City and County acquires Advance Healthcare UK Limited

It is with great pleasure that we announce that on 8th October we completed the purchase of Advance Healthcare UK Limited (AHUK). AHUK is a homecare business providing a range of care services – including domiciliary care, Extra Care, prison services and daycare.

AHUK is based in the West Midlands and operates 10 Extra Care schemes, as well as delivering homecare packages for a number of Local Authorities in the area. In addition, our purchase of AHUK will help build City & County’s presence in daycare and introduce our brand to prison services. AHUK is well-respected in the market for the quality of its care, with 100% ‘Good’ CQC inspection ratings.

AHUK fits our strategy to acquire community care businesses to which we can add our financial and technical resources to help their growth. AHUK’s services will help further strengthen City & County’s position as the UK’s leading homecare provider.

Ambulance crew say thanks to our Ulverston Branch

Emma Cooper, one of our registered managers, received an inspiring email this week recognising three amazing care workers from HSG’s Ulverston branch. The crew were called to the home of a service user earlier this month, and were thoroughly impressed by the professionalism of the HSG team, writing:

 

“We would just like to say a massive thank you to the staff who were with the patient that night and went above and beyond for him. The compassion, dedication and professionalism demonstrated by the staff was outstanding so much so that it took us back.

 

“The staff could not have done enough for the patient and they were willing to sit with him in his final hours through the night if they had to. This complete act of selfless kindness deserves recognition as it is rare to see a group of people so dedicated to their work as they were. Job well done guys.”

Emma told us, “These three carers – Tim Balchin, Nicola Henry and Chloe Cunliffe – went above and beyond for the service user in his final hours”.

Rating success for The Windings scheme

Congratulations to team at The Windings Extra Care scheme in Cheshire West. The scheme has been rated ‘Good’ in all areas in its first draft report.

Scott Higgins-Wright, Regional Manager – Central, would like to say special thank you to the scheme manager, Maxine, and to Kim Nicholson for the support they gave.

A huge ‘well done’ to everyone who helped with this inspection.

Considerate care in a crisis

We were contacted this week by Ross McCrann, branch manager for Guardian Homecare, about a heartfelt complement the Preston team had received from the family of a service user. The message was in response to the exceptional crisis care delivered from the branch, and in particular the dedication of care worker Joanne Collins:

“Please could you pass on our heartfelt thanks for the wonderful care my mother in law has received whilst under crisis. I am very grateful for how well the team have respected her dignity, rights and provided a high standard of care.

“I have worked in care all my life including management of a care home, currently as a manager of care assessors and trainers, and unfortunately have seen first-hand what poor care looks like, but have only witnessed good compassionate care from the staff at Guardian.

“I would like to make a special mention to Joanne, she gave lovely supportive care when my mother in law wasn’t herself. The following day Joanne ensured she left me a message so I would know how my mother in law was, this continuity was very important as it helped me identify a change in her health and behaviour.

“Joanne has taken the time to get to know my mother in law and us her family. Again thank you for the fantastic care given.”

Amazing work by Joanne and the team in Preston.

Praise for the Comfort Call Gloucester team

Nicola Johnson, Branch Manager at Comfort Call in Cheltenham, wanted to share an amazing message she’d received this week. The family of a client contacted the branch to recognise the exceptional care that the Gloucester Team had delivered to their mother:

“How can I begin to thank you for all you did for my mum over the last few months? We could not have continued to care for her at home without you and it was very important to us that she stayed with her family at this difficult time. You were always cheerful, compassionate and professional in your conduct and we loved having you in our home. I am sorry we cannot thank you personally or say goodbye.

“You did so much more than just give her cold water – you treated her as kindly as if she was your own mum!

“Thank you on behalf of all the clients and families you continue to serve. You may never know the full impact and value of what you do, but I hope you feel pleased and proud that you are doing a great job!”

Thank you to everyone for the great work you’re doing to improve the lives of our service users and their families.

10th October is World Mental Health Day

Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but 10 October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and start looking after your own wellbeing.

If you know someone who may be struggling with mental health, it can be difficult to know what to do, or if you are a sufferer yourself, it can be even harder to know who to turn to.

Don’t forget that our mental health is just like our physical health – everybody has it and we need to take care of it.

Helping others

If you’re worried about someone and unsure how to help, here are 3 top tips:

  1. Don’t be judgemental – try  to understand their situation
  2. Speak to them – be a listening ear and allow them to open up
  3. Get prepared – know what to do in a crisis

Please visit the World Mental Health campaign website for more information and resources.

Recognition for our Comfort Call team in Tameside

We were contacted this week by Joanne Brannen, Regional Manager – North West and West Yorkshire, about some amazing news she’d received from Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council. Tameside, along with Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, had been shortlisted for the prestigious National HPMA awards.

The shortlisting was for the The University of Bradford award for cross-sector working, and recognised a pilot scheme which the Comfort Call branch was instrumental in setting up. The team at Tameside was very pleased to confirm that the scheme had won the award.

Dave Wilson, manager of the Tameside commissioning team, said; “I wanted to say a huge thank you for your work. You should all be very proud of this.”

Dave continued, “This will be a proper achievement and something that, already, other authorities are looking at doing and are asking us for advice. Well done Comfort Call and thank you very much for being so fab to work with.”

Congratulations to everyone involved.

Flu vaccine update

Owing to the level of demand, supplies of the seasonal flu vaccine are being delayed. It is important, however, that as many people as possible have the vaccine this year, so we urge you to keep checking with your pharmacist or GP and to get your jab as soon as you can.

Public Health Wales has confirmed that in line with the other UK nations, home care staff in Wales are eligible for the flu vaccine free of charge from community pharmacies.

A thank you to staff at Bowles Lodge

Magda Trepczynska, Regional Manager – South, has been in touch to pass on some wonderful feedback from the family of a service user. The resident of the Bowles Lodge Extra Care scheme in Kent had sadly contracted Covid-19, and her family had nothing but praise for the team’s response:

“I just wanted to give some feedback over the unprecedented last few months. The care that mum has received has been excellent, you and your staff have gone over and above in meeting the needs of the residents. Undertaking shopping, keeping supplies and increasing calls have all ensured her welfare. Thank you for the support, and helping the relatives and carers like myself to step back in order to protect during the pandemic knowing our loved ones are safe.

“Once again huge thanks and hoping the next few months will see life get back to a more normal.”

Amazing feedback, and the team have clearly made a huge impact for this family during the pandemic.

A poem about mental health

Following our article on mental health awareness last week, Gail Hodgkinson from our central recruitment team got in touch to share a poem, Samaritan, she’s written on the subject.

Gail told us, “In support of mental health week, and in view of the effect the current pandemic is having on so many, please find a short poem I wrote some years back. I hope it reaches out.”

Samaritan

The lifeless eyes were cold, yet bright,

She really didn’t want to die tonight,

She dialled the number “please talk me down”,

The unsung soldier was always around

The volunteer that came in peace,

For all he could offer was a release,

To talk it through, ‘til it made sense,

To give her fear less credence.

He helped to dry up all those tears,

A culmination of years and years,

With mug of tea in wise old hand,

The unlikely hero from tank top land,

But tonight he may have saved a life,

A gentle ear, a shoulder wide,

So don’t under rate our distant friend,

Samaritans listen to the bitter end.

Thank you Gail, we hope the poem connects with anyone whose mental health and wellbeing has been affected by the pandemic. If you need to speak to someone, don’t forget it’s free to call Samaritans on 116 123 where you can get confidential support.

More contract success in Redcar and Cleveland

In addition to the successful Comfort Call bid in Redcar and Cleveland we reported last week, we’re pleased to confirm that the Careline Homecare have also retained their contract in the area. Alongside Comfort Call, the Careline team will continue to provide care in a new framework contract starting from November.

A huge ‘well done’ to the bid team and everyone in the local ops team who contributed to the bid and secured the contract.

 

Don’t forget about flu vaccinations

Flu vaccinations are now available for care workers across the UK without charge. Please encourage your care teams to get the seasonal jab this year to help reduce pressure on primary health services due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reducing flu cases will mean services can focus their resources on the coronavirus, also helping to keep staff absence down.

In England, home care workers should visit their GP or community pharmacy (although it is advisable to check availability beforehand). There is no official requirement to provide ID or a voucher, but we do recommend that care workers take their ID badge, payslip or some other form of evidence of their care worker role in case they are challenged. Some resources for branch managers are here.

In Wales, care workers can obtain their vaccination from their community pharmacy. Branch managers can find posters and other resources here.

In Scotland, vaccination is being arranged via local NHS Boards, who will be contacting social care providers directly (if they have not done so already).

In Northern Ireland, vaccines are being provided through participating community pharmacies from week commencing 28th September. Branch managers are advised to check here whether their local pharmacy is participating in the scheme. The RQIA will also be providing home care agencies with posters to raise awareness.

Supporting our mental health

The pandemic is testing all of us in different ways, and prioritising our own mental health is really important in ensuring we have the resources to deal with it. However, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start.

 

We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us.

 

 

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year. The day is held globally to encourage people to think about their own, and others’ mental health, and to raise awareness of efforts to support positive mental health and wellbeing.

 

Whether you want to take the first steps towards getting some help or learn more about helping those around you, there are many different ways to get help and support:

Maria’s recognition from Southwark Council

We were delighted to hear about some fantastic recognition for Maria Vizureanu, a Supervisor from our London Care team at Lew Evans House. Juliana Ingabese, Maria’s area manager, contacted us to confirm that Maria had been nominated for the Southwark Care Awards.

The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Southwark Council wrote directly to Maria to let her know the good news, stating; “we wanted to thank you for the work you do, and continue to do through this pandemic”.

Sadly, this year’s awards ceremony had to be cancelled because of event restrictions during the pandemic. However, Southwark Council will be recognising Maria and other amazing carers in the borough with a ‘Thank You Southwark Carers’ video. Maria and the other nominees have been asked to provide photos and videos which show a positive message about the care industry during this challenging time.

We can’t wait to see the video, congratulations Maria.

Contract win in Redcar and Cleveland

The bid team has received formal notification that Comfort Call has been successful in its bid to retain our homecare contract with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council. The company will now continue to provide care in the area, delivered from the Middlesbrough Comfort Call branch.

Congratulations to the bid team and those in the local ops team that contributed to the bid who secured the new framework contract starting from 1st November.

Last chance for our branch September Special Prize Draw

Don’t miss out! We’re rewarding branches with the chance to win a bonus for your team this month. But time is running out! Every branch that reaches their target for new packages by Sunday 4th October will be entered into a live prize draw.

  • For all branches under 1,500 hours: Every location starting 15 new packages by 4th October will be entered into a draw, with three winning branches each receiving a bonus of £1,000 to be spent on the team as they choose.
  • For all branches between 1,501 and 3,500 hours: Every location starting 25 new packages by 4th October will be entered into a draw, with three winning branches each receiving a bonus of £1,500 to be spent on the team as they choose.
  • For all branches delivering 3,501+ hours: Every location starting 35 new packages by 4th October will be entered into a draw, with three winning branches each receiving a bonus of £2,000 to be spent on the team as they choose.

We’ll be totalling up the packages and announcing the winners in the next few days, so don’t miss your chance to get involved.

Remember, the only restrictions are that we won’t be including TUPE transfers as well as crisis and rapid responses. Good luck!

If you have any questions on the scheme please raise them with your regional management.

Welcome to our new branch and scheme managers

A warm welcome to our newest branch and scheme managers working across City & County Healthcare Group.

In Salford, we were recently joined by Amanda Lowe. Amanda will be managing Extra Care schemes in the area.

Welcome as well to Lisa O Reilly, who has started her new role at the HSG branch in Liverpool and the nearby Latham Court Extra Care scheme.

We look forward to getting to know you both.

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.

Recognition for our teams from Oldham Council

We received some amazing feedback from Oldham Council this week, praising the response from our local teams during the coronavirus pandemic. Coming directly from the Director of Adult Social Services and Assistant Director of Joint Commissioning, it’s clear just how much they value our dedicated care and support staff:

“We know this has been the most challenging six months that many of us have ever experienced in our time in health and social care. We know there have been days when you will have questioned whether you are doing enough, or the right thing or have been worried about exposing yourself or your families to risk. We know that even on these days, you have done everything you can to support the people that rely on your support.

“Your commitment, dedication and resilience has been humbling to witness. We have received many letters from family members directly and via providers praising the work you have done in caring for their loved ones during the pandemic. You should be very proud of everything you have achieved and we are grateful for your dedication and care.

“So thank you. Thank you for being a part of Team Oldham. Thank you for giving of yourself every day and putting the people you support first. They deserve your very best, and you have shown them exactly what this means.”

Superstar Karla saves the day

Recently, the Dartford team from Home Instead Senior Care posted on their Facebook page about how they’d ‘met a superhero in disguise’.

“We were made aware of a traffic accident right in front of our office, involving someone that was known to us, and when we arrived at the scene, a lovely and kind woman had already stopped her car and jumped into the damaged car to help the person inside.

“She stayed with that person the entire time until the ambulance arrived, speaking calmly, reassuring them and just being awesome. Everyone around thought she was a paramedic off-duty. As it turns out she works for another care company and just wanted to help.

“Karla, if you see this: you are a superstar and your current employer can be very proud of having you in the team!”

Well, someone did see this – Karla’s branch manager, Melissa, who forwarded the message onto us. We’re all incredibly proud to have Karla as a member of our Kent SCP team, changing lives every day – even when you’re off-duty. Well done Karla, you are definitely a superstar!

National Fitness Day – Wednesday 23rd September

This year National Fitness Day will take place on Wednesday 23rd September.

The day is a chance to celebrate the role that physical activity plays across the UK, helping us raise awareness of its importance in helping us lead healthier and active lifestyles.

Why is this important?

  • The UK faces a physical inactivity crisis, with evidence from ukactive showing that the average adult spends more time on the toilet every week than exercising.
  • Physical inactivity leads to more than 20 long-term health conditions such as type-2 diabetes, some cancers and osteoporosis.
  • Physical inactivity is the fourth largest killer in our society.

National Fitness Day inspires the nation to move a bit more and better understand the benefits of an active lifestyle. It is not only proven to improve our physical health, it also has an incredible effect on our mental health, our confidence, our social connections and helps us build better communities.

This year’s theme is ‘Fitness Unites Us’.  With the aim to demonstrate that coming together to be active is a great way to overcome the myriad of challenges we face across society. It is a day when people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities come together to celebrate the fun of fitness, whether that be ‘plank offs’, yoga and Pilates classes, treadmill challenges, high-street HIIT classes, dance-offs or mass walks.

Join the movement!

Keeping physically active means something different to us all, but fitness is for everyone. We want to hear from you!

  • Have recently taken up a sport during lockdown?
  • Do you love an unusual sporting activity?
  • Are you a secret pro at your chosen sport?
  • What do you love about fitness?
  • What’s your greatest sporting achievement?
  • Are you doing anything to celebrate National Fitness Day?
  • Do you support your local community with sporting/fitness events?

Tell us about your fitness journeys here and inspire your colleagues to take up exercise! We will share your stories in our communications over the coming weeks.

You can also use #Fitness2Me on social media – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. To show what Fitness means to you and how it’s helping you unite with others!

This is just the start

Of course, National Fitness Day isn’t just about one day, it’s about committing to change your routine for a lifetime of benefits. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be promoting ways to improve physical health – so watch this space.

Cycling for sepsis awareness

Vicki Kinder, Care Coordinator at the Careline Homecare branch in Ashton-Under-Lyne, contacted us this week about her close call with sepsis earlier in the year. Sepsis can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death – and is caused by the body overreacting to an infection.

Vicki told us, “I was diagnosed with Sepsis back in April and was told that if my daughter hadn’t called the ambulance when she did, I wouldn’t have made it. I am back at work now and a hundred times better than I was, although still not 100% obviously.”

“I’ve decided to try and do my bit so have signed up to do a 150 mile bike ride from 1st to 30th September. I’ll be riding with my kids to raise some valuable money for such a good cause and also raise some awareness to the illness.”

Please support Vicki’s bike ride on the Just Giving page here, where you can also read more about the traumatic events that nearly took Vicki’s life.

Vicki has set up a display in the branch’s reception raising awareness of sepsis, with posters and leaflets provided by The UK Sepsis Trust. You can find out more about their work and spotting the signs of sepsis on the Trust’s website.

World Suicide Prevention Day – Thursday 10th September 2020

Tomorrow is World Suicide Prevention Day. Observed on 10th September every year, the awareness day aims to provide worldwide commitment and action to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. The campaign is run by The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).

Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge, here are some facts and figures:

  • Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.
  • It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.
  • Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected.  This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour.
  • Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.

IASP believe that preventing suicide is often possible and that everyone is a key player in its prevention!  You can make a difference – Here are just some of the ways, you can get help to prevent suicidal behaviour tomorrow and every day:

  • You can raise awareness about the issue – Educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide
  • Show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share your own experiences.
  • Light a candle near a window at 8pm tomorrow to show your support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and for the survivors of suicide.

Many organisations can support with suicide prevention. A few are detailed here:

  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) This resource specifically for men aims to tackle male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Visit the website or call the helpline on 0800 58 58 58.
  • NHS Help for suicidal thoughts
  • Papyrus For children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide. Also for anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide. Call 0800 068 41 41, text 07786 209 697 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org
  • Samaritans For anyone with suicidal thoughts or those concerned with suicide. Visit the website or call the helpline on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • The Silver Line Call them on 0800 4 70 80 90. It’s a confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK.

Professional Care Workers’ Week

 

From 1st-4th September, the Care Worker’s Charity will be hosting virtual events for Professional Care Workers’ Week. Topics cover everything from wellbeing to the impact of Covid-19.

You can see the full schedule and get involved here.

Heartfelt thanks to our teams from across the UK

 

Area Manager Zoe Buckley wanted to send a huge thanks to Hannah, Cathy and Amy at Parrmount Court Extra Care scheme in St. Helens.

Zoe told us, “The daughter of one of our service users found him unconscious on the bed. She alerted the Care Team who then called the ambulance. Hannah, Cathy and Amy then had to commence CPR due to the rapid deterioration of his condition.”

After an ambulance and paramedic attended, the service use was taken to Whiston Hospital ICU.  He was placed in induced coma where his condition was critical.

Zoe said, “I have spoken to his daughter today. He remains in the ICU and is sedated but is out of critical condition. His daughter wanted me to pass on her thanks to the care team on site. She said her dad would not be here if it was not for their quick actions.”

John Abreu, Deputy Manager at Guardian Homecare in Chorley, contacted as after one of their service users sadly passed away. John told us, “She was very fond of the care staff that attended her visits and would always be happy to see them”.

The service user’s family sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to thank all the care staff in our Chorley team. “It was absolutely lovely and humbling to receive such a delivery showing how the family appreciated the care and support that we provided over the past five years,” said John. “It is a testament to the staff that their efforts were commended after her passing.”

Finally, another of our Guardian Homecare teams received a heart-warming message after the passing of one of their service users. “Guardian looked after my mum on release from hospital. Mum passed away yesterday but she was at home and surrounded by those she loved. I would like to thank the teams who cared for mum, especially Mike, as they went above and beyond. Not just for mum, for the family.”

Amazing work all round – thank you for the wonderful job you’re all doing for our service users and their families.

 

Don’t forget to nominate your Care Heroes!

 

Don’t forget that nominations are now open for this year’s Care Heroes Awards which will be the centrepiece of Care Heroes Month in October.

There are eight categories and the deadline for nominations is next Friday 4th September, so please submit your nominations here as soon as you can.

Our London Care team helps Rosemary celebrate turning 88

 

Maria Gerardo contacted us this week about a service user who recently celebrated her birthday with our London Care team at the Pullen Centre. Maria, who is a Day Care Coordinator at the centre arranged for two members of the team, Bisi and Tina, to visit Rosemary as she turned 88.

“Rosemary is a very keen knitter and has found this a real saviour in lockdown,” Maria told us, “this has enabled her to use her hands and keep her busy”. Rosemary showed the team some impressive table mats that she’d knitted with wool that Bisi and Tina had given her earlier in the year.

The team wished Rosemary a happy birthday and even took some cake to celebrate. Happy birthday Rosemary.

A thank you to Kent SCP

This week, we received an inspiring thank you letter from the niece of a service user living at the Bowles Lodge Extra Care scheme in Kent:

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of my Aunt, my husband and myself to pass on our extreme thanks and praise to your team who operate from Bowles Lodge, Hawkhurst. They are part of Kent SCP, Maidstone and provide a care service for residents at Bowles Lodge where my Aunt resides.

“Ever since my Aunt’s arrival in 2016, they have provided 24 hour care which includes four visits during the day and emergency cover 24 hours a day. In recent years, the care team has been led by Debbie Willett who is the Care Manager at Bowles Lodge.

“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Debbie and her team have provided a service which in our view exceeded our expectations and as a result, we feel that the care provide under Debbie’s leadership has been commendable and worthy of recognition.”

A well-deserved congratulations to everyone at Bowles Lodge, you’re making a huge difference every day to the people you support.

NHS Help At Home Hub

The coronavirus outbreak means many of us and our families may need to access health and care services from home. You may not be aware that services including ordering repeat prescriptions and contacting a GP are readily available online from the NHS.

To help find available online services, the NHS have launched a Help At Home hub which brings everything together in one place. The hub covers can help you:

  • order repeat prescriptions
  • contact your GP
  • find out about dental treatment
  • manage long-term conditions
  • maintain your mental and physical wellbeing.

Accessing support using a smartphone, computer or tablet in this way can help with social distancing and also reduce the workload on local NHS services.

Intrepid Robin sets sights on Snowdon

An adventurous member of the Nottingham finance team is undertaking a new challenge for charity and would love your support.

https://images.jg-cdn.com/image/b3984f79-adcb-4f43-9569-c718124e1104.jpgLast September, we reported how Robin Newton-Hufton took part in an MMA cage fight in aid of Cancer Research. A year on, she’s pushing herself to new heights to raise money for leukaemia charity Anthony Nolan.

“I shall be doing the third most difficult route up Mount Snowdon in wales,” she told us, “which is roughly a 12.7 kilometre loop trail near Caernarfon.”

Robin hopes to complete the hike in under six hours and has set up a Justgiving page to collect donations, but is also making a call to action to everyone – “I urge people to become donors if they cannot donate”.

Robin’s climb is on 12th September. You can donate and see Robin’s training updates here and you can find out more about Anthony Nolan and their work here.

Your stories from around the UK

There were celebrations in Scotland this week as the branch welcomed its new manager.

Care Coordinator at the Blantyre Branch, Diane Hague, wrote to tell us that Christine McGill had been recently promoted to the position and the branch were not going to miss out on the opportunity for a celebration, as you can see here.

Congratulations from us to Christine on her new role – we’re sure she’ll be a great success!

We also had lovely news from Regional Manager in the Southeast Magda Trepczynska who witnessed what she described as a “really heart-warming moment” at Bowles Lodge Extra Care scheme in Cranbrook, Kent.

“One of the service users came to the office with his little trolley,” says Magda, “and brought a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates for the manager and the team. He had tears in his eyes and just wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to the team for all the support he is getting and especially for the fact that that morning the manager herself came and prepared him a bacon sandwich for breakfast.”

Well done to manager Debbie Willett (right) and all the team at Bowles for clearly making a tenant very happy!

Good news also from Help at Home in Leicester where the team received a commendation certificate from Leicestershire County Council for showing a particularly high standard of care to one service user whose package was recently increased.

Regional Manager Charlotte Dean wrote to tell us about the well-deserved recognition – “they are getting so much better here,” she told us. Well done to all at the branch for the continued improvement.

And a final special mention goes to Regional Trainer in the Northwest, Paul Kershaw. We reported back in 2018 that Paul had achieved his Batchelor’s Degree in 2018 and now he has achieved a further landmark by obtaining his PGCert In Leadership and Management through Huddersfield University.

Paul, 51, told us “you’re never too old to learn and I am now onto my next challenge. As a Regional Training Officer, it is important to learn and gain new skills to keep the brain active and it has certainly done that in many ways.”

What an inspiration you are, Paul – congratulations and well done from us all!

MPs debate social care petition

Many of you will have signed the petition that circulated recently calling for social care to be given equal recognition to the NHS – yesterday Parliament debated the matter.

MPs from both sides of the House of Commons debated the petition, which has gathered more than 43,000 signatures, and many positive comments were made about the contribution of social care and care workers in particular during the pandemic.

Care Minister Helen Whately (left) wound up the debate by saying the government would be looking at how it could build a long-term solution for social care so that care workers get the rewards they deserve.

You can watch the full debate here.

 

Tracey’s fundraising bike ride

We never ceased to be surprised to the extra lengths that our wonderful front-line staff will go to in order to make the difference to their service users’ lives.

Tara Penn from ICCM wrote to us to tell us about the amazing effort that one of their PAs has been making to raise funds for an excellent cause.

Tracey Seabury, who has worked for ICCM since 2014, is cycling the equivalent distance of her home to Land’s End to help raise funds for her three-year-old client, a boy with severe epilepsy.

Tracey explains on her JustGiving page that the boy “will be totally dependent on others all his life and so his family need to adapt their home for his special needs.

“We were recently told that we could no longer carry him upstairs so the family are going to need to adapt their home. I am hoping to raise money towards a specialised bath that he will need to help make his life a little easier.”

Tracey has already raised over £7,000 of the £12,000 needed for the specialist equipment. If you’d like to lend your support, you can do so here. Well done, Tracey!

Your stories of kindness

We’ve had more great stories of kindness and gratitude this week from across the group.

Manager at Guardian in Morecambe, Samantha Mozer, got in touch to tell us about a “lovely gesture from a service user’s family”.

When the team began providing care to this particular lady, she had been diagnosed with coronavirus and had also recently lost her husband to the disease. Yet, in spite of the sad and difficult circumstances, care workers Sophie, Lorraine, Danuta and Michelle really rose to the occasion.

To show their gratitude, the family sent a gift package (right) to each of the care workers to say “thank you for being there through a very tough time”.

We were also deeply moved by news from Constance Care in Glenrothes, where manager Dominic Curran received correspondence in praise of the branch’s End of Life team from Dr Jo Bowden, Consultant in Palliative Medicine.

Dr Bowden noted how care workers Mary Hamilton and Kellyann Nicol had quickly “built a great and trusting rapport” with one particular young man on a palliative pathway, and that his mother “had valued their input right from the beginning”. In particular, she noted how the two staff had switched their shifts around in order to be present during her son’s final days of life.

“They supported her son’s comfort and dignity right to the end,” Dr Bowden said, “including giving him a wash, repositioning and emptying his stoma all in his last hours of life. This can’t have been easy.

“We all know how difficult it can be to facilitate continuity of care, but in this case it was achieved and it meant a great deal to the patient and his family. They were having the worst time of their lives with a lot of emotional distress and difficult physical symptoms, but having friendly, caring, sensitive and supportive input from your team made all the difference.”

Jane Jones, manager at Abacare in Powys, Wales, wrote to us recently to tell us how their local Morrisons supermarket made contact with the branch to make a donation of food and drink to their service users.

“As you can see,” wrote Jane, “it was a very generous donation and we are also going to receive another one next Tuesday from Morrisons. We are now busy making up baskets to give out.”

Field supervisor Kelly Butler is pictured here collecting the donation from Morrisons.