Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

July 7th, 2016

Working in the social care sector is much more than a job: it’s a passion. At DoCare we are passionate about providing quality care for our clients and also looking at the bigger picture and playing our part in improving services across the board.

House of Lords trip

 

So my husband and fellow director Steve and I were delighted to be invited to a reception at the House of Lords, organised by The Adam Smith Institute and LCS Health and Social Care Policy & Research.

The aim of the event was to bring together people involved in the social care sector, and look at ways to bridge the divide between social care and health care for the benefit of the UK population.

Hosted by Baroness Gardner of Parkes, the speakers included Lord Lansley, former Secretary of State, Department of Health; Ian Smith, chairman of Four Seasons Health Care’ and Dr Jim Featherstone, chief operating officer of Healthcare at Home.

It was fascinating to hear different people’s views and ideas. We all agreed that, while there is undoubtedly pressure on funding in social and health care, there are steps that can be taken to improve delivery of services.

On a personal note, we were delighted to find that we were guests of honour, as a result of our winning the Care Employer Award at this year’s Great British Care Awards. Also, the tea and view across the Thames were marvellous!

It was an insight and also a treat for us, but one that we know has come about thanks to the fantastic team we have around us. If we could have taken them all up to the Lords with us, we would have!

 

This blog was written by Una Mills, DoCare Director. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

July 1st, 2016

 

With so much in the media about diversity in Britain, we thought it worth reiterating DoCare’s position.

We at DoCare embrace diversity both among our clients and our staff. We are privileged to work with so many different people, valuing their uniqueness and celebrating our differences whilst respecting each other’s rights to be ‘different’. As a result we have had new experiences, heard different viewpoints, tasted new recipes all while developing stronger relationships.

As part of our induction training we have always included equality and diversity as one of our topics and of course it is now part of the Care Certificate Standards (Standard 4) which came into effect in April 2015.

Living and working alongside each other in harmony, with the aim of making every day a better day for our clients – whatever their background – is, and will remain, our priority.

This blog was written by Pam Tozer, DoCare’s Training Support Manager. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

 

June 28th, 2016

We were worried to see a headline recently which reported that doctors at the British Medical Association’s annual meeting had passed a motion declaring a diagnosis for dementia as ‘pointless’ unless backed up with support.

Twiddle muffs

Around 850,000 people in England are thought to be living with dementia and the number of people being diagnosed has almost doubled in the past six years.

However, the doctors feel that there is not enough support for their patients post-diagnosis.

This aspect of their argument we understand. The NHS is very stretched and caring for ever growing numbers of people, with the whole range of conditions, not just dementia.

But we would never say a diagnosis is pointless. We know, from our own research and from what we see among our clients who have dementia, that the earlier a diagnosis is made, the more can be done to support that person. And that support does not need to come just from the GPs or the NHS.

Relatives, friends, and homecare providers, such as the team here at DoCare, can do much. And the person with the diagnosis can also take his or own steps to try to slow down the advance of their condition.

For example, we know that providing meaningful moments for people – even simple things like potting up a plant, or taking a walk around the garden – can add interest and stimulation to people with dementia.

Playing with ‘toys’ when agitated can help a person; many of our clients have a ‘twiddle muff’, which is a knitted muff with bits and bobs hanging off it, which can be held in the lap and played with.

We create chatter boxes for clients, containing mementoes – like photos, or bits of knitting, or familiar smells – which will spark feelings and memories.

Early diagnosis also means the person with dementia can make choices about their future while they still can and access other services and groups.

All these are simple techniques, which anyone can try, and which don’t cost the earth but help enhance the lives of people with dementia.

 

This blog was written by Kerry-Ann Lees, DoCare’s Dementia Lead and Field Management Team manager. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

 

 

 

June 28th, 2016

 

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has launched new fire safety packs for people with dementia – what an excellent idea.

Glos Fire and Rescue Service launch new dementia packs

Glos Fire and Rescue Service launch new dementia packs

The new dementia packs are based around the national ‘FireKills – fire safety in the home’ booklet and were created by the brigade working with focus groups to develop fire safety resources for people living with dementia.

Andy Hermiston, deputy chief fire officer, said: “All fire and rescue services have pledged to improve the safety and wellbeing of those with dementia. GFRS is one of the leading fire and rescue services in the country in terms of dementia awareness and we are really keen to try and help people with dementia to stay safe and independent in their own home for as long as possible.”

The packs were launched last month as part of National Dementia Awareness Week and we were delighted that several officers from GFRS came to our own dementia awareness event, to show the pack and to talk to visitors to the open day.

Resources in the pack include prompt cards, reminding people with dementia of things that need doing around the home, such as closing doors or turning off cookers. They also include a dark coloured back plate which can be fitted around a smoke alarm which are easier for people with dementia to see.

For more information, including how to book a free safe and well visit,click here  or contact the community safety team on 01452 888777.

For more information about support for people with dementia, who want to remain living at home, please get in touch with the DoCare team.

May 5th, 2016

New findings suggest women are more affected by Alzheimer’s disease than men.

Women with this form of dementia see their cognitive abilities decline more dramatically than men at the same stage of the disease, and language and memory skills are also impacted more severely.

The findings come from researchers at Hertfordshire University, who believe a drop in oestrogen levels in women after the menopause may be the cause of the gender difference.

Another factor is that the cognitive reserves of men are greater on average, as they are more likely to have worked than women.

In the UK, women make up two-thirds of the 850,000 people living with dementia, a condition which Alzheimer’s is a form of.  It’s worth bearing in mind, this means there may be more male than female carers looking after their loved ones, a topic discussed recently at a dementia forum in Gloucestershire.

At DoCare, we were really interested to see this research, as many of our clients have dementia, some with Alzheimer’s disease. This type of research brings the medical profession a step closer to finding a cure and also identifying risk factors, as well as pinpointing ways to help slow down the progression of the disease.

We know from our experience that the earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner measures can be put in place to help slow its progress.

Professor Keith Laws, who led the study, said: “Genetics are hard to change but easier to screen, cognitive reserve is modifiable and with more women working, the next generation may suffer less. It is therefore fundamental that we continue to identify the role of sex differences to enable more accurate diagnoses and open up doors for new treatments to emerge.”

Well said. And in the meantime, we at DoCare will play our part in supporting our clients with dementia, and their families, so they can live as full and active a life as possible; making every day a better day.

This blog was written by Kerry-Ann Lees, DoCare’s Dementia Lead and Field Management Team manager. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

 

 

February 23rd, 2016

Loneliness, particularly among elderly people, is no stranger to the headlines. There are believed to be more than one million people aged over 65 who are lonely – around 10-13 per cent of older people.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, back in 2013, said it was a cause of “national shame” that thousands of people felt lonely.

This month, councils have warned that loneliness needs to be recognised as a major public health concern, with fears it could pile further strain on to local services, unless action is taken.

More than three quarters of GPs say they see between one and five lonely people a day; while research shows loneliness can be more harmful than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The statistics go on …

While we have an ageing population, and increasingly stretched resources, it is difficult to see an overall solution.

But things are happening at grassroots level. For example, in Rotherham there is a scheme where GPs identify those and risk, and then link people to community services. In Exeter, a Men in Sheds scheme brings men together to socialise. In Warwickshire, there are a range of interventions aimed at older, isolated people. The Local Government Association has partnered with Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness to publish ‘Combating Loneliness,’ which offers guidance for councils.

For our part, at DoCare we know that the service we provide encompasses so much more than the just the practical things we do, like shopping, washing, or making meals. Our visits are a lifeline for elderly people, many of whom live alone. For some, a friendly face from DoCare will be the only person they will see each day.

It’s great news that all these initiatives are happening. We believe they will make a difference, and at DoCare we will carry on doing our small bit to help combat loneliness among our clients, making every day a better day for them and for their families.

 This blog was written by Una Mills, Director for DoCare.

If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

February 11th, 2016

This winter so far has been marked by mild weather and rain – a lot of rain! But now it has finally turned colder, elderly people in particular may be feeling the chill.

 We’re all too aware at DoCare of how much the cold weather can affect our clients, the majority of whom are elderly, and we guarantee to struggle through ice and snow to provide the very best service.

 But everyone can do their bit for older people at this time, so here are a few suggestions: 

  • Why not pay a visit to an elderly neighbour to check up on them and ensure they have essential supplies?
  • Check to see whether their curtains are being drawn every day – if they aren’t, knock on the door and ask if all is well  
  • Is the milk being taken in? If not, pay them a visit 
  • Do you see their lights on in the evening? If you don’t, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

We’ll be making thousands of visits this week, next week and every week to clients, bringing peace of mind to them and their families. We’ll be making sure they are keeping warm and have supplies at hand to stay warm and safe.

This blog was written by Sue Mothershaw, DoCare General Manager

If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online

 

December 16th, 2015

The care sector is often in the news and invariably for the wrong reasons. The media’s focus is on lack of funding, the growing numbers of elderly people needing care and the difficulty in making services stretch.

All this is true, but it is good once in a while to hear some positive news. Which is why I was delighted to listen to BBC Radio 4’s Secret Lives of Carers. The programme didn’t shy away from the concerns about under-resourcing, but it looked at ways in which people are thinking outside the box and providing a better level of care, given the constraints of the system. As the programme said, moving away from the standard time and task model to one where people are nurtured – person-centred care.

Wiltshire Council is testing this approach. It has run a pilot where carers themselves determine the time they need to devote to the people they visit and have found this model so successful they are extending it.

The programme also focused on the importance of effective recruitment and training, so only truly committed people are brought into the sector.

When we started DoCare in 2004 there was little public awareness of the amazing things the sector provides to people who need a little help to stay at home. As a provider, we have learnt to work within the system we have – stretched as it is – and provide a high level of support for our clients.

Not everything needs to cost more money. For example, one way in which we develop our staff is through our mentoring scheme. Each staff member has a mentor they can turn to for support and advice. Our staff morale is higher and as a result we have happier clients. We put great emphasis on recruitment and staff training, to ensure we attract and retain quality staff.

Even though we’ve grown through the years I still take time every month to meet with clients in their own homes to ensure I keep up-to-date with how things are going.

Listening to the programme I could identify with the passion and commitment expressed by carers about their work. This is what we have from our own team as well, and we are always looking for more, like-minded people who want to join the DoCare family, delivering this important services.

We have now supported more than 1,700 people, each with unique set of needs but all with a common goal of being supported to stay at home. Our continuing aim is to bring peace of mind all through the year to our clients and to their families.

If you didn’t catch The Secret Lives of Carers, is will be available for a short while on iPlayer: http://bbc.in/1jM6Wyo

 This blog was written by Steve Mills, DoCare Director. If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

November 25th, 2015

A new report came out this week suggesting one of the signs of dementia could include a person’s sense of humour becoming darker, or inappropriate.

A poll among relatives, taken by University College London, found many said patients’ perception of what was funny changed dramatically and became ‘inappropriate and graphic’. A number said their loved ones had started to prefer slapstick comedy, and to laugh when others were in pain or discomfort.

I’ve found this research really interesting, because in a way it supports what we have observed at DoCare. I have also had families tell me they have noticed personality changes, but this can equally be for the better. For example a client’s son told me his mother used to suffer bouts of depression and was always rather uptight, but her dementia had made her more mellow and more accepting of change.

Following the research, Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said relatives concerned about changes in the behaviour of their loved ones should contact their GP.

“While memory loss is often the first thing that springs to mind when we hear the word dementia, this study highlights the importance of looking at the myriad of different symptoms that impact on daily life and relationships,” he said. “A deeper understanding of the full range of dementia symptoms will increase our ability to make a timely and accurate diagnosis.”

At DoCare, we put a strong focus on providing meaningful moments, which is a feelings-based approach to helping people with dementia, personality being key to supporting someone in a person-centred way. What do we mean by this? We focus on what makes a person feel happy, and activities which promote a positive emotional response. This is because evidence shows that feelings and emotions remain with a person far longer than a memory will. Knowing a client’s life story is important, but the way in which a person approaches life is more important still, in understanding what makes the person tick.

The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the earlier measures can be put in place to mitigate its effects. So, if a change in sense of humour is a clue, then this is a really valuable tool in diagnosis. Also, this type of research can help experts narrow down a cause of dementia which will – we hope – eventually lead to a cure.

 

This blog was written by Kerry-Ann Lees, DoCare’s Dementia Lead and Area Manager for Cheltenham, Cirencester, Gloucester & Witney.

If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.

 

November 10th, 2015

With winter approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to remind everybody of a few simple measure they can take to help keep warm and well. Here are our top tips, which we are asking all our support team to pass on to our clients:

  1. Keep warm by wearing several thin layers of clothing, because warm air is trapped in between
  2. Keep living rooms at 21C and bedrooms at 18C
  3. Get the heating system serviced and the chimneys swept – now its autumn, it’s a great time to do this. A serviced boiler is more fuel efficient
  4. Take up invitations from the GP to have a flu injection – these are free for elderly people
  5. Use a hot water bottle, wheat bag or electric blanket to warm the bed – but always remember to turn off an electric blanket before going to sleep
  6. Eat at least one hot meal a day. Making a hot meal need not take long. A boiled egg or omelette is the work of only a few minutes
  7. Keep basic food items in, so the freezer and larder are stocked – this means you are prepared in the event of snow

 This blog was written by Sue Mothershaw, DoCare General Manager

If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch. If you are interested in a career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online