Care Heroes Awards: Changing Lives Award

This week we’re celebrating our Changing Lives Award. This award recognises care or support workers who have supported a service user to achieve significant change outcomes that have made a dramatic impact on that person’s life.

Winner: Helen Croshaw, Teresa Knight and Silvia Mares – HomeLife Carers

In nominating this terrific trio, their regional manager – Katie Jewell – told us that their 89 year-old service user lives with debilitating dementia. Making his situation even more challenging, he also lives isolated and alone in one of the most rural parts of Devon.

However, since 2017 the dedicated team of Helen, Teresa and Silvia have worked harder and harder to support him as his dementia has worsened. He adores his care workers as they help with every element of his life – from the basics of personal care to helping him choose his own food and clothing – and nothing is too much trouble. With their support he lives as independently as possible.

The service user’s social worker commented on their achievements, “He is one of our most venerable clients, he has no next of kin and wants to remain living in his own home. These care workers have changed his life – he looks completely different from when I first met him. I cannot impress on you that if it was not for your care team’s commitment and care, he would be residing in a care home. Those girls travel miles in all weather conditions every day of the year to keep him safe. There are not enough words to describe how special they are.”

Our judges reflected on the feedback, saying: “Caring for someone with advanced dementia can be a challenge. When social service recognise that our care and support has changed someone’s life we must take pride in what we have done.”

Congratulations to our finalists

A huge well done to our other finalists this year – Clare Shedwick in Tameside and Nadine Menelaou from the London Care East London team.

Clare worked closely with a service user who wasn’t able to be with his wife at the time of passing, and nor could he go to the funeral. Clare’s manager explained to us how she showed great empathy and made sure that he was coping.

Calling the service user daily, Clare helped him to come to terms with his wife’s passing. Clare even arranged to get him a pillow with his wife picture on as well as a balloon that he could write a message on and release this into the sky. Clare said that she has never seen the service user look so happy, knowing that he could finally say his goodbyes to his wife.

Nadine’s service user contacted the branch directly to recommend her – writing that, “She makes me feel safe and loved. As I was going through end of life, my hope was gone and I gave up. I was told I’d be looked after in hospice until my last hour, but Nadine was always reminding me all is going to be fine.”

“It’s through Nadine that I have accepted my current state and being able to be cared for in my own property as I wished. I’ve regained my strengths and she’s helped me to be able to talk about my plan, my wishes and who I would like to be involved in my end of life care. She is always there to encourage me and support me emotionally. Thank you for giving me Nadine.”

A huge thank you to each and every one of our winners and finalists. You’ve each made a huge impact on the lives of these most vulnerable service users.

Woolly wildlife in Wigan

Janice Barber, one of our Sagecare Branch Managers, wrote in this week to recognise Caroline Unsworth – a care worker working in Wigan. Caroline has kindly knitted two care bears for the local children’s hospital in collaboration with care providers on the Wigan contract.

Janice told us, “The wool was used from a lovely lady whose passion was knitting and had bags on wool she wanted to donate to a good cause at the end of her life. She wanted it to be put to good use, so the providers joined together and handed out bags of wool to our knitters – who each came up with a care bear idea,”

Caroline’s creations are Ali the Unicorn and Leo the lion, who were named by her daughter. The two colourful characters will be judged alongside the other entries by Wigan council.

Janice said, “We are super grateful that Caroline wanted to be a part of the competition and we would like to wish her good luck in from all of us at the Wigan branch!”

Best of luck Caroline – they look like clear winners to us!

Celebrating Purple Day at ICCM

On Friday 26th March it was Purple Day, an international event and an opportunity to get everyone talking about Epilepsy – raising both awareness of the condition and vital funds.

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and is one of the most common serious neurological conditions in the world. It affects around 600,000 people in the UK, meaning that almost 1 in 100 people in the UK have epilepsy. Around 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy in the UK every day.

Epilepsy can start at any age and there are many different types. Some types of epilepsy last for a limited time and the person eventually stops having seizures. But for many people epilepsy is a life-long condition.

One of ICCM’s clients had spent the week marking the occasion at home, and the care workers have supported the clients on person-centred Sensory Adventure focusing on sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

ICCM office staff and managers were also asked to wear something purple on Friday, please see below some of the pictures of some of our clients, care workers,  management team and office staff.

The tremendous care team have embraced the theme with great gusto. Sporting wigs and T-shirts on shift, they raised a rather nifty £50 for the charity ‘Young Epilepsy’ with a special ‘Guess The Purple Item’ fundraising card.

A huge well done to everyone involved, and such a fantastic cause that’s close to so many of those who you all support.

Can you outdo Zach’s hairdo?

Our IT Estates Manager, Zach Papagno, contacted us this week to show off his impressive lockdown locks. The last 12 months have seen r

estrictions on haircuts and other services across the county, and our Zach has definitely undergone a tremendous transformation waiting for them to reopen.

This got us thinking, who at City & County has undergone the biggest visual makeover during the pandemic? We need to know:

Can you beat Zach’s brilliant bouffant?

Have you been building a buff bod?

Or, is your beard beyond besting?

If you think that you’re borderline unrecognisable because of lockdown, then let us know. Send your before and after pictures to communications@candchealthcare.co.uk by Friday 7th May and we’ll put your transformations to a vote to find out champion.

There could even be a prize for our ultimate winner…

Care Heroes Awards: Service of the Year Award

This week we’re celebrating our Service of the Year Award. New for this year, the Service of the Year Award recognises domiciliary care, Extra Care or complex care branches, as well as agency locations, which have shown an outstanding all-round performance and excellence over the past year.

Winner: HSG, Manchester

Following the joining-together of the former Didsbury and Sale HSG branches, the Manchester team have emerged demonstrating their commitment and dedication to care delivery from the get-go. As a newer member of the City & County family, they not only embraced digitisation across their services, but also started a new contract with Manchester City Council within their first few months.

Despite all the changes, the team – supported area manager Shelly – have continued to maintain high standards of service delivery, even completing an office move from to Trafford in the process. Achieving sustained growth in their services, the Manchester team at HSG have driven the branch forward, adapting quickly to City & County’s policies and procedures.

In nominating the team, their regional Director – Wendy McCall – described HSG Manchester as “an absolute pleasure to work with”.  Wendy was particularly appreciative of the team’s support when they were able to offer staff to assist in other branches in the area.

Our judges commented on their achievements, “care at home is all about delivering a personalised service and this team have done this in abundance. The branch have dealt with challenges and changes without affecting the service delivery.”

Congratulations to our finalists

A huge well done to our other finalists this year – Surrey SCP in Redhill, and the combined HSG and Abacare branch in Wrexham.

The Redhill team were noted for delivering personalised service to every one of its clients – even supplying parcels of toiletries and food to clients when needed. The team’s contributions to the local community were also a highlight before COVID-19 intervened, including organising parties for clients and inviting some to lunch in the café on the aerodrome when it was their birthday. In her nomination for the Redhill team, Sarah Thomas told us, “SCP Surrey is definitely the branch that I would refer my friends and family to if they ever need care for a relative”. Huge praise indeed.

The team in Wrexham have faced it all in what was an incredibly challenging year for the branch. The joining of the HSG and Abacare teams, new processes and digital practices, and – to top it all – North Wales moving in and out of lockdown through the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the difficulties they’ve faced, our judges recognised just well the team had managed to keep focused on delivering care and ensuring their clients’ safety. A branch of true team players – da iawn Wrecsam!

Vaccines and Ramadan

To mark the most holy month in the Islamic calendar, many of our staff will be observing Ramadan and fasting during the day through the coming weeks. As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout overlaps with the observances this year, the NHS and Public Health England have launched a campaign to confirm that people can have COVID-19 vaccinations whilst fasting.

If you or members of your team are fasting and you want to help share the campaign, you can download the posters from the NHS website here.

You can also read more about how COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are viewed in relation to fasting – as well as general advice on minimising the risk of infection during Ramadan – on the British Islamic Medical Association website.

Our advice remains that everyone who is offered a vaccine should take up the offer, subject to individual clinical advice.

EU Settlement Scheme

Don’t forget that the Home Office are urging EU nationals living in the UK to apply for status to live and work in the UK post Brexit. We wanted to remind any of you that are EU nationals, and who haven’t already done applied for settled status, that you have until the 30th June 2021 to make your application.

Any EU national living in the UK is not protected unless they make an online application to the Home Office under the Settlement Scheme by the 30th June 2021. Failing to apply will mean that they may not have a legal right to live and work in this country.

Every EU national and their family will need to make an application before the deadline of 30 June 2021. Applications are free of charge and can be made via the Government website here.

Shelling-out for good causes in Tameside

One of our branch managers, Vicki Kinder, has told us about a, eggs-traordinary fundraising initiative in Tameside. The Careline Homecare and Comfort Call teams in the area set out to raise funds for two fantastic charities – their local hospice, Willow Wood, and the Alzheimer’s Society.

The office staff and regional manager, Jo Brannen, donated chocolate eggs and other Easter-themed goodies for a raffle at the branch. The event raised a massive £400 in total, which the teams split equally between the chosen charities.

Vicki also tells us that – lockdown allowing – the teams are planning to holding a further coffee morning in May to raise some more funds for these great causes. Great work everyone, we’re sure that both organisations hugely appreciated your donations.

Catherine’s going the distance for the MS Society

Finally, Catherine Spence, one of our Regional Trainers in the North East is taking on not just one, but two running events later this year in support of people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Fundraising for the MS Society, the events will fund research, treatment and support for those living with the condition.

Catherine has a personal desire to help, as she has a very close friend who supports her partner to live with Multiple Sclerosis. Catherine told us, “I’m at it again, it’s that time of year on the ‘run-up’ to the famed Great North Run. This year I have increased my challenge to not just completing the Great North Run in a record time, but also to follow this with the full marathon at the Kielder reservoir.”

Catherine continued, “This will be the longest distance I have ever run and I would deeply appreciate any support people would be willing to give.”

You can find out more about Catherine’s cause and support the challenge on her Just Giving page. The Great North Run takes place on 12th September, and the Keilder reservoir marathon is less than a month later on 3rd October.

Care Heroes Awards: Care Coordinator Award

We’re catching up on our incredible Care Heroes finalists and winners and this week it’s the Care Coordinator Award. This award is presented to a care coordinator who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and dedication to ensuring the safe and effective delivery of our services.

Winner: Jennifer Esler –Guardian Homecare, Preston

Jennifer coordinates an area that delivers a blend of different services, including standard homecare, crisis and reablement, which means working with challenging referrals from local hospital teams. Recently, a service user – who the team had supported for a significant period of time – was being transferred onto Continuing Healthcare Funding. Unfortunately, due to the location of the service user’s GP surgery, the CCG took the decision to give the end-of-life package to another care provider.

Jennifer received phone calls from the family, who were extremely upset at this decision and did not know what to do.  Jennifer took on the case on behalf of the service user and her relatives – contacting the CCG, who would not normally commission with Guardian Homecare due to their location.  Jennifer challenged the changes to the service user’s care package provider at such a vital point in her life, highlighting every professional’s duty to maintain a person-centred approach to care.

Jennifer’s resilience and passion led the CCG to change their normal practice and commission this package with Guardian Homecare, which led to the most positive outcome for the service user.  The family and service user were extremely grateful, and the team were able to provide care for the individual until she passed away – leading to a lovely letter of gratitude from the family.

One of our judges commented, “Wow, I’d like Jennifer on my team. She didn’t accept the norm and this ultimately made the end of life care for an existing service user happier, and the family were delighted with the outcome. Jennifer’s manager describers her as ‘Tenacious, resilient and empathetic’ – these are perfect traits for a Care Coordinator.”

Congratulations to our finalists

A huge well done to our other finalists this year – Nerys Hughes from Abacare in Bangor, and Yasmin Everall from Guardian Homecare in Devon.

Nerys has been a dedicated coordinator for Abacare for over 17 years, but recently showed her commitment beyond any level while in ill in hospital with e-coli and another health complication. Despite her own health concerns, Nerys was still completing rotas and emails so her service users and staff where not left in limbo. Nerys’s manager Ffion commented, “I have never seen a care coordinator more dedicated in her role to make sure her service users and staff are always put first mostly always thinking about herself last”.

During the pandemic, Yasmin used the company Facebook page to support the whole team – raising spirits, listening, caring and wanting to make a difference for each care worker. Encouraging interaction, Yasmin posted advice and launched a competition to raise the sprits of the team, even making a video in which every care worker was named and thanked for their commitment to working through the pandemic. Yasmin’s manager, Catherine Porter, commented “Yasmin is completely unaware of affect she has on people. Not just the care workers but the clients also. She embodies everything that City & County encourage as a leader of a team.”

Congratulations to all of our finalists – you are all truly Care Heroes.

Easter Extra Care eggs-travaganza

One of our regional managers, Tracy Asbery, sent in some fabulous photos this week of Easter activities across our Extra Care schemes in West Sussex. The London Care teams in the area had thought hard about how they could get the people living in the schemes involved in the celebrations – whilst still maintaining social distance.

Firstly, the team at Abbotswood in Littlehampton held an Easter bonnet competition. Sarah Hopper, who is a member of care staff at the scheme, shared their colourful creations from the day. Sarah commented, “I have been visiting flats with social distancing observed and in full PPE, providing and in some cases assisting in making bonnets. A total of 18 bonnets were entered and they were all amazing. Ali and Zoe were the judges and all in all it was a lovely day.”

Sarah continued. “I wanted to share this with you as I know you’d be proud of all the service users who took part as much as I am”.

We think they look fantastic Sarah, as does Tracy – who told us, “Sarah is amazing with the service users and is always supporting with activities”.

Meanwhile, at Lapwing Court Chichester, their team leader – Pat Lintott – spent her own time and money making gifts for service users. Everyone at the scheme got into involved with the Easter festivities, and received both a face flannel made into the shape of a rabbit and a chocolate egg.

Well done, amazing work Pat. Your tenants certainly look very pleased with their gifts.

Health and safety committee reps still needed

We are still inviting applications to join the Health and Safety Committee, which currently has vacancies for two care worker representatives. If you are interested or would like to know more, please email hse@candchealthcare.co.uk.

If you have already expressed an interest, we will be in touch with you soon.

EU Settlement Scheme

The Home Office are urging EU citizens living in the UK to apply for status to live and work in the UK post-Brexit. So far only 1 million out of 3.6 million EU citizens have made their applications.

We wanted to remind any of you that are EU citizens, and who haven’t already done applied for settled status, that you have until the 30th June 2021 to make your application.

Any EU citizen living in the UK is not protected unless they make an online application to the Home Office under the Settlement Scheme by the 30th June 2021. Failing to apply will mean that they may not have a legal right to live and work in this country.

Every EU citizen and their family will need to make an application before the deadline of 30 June 2021 – applications are free of charge and can be made via the Government website here.

If you are an EU citizen, please ensure you advise your manager once your settlement status has been granted. You will be asked to provide a Share Code so your status can be checked on line.

Praise for Elizabeth at SCRT

Charlene Smith, Registered Branch Manager at SCRT, shared with this us this week some outstanding feedback she received about a member of our care team – Elizabeth Cootes. The daughter of a service user was inspired to contact Charlene following the outstanding personal care her mum had received from Elizabeth, writing:

“Liz is a very caring and kind person who first and foremost thinks about the person she is caring for and tailors her approach to meet their needs at every opportunity.

“My mum and I unfortunately contracted COVID in December, and as a fit 55 year old I wasn’t too concerned about myself, but I was extremely worried and upset about mum during this time. I was unable to visit her and help with her care, in addition to feeling quite ill too. Liz was absolutely wonderful and she looked after mum to prevent her from being hospitalised and, quite frankly, it was nothing short of a miracle that she recovered so well.

“After mum became ill with COVID-19, Liz stayed with her one evening very late whilst the paramedics attended and provided emotional support to mum. Liz identified that mum required a bottle with a straw to enable her to drink and remain hydrated. Liz went out to buy her an appropriate bottle herself, and also bought her over the counter food supplements to try and improve her energy levels.

“Throughout the isolation period of two weeks Liz had to wear full PPE and this was challenging to provide the care mum needs, however Liz texted me regularly or called me once she’d finished her shift with an update on mums condition – and even FaceTimed me one day so that I could see and speak to mum, as she understood how concerned I was about her. I have no doubt that without Liz’s caring on a very personal and human level my mum would have been significantly worse off at this time

“Liz takes the time to talk to mum and share some banter to make her laugh and this again improves the quality of life for my mum on a daily basis. She goes above and beyond in providing considerate and dignified care support in a kind and person-centred way, doing what is right and professional at all times.”

Exceptional work Elizabeth, your commitment and attention to detail during an incredibly challenging time has made all the difference to this family.

Ryan’s tackling Yorkshire’s Three Peaks Challenge for Motor Neurone Disease

Finally, Ryan Griffiths – one or Personal Assistants at ICCM – is preparing to tackle Yorkshire’s Three Peaks Challenge in support of Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Scaling the heights of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in August of this year, Ryan is hoping to help raise awareness of everyone living with MND.

Ryan was inspired to take on the challenge by the story of Rob Burrow, the former England scrum half. Rob, a Leeds Rhinos hall-of-fame rugby league player, was recently awarded an MBE for his work in raising awareness of MND following his own diagnosis in 2019.

Ryan will be taking-on this intimidating challenge in just one day – the 7th August! You can find out more about Ryan’s event and support him with a donation on his Just Giving page.

A new home for Athena Care

Our live-in care company, Athena Care, has this week relocated from their Leicester base to Redhill in Surrey. Building on their existing high quality care, the move allows our live-in care teams to expand into new areas, including Surrey, Sussex and Berkshire.

Through expansion of Athena Care’s service, we can also offer group customers more options during the coronavirus pandemic. Live-in care allows vulnerable people who may otherwise need to move into a care home to stay in their own homes with a regular care team – minimising their contact with others.

If you know of any of our existing clients in the area that may benefit from a live-in service in the near future, you can contact the team at enquiries@athenacare.co.uk or call them on 0800 234 6306

Uber Eats and Care Provider Alliance discounts for care workers

The Care Provider Alliance has partnered with Uber Eats to provide discounts on food deliveries for social care staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Staff can access the deal by joining the CPA 10% DISCOUNT Uber Eats account – you can find out more here.

A thank you for Advance Healthcare UK’s angels

Lorraine Fennell, General Manager at Advance Healthcare UK in Willenhall, let us know about heartfelt message she’d received this week. The family of a late service user wanted to express just how much of difference the team had made to the lives of their parents:

“To all the Staff at Advance Healthcare – special mention to Megan, Katie, Natalie and Carly. You ladies went above and beyond for my mum, and also my dad, they both loved seeing you ladies daily.

“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The family also included a hand-written poem, titled ‘Angels Without Wings’

Thank you for sharing Lorraine.

Recognition for social care staff from the NHS in Leeds

Leaders from NHS Trusts across Leeds, as well as the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, recently wrote to social care teams in the area thanking them for their support through the coronavirus pandemic. Our teams in the area were included and recognised for helping to minimise the impact on health services:

“This has been an extraordinary year. And it has called for an extraordinary effort by colleagues working across all our organisations, and within the community and voluntary sector. We want to say thank you for your dedication and contribution to the Leeds response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For those working in health and care, usually at this time of year our attention turns to managing so-called ‘winter pressures’ and the impact these have on our services, our patients and ourselves. This year is no different in some respects but, of course, so much is different.

“We have seen so much change in our health and social care system in Leeds over the last few months. Never have we had to work so flexibly; so intensely; so together. Thanks to you we’ve kept services running for our patients, our citizens and our communities. And we also thank you for looking after each other too.

“We do not know what the next couple of months will look like. Here in Leeds, or indeed across the country. We know it’s going to be tough and we know that thought is one that affects many of us.

“Right now is a time for us to remind all of you to continue to take care of your own health and wellbeing. We will get through this thanks to your support but your safety will always be our top priority. Please look after yourselves first and foremost.

“We cannot do this without you.”

Raising spirits in extra care

Our Comfort Call teams at the Astley Court and Monica Court Extra Care schemes got into the spirit of Halloween this year by dressing up in ghoulish outfits and sharing spooky treats with residents. Joanne Brennan, Regional Manager – North West and West Yorkshire, shared some great photos of the event.

Mental health and money worries

Over recent years, one of the main causes of stress in the UK has been money worries. The stress that money problems bring with them can make you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. This in turn can affect your sleep, social life and relationships and lead to feelings of isolation.

Poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder, and worrying about money can make your mental health worse. It can start to feel like a vicious circle.

Sorting your money troubles might feel like an overwhelming task, so why not try to take things one-step at a time.

Taking control of your mental health is a vital part of managing your financial wellbeing and a great first step. Why not try the following techniques to improve your mental health:

  • Build your resilience – exercise regularly, eat healthy and get proper rest.
  • Keep your mood positive – keep in contact with others and fill your spare time with activities you enjoy.
  • Know your worry triggers –  plan ways to manage them, e.g. don’t watch the news if you worry about economic crisis.
  • Recognise warning signs – do you turn to alcohol, or feel overwhelmed.
  • Practice relaxation techniques – helps you to clear your mind of worrying thoughts.

For City & County staff, check out the resources available on the LifeWorks app and website, to support with money worries. Helpful articles include:

  • Coping with Money Worries
  • How to deal with Financial Insecurity and Debt Stress
  • Money and Your Mind: Taking care of your finances and mental health

Please also remember you can call LifeWorks 24/7, on 0800 1691920 for immediate confidential support to help you cope with your money worries.

In addition, the charity Mind has a money and mental health section on its website, which shares practical tips on managing your money and improving your mental health.

Next Week – Debt Management

Feeling more in control of your financial situation helps set your mind at ease. To do this, you need to move away from worrying to problem solving instead. Next week we will look at practical ways to tackle debt problems.

Appointment of Head of Private Pay and Live In

We are pleased to confirm Sarah Thomas’s appointment as Head of Private Pay and Live In from Thursday 1st October. This is a new role, focused on developing our service offering in these two important areas.

We plan to develop our private pay offer predominantly through Live In, where Sarah already leads our operating company Athena Care. Sarah will also use her wide care-sector experience to help grow the private pay service we currently deliver through our branch network.

As a result of this change, our regional managers Milka Kimani and Karin Lockhart will now report to Sarah Kwofie. Sarah Kwofie is looking forward to welcoming the new teams to her region.

We wish Sarah all the best for this exciting opportunity, and we’re sure that you will all welcome her into this new role.

City & County welcomes total Community Care Limited

We’re pleased to announce that on 22nd September we completed the purchase of Total Community Care Limited (TCC).

Based in Leicester, TCC is a complex care business providing specialist care for individuals living with spinal cord injuries or neurological conditions. The TCC team manage more than 60 complex care packages for CCGs across England, delivered to clients in their own home.

Running alongside our existing complex care brands, ICCM and SCP Complex, TCC will help build City & County’s position as one of the UK’s leading complex care providers.

We look forward to sharing more information about TCC and their work in the coming weeks.

Gifts of thanks to our care teams

It’s always amazing to see our teams recognised by the families of people we care for and our partner organisations. Even a small ‘thank you’ helps us remember just how big an impact we can make on the lives of our service users. This week were contacted by two of our service managers about gifts that teams had received in recognition of their work.

Firstly Nkeiru Amatobi, registered manager at Danbury Gardens Extra Care Scheme in Leicester, got in touch. The Help at Home staff at the scheme were gifted hot drinks, chocolates and biscuits by the local housing team at Anchor Hanover in thanks for their hard work and support during the lockdown.

Sam Johnson, deputy manager for Guardian Homecare in Blackburn with Darwen also contacted us after the team were given no less than eight tubs of Celebrations!

“The family of a service user who has now passed away brought these in for the double up team in Darwen,” Sam told us. “The family wanted to give a ‘thank you’ for all their hard work and for making the service user’s life a lot happier whilst having care from us.”

Thank you both for sharing. If your service has recently received a thank you gift or message from anyone we care for then please let us know.

Clapping for Carers Really Does Mean Carers

When we “clap for carers”, it is not just for those in the NHS; it is a collective thank you from the nation to all our social care workforce across the country too for the sacrifices they make every day”

In the last post, we asked whether this crisis would, finally, bring carers the recognition they deserve. Many of you and your teams have already shared heart-warming stories of support from the public and businesses across the country. There are strong signs of more formal recognition for the sector from the country’s leaders.

The government’s “Action Plan for Adult Social Care,” published last month, includes the quote at the top of this post. It reminds everyone that adult social care “is one of the most important ways we can help support people to stay well, as independent as possible, and connected with families and communities in such difficult times.”

It’s just a report, for now. But if even some of the plans and recommendations are put into action – many are already underway – then it is really good news. It could have a long-lasting, positive effect on how adult social care is viewed, supported and rewarded.

The “Care” brand (see left) is being formalised and promoted to sit alongside the familiar NHS logo, in order to ensure that carers feel just as valued as their counterparts. That should make it easier for you and your teams to access benefits available to health workers.

Of course, a badge isn’t enough (though it is an important symbol). But the Action Plan also includes more money (over £3.2 billion has been committed to adult social care in the last weeks), better coordination across community health, GP and social care services, and goals for more organised PPE provision and distribution (still in woefully short supply).

There’s a nationwide recruitment drive, too. The idea is to attract 20,000 more people into social care in the next three months. Hopefully, that may mean that fewer of you feel under pressure to work over-time to support your clients. There are also guidelines for how care providers can access the groundswell of volunteers that have signed up to help health and care workers. There are 750,000 such Volunteer Responders! These individuals may not be able or qualified to provide actual care, as you do, but they can help with some of the additional tasks, like shopping, friendly calls, and errands that so many of you are going out of your way to provide.

As this pandemic continues, it is increasingly clear that the entire nation’s thoughts really are with you, your teams, and the many thousands of vulnerable, and often lonely, people that you care for.

“Those working in social care are heroes on the frontline of the response too. We must ensure that social care gets the recognition and parity of esteem that it deserves. An important legacy of this crisis must be the value that we place on social care as an essential service, core to delivering the frontline response to this crisis, and to ensure everyone understands that people who work in social care are key workers, in every sense.” 

Those are, surely, encouraging words.