives in care homes say food standards are better than in NHS in care homes are better than in NHS hospitals

Fifteen per cent of care home residents didn’t think their friend or relative was given enough support when eating and sixteen per cent argued the care home’s lack of emphasize on keeping them hydrated. Research director at YouGov believes that food and care go hand in hand in NHS, whereas it is a mixed picture in the care home sector. It is acknowledged by many that the standard of food their loved ones receive in care homes is higher than those of hospitals. The quality of the meals is generally thought to be high but the area where he sector needs to improve is how the food is consumed.

Another expert asserted that ensuring care home residents are helped to eat and drink is vial and it is important to maintain a balance between helping residents to eat and keep their independence. This argument was backed by another YouGov survey where 56 per cent of those asked consider nutritious and high-quality food to be very important.

New report suggests one in three care homes in the UK are failing safety checks

iStock_000016132671XSmallOne three nursing homes have been branded as failing after an official inspection by the care watchdog. The government’s care minister has called the dire situation “completely unacceptable” as the care home crisis worsens.

The Care Quality Commission said that of 4,000 nursing homes, which care for the most vulnerable people at the end of their lives, 32% have been rated inadequate or requires improvement and 37% have been told they must improve safety.

The news means that thousands of vulnerable people are at risk of failing to receive the right medication, being left to go hungry, and being ignored when they ask for help according to the CQC.

Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: “While this report shows that the vast majority of people receive ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ adult social care, it is completely unacceptable that standards in some settings are below those rightly expected bycare users and their families.

“That’s why we have introduced tougher inspections of care services, provided an additional £2bn to the sector, and later this year we will be consulting on the future of social care in this country to put it on a stable footing for the future.”

Shadow Health Minister, Barbara Keeley, said: “This report confirms that the social care funding crisis caused by this Government is now seriously affecting the quality of care across the country.

“Behind these statistics are thousands of vulnerable adults failing to get the medicines they have been prescribed, being ignored when they ask for help or having home visits missed.”

Sanctuary Group acquires 35 care homes

I won't let you fallHousing and care provider Sanctuary Group has purchased 35 residential care homes and a supported living scheme from Embrace Group. The homes are largely in Scotland and the North East, broadening Sanctuary’s geographical spread as the group’s 68 existing care homes are mostly in the Midlands and South.

The purchase will bring the total number of bed spaces provided by Sanctuary Group to more than 5,300. The 1,800 staff members in these homes will become part of Sanctuary Group which employs around 11,000 people at present.

Sanctuary’s Group chief executive David Bennett said the group’s existing portfolio had been assembled through a mixture of acquisition, development and self-build. “As such, we have extensive experience of integrations of this nature,” said Mr Bennett.

“We believe that experience combined with a complete dedication to caring for older residents will ensure that these homes are seamlessly brought into Sanctuary. “Sanctuary is committed to putting kindness at the heart of our care for older people, giving them and their families beautiful environments within which they can live fulfilled and happy lives.”

Martin Gould, head of brokerage for Care at Christie & Co who handled the sale, said the off market transaction demonstrated the strength and appetite for well performing portfolios that meet a strong compliance level.

New technology promises to put an end to Doctor visits for Care Home residents

In what comes as welcome news, elderly residents of care homes will no longer need to make hospital visits to consult a doctor in the near future. A new technology called Immedicare has been launched in a pilot phase which allows care home tenants to communicate with medics via video screens rather than having to go to hospital. Immedicare has the potential to considerably reduce the number of ambulance call outs and hospital admissions for older people, permitting the elderly to be evaluated and treated where they live.

The technology was created in a partnership between Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and technology company Involve, and is already in use in 500 care homes across the UK. In the Isle of Man, the 12-month pilot project will be preceded by a three-month implementation period, to make sure systems and staff training is completed.

Immedicare also means doctors and consultants can help the care home staff with decision-making and offer medical and other specialist advice directly in the care home. The service promises to be available 24 hour a day, with a maximum response time of 5 minutes.

All of the care homes taking part on the island, both government-run and privately owned, have been provided with either a tablet or laptop device, linking them directly with the Immedicare Digital Care Hub via a secure video conferencing system.

Immedicare’s managing director, Phil Parkinson, said: ’Our experience in telemedicine in a number of UK localities means that I am confident that this pilot scheme will show tangible and lasting benefits.

’And that is good news for all of the health and social care services affected by this change as well as, and most importantly, the residents and carers themselves.’