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.

Care Heroes Awards:

Care Team Award

Over the next few weeks, we’re very proud to be sharing details on our incredible Care Heroes finalists and winners. First-up – a new award for this year – the Care Team Award. This award is for any team of front-line care or support workers that has delivered excellent care outcomes through effective teamwork.

Winner: Stevie Baines, Jacob Wilderspin and Richard Brazier – ICCM

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge effect on our lives. But, for some of our most vulnerable clients, contracting COVID-19 is a life or death situation. For one particular ICCM client, their family had no option but to hide him away from the public and even his care team as a precaution. After two weeks of isolation, and following constant contact from ICCM, this is where Stevie, Jacob and Richard stepped in.

Without hesitation, these three heroes immediately agreed that they would occupy the family’s extra bedroom and live on-site for two weeks at a time. In an uncertain time, and when the nation was panicking, these brave support workers left their families and their own beds at home to live at the client’s home to keep him safe. They even avoided mingling with outers outside of their agreed time with the client to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19.

Our judges told us, “The dedication to move away from your friends, family at home to support your service user and their family is exceptional. Especially to then be locked down at your place of work, without your own creature comforts – that is more than commendable.”

Congratulations Stevie, Jacob and Richard, you truly are Care Heroes.

Congratulations to our finalists

A huge well done also to both of our other finalists this year; the Caterham and Warlingham team at Surrey SCP, and Joanne Schofield and Rene Gapaul at HomeLife Carers in Plymouth.

At Surrey SCP, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this team stepped-up and displayed amazing team work. As well as coordinating shopping trips for every single service user and their families, the team helped to create a mini food bank – including donating their own food, time and money to help others. Even the local CCG commented on just how wonderful they are.

Joanne and Rene at Homelife Carers have made a huge difference to the life of one particular service user, who was struggling with obesity and a significant skin condition. The service user was facing a move into hospital – his worst nightmare – so, Joanne and Renee undertook wound-dressing training in a successful bid to keep this him in his home. He told us, “Without these two I don’t know where I would be, they are the A-Team. If I had my way they would never leave.”

Our judges had huge difficulty in choosing a winner for this category, stating that, “This was a really tough one to decide on. All three are really worthy and shining examples of thoughtful and selfless care.”

Your views on flu

Public Health England (PHE) recently ran a campaign to encourage care workers in England to get vaccinated against the flu. You can let them know how effective the campaign was to help them improve their communications for next year.

Click here to take their short survey by 5pm on 26th March.

Brilliant Betty marks a big birthday

Joe Jenkins, Branch Manager for Abacare in Ystradgynlais shared photos this week of their service user, Betty. A client of Abacare for the past five years, Betty celebrated turning an impressive 100 this month.

 

Joe told us, “Betty is a very independent lady and needs minimum support from us”.

Well, it appears that you can still run rings around most of us Betty! Happy birthday and many happy returns.

Saying ‘thank you’ to staff at HSG South Tyneside

Catherine Richardson, our North East Regional Manager, let us know this week about a lovely ‘thank you’ idea at the HSG branch in South Tyneside. A card, memo and keyring has been sent to all of the care workers from the office team to show just how much they are all appreciated.

The branch manager, Claire Gamble, saw the idea in one of our recent emails when Emma Cooper had made similar gifts to thank the team in Cumbria. Claire thought this was a lovely idea and wanted to also show the HSG team her thanks on behalf of the office.

Claire said, “It is only a small token of our appreciation for everything that they have done. It is always nice to know you are appreciated and each and every one of them are.”

What a great way to recognise and show appreciation the team’s hard work Claire. If you’re team has found a unique way to say thanks to our staff recently, then let us know at communications@candchealthcare.co.uk.

Selina’s striding for Sands – the neonatal charity

 

Selina Nelson, a member of our care team in West Lothian, is tackling a charity challenge for the neo natal charity, Sands. Aiming to jog 50 miles during the month of March, Selina only has 15 miles left to run.

 

So far, Selina has raised more than £200 to provide emotional support and practical help to anyone affected by the death of a baby. Her colleagues tell us that Selina is very popular with both with other members of the care team and her service users – but she has been very modest about this achievement.

 

Would you be able to help Selina in supporting this amazing cause? You can donate and find out more about Selina’s progress on her Facebook Fundraisers page.

 

Making a big impact at Careline Homecare in Sheffield

Michelle Thistlewhite, our Registered Manager in Sheffield, wanted to share this letter that the Careline Homecare team received from the family of a service user. After reading this heart-warming and inspiring message on a particularly stressful day, it reminded everyone at the branch how our services can have a big impact on the families we support.

The service user’s sister wrote to say:

“I was reading the recent letter about services being offered from your company during this difficult and challenging time and it prompted me to want to write to you on behalf of my brother and our family to say a big thank you to your staff for the consistent and reliable service we have received since we first engaged with you all.

“We are very aware of the risks being taken by you all during this pandemic and want you to know how grateful we are and that we don’t take ANY of it for granted. You are each making sacrifices to help us keep our vulnerable family member as safe as possible and I wish we could send you more than our sincere thanks.

“Before you encountered him, my brother had lived very reclusively for over ten years and he had refused all attempts with support for longer than that. In the period before Careline was introduced to us via the Stroke Service I was really struggling because he basically felt life was not worth living and he was sitting waiting to die.

“My brother is no longer the independent, confident and organised person he was before he became ill and suffered several strokes, but he is now definitely capable of feeling happy. This is very important to us all. I feel this massive step forward is in a large part down to the relationships he’s created with your staff. Your workers have been friendly, respectful and supportive with him which in turn has improved his confidence with people generally. That has played a huge part in encouraging him to engage with family and accept our support.

“Whatever happens to Nick in the future we definitely could not have brought him to where he is now without your continued help. He was lost but now he is found.”

Michelle told us, “As the manager, I am extremely proud of how hard the entire team have worked during the pandemic. Receiving this letter was really lovely and even brought a lump to the throat of a couple of us reading it. It shows that the care workers and office staff’s continued dedication to provide a safe and quality service really is worth all the hard work.”

Perfectly put Michelle, we couldn’t agree more. A huge well done to all the team in Sheffield.

Parliament debates social care workers

Finally, did you sign the petition urging the government to consider social care as equally important to NHS? Following over 44,000 signatures, MPs debated the issue in Parliament last Thursday. You can watch the debate here.

Sadly, it’s too late to sign the petition now. But even if you missed out, you can see the results and the government’s response here.

Quality Care Services live up to their name in Belfast

Samantha Bond, Regional Manager for the North West and Northern Ireland, sent us a compliment she’d received from the Belfast Physical and Sensory Support team. The Quality Care Services team had been supporting a Belfast-based service user for some time who experienced issues with both his accommodation and the levels of support needed.

Despite the challenges, the service user was recently able to make a successful move to a supported living facility. The local Care manager contacted the Belfast branch to thank them for their support, writing:

“Just a note of thanks for the supports offered to my service user over recent years.

“I know that both the service user and extended family did not always engage positively with the Quality Care Services staff. Given the difficulties throughout, the hundreds of telephone calls, emails and visits, I am extremely grateful for the perseverance and consistency of your care staff throughout.”

Samantha told us, “They have been through a particularly rough patch in recent months, with reduced staff and it is so nice to hear some positive comments. The team are working really hard to improve standards and compliance, and this just evidences their great efforts.”

Well done to everyone in the Belfast branch. Thank you all for your commitment to making sure that this service user got the support he needed.

Mother’s Day at Lapwing Court

Tracy Asbery let us know this week about a moving Mother’s Day event at the Lapwing Court extra care scheme in Chichester. Despite a shortage of staff over the weekend, the team leader – Pat Lintott – took time to recognise all the mums living at the scheme.

Pat made every mum at the scheme a jar of assorted flowers, and gifted them each some chocolates for Mother’s Day.

Thank you Pat, we’re sure that every mum at the scheme appreciates the kindness you’ve shown them.

 

Bidding for success at City & County

It’s been a period of change for the Bids and Contracts team over recent months, but we’re excited to announce that we’ve recently welcomed two new Bid Managers into the City & County family. Celia Fleming joined the team in February, and in March we welcomed Emily Bagnall. Both are experienced bid writers – and will bring both care sector and wider experience into the team.

The team have also been hard at work securing contracts for your operating companies across the country. Some of our latest successes include:

  1. Trafford Council: Homecare and reablement at home – Comfort Call and HSG.
  2. Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council: Learning disability services – Sage Care.
  3. London Borough of Newham: Independent living support services – London Care.
  4. Essex County Council: Supported living framework – Guardian Homecare.
  5. West Sussex County Council: Lingfield Lodge Extra Care scheme – London Care.

The Bids and Contracts team would like to send a huge thanks to everyone involved in supporting the bid processes for these contracts. They couldn’t have won them without your hard work.

Changing minds at Ensham House

Sarah Kwofie, Regional Director – South, shared with us a message from the family of a tenant at the Ensham House extra care scheme in London. Despite them initially having concerns, the team at Ensham House have worked hard over the past year to give the family confidence that their mum was receiving the care she needed.

After having their opinion turned around by the dedication of the care team, the tenant’s daughter contacted the scheme manger to say:

“Would City & County Healthcare be able to send a general letter to care staff at Ensham House – thanking them for all the hard work, care, and a number of them going that step further for the residents they are allocated to.

“They work so hard, and still give holistic care which is so important to people nowadays being looked after. I know my mum would not be here today if it was not for the care delivered to her.”

Well done to everyone at Ensham House, you’ve obviously made a big impact on this family over the last twelve months.

Appreciation for our Human Support Group teams in the North West

Our registered branch manager, Michèle Lloyd, wanted to share an email the HSG team at Cheshire West had received from a social worker, complimenting their care delivery. The social worker wrote:

“When speaking with the service user earlier this week, she expressed how fabulous the Human Support Group carers are. She has appreciated their help and support and have been instrumental in his recovery to return back to independence. Well done!”

Meanwhile, the HSG team in Ulverston also received a message – this time from a family – to say:

“Special thanks to the team from the Ulverston HSG branch who do such a good job. The carers are of a high standard and should there be any issues the admin staff are quick to deal with them, always with our elderly uncle’s best interest at heart. This is very reassuring for the family. We thank them all for their help and support.”

Superb work from both teams, impressing not only the family of a service user but also a professional who we work alongside. Our regional manager, Catherine Richardson, told us, “It truly is heart-warming to hear the positive feedback for both the care workers and the Branch staff. What a great start to the week for the team.”

Stirring sentiments for Surrey SCP

Sarah Thomas kindly sent us an inspiring message of thanks and encouragement received by the Redhill team at Surrey SCP this week. Alison Phillips – registered manager at the branch – described it as “The loveliest thank you letter I have ever received”.

The message, written by the person who had previously managed the service user’s care needs, praised the team for their professionalism. Following the service user’s discharge from hospital, the staff in Redhill had supported her all the way until she sadly recently passed away. Contacting the branch to thank them for their dedication, the writer commented:

“Not knowing anything about choosing the ‘right’ care company as I had no standards to compare, I simply chose the one that could meet my requirements. How wise a decision that turned out to be. Surrey SCP has proved itself a hundred times over since then in all manners of care, and up until she passed away were still continually seeking to improve its service delivery.

“Having worked in the customer service industry for almost all of my entire career, from my personal experience I applaud the professional standards you adopt, namely your customer-first policy, selection and retention of staff, who demonstrated their professionalism and personal care and compassion at all times.

“Not withstanding this, special mention must be said of the central administration whose job it was to maintain the high standard of delivery. From the customer’s perception, all appeared to be managed in a seamless manner.

“Thank you once again as I am eternally grateful for your help.”

As praised by the writer, the seamless teamwork between the care and branch staff made sure this service user got the support she desperately needed. A huge ‘well done’ to everyone at Redhill.

Appreciation for the team at Moores House

Joanne Brannen has passed us some inspiring feedback from the family of a tenant at the Moores House Extra Care scheme in Salford. The tenant’s daughter wrote to the team, praising the care that their mum had received from Comfort Call, saying:

“I just want to say a massive thank you to you and your amazing staff!

I had to message you to let you know that Lynette, Gina, Sharon, Alex, Cheryl and Camille are an absolute credit to Comfort Call, and if possible I would like this to be sent up to whoever needs to know and recognise all the staff are incredible in taking care of my darling mum.”

Huge thanks to everyone at Moores House to the fantastic care you’re delivering every day – not just to this tenant, but to all the people we support at the scheme.

New Policy and Investigations Manager

Congratulations to Cathy Hadlow, who has moved from the Quality Team to join Max Wurr’s team as Policy and Investigations Manager.

As well as supporting Max to develop and revise group-wide policy, Cathy is also supporting with investigations into serious incidents such as service user deaths and Ombudsman’s complaints. So, if Cathy gets in touch with you about an incident, please make sure to respond as quickly as possible.

Measuring success in Middlesbrough

We recently found out about a huge impact the Comfort Call team in Middlesbrough have had on the health of one of their service users, who they’ve been supporting since December. Sadly, the service user is living with dementia and, being diabetic, it was a struggle to get her to eat appropriately.

Initially the service user weighed less than seven stone and had a worryingly low BMI. The service user’s GP had even prescribed Fortisip – a milkshake-style drink meant for people who cannot consume enough solid food to maintain a balanced diet.

Through the dedication of the Comfort Call team, we were pleased to discover that this service user has made huge improvements in the short time they’ve supported her. Despite her continued low appetite, the service user managed to gain nearly a stone in the first month alone. Following a recent consultation with her dietician, the service user has been signed-off her Fortisip and is continuing to eat healthily through the encouragement of the Middlesbrough team.

A huge well done to everyone involved in Middlesbrough. You‘ve made a measurable difference to this service user’s heath in such a short time.

Latest social care Sector Pulse Check published

Finally, leading disability support charity, the HF Trust (Hft), have published their fourth annual Sector Pulse Check. Written with the economic consultants at Cebr, this report offers an annual snapshot of the financial health of the social care sector as well as outlining the impact of some of the key challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report uses survey data to highlight key issues and challenges faced by care providers working in the sector, including cost pressures, care quality and the impact of coronavirus. Hft and Cebr conducted a survey of CEOs and people in senior positions within the care sector looking at the key challenges organisations have faced over the past year.

You can download the report from the Hft website here.

Praise for the Sagecare team in Bournemouth

One of our registered managers, Ami Hobday, shared some emotional feedback the team in Bournemouth received from the daughter of a service user this week. The team had been supporting the service user for several years, and were there for her right up until the point she sadly passed away.

The family got in touch with Ami to express just how much of an impact the team had made on their mother’s life, writing:

“I want to thank you, on behalf of myself and my brothers for the excellent, professional care which was given to mum. Of particular note are three carers who deserve particular attention.

“Lauren: she brought mum a gentle youthfulness when she was caring for her, mum loved the company of young people and so it was very heartening that Lauren was so good at her job!

“Sonia: I met Sonia on her first day working with your agency. I have seen her flourish into a wonderful and confident carer. Mum loved Sonia. Sonia remembered all the particular things that mum liked and indeed ‘where’ she liked them. Nothing was too much trouble for Sonia and she went above and beyond. When we were nearing the end mum would always turn her head if Sonia spoke to her.

“Alison: The ‘captain’ of the crew. Alison who held it all together. Mum loved Alison and thought she was my sister! Alison was proficient and organised and very capable and caring. Alison gave me great help when we were reaching near the end of mum’s life and for that I am very grateful. It was so lovely that Alison and Lauren got to say goodbye to mum as they had their evening visit just after she died. I am only sorry that Sonia wasn’t there.

“Please share this email with Alison, Sonia and Lauren and let them know that their kindness did not go unnoticed.”

Thank you Lauren, Sonia and Alison – and the rest of the team in Bournemouth – for the exceptional care and support you’ve provided to this family, even after their mum passed away. It’s clear just how much you meant to them through an incredibly challenging time.

Quality Care Services are walking 10,000 steps every day for Cancer Research UK

We found out this week about how the Quality Care Services team in Northern Ireland has taken-on an inspiring fundraising challenge – whilst also working on their own health. Justine May, branch manager, told us how the team is walking 10,000 steps every day this month for Cancer Research UK.

Joining Justine are care coordinators Laura Higgins and Ashleen McKeown, as well as senior carer Una Higgins. The team are all supporting essential cancer research whilst walking to improve their well-being and health.

Justine told us: “We’ve seen first-hand the devastating effect it can have, not only on the person with cancer, but also their family and friends. We’ve also seen the amazing work done by our colleagues within health care to treat cancer patients and achieve amazing outcomes.”

You can find out more and support their walk on the Cancer Research UK website here. Justine says, “We appreciate your support and kindness and will keep you posted as we take this challenge together”.

Thank you to Kim and Sarah at Guardian Homecare

Rebecca Fairclough wrote to us this week asking to recognise the support of two amazing colleagues – Kim Bibby and Sarah Anyon. Rebecca told us:

“I would just like to say thank you to these two dedicated carers and team leaders, they have made everyone feel looked after. They are amazing with smiles and comfort, not just to service users but also to staff.

“I found them to be understanding and the kindness they have both shown should be rewarded. During the COVID tests and vaccine they have made me worry less and explained what was expected of myself and other carers – and that we are a team.”

Thank you for everything you are doing Kim and Sarah – and thank you Rebecca for taking the time to let us know about their outstanding commitment.

A warm welcome to the City & County family

This week, we were incredibly pleased to welcome several businesses into City & County Healthcare Group.

On Monday, we completed the purchase of MiHomecare Limited, including their Noble Live-In Care service. MiHomecare is one of the leading homecare businesses in the UK. They deliver a wide range of social care services to vulnerable adults across England and Wales, with their Noble Live-in Care team also providing specialist live-in care to vulnerable adults.

Alongside MiHomecare, we also acquired their standalone complex care business, Complete Care Amegreen. Based in Telford, Complete Care Amegreen support around 130 people with complex care needs – including for brain and spinal injuries. Complete Care Amegreen’s services will help build our growing position in the complex care market.

Finally, on Wednesday, we completed the purchase of Eclipse Homecare Limited. Based in Worcester, Eclipse Homecare deliver services across central England from four branches – all with ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ CQC inspection ratings. They provide mainly elderly homecare, as well as delivering care at two Extra Care schemes.

We look forward to getting to know the teams at MiHomcecare, Noble Live-in Care, Complete Care Amegreen and Eclipse Homecare over the coming months. Their services fit our strategy to acquire community care businesses across all the segments of homecare and help cement us as one of the UK’s leading community care providers.

New starters in the North West

Finally, Samantha Bond, regional manager in the North West, wanted to make everyone aware of some new names that you might be hearing from in the coming weeks.

Firstly, joining us is a new Regional Trainer for the North West – Alice Senior. And in Northern Ireland, Ursula Monan has re-joined us as Area Support Manager.

Welcome – and ‘welcome back’ in the case of Ursula – to the City & County family. We wish them all the very best in their new respective roles.

 

A compliment in a crisis

The crisis response team at Guardian Homecare in Preston received praise for the wife of a service user who the team supported recently. Ross McCrann, Branch Manager (Intermediate Care), wanted to share the feedback as the team had made a huge impact on the family during an incredibly difficult time.

The service user’s wife particularly wanted to highlight the emotional support that the family received from Barbara, John, Kieran and Carol, writing:

“Your team’s intervention came about due to my husband falling and the ambulance service referring us. I had cried out to the GP but no practical help had been forthcoming so whilst the fall was really a bad experience for my husband, it was a blessing in disguise.

“Well straight away with the first visit from Barbara began the process of getting our home and our lives from chaos to calm (well most of the time). She also was so supportive to me, chatting and offering advice.

“Different people bring different gifts to their work but I have to highlight and praise John who not only was a very caring person who listened… truly listened, cared and so importantly gave me advice with regards to bedding, and general management of the situation as well as the all-important task of helping me emotionally. What a true blessing he was.

“Then there was Kieran, oh what a delight it was to see her smiling face when she arrived. She may have had her mask on but she smiled with her eyes! Her approach with my husband was so good, and she knew also when to back off. Whilst she supported him in personal care, her help with beds and emotionally supporting me also were invaluable.

“Carol, such a lovely kind person, I didn’t see her often but what a calming helpful person she was.

“Any words I can pull out of my vocabulary would be totally inadequate to express the deepest thanks to these and others in your team for all they did to get us through those dark days. We are still not out of the woods which is why we are having ongoing care, but they set the foundation for how to cope and a pattern for any future carers that come our way.

“I have to say you are fortunate to have such high quality staff on your team.”

Thank you to everyone in the team for the considerate and thorough support you gave to this family. They were clearly at such a low point before you arrived, but you’ve made a long-lasting impact on their lives.

Rural homecare on Radio 4

The challenges of delivering homecare in rural areas has been covered on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme this week.

You can listen to the programme on BBC Sounds here.

A fond farewell to Christine in Tameside

The team at Careline Homecare in Tameside would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ and best wishes to their registered manager, Christine Clarke. Christine is taking her well-earned retirement Friday, after 20 years of dedicated care delivery in Tameside.

Joanne Brannen, Regional Manager – North West and West Yorkshire, told us, “I have had the pleasure of working with Christine since October 2016 when Careline Homecare won a contract in Tameside. I would like to thank Christine for her hard work and dedication over the years. I will be very sorry to see her go.”

Thank you for everything you’ve done to support vulnerable people across Tameside for the last 20 years Christine – we wish you all the very best for the future.

Cards for care in Cumbria

Wendy McCall, Regional Director –North & Northern Ireland, made us aware of a thoughtful ‘thank you’ sent to our care teams in Cumbria recently.

Emma Coper, registered manager for the area, wanted to thank the staff for their continued hard work and dedication through what has been an incredibly challenging twelve months. Emma hand-made thank you cards and keyrings for each member of the team working across Whitehaven and Ulverston.

Such a fantastically creative way to recognise and show appreciation the team’s hard work Emma.

Welcome to our new branch and scheme managers

It’s been a busy few months for new branch and scheme manager appointments across City & County. We’d like to offer a warm welcome to our new managers, who you’ll get to work with over the coming months.

Across our Extra Care schemes, we’ve recently been joined by Kelly Houldcroft at Lighthouse View Extra Care in Fleetwood and Judith Thompson at Olsen Court Extra Care in Lincoln. We’ve also had new arrivals who will each be managing multiple schemes – Amanda Taylor Banks at the Heald Farm Court and Foundry Wharf schemes in St Helens, and Amanda Stirling who will look after our schemes in Redcar.

At our homecare branches, we’d also like to welcome Tracy Hummerstone at Motherwell and Olu Fademi at London Care – South London into the City & County family.

We look forward to getting to know you all.

Don’t forget the rules on PPE and self-isolation

We’re all aware of the PPE rules and strict infection control measures that our care teams are following to protect our staff and service users during the pandemic. But, even if you work in one of our offices – or only occasionally visit a City & County work location – there are still rules we all have to follow to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Here’s a quick reminder of what you need to do:

Rules on PPE for all office staff

  • A medical grade mask or cloth face covering MUST be worn correctly at all times when attending an office.
  • Social distancing rules MUST be followed whilst taking breaks in designated rest areas, inside or outside.
  • Where no designated rest area is available, breaks MUST be taken in a socially distant manner and a mask MUST be put on immediately upon completion of eating or drinking.
  • Staff wearing identifiable company uniform in public spaces MUST adhere to government rules on social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
  • Managers MUST ensure the covid secure workplace risk assessment is adhered to and any breaches are addressed immediately.

Rules on self-isolation for all staff

  • You MUST NOT attend work if you have been advised by Test and Trace to self-isolate.
  • You MUST NOT attend work if you have covid symptoms and meet the criteria for self-isolation.
  • No member of staff is to instruct another member of staff to work if they are required to self-isolate.

By following the rules, we can all help reduce the risks of the spreading the virus – helping to keep everyone safe.

25 years of success for committed Cath

Christine Noble, Regional Manager North East, wanted to share a celebration of Cath Stobbs’s 25 years as a Branch Manager. Cath originally started with Community Homecare services in 1996 and joined City & County in 2012 when the branch became part of Careline Homecare.

Christine told us, “Cath is very well respected in our region, she is always the first to offer and help support any of the teams, the relationships she has with all her staff at all levels is exceptional. Cath is well known for her witty comments and always turning everything into a positive.”

Cath has always maintained excellent relationships with the local authorities she works with – including the commissioning team at Redcar, who commented, “Cath has been central to the longstanding excellent relationship with the local authority has been a fantastic representative in the sector. Cath shares her experience with others and shows commitment to maintain stability and support development. At times of difficulty Cath is the calm in the storm.”

The Middlesbrough commissioning team also sent their thoughts on Cath’s achievements, saying, “It’s always a pleasure working with Cath, we enjoy a transparent and open relationship and she has always been dedicated and committed to providing a service to the residents of Middlesbrough. A sense of humour helps! Well done Cath, we look forward to a continued successful partnership.”

Well done Cath, thanks for your hard work and dedication over the last 25 years. We look forward to many more years of your positive impact in the City & County family.

Moving feedback for Shamim in Darwen

We received some heart-warming feedback from the son of a service user this week. Praising the work of his care worker, the family wanted to recognise the impact that Shamim had on their father’s life, writing:

“You need to know how highly my father thought, not only of you as a person, but also how good you are at your job. You may not have cared for him for long, but in the time you spent with him, you had a positive impact on his life.

“Every day I visited him, he talked about you. My father was very hard to please, however you made an impression on him that he kept until the day he died.

“Thanks again for everything you did for him.”

Thank you for your great work Shamim. It’s clear just how much of a difference you made, not only to the service user, but also on his wider family.

Marking a magnificent manager in Westminster

The London Care team in Westminster recently recognised their regional manager, Kasia Brzyscz, with a well-deserved certificate of ‘’The Best Manager of the World’’. The team arranged the certificate to say “thank you” for the help and support Kasia has given them all under challenging conditions during the pandemic.

In particular, the team were proud of the way that Kasia organised vaccines and tests to protect each care worker – on top of the already hectic workload in the borough.

Sarah-Catherine Greaves, Inspector for Adult Social Care in the area, was moved by the team’s appreciation for Kasia, commenting, “How wonderful Kasia, and to receive such acknowledgement from your staff during this most challenging time to be managing a service within the health and social care sector. Well done!”

Congratulations Kasia, it’s clear just how much you mean to the team in Westminster – especially during the pandemic.

Valentine’s fundraising in Monica Court

The Comfort Call team at the Monica Court Extra Care scheme in Eccles have been busy arranging a Valentine’s Day-themed raffle. The team regularly arrange raffles for their resident’s fund – helping to fund activities in the schemes such birthday parties and lunches.

Their regional manager, Joanne Brannen, sent us this creative montage of pictures from the event. The winners definitely look happy with tier prizes!

If you’re arranging a fundraising activity – for service user events or for charity – then let us know. Send the details to communications@candchealthcare.co.uk and we’ll help you spread the word.

Recognition for the London Care team at Ensham House

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many events cancelled over the last year, including Richmond’s Dignity in Care awards.

Instead, the London borough of Richmond upon Thames has issued certificates of recognition to highlight the outstanding care and support that care teams have been delivering in the most difficult of circumstances.

The hardworking London Care team at Ensham House were amongst those recognised by the council. Commenting that “your dedication and selflessness have been of the highest standard”, Councillor Piers Allen wrote “you are all true dignity in Care heroes”.

Congratulations to everyone at Ensham House on being recognised by the council, and thank you for everything you are doing to support your local community.

Thank you for everything you are doing

Around 9 million people have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including many of our services users and frontline staff. And as vaccinations surge ahead, estimated numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community are declining along with hospital admissions.

All this gives reason for some cautious optimism as we move towards the first signs of spring. Thank you once again to everyone working so hard to keep our services running and to protect our vulnerable service users – we fully understand what a difficult phase in the pandemic these past few weeks have been.

Infection control guidance still fit for purpose

We’ve been asked recently whether current infection control practice is fit for purpose, being as the new variants of COVID-19 might be more contagious.

There was good news this week that a review by the UK Infection Prevention Control Cell has confirmed that the current guidance is still good – meaning that there is no change to the infection control measures we currently use. Please also remember that the need to follow infection control rules, including the use of PPE, remains the same whether staff or service users have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Constance Care Livingstone impresses the inspectors

Lorna Muir, Regional Director for Scotland, contacted us this week to say a massive ‘well done’ to the team at Constance Care Livingston who received the outcome from their recent Care Inspection. Twelve months ago, the service was under close scrutiny by the Local Authority as well as our regulators, and the management team were dealing with major staffing and quality issues.

This latest inspection has highlighted the improvements and hard work of the entire branch and management team that have transformed the service. Feedback from the inspectors included a glowing report of how well cared-for their service users felt during the pandemic:

“People told us that the support they received was caring, professional, compassionate, and respectful. People were very confident in the care staff’s practices with regard to Covid-19 and felt care workers were well trained in infection control and personal protective equipment. People felt confident in their care because staff have been trained appropriately and had good underpinning values.”

In addition, the inspectors praised the improvements in leadership at the branch, saying:

“All the staff we spoke with said they were well supported and that the manager had been instrumental in turning the service around. This was reflected in comments from the people supported. Established management systems, policies, and procedures were in place, along with flexible systems to support staff learning and development. The systems included quality assurance and actions for improvement. This meant there was an overview of the service with a focus on improvement.”

Congratulations to everyone in the Livingstone team for your hard work. The feedback was well-deserved, considering the effort everyone has put into the improvements, with one service user commenting that they “could not fault the care during COVID -19”.

Andrea makes an impact at Guardian Ormskirk

Margaret Macdonald, Regional Manager for the North West, has shared some outstanding feedback she’s received from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The son of a service user – who was cared for by the Guardian Homecare team in Ormskirk – had taken the time to share his family’s story through the CQC feedback portal.

The service user’s son had kind words for the whole team but he wanted to highlight the dedication of one member of staff in particular:

“My mum has had care workers for several years now. Initially only a couple of quick visits a day. As time has gone on her COPD has worsened and her mobility deteriorated. In early January 2021, she was told her life expectancy was very limited, days, maybe weeks. The NHS staff and district nursing team moved mountains to ensure she was allowed to return home.

“The district nurses sorted out some night cover by Guardian Homecare as me and my brother were on a 12-hour each vigil. I have my own family and medical needs and my brother had work commitments. Neither of us was getting any sleep.

“I can only say we were given our own Mary Poppins for four nights. Her name is Andrea Thomas. She fully explained what she would do and would only call is if we really needed to get there fast. Andrea kept records of what she did, briefed us the following morning also.

“On the final night of January 16th. Andrea called us both out and within 20 minutes we had arrived. My mum had just passed away. She was again brilliant with us both and was clearly a little upset herself as she had cared for my mum when her health was much better.

“Thanks so much to Andrea and all the staff at Guardian Homecare Ormskirk.”

The local CQC inspector, Naison Chaparadza, echoed the feedback – saying, “Thank you for continuing to support people in a caring manner, I think your staff need to be proud of themselves especially during these difficult times. What they do makes a huge difference to others and this is one example. Keep it up and thank you.”

Time to Talk Day

It’s Time to Talk Day and over the last few weeks we’ve been encouraging our teams to recognise this day and have conversations about mental health.Time To Talk

Well done to all those who took part and had a conversation about mental health. It would be great to share more about what your teams have been doing to help support colleagues with their mental health during the pandemic – please keep sending your stories to communications@candchealthcare.co.uk.

Our commitment to our teams

As a business, we want to make a positive change towards the mental health in our workplace. Over the coming months we will be sharing with you our commitment to wellbeing and asking for your thoughts and ideas on how we can make positive changes. Watch this space.

Celebrities call out vaccine misinformation

A group of celebrities representing ethnic minorities and communities from across the UK have released a video addressing vaccine misinformation.

The group, which included actors Adil Ray and Meera Syal, as well as cricketer Moeen Ali and presenter Konnie Huq, appealed to minority ethnic communities in the UK to help address hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus has disproportionately impacted minority ethnic communities, but these communities have also been subject to misleading information around the vaccine. You can watch the video here.

A new name for
Interserve Healthcare

As you may recall, in November we completed the purchase of Interserve Healthcare from Interserve Group Limited. As part of City & County, the Interserve Healthcare team continue to deliver specialist complex care for adults and children living with a wide range of conditions in their own homes.

Joining City & County has brought new opportunities for Interserve Healthcare to deliver care to many more people across the country. To reflect this change, we’re pleased to announce that they will be renamed to Advantage Healthcare – a name which they used until their acquisition by Interserve Group, and one with more than 20 years’ history of supporting families across the UK.

Their vision remains the same as it always has been: to provide outstanding care and services to all of their clients and their dedicated staff. We believe the Advantage Healthcare name truly represents this approach, giving everyone they support the benefit of receiving the highest possible standard of care.

We are developing a new Advantage Healthcare brand – including a new logo and materials, new email addresses, new brand colours and imagery for the entire business. Our priority is to maintain the high levels of service that both the Interserve Healthcare and Advantage Healthcare brands are known for.

Over the coming weeks you’ll start to notice different uniforms and the Advantage Healthcare logo in use. Our priority is to refresh the public-facing materials and we’ll aim to get the main changes in place by the end of February, though you will start to see the new name in some places from today.

Let’s start talking about mental health at work – Time to Talk Day Time To Talk

Thursday 4th February is Time to Talk Day – a day when everyone is encouraged to have a conversation about mental health.

Time to Talk Day is run by Time to Change to help spread the word that you can talk about mental health anywhere – including at work.

It’s important to talk with someone about potential unhappiness in your life or health concerns.

On 4th February, let’s all take the time to have a conversation about mental health, whether that be with your colleague or your line manager. Visit the Time to Change website to find out more.

LifeWorks – Employee Assistance Programme

Please remember you can also take advantage of confidential expert help – at no cost – with professional counselling services available through LifeWorks, our employee assistance programme.

Professionally trained counsellors are available 24/7 to offer a sympathetic ear, emotional and practical support, and resources for you and your loved ones.

This completely confidential service is there to help you. No one will know you have called.

Call LifeWorks on 0800 1691920 today to access the right support for you. Alternatively use the Chat function on the website or app to start the conversation.

Time to Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination and is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Wonderful feedback in Westminster

Kasia Brzyszcz and the London Care team in Westminster received some impressive feedback this week from Westminster Council. The local Quality Assurance Officer, Lorraine Ive, made a point of contacting Kasia to express just how impressed the Adult Social Care and Health team is with London Care’s response during the pandemic. Lorraine wrote:

“We have been working together for a few months, and I just wanted to say that I am impressed by the quality monitoring calls, and the work that is being done out in the community by the care staff during this really testing time. I admire those out on the field – in particular the way they are keeping people safe and themselves.

“Also well done to you and your coordinators for steering the ship and keeping things consistent. Thanks for all your hard work.”

Well done to everyone in the Westminster team, it’s reassuring to see how much the local authority appreciate the difference you are making for their community.

Care worker vaccine survey (England)

Researchers want to hear from care workers in England about their views and experience with the COVID-19 vaccine. The findings of this study, which is being carried out by the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Immunisation, will be shared with Public Health England to help inform policy decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccination amongst health and social care staff.

Care workers in your teams who have already received their vaccination can complete the survey here.

Flood warnings issued

Areas across the UK are at risk of flooding over the coming days following Storm Christoph’s arrival this week. Severe warnings are in place around the River Bollin and the River Mersey, with further warnings and alerts in many other areas, particularly in the North and West.

You can check local flood warnings for your part of the UK using these links:

Please stay safe and CCH employees should speak with their manager if be affected.

A big birthday at Custom Care

One of our branch managers, Ellie Cross, sent us some photos this week of a birthday celebration at the Cannock branch of Custom Care. Keen to share some good news, Ellie told us:

“One of our services users Helen turned 103 today! Staff visited with flowers and a cake to try and make her lockdown birthday a little brighter. Helen was over the moon when staff came in with her gifts, clapping her hands thanking them.”

Luckily Helen is still able to see her son, and was even able to visit him for lunch, so has had the best day she could – given the circumstances. Happy birthday Helen!

Time to Talk Day – Let’s start talking about mental health at work

Thursday 4th February is Time to Talk Day – a day when everyone is encouraged to have a conversation about mental health.

Time to Talk Day is run by Time to Change to help spread the word that you can talk about mental health anywhere – including at work.

At City & County Healthcare Group, we know that it benefits all of us to talk about mental health and we want to make a positive change towards the mental health in our workplace. To get us started in 2021, let’s use this worthy day, to talk, to listen and change lives within our teams!

Activities for your team

This year’s theme is on the power of small, because however you have a conversation about mental health – whether it’s a quick message to a colleague, a virtual coffee morning, or a socially distanced walk and talk – it has the power to make a big difference.

Please think about making time, either on Thursday 4th February or at some point over the next few weeks, to carry out an activity with your team – complying of course with government guidance and our companies Covid-19 policies.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Walk and talk – If you are able to, organise a socially distanced lunchtime walk and talk to encourage small groups of colleagues to get together outside and have a conversation.
  • Mental Health Quiz – Use the mental health quiz to a start conversation, test staffs mental health knowledge and help people learn something new. You can present the quiz in a virtual meeting and use a poll tool to make it interactive.
  • Mental Health Bingo – Use the interactive bingo card for some fun with your team.
  • Lunch and learn – Run a lunch-and-learn session to talk about mental health – colleagues may want to share their own experiences.
  • Sussed card game – Use the Sussed cards as an icebreaker to spark a one on one conversation, or use them in a meeting as part of a mental health-themed group game. Play in person or virtually.
  • Pledge Board – Ask your team to send us their pledges to change the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.

Sensory support for people with dementia

Cath Stobbs, a branch manager at Careline Homecare contacted us this week about a great idea to help support service users with dementia. Whilst at a provider forum with Redcar and Cleveland Council, Cath was introduced to ‘twiddle muffs’ – knitted sleeves which sit on a person’s arm.

The sleeves have pieces added which allow the wearer to twiddle with them – hence the name. With their bright colours and different textures, twiddle muffs can help hold the attention of someone with dementia, particularly helpful if they are anxious or agitated.

Inspired by the idea, one of our field care supervisors, Karen Charlesworth, kindly knitted a twiddle muff for one of the team’s local service users. It made such a big impact that Karen soon had to make a second one for when the original was being washed!

The service user’s husband told us that he is delighted with the way it helped occupy her and that it had definitely helped his wife to be more settled.

If you’d like to know more – and maybe even make one yourself – you can download an NHS guide here, or find instructions on the Golden Carers website.