Wonderful words in Westminster
One of our regional managers in London, Kasia Brzyszcz, received a moving thank you this week from the family of someone cared for by the team in Westminster.
Through the pandemic, their normally socially-active relative, Mitzi, couldn’t be with those the loved, but the dedicated staff at London care stepped in to be there for her. The family wrote:
“On behalf of Mitzi’s friends and family, we thank you for the excellent care you and your team provided during the las year of her life. Sadly, the majority of us were unable to visit during this time due to the COVID pandemic.
“Mitzi was a hugely generous and very special lady. In normal circumstances, her flat would have been full of visitors in the course of a week – plus outings to local eateries! However, I know that in the absence of her usual visitors, Mitzi so enjoyed the company of her carers – especially Maria and Hanna. She spoke of hem with great affection when her friends and family called by phone.
“Please thank everyone who was involved in Mitzi’s care.”
A huge ‘well done’ to everyone in Westminster, but especially to Maria and Hanna. You were there for Mitzi when others couldn’t be during her final days, and have clearly made a big impact on her friends and family.
Applauding the team at Abbotswood
Sarah Thomas sent us a fabulous message from the family of a service user at the Abbotswood Extra Care scheme in Littlehampton. After she recently passed away, the service user’s family got in touch to express just how much of an impact the London Care team had made on their lives, writing:
“Words aren’t enough to express how we as a family feel in the wonderful care that you gave her. You weren’t just carers you were all her friend and nothing was ever too much trouble.
“Your care during COVID last year was outstanding especially as family members were not allowed into the building, I knew Mum was in safe hands and looked after so well. We knew she wasn’t well from August 2020 when we discovered she probably had colon and bowel cancer along with breast cancer. But as usual, all your wonderful individual personalities along with all your caring nature gave her the inspiration to start painting, with her left hand as she had had a stroke some years before. She was so pleased to be able to paint small pictures for a lot of her special carers such as yourselves.
“All the carers took their time to chat with her and make her feel so loved whether it was when they came in in the mornings to wash her, or lunch time to serve her meal or at her tea time call or bed time call, nothing was every too much trouble. As we know, Mum was always putting the carers first and hated troubling you all or pressing the buzzer if she felt unwell but towards the end she realised she could do this and would be greeted with such lovely smiley, loving faces who became part of the family.
“Right up until the end, you were there for Mum and us as a family and I can’t fault the care you give at Abbotswood, you all need gold medals for what you do and the service you provide, you are all professionals and amazing. You are not just staff or carers you are part of the families and I know I shall miss you all and seeing all your smiley faces.”
Thank you so much to the team at Abbotswood for the diligent care compassion you showed to this family through an incredibly challenging time. It’s reassuring to know that the care and reassurance you provided to this service user and her wider family will have such as lasting impact.
Latest contract wins
Our Bids and Contracts team are hard at work – supported by our operational teams – securing new contracts across the country for City & County. We’re very pleased to confirm two recent success in England.
Firstly, Guardian Homecare will be delivering a block-hours reablement service contract for around 1700 hours per week. The Guardian Homecare team in Blackburn will be stepping up to the challenge, coving the East Lancashire area from July. Nicky Tucker, with Margaret McDonald and Ross McCrann wrote this bid with true co-production, and we’re delighted with the outcome.
Secondly, we’ve secured an advance Healthcare contract with Walsall Council for a block-hours night responsive service pilot. The scheme will run for six months, starting in June. Phoebe McKeon and Celia Fleming managed this bid, and wanted to pass on huge thanks to David Percox at Advance Healthcare for his support.
A huge ‘well done’ to everyone involved.
Our teams get involved in Dementia Action week
This week is Dementia Action Week, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, recognising the nearly one million UK families who are struggling to care for their loved ones with the dignity and support they deserve.
A focus this year is on reforms to the social care system to improve the lives of those with dementia and the families who support them. The Alzheimer’s Society are calling on the Government to cure the care system by committing to publication of a clear plan for social care – with reform underway this year – and ensuring their reforms consider not just funding, but also improving the quality of care that people receive. You can find out more and sing their petition here.
One of our own care workers, Ashley – a Comfort Call care worker at the Meadow Court scheme in Croxteth, has gotten involved by doing an interview with Onward Housing, which you can read here. In the interview, Ashley talks about the importance of supporting people with the condition as well as some practical tips for anyone who thinks they, or a relative, may have early onset dementia.
Also Paul Kershaw, Regional Trainer in the North West is holding a Dementia Awareness day in Poppy House today. Paul will be will issuing badges and certificates for those attending the day to recognise their role as a dementia champion. The team are also having a raffle to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Changes at City & County
We wanted to update you all on a new face in the City & County family.
We are delighted this week to welcome Helen Storey, who joins us as Group Legal Counsel, meaning that for the first time we have our own professional legal resource within the organisation.
Helen will be focusing much of her energies on employment law, providing invaluable support to the HR team, but will also perform a generalised legal advisory role from contract and commercial matters to data protection. We are sure you will join us in welcoming Helen to the City & County family.
Appreciating an assist at Amblecote Gardens
Joanne Brannen, Regional Manager – North West and West Yorkshire sent us some fantastic feedback for Maria Giverin and the Comfort Call team at the Amblecote Gardens Extra Care scheme in Manchester.
One service user had experienced a particularly difficult period due to a water leak in his apartment – thankfully quickly resolved by the housing provider – and wanted to acknowledge the support that our care team had given, writing:
“My reason for writing is to acknowledge the care and comfort afforded by your staff. The Care Manager Maria Giverin and her team were exceptional in ensuring my needs were met, making certain I was not deteriorating, offering every assistance and making regular checks at a time that was most distressing for me.
“The commitment, professionalism and genuine concern for my wellbeing was exemplary and exceptional from all the care staff and they showed themselves to be a commendable credit to Comfort Call. All too often the care workers are under appreciated and rarely acknowledged, never mind given a simple ‘thanks’. It should not go without comment that the past 14 months have been a significant challenge for your profession.
“Please thank Maria and her staff for the sterling work they have done to make me comfortable and safe and assure them of my wholehearted support in these appalling circumstances.”
Thank you to Maria and the team for making sure that this vulnerable service user was kept comfortable and safe during what must have been a challenging time for everyone involved. As the service user states, it’s often the smaller things we all do that can go unappreciated, but his gratitude for your help is clear to see.
Kent County Council share a story from Bowles Lodge
Magdalena Trepczynska, Regional Manager – South shared with us an article written from the perspective of a service user, Constance, at the Bowles Lodge Extra Care scheme in Kent.
Featured in Kent County Council’s communications – including their Adult Social Care Provider Bulletin – the story is seen through the eyes of Constance’s daughter, Margaret:
Constance had been living in her own house in Hawkhurst for 40 years and her daughter Margaret lives nearby. Over time, she became very dependent on Margaret’s support, time and help at all times during the day and night. She would often call her during the night because she was scared or frightened.
Constance was very depressed and would often tell Margaret that she couldn’t cope and didn’t know what to do and there was no point in being here. She also stopped going out on her own and would only go out if Margaret took her out, so she became quite isolated as well.
In July 2020, Constance was offered a one bed flat at Bowles Lodge in Hawkhurst which she accepted. Constance suddenly became very unsure of everything and nearly didn’t accept the tenancy. The scheme assistant offered some solutions to help Constance and her family consider the situation for her and Margaret was very grateful for the way in which this was handled which resulted in Constance signing her tenancy agreement and starting her tenancy at Bowles Lodge.
Since then: Here is the turning point, Margaret says her mum is now very happy and moving into her new home at Bowles Lodge has made all the difference. Constance can move around her flat with ease which has enabled her to become more active. She enjoys a walk around the scheme, safe in the knowledge that there is a proper path that she can follow, and she can enjoy the garden and say hello to people in passing. She is making new friends and enjoys eating in the restaurant and has also taken to doing a bit of cooking herself, which she hasn’t done in a while. Margaret says that she is now wanting to do things and to be independent. She has also started knitting again. Margaret says the move to Bowles Lodge has given her mum her life back and her confidence is returning too, and she is enjoying life.
Constance loves living at Bowles Lodge, she says the setting is so nice, and views are wonderful including the view of the church steeple which are important things to her.
From Margaret’s point of view, her mum’s move has now given her a new direction. As she says she loves her mum very much and when her mum was living in her house, she put her mum first, but now she is safe in the knowledge that her mum is safe and happy and she now has time for herself and spending time with her mum is a real pleasure all the time. In the words of Margaret, she has got her mum back!
Thanks for sharing Magda. This story really brings home the independence and reassurance that living in an Extra Care scheme such as Bowles Lodge provides to people like Constance and Margaret.
Joanne is taking on ‘The Wall’ for families affected by suicide
Joanne Brannen contact us this week to tell us about her upcoming charity challenge in aid of the If u Care Share Foundation, who provide prevention, intervention training and support of those affected by suicide.
Joanne explained her very personal reason for support this cause, telling us, “As some of you know my nephew, Jamie committed suicide last month. He lived with post-traumatic stress disorder after the death of my sister, Kelly which he was witness to. If U Care Share Foundation have been in contact with my devastated family and have offered to support them with the necessary help they desperately need.”
Joanne continued, “I want to help the charity with some fundraising. I am taking part in ‘The Wall’ ultra-marathon this year which is over 70 miles long – and every single step will be in memory of my nephew who simply missed his Mam.”
You can read more about Joanne’s challenge and support with a donation on her Just Giving page.
Joanne finished by saying, “Everyone has already been so kind and generous but if you can just spare £1 I will be eternally grateful”.
Time for tea in Wigan
Richard Wheatley, Regional Manager – North West, has asked us to pass on a big ‘thank you’ to Janice Barber, branch manager in Wigan.
When a service user had her 80th birthday approaching, Janice did everything she could to mark the big occasion. Inviting the service user in to the office to celebrate, Janice and the team arranged a fabulous birthday tea party – COVID-secure of course.
Richard told us, “It is great to see how passionate the team are about making a difference to someone’s life, especially given these unprecedented times. Well done Team Wigan!” We couldn’t agree more.
Bringing back memories at Westbourne Park Day Centre
Finally, Joanna Budhu, Day Centre Coordinator for London Care, has asked if anyone has any vintage objects that could help service users reminisce at Westbourne Park Day Centre.
The specialist dementia day centre is looking for any 1945 – 1965 objects that could be used for reminiscence activities, manual handling, and sensory sessions. These could be old appliances, postcards, objects of everyday use, packaging from branded products or anything that could bring back memories from those years.
Please contact Joanna at Joanna.Budhu@cchmail.co.uk if you have anything to donate.