Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

November 4th, 2017

We were sorry to read that, for the second year running, dementia is still the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

According to government figures, in 2016 dementia was once again ahead of heart disease, which is the world’s biggest killer.

Last year, dementia was responsible for 62,948 deaths, making up 12 per cent of the total figure. Women were more susceptible to dying from dementia, which experts believe could be down to them living longer than men, on average. Death rates from dementia have more than doubled over the last five years.

But behind these headline figures, the story is not so straightforward. The marked increase is in part due to:

  • People living longer
  • Improvements in treatment of other diseases
  • Earlier diagnosis.

In other words, more people live with a diagnosis of dementia, and for longer, than they used to.

Vasita Patel, a statistician at the government’s Office for National Statistics, said: “Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were once again the leading cause of death for England and Wales in 2016, with an increase in number of deaths compared with 2015.

“Although general increases in longevity and improved treatment of other conditions are part of the reason for this increase, improvements in recognition, identification and diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have also contributed.”

Hard work is going on behind the scenes to find cures for dementia. Dr Matthew Norton, director of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, summed it up: “’What makes dementia one of the greatest medical challenges of modern society is the fact that we still lack a life-changing treatment to offer those affected. To defeat dementia, we must invest in research and it is essential that the condition is a national priority.”

Currently, 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia. Some are among our clients, and we do all we can to support them and their families, so they can live full and rewarding lives. We’ll carry on doing our bit, and wait for the day when there is a cure for dementia – let’s hope that time isn’t too far off.

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.

 

 

September 29th, 2017

It takes a really special person to want to deliver care – someone with passion, and an interest in helping people, and this is what we look for when we recruit people to join the DoCare family.

I’ve been working in care for many years, and so along with my colleague Danni and support from our director, Una, we are very good at spotting the people who have that certain something to fit in with our ethos of making every day a better day for our clients.

So how does our recruitment process work?

We advertise our vacancies, which brings in many applicants, and other people also apply because they might have seen our Facebook page, seen our DoCare cars buzzing around, or because we have been recommended by someone they know.

Our first job is to chat to an applicant on the phone and make sure they meet certain criteria. For example, it is essential that they are willing to work every other weekend, and that they have a car. We also try to assess how genuinely interested an applicant is; it doesn’t matter if they have no care experience, but they do have to be keen to learn and progress.

Next, we call people in for an interview, and we are very quick to pick up the likely people to take forward by the way they answer questions. We look for qualities like patience, a willingness to go the extra mile, the ability to think on their feet, and a cheerful personality.

At interview, we are very clear about what the job entails, and it isn’t for everybody. But if they are still keen then we will chat over their application after the interview and, if they are successful, invite them to come in for induction training.

Our training is intensive and not everybody stays the course. Once out on the job, some people also find that working in care isn’t for them.

But for those who stay, a career in care is hugely rewarding, with opportunities for development, learning, and forming strong relationships with the team, the clients and their families.

If you are thinking of a career in care, then please get in touch for a chat. Call me, Andrea, on 01453 310010 or email people@docare.co.uk

This blog was written by Andrea Baird, DoCare’s Employee Services and Support Administrator.  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.

September 21st, 2017

Palliative care is very close to my heart, and where my passion really lies but it is only recently I have had the opportunity to take some training to enable me to specialise in this area.

I’ve been working in care for about ten years, and I love it, and was inspired to go into this career by my Nan.

When I was little, Nan was a cook at a ‘guest house’ – that’s what care homes were often called. She did far more than cooking, and helped with caring for the people living there. At Christmas, I’d go along and sing songs to the residents, which I loved. And I remember Nan would be late some years for our own Christmas dinner at home, because she’s been with one of the residents who was dying. She said nobody should die alone, and I firmly believe this too.

When Nan developed dementia, and died five years ago, I saw the whole process of what happens, and how brilliant carers are and what they can do for people to make them more comfortable in their last hours and days.

With DoCare, I’m now one of the team who will do overnight stays with clients who are palliative. This helps give the relatives a break, knowing their loved one has company and someone on hand to respond to their needs.

It’s very intensive and gives us a chance to really get to know a client and their families. In fact, it is a privilege to be able to help them at this time.

I now plan to take my end-of-life care training further, by taking a course with the Sue Ryder charity, on end-of-life care for people with dementia, which will give me even more of an insight into how to help.

It is sad when someone dies, especially when we have become close to them. But I am proud that this important support is helping families at such a very difficult time.

This blog was written by Claire Bishop, Senior Support Worker with DoCare’s Cheltenham team. 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.

September 13th, 2017

At DoCare, we love it when we have the opportunity to listen to others’ words of wisdom, whether that’s tuning into BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, or Radio 2’s Pause for Thought.

It offers a little breathing space, the chance to reflect, and also to take on board what is usually very sound advice.

So at DoCare, we are launching our own version and calling it Just a Thought – and we’d like your help.

We will post here and on our Facebook page, regular thoughts and musings from people in our community. The thoughts may come from clients or their families; they may be the musings of our staff, or of local ministers.

We want the thoughts to be able to appeal to people of any religion or none. And the thoughts will provide a chance for the DoCare family to celebrate the diversity of our clients and their outlook on life.

In a nutshell, if you have a thought you would like to share and you are connected to DoCare or the area we work in, we would love to hear from you.

It goes without saying that any thoughts published reflect the opinions of the author, not necessarily of DoCare as a whole. And of course, content must be appropriate.

If you would like to make a contribution or know someone who would like to do so, please contact Danni at people@docare.co.uk. We’d like to keep the thoughts to no more than 400 words, and if you prefer they may be published anonymously.

We are so looking forward to ‘reading’ your thoughts.

 

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.

August 29th, 2017

Last month the Lancet Commission listed the major factors which could play a part in reducing the risk of dementia, one of the biggest killers in the UK.

Some risk factors, like age and genetics, can’t be changed. But there are others, including smoking, diet and not getting enough exercise, that you can proactively do something about.

Here are Alzheimer’s Research UK guidelines on reducing the risk factors you have some control over:

  • Smoking: cutting down, or – ideally – giving up will reduce the risk of dementia. It’s not easy, but a good starting point is the NHS Smokefree National Helpline, which is free to call on 0300 123 1044.
  • High blood pressure: this can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions including forms of dementia. Exercise, good diet, and stopping smoking can all help to reduce your blood pressure.
  • Social isolation and lack of mental stimulation: research findings suggest this may contribute to cognitive decline and therefore raise the risk of developing dementia. Maintaining a social life, and keeping mentally active – through things like joining clubs, doing crosswords or sudoku – will help lower the dementia risk.
  • Obesity and type 2 diabetes: there is strong evidence linking obesity to dementia. Obesity is closely linked to type 2 diabetes which is also a risk factor linked to dementia. Eating healthily and exercising regularly will help combat both these risks at once.

For more information about dementia and curbing the risks of developing the disease, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org.

At DoCare, we always take a particular interest in any new research relating to dementia, as many of our clients live with the condition. This advice from Alzheimer’s Research UK is excellent, and worth following not just because it will help reduce the risk of dementia but because it will lead to a generally healthier lifestyle for us all.

This blog was written by DoCare Director Steve Mills. 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.

August 1st, 2017

Say the word ‘skincare’ and you probably think of a beauty routine, involving cleansing, toning and moisturising,

But at DoCare, skin care has a very different meaning in relation to our clients. It is all about helping our clients to keep their skin healthy.

Here’s something we adopt, using the handy acronym SSKIN

  • Surface: we check to ensure our client has the right support
  • Skin: we inspect skin to look for any problems – early inspection means early detection
  • Keep: we help our clients to keep being as mobile as possible, and change their position so they are comfortable and less prone to sores
  • Incontinence: we help our clients to stay clean and dry
  • Nutrition: we help ensure clients have a nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids.

 So what is a pressure ulcer?

A pressure ulcer (also known as a bed sore) is damage on the skin and underlying tissue that can lead to an open wound. They are caused by pressure and friction on bony areas like the bottom, heel, hip, elbow, ankle, shoulder and back of the head.

Pressure ulcers cause people long-term pain and distress and can mean longer stays in hospital.

An elderly person is more at risk if they:

  • cannot move easily
  • have poor nutrition
  • have a health condition
  • are aged over 70
  • suffer from incontinence

Fortunately, around 95% of pressure ulcers are preventable and at DoCare we do our bit to keen them to a minimum.

 

This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare’s Field 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.

July 21st, 2017

New research is being published all the time about dementia, its causes and ways of preventing the disease.

A report out this week is of particular interest. It suggests more than a third of dementia cases might be avoided by tackling aspects of lifestyle including education, exercise, blood pressure and hearing.

With the number of people living with dementia rising – in England and Wales it is estimated this will be 1.2 million by 2040 – the report has huge implications.

The new report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, stresses that dementia is not an inescapable part of ageing – and that action can be taken to reduce risk.

“There are a lot of things that individuals can do, and there are a lot of things that public health and policy can do, to reduce the numbers of people developing dementia,” said Gill Livingston, professor of psychiatry of older people at University College London and a co-author of the report.

For many of the factors, including exercise and social activities, the best approach to reducing dementia risk is not yet clear, but Prof Livingston said steps can still be taken.

The results reveal that as many as 35% of dementia cases could, at least in theory, be prevented, with 9% linked to midlife hearing loss, 8% to leaving education before secondary school, 5% to smoking in later life and 4% to later life depression. Social isolation, later life diabetes, midlife high blood pressure, midlife obesity and lack of exercise in later life also contributed to potentially avoidable cases of dementia, the report notes.

By contrast, 7% of cases would be prevented if a solution to the leading genetic risk factor for dementia were found.

This is great news. The startling increase in the numbers of people with dementia is largely driven by people living longer, which means the earlier we all start taking positive steps – stopping smoking, taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet – the better.

And even when people do have dementia, there is so much that can be done to help mitigate the symptoms.

This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare’s Field 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.

July 11th, 2017

We keep a careful eye on the news that is published about dementia, and about possible treatments.

So we were really interested to read recently about a brain training computer game which has been shown to improve the memory of people who are in the very early stages of dementia and could potentially help such people avert some of the symptoms.

The gameshow-like app has been developed by researchers at Cambridge University. Their small trial showed people who played the game over a month had around a 40 per cent improvement in their memory scores.

George Savulich, who led the study at Cambridge University, said: “We hope to extend these findings in future studies of healthy ageing and mild Alzheimer’s disease.”

The results, which were published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, showed that as well as improving their memory scores in the game, people who played it retained more complex visual information than those who didn’t.

Now there is no suggestion at the moment that this is in any way a cure. But the results are encouraging. Imagine what it would be like if the power of technology could be harnessed to help slow down – perhaps even prevent? – dementia. That would be something worth celebrating!

This blog was written by Service Manager Rachel Houghton. 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 23rd, 2017

Bring your dog to work? Why not!

We love an interesting national awareness event, and one that caught our eye is today’s National Bring Your Dog to Work Day.

One of our team, Freya, has been known to bring her beloved dog into our head office here in Stroud, and we all love to see him. And Steve and I also bring in our puppy Dexter from time to time.

Bring Your Dog to Work Day is an annual event that raises money for charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs, as well as providing a bit of fun for employees.

Pets make wonderful companions, particularly to people who are living alone, as many of our elderly clients are. In fact some – like Daxi, who belongs to our client Arthur – provide more than companionship; Daxi comes from Canine Partners, and he is an assistance dog, helping Arthur in the same way that Guide Dogs help people with little or no vision.

Unfortunately, caring for a pet often isn’t possible for elderly people. This is where services like TheraPaws – run by the Mayhew Animal Home – can help. Volunteers take their dogs into a care setting to engage with older people, encouraging social interaction to promote emotional and physical wellbeing. They specialise in visits to people with dementia and to palliative care centres, and go on regular visits to care homes, day centres, hospices and hospitals.

One of our team recalls the delight of her elderly mother, living in a nursing home, when a visitor brought in a golden retriever to see his relative. As a dog-lover and lifelong dog owner, those few minutes spent with the dog made her day.

So what do we think of pets here at DoCare? They’re fantastic.

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.

June 10th, 2017

At DoCare we’ll be donning our aprons and getting down to a bit of baking by joining in national Cupcake Day on June 15, to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

And we’d be delighted if you would make it a date and drop into our head office in Stroud to buy some cakes. Our staff and friends will be baking, donating and serving tea, coffee and cake all day.

Last year, dedicated cupcake makers around the country united to raise £330,000 to help support research into dementia. That’s more than enough to fund 11 PhD researchers for a year, giving them the opportunity to undertake vital, potentially lifesaving work.
So at DoCare, we will be baking and selling some yummy cakes for you to buy to help raise money for this great cause. Pop in and buy a cake and have a cuppa with us in our training room. We’d love to see you.

Plus we’ll be running a fun photo competition for the loveliest and – possibly – most unusually decorated cakes.

Do call in and help us support such a fantastic cause, or get in touch with the team here for more details.

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.