How to look for a care home

 

Finding-care-homes

When searching for a care home locally, whether it is for yourself or your loved ones, it is utmost important that the person feels comfortable in their choice and that the home has the absolute right ambiance as well as facilities to meet all required needs. In the UK alone, there are more than thousands of care homes available providing various types of care. Subsequently, there are many ways to find the right care home one needs; major care home providers offers search services and many other directory services out there can help as well, for instance, Bupa, Sunrise and CareUK all provide excellent customer services.

Many people would prefer to phone or write to a number of homes and ask about the level of care provided, the fees and the waiting list. On top of the information collected, it is also very important to visit the homes that seem promising. Our editor Ray Stephens have recently found a specialised online service from bestukcarehomes.com that helps people looking for care homes around the UK.

Last but not least, one should always check the quality inspection reports from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) or the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) in Northern Ireland.

Unfair government policy for the elderly

elderly would suffer from unfair policyAccording to a recent report, new drugs would only be licensed for the NHS if they help those judged to be a benefit to wider society under proposals from the health watchdog. Pharmaceutical firms warned the move could mean that new medicines being denied to the elderly.With the new policy taking place, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence will have to take into account ‘wider societal benefits’ alongside the cost of medication and its life-enhancing properties. Many industry experts expressed concern that vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, may lose out because they do not contribute as much to society as younger people.

Scuttlebutt from sources close to the Health Secretary insisted that the proposal was at an early stage and that he would intervene if the elderly were being discriminated against. This is irresponsible scaremongering based on pure speculation about a consultation that has not even started. It is absolutely not true to say that older people will not get treatment because of their age. For us, we will wait and see.

 

One book that will change how you look for care homes

Best Guide to UK Care Homes‘ is the book that you cannot afford to miss in 2014!

best uk care homes guide 2014

This copy, which is the No. 1 recommended guide by various UK Care Homes experts, has been completely updated and revised for 2014. Written by 3 leading care home experts from Harvard University, the London School of Economics and myself, this volume covers all the key questions concerning various elderly care options available in the UK today, choosing different types of care, care funding advice, care home check-list and FAQs.

It is available in the Top 10 best-sellers under ‘Ageing Parents’ category on Amazon now. The book has special Kindle enabled features. However, this copy does NOT require an Amazon kindle device. It can be read on your computer, or even on your iPhone, or Blackberry, or Android phone, or Windows 7 phone, or any tablet devices!

Alzheimer’s cure is near

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neuro-degenerative disease has been hailed as the ‘turning point’ in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients. But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases.care-home-tea

Medical professor from University of London expresses that the finding is a turning point in medical history to control and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Many other experts in the field also deem it as a landmark study.

When a virus hijacks a brain cell it leads to a build-up of viral proteins. Cell responds by shutting down nearly all protein production in order to halt the virus’s spread. However, many neurodegenerative diseases involve the production of faulty or misfolded proteins. These activate the same defences, but with more severe consequences.

The director of research at the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK stresses that targeting a mechanism relevant to a number of neurodegenerative diseases could yield a single drug with wide-reaching benefits, but this compound is till at an early stage.

Have you found your care home in August?

Have you found your care home in August? CareHomesJournal aims to bring you the latest news of your interest!

Dr. Raja shares his passion and knowledge with CHJ

What do you enjoy the most about working in care home industry?

For me, working in the care industry is a passion and a vocation giving me an opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable people every day whilst affording me a tremendous amount of satisfaction and achievement. Of course, it is incredibly challenging but because of the diversity and uniqueness of every person we support and the situations faced, no one day is the same and its great to be able to apply my passion and creativity with a team equally as dedicated and driven, to achieve positive outcomes.
What is the key issue facing the care home industry in this country?

Senior couple at home with many bills

Clearly the main headline grabber is rightly the underfunding of the sector whilst costs escalate. This takes providing excellent services to the breaking point where staff aren’t paid meaningfully and services cannot be further invested in to improve. To make matters worse, the ever changing and ever increasing burdens of bureaucracy and red tape are stifling at best and confusing and demotivating at worst.

There are examples of good quality services that have closed and are facing distress. Staff morale and improvements within others are problematic and the media’s negative portrayal of the sector is disheartening. The threats and challenges from all sides diminish further the capacity and resilience to continue the fight to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in society. Everybody in the sector is affected from front line care staff through management to owners and directors. In fact the sector deserves credit more than ever for its compassion, warmth and care when it feels very exploitative since so much is built upon the extra mile….. above and beyond that is given by those, most often women, that enter the profession because of a heartfelt commitment to caring.

In a world where austerity rules supreme where government support is reducing and health costs are rising, how challenging has it been for the care home industry? What are some steps you home have taken to manage through the current climate of economic uncertainty?


We have focussed our efforts even more on being closer to service users and front line staff and to empower and support them to assist in maintaining excellent relationships and communication which helps to improve the service experienced by all. We have applied technology to take the burden of many aspects that previously distracted from the time and costs of managing and administering the service including introduction of computer systems, iPads and mobile phones for remote staff which link in with planning and finance.

We have streamlined and restructured our management and moved more people from the office out into the places where people receive care and support and have adopted management functions that break away from service lines but are more responsive in terms of the support people and the organisation needs.

What are some of the areas that the care home industry can improve?

Individual homes and organisations have often been isolated and very bunkered in their outlook and it is now more important than ever for greater unity in the sector. From keeping in touch with local providers, sharing knowledge and resources through to formal membership of local and national trade associations, will help keep knowledge up to date with best and innovative practice whilst possibly opening up opportunities for growth and development and reduction of costs and improving quality as a result.

We as a sector need to celebrate success better. So much happens day in day out within our services we provide yet we too are modest and humble to the point that the only stories that are heard are the bad ones. We should shout from the rooftops about our achievements and success and make sure the local community is engaged and aware of what we do. So many of us hold and take part in Open days, craft fairs, are involved with local churches, colleges and other community groups and activities for example but how many of these feature in news articles let alone interviews?

A strong unified voice representing providers in the sector, sending clear messages to stakeholders including the public as well as commissioners and the government is needed now more than ever and Care England will undoubtedly build on the success of the National Care Association and the English Community Care Association following merger on the 1st january 2014 and will help shape the sector in a way that works for service users and service providers.

 

Care-home-asif-raja

 

Dr. Asif Raja bio:

A lifelong commitment to health and social care has seen Dr Raja apply himself to make a positive difference as a founder and Managing Director of SummerCare. He has championed improvements in the quality of services and is a Director of the National Care Association, a Board Member of the Care England Transition Board, trustee of Shields people parliament, Board Member of the National Leadership Forum and a member of the steering group of the Driving up Quality Alliance.

care-home-great british care awardsHe was recognised as the Best Employer in the country by The Great British Care Awards in 2013 as well as for excellence in customer service in the 2013 Business Awards as well as for his contribution to the community in the 2012 Business Awards.  A prominent national contribution has seen him recognised as one of the top 30 Social Care Leaders in the country as well as a Care Personality in the National Care Awards 2012.

Care industry entrepreneur Udhi Silva emphasises ‘cost control’

 

What do you enjoy the most about working in care home industry?

Albeit I support the care industry with cost savings what I love about this industry is the dedication and passion those people that work in care settings have for their clients. I am honestly overwhelmed by some of the nurses, managers and carers I have met and the extent that they treat their clients as though they are their own family. It is very rare to come across people who have such admiration for the work they do and a lot of other industries can benefit from learning about this. One thing that is evident within the corporate side of the industry is that attention to standards is second to none.

 

What are some of the areas that the care home industry can improve?

Cost control. Over the last couple of years we have seen some fantastic organisations go under due to bad management and a neglect on resources and poor financial management. I have worked with several multi site and individual care homes and I regularly uncover savings in excess off 20-50% off their janitorial supplies, stationery, toners and utilities. These funds can be reinvested back into the client care to support the needs of our demanding population. Operators need to be more vigilant and focus on controlling cost without compromising on quality.

 

What are some steps you home have taken to manage through the current climate of economic uncertainty?

Organisations should adopt savings experts like www.medical-supermarket.com who aim to work with care operators to determine the best value solutions on reducing procurement and sourcing costs and reducing time spent on ordering. Pennies make the pounds and a lot of operators get blinded by trying to struggle to win cost effective deals off the local authorities and then fail to evaluate where back office costs can be reduced without impacting the cost and service for the clients.

 

care-home-Udhi SilvaUdhi Silva, Entrepreneur, Director and Co Founder of Medical Supermarket. HealthCare’s largest one stop shop for consumables, services and equipment.

Health Secretary announces NHS changes which benefit the elderly

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt reveals fundamental changes to the NHS in an attempt to improve the care of elderly people.

care-home-Health Secretary announces NHS changes which benefit the elderly

On 10 September, he pledged the Government’s commitment to improving the care of vulnerable older people, who are often admitted to Ambulance and Emergency (A&E) department as they are unable to access the care and support they need elsewhere.

Over the last 10 years, the number of people visiting A&E departments in England has risen by 32 per cent, with people over the age of 65 representing 68 per cent of NHS emergency bed use. The Department of Health believes they are the group most at risk of failures to provide seamless care due to their vulnerability. During his speech, Mr Hunt revealed how 53 NHS Trusts will spend £250m of £500m extra funding made available by the Government to tackle the pressures on A&E departments, with some of the cash being used to integrate services, increase district nursing and improve social care.

He mentioned that this winter (2013) is going to be tough as the reason why this coalition government is acting now to make sure patients receive a great, safe service, even with the added pressures the cold weather brings – but this is a serious, long-term problem, which needs fundamental change to equip our A&Es for the future. In the long-term, he wants a 24/7 service which recognises patients as individuals and looks out for them proactively. Starting with our most vulnerable, this Government is going to support the NHS in doing exactly that.

Good hygiene leads to Alzheimer?

Couple grocery shopping-Good hygiene leads to Alzheimer?

A recent study by researchers from Cambridge University have linked the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ – the idea that lack of exposure to gems, viruses and parasites harm the immune system, with the rising rate of dementia in developed countries. This study compared dementia cases in 192 countries and found it was more common in those with better sanitation and less disease. So good hygiene leads to Alzheimer?

Countries where everyone has access to clean drinking water, such as the UK and France, have nine per cent higher Alzheimer’s rates than average. In comparison those where less than half have access, such as Kenya and Cambodia, have a significantly lower incident rate.

Taken together, infection levels, sanitation and urbanisation account for 43 per cent of the variation in rates of Alzheimer’s between different countries, the study found. The doctor led this study asserted that a relationship between cleaner environment and a higher risk of certain allergies and autoimmune diseases is well established.

Although the charity The Alzheimer’s Society said the theory was interesting, but did not demonstrate the cause of the variation. Arguments come from that although the study allowed for the fact that people live far longer in Western countries, it did not take account of the fact that such countries had better reporting systems and were more likely to document cases of Alzheimer’s disease.

Copper could lead to Alzheimer’s disease

Traces of copper found in tap water and everyday foods could weaken the brain’s defences against Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests.

care-home-great-meal, Copper could lead to Alzheimer's disease

Researchers claim that the mineral could trigger the onset and speed up the progression of the disease by blocking the natural system which clears toxic proteins from the brain. Copper is found in water carried by copper pipes and in a wide range of foods including red meat, shellfish, nuts, fruit and vegetables. Small amounts are important for the nervous system, bone growth and regulation of hormone levels.

But experiments on mice and on human brain cells found that copper can also accumulate in the brain and cause the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, the mechanism which dictates what enters and exits the brain. This means harmful proteins which are ordinarily cleared from the brain are allowed to build up and form plaques which are a signature of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers said.

The scientists, from the University of Rochester Medical Center, dosed mice with levels of copper equivalent to what people might absorb from a normal diet over a three-month period. Their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, showed that copper began to build up in the walls of the blood vessels which supply the brain.