Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

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.