Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

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.

January 23rd, 2018

The blue badge parking permit scheme looks set to be offered to people with ‘hidden’ disabilities – including dementia. This is great news for our clients who live with dementia, and for their families. blue badge

Under new government proposals, the blue badge scheme will include dementia and other hidden disabilities, such as autism. Currently, only some councils recognised hidden disabilities, so the plan by the Department for Transport is to provide “clear and consistent” guidelines.

It means people with dementia should be able to successfully apply for a blue badge, and join the other 2.4 million people who have blue badges in England. The badge allows them to park for free in some pay and display bays, use disabled parking bays, and stay for up to three hours on yellow lines.

The proposals are being put out for an eight-week consultation. If they go ahead, it will be the biggest change to the blue badge scheme since it was introduced in 1970.

If you don’t currently have a blue badge but think you are entitled to one, you can find out more and apply online here.

Once you have your blue badge, you can use it when you are driving, and it can also be used by the driver of a car in which you are travelling, so they can park as near to your destination as possible.

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.

January 19th, 2018

The team here at DoCare are delighted that we’ve been given a ringing endorsement by the governing body which oversees the social care sector, the Care Quality Commission.

Care Quality Commission

A report just published, following the CQC inspection in November, gave us full marks in all of its five key areas: Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-led.

We are thrilled with the report, which is among the best we have received in our 13 year history.

It is a wonderful reflection on our fantastic team’s dedication to social care and in particular their care and commitment to our clients. Everybody, from the support team who provide the care, to the team who handle our 6am to 11pm on-call system, to the head office team and managers, play their part in providing the very best level of service to our clients.

In her report, the CQC inspector noted that “the service was responsive to people’s needs. Care plans were person centered to provide consistent, high quality care and support. The service was caring. We observed staff supporting people in a caring and patient way. Staff knew the people they supported well and were able to describe what they liked to do and how they liked to be supported. People were supported sensitively with an emphasis on promoting their rights to privacy, dignity, choice and independence”.

The inspector also commented that DoCare was well-led, with regular quality assurance checks and audits carried out, and actions taken to improve the service. Staff who were interviewed by the inspector spoke of the open culture and the environment, saying DoCare was an enjoyable place to work and they felt integral to the organisation.

It is wonderful to receive such positivity in a climate where we hear a lot about the things that are perhaps not going so well for the care sector.

If you would like to join the DoCare family, as a client or as a member of our brilliant team, please get in touch.

 

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.

January 17th, 2018

There’s so much information and misinformation out there about the benefits system and who is entitled to what, that it can be easy to overlook your entitlements.

Council tax savings

Older people in particular may well fall into the category of being entitled to help with council tax, so do check if you think this could be you.

There are three categories to look out for, and if you fit into any of these then you may be entitled to help.

Discounts

Certain people will get a discount and so pay a reduced rate of council tax. For example, anyone living on their own, or treated as living on their own (more of this under ‘Disregards’ below) is entitled to a 25% reduction on their bill. This is called the ‘single person’s discount’. There are other types of discount too.

Disregards

Disregards apply to people living in the property. Some people are ‘disregarded’ for council tax purposes. So, for example, if one of two occupants is disregarded, it will be as if the other person lives alone, and they will get a 25% single person’s discount on their council tax.

To be disregarded the person must:

  • have a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning which appears to be permanent
  • have a certificate confirming this impairment from a registered medical practitioner, usually a GP or consultant
  • be entitled to certain disability benefits, such as Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (higher or middle rate care components) and Personal Independence Payment (lower or higher rate of the daily living component).

Many people with dementia meet all three criteria, so are disregarded under the severe mental impairment rules.

Exemptions

Exemptions apply to properties, rather than people. An exemption means the whole property is exempt from council tax and there is nothing to pay. For example, when the only people occupying the property are ‘disregarded’ (as explained above).

But not all disregards mean the property will be exempt from council tax. Some disregards mean the person doesn’t count for council tax purposes, but the property is treated as if it is empty and will be charged an empty property rate. This might happen if a carer who meets certain criteria lives at the property.

Do you live with a carer?

Some carers can be disregarded for council tax purposes if they fall into one of two groups. First, they may be disregarded if they:

  • care for at least 35 hours a week
  • live in the same property as the person they care for
  • are not the partner of the person they care for
  • are not the parent of the person they care for, if the person cared for is aged under 18.

Also, the person being cared for must be entitled to certain benefits, such as Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, higher rate Attendance Allowance, or Constant Attendance Allowance.

The second group applies to people who provide live-in care or support on behalf of a local authority, government department or charity, or provide care through an introduction by a charity, where the person being cared for is the carer’s employer (and where they care for a minimum number of hours and have a maximum income from the work).

Someone who falls into either of these carer groups is disregarded for council tax purposes. However, this type of disregard doesn’t mean that the property will be exempt for council tax purposes. The person will pay a reduced council tax bill but they will pay something.

It is a complicated system, but if you believe you are entitled to a discount, disregard or exemption it is worth exploring. There is more information about this on the Alzheimer’s Society’s excellent website.

 

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.