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  • Slow living: a care home in lockdown

    Slow living: a care home in lockdown

    Care homes have been stretched to the limit – and beyond – in the pandemic, but Charlie Hoare also found a gentler side to life during lockdown. Also, the growing use of technology for communicating with families has exciting potential, he reports.

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  • Labour letter to government warns against repeat mistakes

    Labour letter to government warns against repeat mistakes

    15.09.20 The Labour party has warned that the Government has weeks to put winter care home plans in place or risk a repeat of past mistakes, following a rise in coronavirus cases in care homes. In a letter to the Government they have called for five key areas of action: guaranteed weekly, rapid testing; correct PPE; urgent additional support for families to enable visiting; NHS support for care homes and additional resources for social care. Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer's Society, commented: "Make no mistake, the Government must take reports of rising coronavirus cases in care homes very seriously and take the necessary action to save lives. The virus was allowed to spread like wildfire through care homes earlier this year, causing utter devastation and thousands of deaths - people with dementia have been worst hit."

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  • Live-in care company Elder hits growth spurt

    Live-in care company Elder hits growth spurt

    18.09.20 A sign that live-in care has emerged strongly from the pandemic is the success of Elder Care, which has been named one of the UK’s fastest growing companies in the Sunday Times Sage Tech Track 100. The live-in care agency, which provides round-the-clock care for people in their own homes, recently announced the creation of 1,500 new jobs, increasing the size of its workforce by 50%. It reported “record-breaking demand” and claimed that thousands of families were seeking alternatives to residential care. According to Elder Care, mortality rates among its clients have been 83% lower than for people in residential care. “Covid-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge to everyone working in the social care space,” said Elder Care’s CEO Pete Dowds. “It’s a challenge that, as a tech-enabled care company, we were uniquely positioned to meet.”

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  • Appeal for funds for manufacturing HUG

    Appeal for funds for manufacturing HUG

    17.09.20 A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to raise money so that a playful object shown to help people with advanced dementia can be made commercially available. The soft, comforting objects - called by the registered trademark HUG - are the result of Cardiff Metropolitan University’s LAUGH research programme which found that they made a significant difference to people’s quality of life. A new business, HUG by LAUGH, has now been set up with support from the university and assistance from Alzheimer’s Society to manufacture and market the objects. It is also hoped to broaden the market for the product. More info here

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  • NCF survey shows majority believe care workers are undervalued

    NCF survey shows majority believe care workers are undervalued

    16.09.20 Most adults in England believe that care workers are undervalued and underpaid, a survey of 1,500 people commissioned by the National Care Forum (NCF) suggests. The survey, conducted independently by Information by Design, found that 81% believed care workers are undervalued and 80% thought they should be better paid. Three quarters (74%) said care home workers do a brilliant job. Released as part of NCF’s Here to Care campaign to mark Professional Care Workers Week last week, the results appear to reflect widespread public recognition of the work care staff have done during the pandemic.

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  • Drive to prevent older patients from taking unnecessary medication

    Drive to prevent older patients from taking unnecessary medication

    15.09.20 A £2.4 million initiative led by a University of East Anglia (UEA) research team aims to clamp down on “risky” medicines, prescribed to older people but which over time have come to have more risks than benefits. According to UEA, half of older people admitted to hospital have been prescribed such medicines, which can lead to unpleasant side effects. Research published by the university last week suggested a new approach that could result in more of these medicines being deprescribed while the patient is in hospital.

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  • GMB union launches Care Full Pay campaign

    GMB union launches Care Full Pay campaign

    14.09.20 Most social care staff who fall ill will have no alternative but to carry on working and should instead be given full sick pay, the GMB union has said. It said a survey of 1,000 care staff had shown 81% of respondents would be forced into work if they became ill and had to rely on statutory sick pay (SSP). And 80% would be forced to borrow from friends and family or take on more debt to make ends meet, the survey indicated. The findings provide the rationale for the GMB’s new Care Full Pay campaign, calling on providers and the government to ensure full sick pay is introduced for care staff. “The issue is this - workers in a healthcare setting on statutory sick pay is an infection control risk,” said GMB national officer Rachel Harrison. “Most social care staff simply cannot afford to be sick under the current SSP arrangements. They are being presented with a terrible choice and getting penalised with poverty sick pay just for doing the right thing. "

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  • Deal on see-through face masks

    Deal on see-through face masks

    11.09.20 Clear face masks are being delivered to frontline NHS and social care workers, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, to help them communicate with people with dementia among others. Care minister Helen Whately said 250,000 of the see-through masks would reach the front line over the next few weeks to help care for people who use lip reading and facial expressions to communicate. The masks have an anti-fogging barrier to ensure care staff’s faces are always visible. Social care providers will have access to the masks through a new pilot system with local resilience forums, the government said. A deal has been struck by the government with the US company ClearMask for the new supplies.

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  • E-Newsletter - 11 Sept 2020
  • Nominate top 10 favourite songs

    Nominate top 10 favourite songs

    08.09.20 Care homes are invited to nominate their “Top 10 Favourite Songs” for a new dementia-friendly radio station. M4d Radio is a new venture by the charity Music for Dementia and it wants to play a Top of the Pops-style playlist drawn from nominations made by its care home listeners. It is for M4d’s “Mix” station, which plays music from the 1930s to the 1970s. One tip for care homes is to run an activity or reminiscence session asking everyone what song they would choose and then create a shortlist of 3-5 top tunes. More info here. Closing date is Sunday 13 September.

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