Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

January 24th, 2017

 

Many of our clients love their pets. Their pets keep them company, give them love and friendship and help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Sadly, many of our clients are no longer able or are allowed to have pets, either because of where they live or because of their ability to cope. Some make up for this by having toy dogs and cats – or even teddy bears – as companions. But this isn’t quite the same as having a real animal.

So we were delighted to hear about a charity based in Cornwall, which helps support elderly people who want to keep their pets but need some extra help to be able to do so.

The Cinnamon Trust’s main aim is to respect and preserve the treasured relationship between owners and their pets. To this end it works in partnership with owners to overcome any difficulties that might arise. A national network of more than 15,000 community service volunteers provide practical help when any aspect of day to day care poses a problem – for example, walking the dog for a housebound owner.

A national fostering service is provided for pets whose owners face a spell in hospital – volunteers take pets into their own homes and supply love and care in abundance until owner and pet can be reunited.

The Cinnamon Trust also provides long-term care for pets whose owners have died or moved to accommodation which will not accept pets. Arrangements are made between owners and the Trust well in advance, so owners have peace of mind in the knowledge that their beloved companion will have a safe and happy future.

When a pet is in the Trust’s care either short-term or long-term because the owner is in care, the owner is kept in touch with visits, if possible, or regular photos and letters.

The Cinnamon Trust helps 32,142 people a year with 41,342 animals and runs two home from home sanctuaries. As a charity, it needs funds to cover the costs and volunteers to help run the service and care for the animals.

If you are interested in helping the Cinnamon Trust, or using its services for yourself or a family member, here are the contact details: call 01736 757 900 or write to The Cinnamon Trust, 10 Market Square, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4HE.

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.

 

January 17th, 2017

 

We’ve just unveiled a fantastic new training facility at our Stroud headquarters, which our recruits have been using.

We’ve converted an empty office at the end of our training room into a ‘home’ for our honorary (if imaginary) client, Doris DoCare. The room contains many of the features we see in our real clients’ homes, including a hospital bed, pictures, phone, furniture and ornaments. We even have a toy dog with a food bowl, as many of our clients have toy animals because they are no longer able to have the real thing.

DoCare training room

DoCare training room

And there are also potential hazards in this room – including a rug with a curled edge – which the trainees need to spot.

The room will help our trainees gain an insight into what it will be like when they first enter a client’s home, and teach them how to spot for potential risks and how to glean information about the clients’ personalities and preferences.

We’ve not heard of this being done anywhere else before, but it is an idea we have had for some time and we are lucky enough to have the space. Our team are completely committed to ensuring that all new staff get the best training and this will be a great addition to our facilities.

More items are due to be added to the room, including a walking frame and a shop dummy, which trainees can practise dressing, moving and handling.

If anyone has an item they would like to donate, or would like a tour of the room and our training suit, please get in touch.

 

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.

 

 

December 19th, 2016

 

What a year 2016 has been for change! We’ve had some very significant political changes both national and internationally, with the Brexit vote, a new Prime Minister, and Donald Trump the unexpected winner of the US presidential election.

On a rather smaller scale, at DoCare we have experienced our own changes. We’ve had to say goodbye to some colleagues and friends, who have moved on to pastures new. But we have also made some fantastic new appointments among our team, promoting people internally and also bringing new people into the DoCare family.

Among the changes has been the appointment of three new team leaders and eight new seniors. And we promoted Kate Townsend to the role of Field Manager. All good news for DoCare as a whole, and for our staff and clients.

Our Service Management Team has grown in number, as we have extended our opening hours. This has meant we are able to provide a more comprehensive, fast-reacting service to our clients and better central support for our field staff.

We’ve held events, including our open day to mark National Dementia Awareness Week. And we have won awards, with DoCare being named the Care Employer of the Year at the Great British Care Awards.

We’re keen as ever to support our clients in their endeavours, so were delighted to sponsor Rollo with his fundraising photography exhibition back in March.

And we’re proud that our staff also take part in fundraising, with several of our team joining the Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walks.

Now the end of the year is approaching, it just remains for me, on behalf of the team here, to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – and to look forward to whatever 2017 has in store.

 

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.

 

 

December 12th, 2016

 

Today, our blog is written by Judy, and is about her experience of supporting parents with dementia. Judy’s father was a DoCare client.

I first started noticing my parents were having difficulties about eight years ago, when they were living two-and-a-half-hours away. It was clear they were struggling to cope, so we moved them closer to us. Mum was very against the move, but Dad was quite excited about it.

They managed well for some time but I started to notice I was having to explain things a lot more to them. I am a retired teacher, so luckily I have the patience of Job, but it was a little frustrating at times.

I also began to realise they were hiding things from me. For instance, Dad became confused with medication and on one occasion we found out he had taken not only his but Mum’s too. Another time, Mum boiled a dishcloth but left it on the hob, so it turned to ash and the kitchen was full of smoke. Dad began to forget simple things, like how to put his jumper on.

At this point, I turn to the doctor for help. I remember bursting into tears when I was at the surgery because it had really dawned on me now that both of them were changing.

Some tests were carried out on Dad, which showed he had Alzheimer’s disease. Mum wasn’t diagnosed at that point, but she was turning into a completely different person.

I found it very difficult because when I was with them I had to go into jolly daughter mode, and always be upbeat but the effort of keeping that up was a challenge.

It was at this point that we had DoCare coming in so support Dad, and that worked well for a while.

As time went on, though, Mum was becoming increasingly difficult. She stayed in bed and refused to get up. She regularly called for an ambulance and claimed she was dying. The GP was informed of this, luckily, so we were then able to arrange a carer for her who she loved like an angel.

Sadly, she then fell ill and went into hospital where she died three weeks later.

Dad understood she had passed away but somehow the Alzheimer’s cushioned him from grief. He was, though, quite needy, easily confused, and began to have falls. At this point we realised he needed to go into a care home.

Dad was an intellectual, so I worked out ways to jog his memory. I wrote messages on cards, which I handed to him as I spoke to him. I’d write sentences for him, to keep, which he could then reread as reminders of what we had spoken about.

He loved the care home – when he arrived he said he had a “splendid room”. He went there in August 2014, but by the Christmas he didn’t know it was Christmas. He died the following year.

What do I think when I look back? Initially, I was in denial but then there was a slow acceptance. Then I realised the best way to approach my parents was to go along with what they said – even if it sounded nonsense, to them it wasn’t nonsense. I learnt that while emotionally it was really tough, self-pity wouldn’t help.

Coping with parents with dementia is a long and painful journey which requires patience, tolerance and acceptance of the hand of cards that they have been dealt. None of this comes easily, but a lot of hugs and smiles, and just being there for them in what is a role reversal of care, is what is important.

If you are looking after a relative with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society offers lots of information and support.

If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch.  And 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.

 

 

 

 

December 2nd, 2016

 

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects one in every 500 people in the United Kingdom – that is 127,000 of us. It generally affects those over the age of fifty.

With statistics like these, it is likely that most of us know at least one person affected by Parkinson’s. And, of course, among our clients are a number of people we support who are living with the disease.

For every individual who has the condition, the combination of symptoms is different.  They can also change with alarming speed, so that a task that could be completed independently in the morning may be impossible, without help, just hours later.

 

Challenges of Parkinson’s disease

 

To help understand the complexity of challenges faced by our clients with Parkinson’s, and in line with our person-centred approach to care, many of our DoCare team are now volunteering for additional training.

The first group have graduated from the course, which was devised by Parkinson’s UK, with flying colours. I am delivering the course, having first undergone the training myself. Our first group did brilliantly, and we have plans to run further courses.

The training was a real eye-opener about Parkinson’s and how it affects people. It has really helped our support workers who took part to understand the disease, and appreciate the challenges some of our clients are dealing with on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis.

Our ethos at DoCare is to make every day a better day for all our clients, by providing a tailored support service with a personal approach. This latest training initiative is one example of our commitment to delivering a consistently high level of care.

Further information about Parkinson’s disease is available at https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/ .

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 14th, 2016

Any holiday requires planning and a holiday with someone who lives with dementia requires considerable attention to detail. However, this should not be a barrier to embracing well-earned rest, new experiences and a change of scenery.

There is a wide range of holiday options available to people with dementia and their carers, from specially tailored adventure holidays, to centre-based breaks with trips and entertainment included.

Independent travel offers flexibility and choice but involves more detailed planning. Package holidays are also an option, as long as your travel agent is aware of your needs and can meet them.  Basically, the world is your oyster – as long as you have done your homework!

People with dementia may find a new environment confusing or worrying if something doesn’t go to plan. It is also important for the carer to be able to relax and have a good time. So, things to bear in mind might include whether a small hotel with fewer corridors would be best, and whether travelling at quieter times of year might also be a good idea.

The benefits of taking a holiday can far outweigh the task of preparation. For those living from dementia, the extra stimulus can be hugely beneficial.  Often, carers aren’t seeking time away from the people they care for but a space, with appropriate support, where they can normalise their relationships again, as husband and wife, or parent and son or daughter.

Two organisations we’ve come across offering very different types of holidays for people with dementia and their carers are:

  • Revitalise revitalise.org that sets aside several weeks a year in three of its centres, with dementia-trained staff who can give you quality time with the person you love. Subsidies are available for these breaks.
  • Dementia Adventure dementiaadventure.co.uk focuses on outdoor activities and connecting with nature, providing land or water-based activities for people at different stages of their dementia journey.

The Alzheimer’s Society has a useful fact sheet about travelling and going on holiday at www.alzheimers.org.uk.

Any service that provides support for people with dementia, and those who care for them, has to be applauded.

 

This blog was written by Rachel Houghton DoCare’s 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.

 

October 29th, 2016

We’ve been lucky to have had such a glorious autumn, but the clocks going back is the first sign that winter is fast approaching and now is the time to get prepared.

The DoCare support team will be reminding clients that:

Staying warm – both in the house and outdoors – is a top priority during the colder months, so getting chimneys swept and the heating system serviced by an approved engineer is crucial.

A serviced boiler is both safer and more fuel efficient. It would also be a good idea to check that windows and doors have efficient seals, to keep the cold wind out and the warm air in.

Make sure you take advantage of help with paying winter fuel bills, if needed: www.ageuk.org.uk has information on funds available and how to claim.

Getting into a cold bed means losing essential body heat, so a hot water bottle, wheat bag or electric blanket are ideal ways of preparing the bed before getting in. And, if you haven’t done so already, dig out your cold weather clothes, ensuring you have plenty of thin layers that will trap heat close to your body.

Having at least one warm meal a day is recommended – buying store cupboard and freezer basics, will ensure you can do this even if the weather is bad or you just don’t feel like braving the shops.

If you aren’t very mobile, making a thermos of your favourite hot drink or soup to keep near you will help ensure you are keeping warm and having enough fluids.

Staying healthy and safe is vital – taking up the invitation for a free flu jab from the GP is a very good idea, as flu can be both debilitating and dangerous. While you are doing that, you could ensure you have plenty of any prescription medicines you need and check whether the surgery has a prescription delivery service.

Falls are a common cause of hospitalisation in winter months, so try to prevent being a casualty by staying indoors in icy weather, ensuring you have footwear with good non-slip soles and making sure leads for plug-in heaters, for example, are not causing a hazard in the home.

Finally, always ask for help if you need it, from family, neighbours, friends or, of course, the DoCare support team.

This blog was written by DoCare Director Una 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.