Coronavirus latest

The current coronavirus outbreak continues to make the news headlines, but health and social care staff are being urged to retain a sense of proportion.

Eight cases have now been confirmed in the UK and the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk level to the public from low to moderate. However, the risk to individuals remains low.

The guidance for care workers remains the same as laid out in the guidance we provided last week and which we have attached again. There is no need for any additional precautions at present – we will update our guidance as and when official advice changes.

Anyone who has travelled to the UK from China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the past two weeks and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath should stay indoors and dial NHS 111.

Nottingham team on the move

The Finance and Shared Service Centre team in Nottingham are on the move from their site at Phoenix Park to a new home at Cardinal House, also in Nottingham.

In recent months these teams have started to outgrow their current office space and as City and County continues to grow, these teams will expand to ensure they can provide effective support to the branch network.

The move to the new office provides more room for the Shared Service teams (which include Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll and Purchasing) and the Finance management teams (Management Accounts and Treasury) to grow as required to provide an excellent level of service to the business.

As well as providing a spacious environment in which to work, the new office features City and County branding and has three meeting rooms (which can be booked using the Nottingham locations in Outlook when booking a meeting).

The office move is happening in two parts with half of the teams moving over the weekend of 8th-9th February and the second group leaving Phoenix Park on Friday 14th February. However, if you need to contact anyone in the Finance team before, during or after the move, that should still be straightforward, as all their telephone numbers are remaining the same.

And if you, a client or a commissioning organisation need to post anything to the Shared Service Centre the new address is:

Cardinal House
Abbeyfield Court
Abbeyfield Road
Nottingham
NG7 2SZ

 

Inspection news

More great news on the regulatory front this week with a clutch of great inspection results.

Constance Care’s branch in Glenrothes underwent its first every inspection by the Care Inspectorate (the care regulator in Scotland) and received a full house of ‘4’ ratings, which means they achieve an overall rating of ‘good’.

This is a great achievement by the team, shown here beaming with pride and treating themselves to a wee celebration!

South of the border, Human Support Group’s services at the St Andrew’s House Extra Care scheme in Nottingham (left), Comfort Call’s Westmoreland House Extra Care in Doncaster and Guardian Homecare’s branch in Morecambe all landed ‘good’ ratings in their draft CQC reports.

Well done to the managers and teams at all these locations for a great set of fantastic outcomes!

Terezie’s raising money for the planet

Westbourne Park Dementia Adviser and passionate environmental campaigner Terezie Wickenden is raising money for a conservation charity.

The World Land Trust buys land in the most biologically important rain-forests around the world and protects it from deforestation, tackling both climate change and biodiversity.

And the Trust has no shortage of influential supporters. Revered naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough said that “the money given to the World Land Trust, in my estimation, has more effect on the wild world than almost anything else I can think of.

As Terezie told us, “climate change and biodiversity loss threaten the future of all of us” and she has been performing a series of fundraising piano concerts where she also talks on climate change and the importance of this vital cause. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.

And do remember that we are still looking for volunteers to join our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) working group to think about how to develop our CSR for better communities and a better world.

If you think you have something to contribute and would like to get involved, whether it’s a passion for fighting climate change or a particular charitable or community interest, drop an email to Max Wurr.

Feeling ‘good’ across England

It’s been a bumper week for great CQC inspection results at opposite ends of England, with three new reports published.

Leading the way was Pennyman House Extra Care, operated by Human Support Group in Middlesbrough, which achieved ‘good’ ratings across all domains in its very first inspection, an impressive achievement.

Also in Middlebsrough, the established branch of Comfort Call wasn’t to be outdone by its neighbour, retaining its existing ‘good’ ratings across all domains.

And at the opposite end of England, Surrey SCP also managed to retain its ‘good’ rating.

The consistent, high quality work done by the teams at all three locations deserves recognition. Inspections are nerve-wracking experiences for managers and staff alike, but the local teams have all done us proud – we salute you!

Help at Home take inspiration award

The efforts of the team at Help at Home in Leicester to recruit young adults into the care sector have earned them a prize at a recent awards ceremony in the city.

The LeicestershireLive Carer of the Year Awards aim to reward, recognise and celebrate unsung private and professional carers who help better the lives of others.

At the awards on 30th January, the Help at Home team were delighted to win the prize in the Inspired to Care category for their efforts in attracting younger applicants into this most rewarding of careers.

Recruitment Officer Amanda Frankton is pictured here holding the award certificate, along with Branch Manager Lee Asbury. If their smiles are anything to go by, they were very pleased to receive this recognition! Our congratulations go them and their colleagues for making such an important local impact.

 

Inspection news

As we settle into the new year, we have a clutch of great inspection reports from across the group.

Congratulations go to Comfort Call Bowmont House, HSG Anderton Place and Help at Home Oak Court, all of which received ‘good’ ratings across all domains (and overall).

Guardian Homecare in Ormskirk also secured a ‘good’ overall rating, with ‘good’ in all but one domain.

But this week’s special mention must go to Careline Homecare in Newcastle, which, along with its overall ‘good’ rating, struck gold with an ‘outstanding’ rating in the ‘well-led’ domain, a truly impressive achievement.

Unusual guests visit Westbourne Park

Service users at Westbourne Park Dementia Centre get to take part in some pretty cool activities, but the visitors last month were unusual even by their standards!

Safari Pete is a wildlife adventurer and conservationist who travels around the world and regularly visits local school to raise awareness about nature and the environment and as you can see, he also got a great reception at Westbourne Park!

Day Care Coordinator Joanna Budhu told us that “the service users engaged with all of the animals and no one was frightened” during what she describes as “a new experience with such a positive outcome”.

Westbourne Park continues to inspire locations across the group with the terrific range of activities on offer for people with dementia, keeping their minds active and mitigating the effects of social isolation. Thanks to Joanna and her team for sharing with us again a great story about a top class service.

Who’s DAT?

We have pleasure in introducing you to the new Delivery Assurance Team (DAT), led by Donna Terry and also including Sarah Ellis and Jan Allardice

The team’s aim is to work closely with the Regional Managers and their operational teams to embed the new Model Branch processes and systems. Their purpose is to support Regional Managers to use the systems to their full advantage, giving them the tools to coach their teams through change and to develop new innovative ways of working.

Donna tells us, “we are here to listen to feedback, reach out to understand operational challenges experienced, and continuously improve how we use Model Branch in order for us to provide a sustainable and high quality care service.”

The DAT would love to hear from you directly – send your feedback or suggestions to modelbranch@candchealthcare.co.uk.

The New Year offers as good a time as any to consider a new role, new challenges and new faces. Perhaps, all within an entirely new sector! For the gregarious and sociable who’ve a want to care and help people in need, too, becoming a care worker offers up that very chance. 

That’s where you, as someone considering care work, may be able to step in and offer support to people at their most vulnerable and in need of it. 

So, what does care work entail?

For the most part, care work involves dealing with a broad range of people, aiding and assisting those who may be elderly, disabled or, perhaps, a bit younger. People of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and circumstances will require care at some point in their lives, and part of what makes the job great are the wonderful characters you’ll come across. 

Care work involves a good measure of responsibility and diligence. From help around the house, like cooking light meals and cleaning, to assistance with personal care like bathing, dressing and going to the toilet, care work is varied and sometimes challenging. It requires patience and resolve but it’s ultimately rewarding in the positive impact on people in need. If you’re looking for a change in career that achieves just that, and you’re not afraid of some hard work, this might just be your calling. 

What will you need as a care assistant?

As a care assistant, you’ll need a number of key skills, some of which will be gained on the job through day-to-day experience, while other skills you’ll have already. These include being a strong communicator as well as good at listening with the issues you may face and deal with. You’ll need to be practical and hands-on while not being faint at heart. You will deal with bodily fluids, nudity and mess. Sometimes clients may be even be unwilling participants in their own care so you’ll also need to be able to keep your cool and handle stressful situations in a calm and collected manner. From time to time, they will come up while you’re on the job. 

But it’s not all worrisome. Carers often find they make real friends of the people they’re looking after, finding it that much more satisfying.

What type of care assistant roles are there?

As a care assistant, you will be uniquely placed to improve a person’s life and there are various types of care that City & County delivers across its companies. That may be live-in care where you’re residing on a client’s property, or domiciliary care where you’re making visits to a client’s home, sometimes multiple times a day. If you’re trained for it, a company like ICCM provides Complex Care services, tending to clients with more complicated health concerns.  

Each client will have a bespoke care plan, which you, as a care assistant, will help compile, manage and deliver.

You’ve made your decision to switch to care…where to next?

Well, now you can take a look at our jobs board to see which roles we have in your desired location. Training is included for those who are new to the sector whilst our care assistant enjoy plenty of support at a branch level. 

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Early November saw the purchase of the Human Support Group (HSG), which becomes the latest addition to the City and County family.

HSG is based in the Northwest of England, running thirty-five branches and Extra Care facilities and delivering complex care and reablement contracts alongside general home care.

HSG is an established and respected provider with a successful and experienced management team that shares our commitment to great quality care. We’re sure you’ll all join us in welcoming HSG on board!

Raj and Abdul are our Care Heroes!

Held last month at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole, we bring you the stories behind the winners at this year’s Care Heroes Awards.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a care or support worker who has been continuously employed by one of the group’s operating companies for ten years or more and has demonstrated “great commitment to the highest standards of care support”. The judges in this category were CEO, James Thorburn, Regional Director, Lorna Muir, and Head of Complex Care Sally Wheeler and the worthy winner was Raj Wilkinson from  Careline Homecare in Darlington.

Raj began working as a care worker in 1994 and has an exceptional twenty-five years continuous service with Careline Homecare and at the extraordinary age of 83 continues to provide outstanding care.

Care Heroes Awards

Nominating her for the award, Branch Manager, Bronwen Roberts, told us how Raj “also spends a huge amount of time volunteering in her local community … [and] acts as an interpreter in her local day centre and also uses her huge experience and knowledge to run a dementia group, always putting the needs of others before herself.” Browen continued, “[Raj] is a completely selfless person who always puts others first and I am very proud to have her as part of our team.” We couldn’t agree more – well done, Raj!

The last, but by no means the least, of this year’s prizes was for Care or Support Worker of the Year, judged by Managing Director, Caleb Atkins, and Regional Directors, Charlotte Donald, and Wendy McCall. The award recognises “any care or support worker who has embodied the group’s values and behaviours in every aspect of their work.”

Winner Abdul Kargbo (right) arrived one morning at the home of a younger service user with whom he had developed a close working relationship to find the young man collapsed and unresponsive. Despite Abdul’s efforts to resuscitate, the young man sadly died.

Despite this traumatic experience, Abdul found the strength to give evidence at the ensuing coroner’s inquest, an intimidating and emotional experience for anyone. Nevertheless, he came across as calm and knowledgeable, leading the coroner to gain the “overwhelming impression that the carers were of a very high standard”.

Area Manager, Milka Kimani told us that she felt his overall record and his particular conduct in the face of tragedy “requires recognition”. It certainly does and everyone at the Care Heroes Awards was touched by Abdul’s humility in spite of a dreadful ordeal.

Congratulations once again to all our finalists and winners. We hope that their amazing stories inspire you to submit nominations for next year’s awards!

Double ‘good’ for London Care branches

Great news from London Care last week as two of its busiest operating locations received ‘good’ ratings from the Care Quality Commission.

The Holloway office (actually now nearer Finsbury Park) achieved ‘good’ ratings in all but one domains, with inspectors finding “improvements in several areas of the service provision” and remarking in particular on the “new online care planning system [Access Care Planning] which helped staff to provide responsive, individualised and considerate care.”

 

The South London office mirrored Holloway’s reports, also gaining ‘good’ ratings across all but one domain.

Providing home care services at scale in the capital has its own peculiar challenges, but both branches have shown that it is possible to deliver great care through dedication and commitment. Congratulations to managers Elaine Waller and Bunmi Johnson for their continued hard work.

Willow Barns supports ambulance charity

Tenants and staff at Comfort Call’s Willow Barns Extra Care scheme in Stoke-on-Trent had a great charity fundraiser at the end of July.

Manager Sharon Roberts wrote to tell us how the scheme raised nearly £500 for TASC, a young charity which provides support to present and past ambulance staff and their families in time of need.

The charity night featured a singer and a delicious spread along with great raffle prizes and a few games of bingo. All agreed that it was a fun way to raise money for a great cause. Some of the team are pictured below handing over the money raised to TASC.

Volunteers get arty at Pullen Day Centre

Pullen Day Centre was a hub of activity again at the end of July when volunteers supported tenants with arts, crafts and games.

The centre is lucky enough to receive visits from volunteers from transport company BEIS a few times a year, organised in partnership with charity One Westminster. “The clients always have such fun with them,” said Coordinator Maria Gerardo.

The activities on this occasion included potato block printing and quizzes in which clients could win prizes. Clients and volunteers also enjoyed an afternoon tea.

Carol Braves the Shave on This Morning

We told you last week about ICCM’s Carol Henson’s plans to shave her head in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, but even Carol wasn’t expecting to go through with it on live TV! 

Having announced her intentions, Carol was approached by producers from ITV’s This Morning and on Friday, she bravely surrendered herself to the hairdresser’s clippers in front of millions of viewers!

If you missed Carol’s surprisingly calm performance, you can still see it on the ITV website here and donate to Macmillan here.

And Macmillan are not the only beneficiaries. Carol’s hair has been donated to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children going through chemotherapy. Carol, we bow down to you and your very smooth head!

On top of the world for the WWF

Director of Policy and Communications Max Wurr and his daughter Lana scaled the UK’s highest mountain on Thursday last week in aid of the World Wildlife Fund.

On what turned out to be the only dry day in the West of Scotland last week, Max and Lana, who turned eleven this Sunday, made it up and down the 1345-metre peak of Ben Nevis (right) in around seven hours, enjoying magnificent views across the Highlands.

Lana has already hit her fundraising target of £1000, but if you would still like to sponsor her, your donations would still be very welcome – you can visit her Justgiving page here. Lana sends her sincere thanks to everyone that has supported her so far.

There’s also still time to sponsor Northeast Regional Manager Chris Noble as she runs for Sepsis UK in the Great North Run on 8th September – visit her fundraising page here.

March 2019

Congratulations to Sally Wheeler who has accepted a new role as Group Head of Complex Care.

Having previously been a Regional Director and, since last year, head of ICCM, Sally is already well known within the Group. Her new appointment will bring both ICCM and SCP Complex Care into the same reporting line.

Both businesses are performing strongly and Sally’s priority will be to maintain the excellent quality of care delivered by both companies, whilst supporting sustainable growth.

We wish Sally the best of luck in her new role.

March 2019

There were joyous scenes in the Northeast this week when Comfort Call’s Hebburn branch hosted a special event for service users at Perth Green Community Centre.

Around sixty people attended the get-together, which featured musical entertainment and afternoon tea. Each guest also received a goodie bag and a branded Comfort Call cupcake!

Regional Manager Bernie Wyllie said, “the event was absolutely amazing. There have been a lot of day centres closed, so we wanted to do something nice for them and to give them the opportunity to get together.”

“We had two friends who had not seen each other for 20 years meeting for the first time,” continued Bernie, “and one lady who had not been out of the house at all this year. The lady had come along with her daughter-in-law, and when there was a break in a song, she just burst into singing. Her family couldn’t believe it, and everyone was joining in and clapping.”

Our thanks go to the staff at Perth Green and local firm Del’s Travel who helped with getting people to the Community Centre and above all to the staff and management at Comfort Call Hebburn for staging such a memorable event. Let’s hope some more branches are inspired to go that extra mile to make a real difference to the lives of the people we support.

February 2019

On Sunday 12th May, Abacare Bangor’s Operations Executive, Jodie Taplin, will be running the ‘Race for Life’ in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Jodie was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma type B cancer last May and after surgery, chemo and radiotherapy and with further surgery still to come, she has continued to carry out her role, being heavily involved in taking on the tender in Anglesey which Bangor office won. She was also able to go ahead with her wedding.

We’re sure that colleagues across the group will want to lend their support to Jodie . To sponsor her, please visit her fundraising page here.

We’ll look forward to bringing you further news after the race in May – good luck, Jodie, from all of us!

 

February 2019

Staff at Custom Care in Wolverhampton raised over £7000 for charity in 2018 – an extraordinary sum!

Charities that benefited from the team’s amazing generosity and commitment included Guide Dogs UK and Breast Cancer UK.

Local charities received support too; money was also raised for Breast Friends, which supports people dealing with breast cancer.

Our thanks and respect go to all those that raised funds or donated their hard-earned money to these worthy causes – what a fantastic achievement!

Special mention also goes to the IT team, who raised £75 for Save The Children at their Christmas Jumper Day; big thanks to everyone that took part and donated there.

January 2019

On Monday 14th January, City & County completed the acquisition of a significant portion of business from fellow home care provider, Carewatch.

CEO James Thorburn writes, “we are delighted to welcome twenty new branches and five Extra Care facilities into the City and County Healthcare Group. The branches are in Scotland, the North West of England, Wales and London.”

“In the immediate,” continues James, “the transferring Carewatch branches will run as before under the Carewatch brand, supported by Carewatch. Over the next six months we will rebrand each branch into one of our existing regional brands and move each branch onto City & County operational systems and support. Immediately our priority will be the continuity of quality care in those transferring branches.”

We welcome our new colleagues from Carewatch on board and very much look forward to this exciting next chapter in the City & County story.