Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

June 28th, 2018

We are delighted to hear the NHS is to introduce advice and information on dementia during routine health checks for people aged over 40 in England.

Health check

Guidance on how to reduce the risk of dementia will be given to patients at GP surgeries and through community health programmes because, as Public Health England (PHE) says, up to one-third of dementia cases could be improved through lifestyle choices.

At the same time, statistics show that more than a quarter of people – 28% – have no awareness of risk factors and only 2% know what they can do to reduce them.

This roll out to the general over 40s population in England follows a successful pilot carried out by PHE with the help of the charities Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.

What is the NHS England over 40s health check?

This is a check carried out at the GP surgery or health centre, and is recommended to take place every five years for those aged 40 to 74.

Routine checks include height, weight, blood, and blood pressure, with the focus being very much on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

But, as PHE says, “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.”

We’ve blogged before about the risk factors relating to dementia. These include smoking, drinking alcohol and lack of exercise – all risk factors associated with heart disease.

We think talking about dementia to the over 40s is a fantastic idea. There is so much we could all do to help keep ourselves as healthy as possible and to avoid dementia. And for those who live with the condition – as so many of our clients do – keeping healthy and active goes a long way towards mitigating the symptoms.

This blog was written by Jinny Searle, Specialist Team Leader. 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 18th, 2018

Falls are worryingly common among older people. Around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls.

falls prevention

This is concerning, as so many older people live alone and so, if they fall, they are all the more vulnerable. Those with a long-term health condition – as is the case with so many elderly people – are particularly at risk.

Fortunately, most falls don’t result in serious injury, but among frail and older people it can be difficult or even impossible to get up again without some assistance. After a fall, people often lose confidence and may become withdrawn and less independent.

So it makes sense to do everything we can to avoid falling.

Tips to avoid falls

There are lots of little actions that we can all take to help prevent falls. For example:

  • immediately mopping up spillages
  • removing clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
  • using non-slip mats and rugs
  • using high-wattage light bulbs in lamps and torches so you can see clearly
  • organising your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum, and to avoid bumping into things
  • getting help to do things you’re unable to do safely on your own
  • not walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
  • not wearing loose-fitting, trailing clothes that might trip you up
  • wearing well-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support the ankle

Exercises to improve strength and balance will help, and are good for the health generally. This could include walking, or dancing. Gyms often offer special fitness programmes for elderly people. Having a regular sight test will ensure that you are seeing well.

A personal alarm system, such as wearing a call button, is an excellent way of ensuring help comes quickly.

You can ask for a home assessment for yourself or for a relative, and an expert will then come in and advise on changes that could be made to make the home a safer environment. The best way to arrange this is to initially contact the GP.

At DoCare, our support workers are well aware of potential trip hazards around the home, and will make suggestions to our clients about changes they can make.

We want to keep our clients as safe as possible – it’s all about prevention.

 

This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare 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.

June 12th, 2018

This week is National Carers Week, an annual event which aims to raise awareness of caring and the hard work and dedication of the thousands of unpaid carers who look after loved ones.

Carers Week

In Gloucestershire alone – where DoCare is based – there are more than 63,000 unpaid carers who are supporting friends and family: husbands and wives caring for their spouses, parents and grandparents caring for children, children supporting their parents… they all do a fantastic job, for no financial reward.

At some point in our lives, most of us will have a caring role, which makes this awareness week all the more significant. Few of us will remain untouched.

During this awareness week, people are being ask to think about ways they can support carers to remain healthy and connected to their communities, as so many feel isolated, putting their own health needs low on their list of priorities.

Fortunately, there are many organisations whose role is to support and advise carers, such as Carers Gloucestershire, which runs services for carers and signposts carers towards further help.

Caring and DoCare

At DoCare, we are all about caring for and supporting our clients – many of them elderly and vulnerable people – to be able to remain living in their own homes.

We have a dedicated team of support workers who do this. Of course, they are paid – it is their job – but they do far more than just treat it as a job. They are passionate, committed, dedicated, prepared time and again to go the extra mile for our clients; to live up to the DoCare mission of making every day a better day.

We know they do a fantastic job, because our clients and their families tell us. Here are just a handful of the many, wonderful comments we receive:

“They take time to listen … Such a friendly team.”

“… your wonderful band of carers!”

“You are all amazing! You have been wonderful over the years. Your care, understanding and support to me has also been invaluable – thank you!”

 “They are great and not only help me but also brighten my day.”

And let’s not forget our head office team at DoCare, who work so hard behind the scenes to ensure our level of service is what it should be.

We’re very proud of everyone involved in the DoCare family, so in this, Carers Week, we’d like to say a public thank you to them all.

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.

May 24th, 2018

We’ve all been enjoying the warmer weather recently, with the first May Bank Holiday breaking records as temperatures soared.

But it is important to take precautions in hot weather, and this is advice we pass on to our team and also to our elderly clients, who can be particularly vulnerable when temperatures climb.

Sunflower

Tips for keeping safe in the warm weather

First, keep an eye on the weather forecasts, so you know what to prepare for if you are going to be out and about. The Met Office will raise an alert if there is a high chance that an average temperature of 30C by day and 15C overnight will occur over the following two to three days. These temperatures can have a significant effect on people’s health if they last for at least two days and the night in between.

If a heatwave arrives, then the following will help you to keep cool:

  • Keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, usually 11am to 3pm
  • Keep rooms cool, by closing curtains or shades
  • Take cool baths or showers and splash cold water on your face
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water or squash. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks
  • Wear loose clothing
  • If you go out, wear a sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

If you have elderly neighbours or relatives, please do pop in and check they are OK and whether they need anything. Going out in a heatwave is not advisable for them, so you may be able to assist by getting in provisions.

The NHS website has lots more information about staying safe and well in hot weather, which you can check out here.

This blog was written by Rachel Houghton, Service 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.

May 21st, 2018

This week, from May 21-27, is Dementia Action Week. Organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, it takes place every May and is a way of raising awareness of this condition, which affects so many people and their families.

Dementia Action Week

At DoCare, where we support older people so they can remain living in their own homes, we are all too aware of dementia and how it can take its toll. Many of our clients live with dementia, and it is hard not just for them but also for their loved ones.

Our hard-working team of dedicated support workers have specialist training, to help them better understand and meet the needs of our clients with dementia. We are all striving to make every day a better day for our them.

More about Dementia Action Week

The Alzheimer’s Society is asking everyone to take actions big or small to improve the lives of people affected by dementia – we all have a role to play.

In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes. Yet too many people living with dementia face the condition alone and excluded from society.

The Alzheimer’s Society is leading the movement for change. The charity is determined to create a dementia-friendly UK where people with dementia are included and supported to live the lives they want.

But the charity can’t do this alone. It wants everybody to take a small action to make a difference. So how can you help?

Here are some ideas:

  • Host a fundraising event
  • Display a poster
  • Look out for events in your area and attend them
  • Become a ‘dementia friend
  • Offer support to those with dementia and their families

At DoCare, we’ve held a Cupcake Day coffee morning and we also sell homemade greetings cards to help raise funds. Every little helps, to coin a phrase.

This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare 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.

May 16th, 2018

There are many events throughout the year that aim to raise the profile of a particular issue, and one that is taking place this week and that has struck a chord with the team here at DoCare is Dying Awareness Week.Dying matters

Every year in May, the organisation Dying Matters hosts the awareness week, with the aim of encouraging people to talk about dying, death and bereavement.

Why talk about dying?

There is a saying that there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes, yet as a nation we seem to shy away from the topic of death.

When we are young, death seems a very long way off, but as we get older it is almost inevitable that we will think of our ultimate demise from time to time, but we still don’t talk about it. Yet the only way to let people know your views about what should happen when you die – for example, how you want your funeral to be conducted, how you would like your estate to be distributed – is by letting people know during your lifetime.

One way is through making a will, and yet one in three people die without writing one, which can lead to upset, confusion and potentially conflict between those you leave behind.

Even if you do make a will, don’t leave it at that; talk to your loved ones about death and dying. It’s a difficult conversation, but will make decisions easier in the long-run.

Dying Matters’ mission is to “help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life”. The organisation concedes this will involve a fundamental change in society in which dying, death and bereavement are seen and accepted as the natural part of everybody’s life cycle. “Changes in the way society views dying and death have impacted on the experience of people who are dying and bereaved. Our lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families. It has also affected our ability to die where or how we would wish.”

At DoCare, it is our privilege to support a number of our clients who are reaching the end of their lives, and many of our team undergo specialist training in palliative care to ensure we provide the best service possible. We can see at first-hand how important it is for families to be with their loved ones and how it makes a difference if the wishes of the person who is dying are made know.

We applaud Dying Matters and hope this week’s awareness events will raise the profile of this difficult topic.

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.

April 4th, 2018

If you have been receiving nuisance phone calls, or are constantly being cold-called by sales people, then you’re not alone.

How to stop nuisance calls

According to research commissioned by Aviva, consumers were bombarded with 2.2 billion nuisance calls and texts relating to an injury-related claim, pension, PPI or other insurance related matters in 2017.

And it seems elderly people are particularly vulnerable. The statistics, based on Ofcom data, show:

  • 57% of people say nuisance calls and texts are the most annoying thing about having a phone
  • The over 65s were targeted with approximately 30% of all nuisance calls and texts
  • Nearly 900m calls and texts were chasing a personal injury claim or insurance issue
  • There have been 2.7m more pensions-related nuisance calls since pension freedoms

But there is a solution: the Telephone Preference Service.

The Telephone Preference Service (or TPS) is a free service and is the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

It is a legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS, unless they have your consent to do so.

The TPS can also accept the registration of mobile telephone numbers, although this won’t prevent you from receiving text messages. If you wish to stop receiving SMS marketing messages, then you need to send an opt-out request to the company involved. Using a smart phone, you should also be able to block calls.

As TPS registration only prevents marketing calls, organisations will still be able to call you for the purposes of genuine market research.

To register a phone number with the TPS you should call 0345 070 0707. You can also complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office if companies break the rules, by calling 0303 123 1113. If you receive silent calls you should contact Ofcom on 0300 123 3333.

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.

March 16th, 2018

Moving and handling is part and parcel of the day to day working life of our support team and something we take very seriously at DoCare.Moving and handling

Not only is it important that we follow moving and handling procedures to keep our clients safe, but it is also important for the health of our support workers.

I’ve recently undergone six days training so I can join my colleague, Rachel, as a moving and handling trainer at DoCare. Six days sounds a lot – and there was a lot of homework too! – but there is so much to learn and when it comes to training others in this important area there are no shortcuts; procedures have to be followed to the letter.

All our new recruits have moving and handling training as part of their induction. They then have an annual refresher course, and if anything changes in the meantime – such as new regulations that come in, or if new equipment is introduced – they have further training.

We always carry out risk assessments for our clients and the staff who will be working with them, and we review all our moving and handling procedures; as client’s needs change, then so will the way we support them.

We use a wide range of equipment to assist our clients’ movement, and it is important that we know how to use it correctly and effectively.

Here are some of the tips that we pass on to our staff:

  • Let the equipment do the work – use its strength and not yours
  • The right way is the right way! Don’t use a different method which may be quicker or you risk injury
  • When making beds either move them (if they are on wheels) or walk around but do not stretch over them
  • Bring the profiling beds up to a good working height
  • For double up calls, where more moving and handling is needed, work together as a team.
  • Back pain may not be immediate but will be cumulative
  • If you experience any back problems, let us know and see a GP.

Also, we ask them to avoid:

  • Flexed or twisted postures
  • Remaining in one position for too long
  • Repetitive movements with one arm
  • Working with the arms outstretched – loads should be kept close to the body
  • Lifting heavy objects.

Moving and handling is just one of the many areas we cover during our staff training, and there is also scope for training for staff with specific areas of interest, such as palliative care and helping clients who have Parkinson’s. Informative, rewarding, sometimes challenging, and all part of what goes to making a great career in care.

This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare 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.

March 7th, 2018

Safeguarding has been hitting the headlines in recent weeks, with the scandals at Oxfam and then Save the Children.

Safeguarding

In the case of Oxfam, it appears vulnerable people in Haiti were exploited by some of the charity’s workers, just when they were supposed to be helping them. With Save the Children, there were allegations of inappropriate conduct by a former chief executive.

Safeguarding is an issue that we take extremely seriously here at DoCare. We are charged with caring for and supporting some of our community’s most vulnerable people; elderly people who want to remain living in their own homes but are unable to do so without our support.

So we have strict procedures in place to ensure we do our utmost to protect our clients.

All applicants have to undergo a DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service – check before they can start working.

They have two weeks’ induction training at our head office, where we also make full use of our Doris DoCare room – our room that is kitted out to look like a client’s home, so the trainees get a much more hands-on experience.

Our trainees then have two weeks of work shadowing. During this time, and over the following few weeks, they are observed to ensure they can work to the required standards in all the areas, and so complete their Care Certificate.

Then there is ongoing training, spot checks, and annual appraisals and update training.

And, of course, if any incidents are reported to us we take them very seriously, investigating and taking action immediately.

We hope that the likes of Oxfam and Save the Children are able to weather this storm and put their houses in order. They, like us, are committed to caring and do some fantastic work around the world.

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.

March 6th, 2018

We’ve just had some of the worse winter weather we have seen for a long time, with the Beast from the East bringing sub-zero temperatures and Storm Emma whipping up snowdrifts.

Keep hydrated by drinking water

So this may seem a strange time to be talking about hydration. That’s just something for the hot weather isn’t it?

Well, the answer is “no”. Because keeping hydrated is important at all times, and dehydration is possible at any time, whatever the weather.

Older people in particular are more at risk of dehydration. As people age, the amount of body water decreases, so even a small loss of water can lead to dehydration. Older people often experience a diminished thirst sensation, so they feel less inclined to drink. On top of this, the kidneys have a reduced ability to concentrate urine and retain water during water deprivation.

At DoCare, we look for warning signs that our clients might be dehydrated and try to take steps to prevent it happening. These include:

  • Raising awareness among our clients of the importance of drinking regularly
  • Offering drinks
  • Making sure a drink is within easy reach
  • Encouraging clients to take fluids with medication

Here are a few interesting facts, curtesy of the Natural Hydration Council, a not for profit organisation dedicated to researching the science and communicating the facts about healthy hydration:

  • Water accounts for about 60% of an adult’s body weight
  • It performs crucial roles in our body such as carrying nutrients to cells, helping to remove waste products from our major organs and helping to regulate our body’s temperature
  • It is constantly being lost from our body, not just when we go to the toilet, but also through our skin and breath
  • Our brain is 73% water, so poor hydration can also affect how it functions
  • Studies show that dehydration can reduce our ability to concentrate, our cognitive and physical performance, and increase feelings of aggression or irritation
  • We don’t have a real water storage in our body, so it must be replaced regularly by water from our diet.

So there you have it. Water is important – so do remember to drink up, even when it’s cold outside.

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.