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.

 

City and County Healthcare Group acquires MiHomecare Limited and Complete Care Amegreen

It is with great pleasure that we announce that on 1st March City & County Healthcare Group completed the purchase of MiHomecare Limited including Noble Live-In Care; and Complete Care Amegreen. MiHomecare is a community care business providing a range of care services including homecare and live-in; and Complete Care Amegreen provides complex care services.

City & County is a leading provider of community homecare in the UK, providing services from around 200 locations.

City & County’s immediate focus is on assuring a continued high quality of care. MiHomecare and Complete Care Amegreen’s service users and clients will be unaffected by this change and the acquisition should not impact on the frontline service teams who support them. City & County operates through more than 20 local and regional brands and both MiHomecare and Complete Care Amegreen will continue to operate as they do currently.

MiHomecare and Complete Care Amegreen will broaden City & County’s services. The acquisition supports City & County’s strategy to grow across all types of community care, buying operations to which it can add further financial and technical resources to help their development and to provide ever improving and more resilient services to customers.

Caleb Atkins

Group Operations Director

City & County Healthcare

 

Jonathan Vellacott

Executive Chairman

GroupMiHomecare Limited and Complete Care Amegreen

 

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.

And, we’re back…Happy New Years and here’s to enjoying a better one than the last.

Critical worker guidance amended for school attendance

The Government has recently updated its guidance on which jobs count as ‘key worker’ roles, clarifying that the following are key workers:

–          Care workers

–          Other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers

–          Support and specialist staff required to maintain the health and social care sector

This means that everyone employed in City & County remains a key worker.

The changes were announced after schools raised concerns about too many children remaining in school under the latest lockdowns. The new guidance confirms that children with at least one parent or carer who is a key worker can go to school or college if required. Parents and carers have, however, been asked to keep their children at home if they can.

If you’re a CCH employee in need of a letter confirming your key worker status, please speak to your branch manager or HR.

Hana volunteers to tackle COVID-19

We found out this week that a member of our HR team, Hana Dedman, has volunteered to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. Following an intensive training schedule, we’re pleased to announce that Hana is now ready to fight the coronavirus pandemic with St John Ambulance. Hana told us why she chose to sign up:

“I chose to volunteer to administer COVID-19 vaccines and become part of the National program during this pandemic, for a few reasons. Firstly, there is a clear and genuine need for people to help, but also a feeling that I wanted to support our local community to try to help. In addition, I feel passionate about helping the NHS in any way I can, due to the excellent care given to my Father during his battle with his heart condition and subsequent care he received. Sadly, we lost my Father a few years ago, however I am sure my helping, would have made him proud.

“Since joining City & County in January 2020, I have witnessed our care workers dedication in supporting the vulnerable ensuring we deliver our care packages successfully and appreciate how hard they work in difficult circumstances.

“I came to realise that without the support of volunteers and speedy administering of this life saving vaccine, there would be significant delays causing health issues and further hardships on businesses, people’s livelihoods and most importantly, being able to see our family and friends again.

“Signing up as a volunteer with St John Ambulance who are working in partnership certainly wasn’t an easy task to say the least, there were a series of assessment with a pass rate 80% and a full day’s training too. Looking forward to getting started.”

Well done Hana, you’re going to make a huge impact on the lives of those you vaccinate – as well as their friends, families and colleagues. You can find out more about volunteering with St John Ambulance to make a difference during the pandemic here.

Battling the elements in Stirling

Mathew Green, Registered Manager at SCRT Homecare, got in touch today to express his gratitude to two members of the team in Stirling.

Following the extremely cold weather and heavy snow in the area, two of the branch’s dedicated coordinators braved the harsh weather to make sure that service users got the care they needed. Mathew told us:

“Massive thanks to Branch Coordinators Shannon Murray and Kimberley Boyd for the Stirling branch, who were fast-acting this morning to help carry out care calls due to the snow and ice. Both had to abandon their car and walk through the ice and snow to get to our most vulnerable service users.”

Thanks to you both. It’s amazing to see just how committed our teams are to supporting vulnerable service users across the UK.

MOTs and lockdown

You may remember that during the lockdown last spring, MOT centres were closed and that the expiry dates of existing MOT certificates were extended. During current lockdowns however, the Government has confirmed that vehicle MOT centres can stay open in all areas of Great Britain.

As a result, there will be no extensions in the current lockdown. If you own and rely on a vehicle, please don’t forget to book an MOT as normal if it’s due.

Free carbon monoxide awareness webinars

The Gas Safe Charity is offering free, on line carbon monoxide awareness Zoom workshops, aimed at anyone who visits or works in the homes of vulnerable people.

The workshop lasts about an hour and explains the sources, signs and symptoms of high and low level carbon monoxide risks in the home and includes relevant scenarios to explain what steps to take if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.

Sessions are available from January through to March. You can find out more information and book your place here.

Vaccinations underway at our Extra Care schemes

We’re pleased to confirm that COVID-19 vaccinations are now taking place at some of our Extra Care schemes. We received the photos below today from Bristol Court in Hounslow, where service users and staff have started to receive their jabs.

So far, more than 100 people at the scheme have been vaccinated. We’ll bring you more updates on how the vaccination programme is reaching our teams and service users across the UK over the coming weeks.

Thanks to our Extra Care teams in Stoke

One of our Regional Managers, Charlotte Dean, wanted to share two exceptional pieces of feedback received in our Extra Care schemes recently.

Firstly, the Maple West team were sent a lovely compliment from the family of a service user. In the letter, the family wanted to express their gratitude for the care and support provided by Comfort Call care staff to their father following a recent fall:

“We wanted to say, we all very much appreciate everything that you did for Dad after the fall and don’t know what we would do without you. You are truly amazing.

“A big thank you to all the carers who look after Mum and Dad every day and night. Not forgetting the rest of your lovely lot, who care for and keep Maple West safe.”

Just a few miles away, the Willow Barns scheme also received an inspiring letter – this time written by Anne Marie Kelly, the Scheme Manager of the local housing provider. Praising Jacqui Dunn, the scheme’s Care Manager, Anne Marie wrote:

“I just wanted to say that, having been Scheme Manager at Willow Barns since September 2017, I have met some lovely Care Managers and I am sure that they have all done a wonderful job. Jacqui Dunn, however, works tirelessly. She not only performs her own role, she has on numerous occasions gone above and beyond to the point that she has almost lived here at times.

“Jacqui has filled in and done care work when short staffed and she never moans or complains and cracks on with the job. I would love Jacqui to get the recognition that she deserves by sending this compliment.”

It’s always amazing to see how closely our Extra Care teams work in partnership with housing providers – keep up the fantastic work.

Masterful achievement for Sarah Kwofie

Congratulations this week to one of our Regional Directors, Sarah Kwofie, on a remarkable achievement. Sarah has completed her Master’s degree in Public Health with the University of Manchester part time through the year, alongside her role at City & County.

Impressively, Sarah completed eight modules – including Fundamentals of Epidemiology, Health Services Management, UK leadership and Public Health Strategy, Health Economics, Global Health in the 21st Century – as well as a dissertation on The Association of Hearing Loss with Dementia in Older Adults.

Sarah has accomplished this at the same time as being a mum to two young children, having a full time (and very challenging) job, and whilst also leading care delivery during a global pandemic! Impressive work Sarah, your achievement is simply brilliant.

Floral thanks for our Comfort Call staff

Some of our Comfort Call colleagues were recently recognised with flowers and chocolates for their hard work and dedication.

Firstly, the Comfort Call team at Poppy House were sent flowers and Cadbury’s Heroes by Stockport Council for their support during the pandemic. Their manager, Mandy Hall, kindly sent us a photo and wanted to make sure that the team’s achievements were shared to recognise their commitment during a difficult year.

Secondly, Katie Jewell, Regional Manager for Devon and Cornwall, let us know about how one team thanked Nikki Raouna – a new coordinator at our Cheltenham branch. Nikki received flowers and Thornton’s chocolates from one of our care workers, Tudor, on behalf of the Gloucester care team that she schedules for.

Katie said, “This gift was in recognition of how appreciative the team are of Nikki in the short time she has been managing their area. She has been supportive and responsive in managing her team.”

Those gifts are definitely well-deserved – thank you all for your hard work and support.

Recognition from Lancashire County Council

Margaret Macdonald – Regional Manager for the North West – has shared a letter the Guardian Homecare team received from Lancashire County Council. In the letter Tony Pounder, Director of Adult Services for the area, praised our Preston team’s response to winter pressures and crises services in central Lancashire, writing:

“I just want to thank you for your fantastic and quick response in increasing the crisis hours you are supplying for us in Central Lancashire in readiness for winter and pandemic pressures.

“It’s one thing for the council to plan and commit to funding these service expansions. However, it only becomes a reality if you as our local provider can deliver what we need and the fact that you are so far on with this is a tribute to your own commitment, effectiveness and efficiency.

“Most of all this will make a difference to the many vulnerable adults and older people who want to speedily leave hospital or avoid admission at all.”

At a difficult time for everyone involved in delivering care, this type of recognition shoes just how much of a difference we can all make.

Christmas raffle raises cheer

Siobhan Gildea, Care Coordinator at Parkview Grange in Newcastle, contacted us about a festive fundraising activity underway at the Extra Care scheme. One of the Comfort Call team’s senior carers, Michelle McMurray, has partnered with a resident to raise funds for future community activities in the scheme.

Siobhan told us, “For the past month, one of our residents and Michelle have been raising money for a Christmas Raffle. The resident and her sister have made up amazing hampers for prizes donated or bought by care staff, residents and family members.”

“The raffle is due to be drawn on the 8th December and all proceedings go to future activities for our residents at Parkview Grange – as well as a huge end-of-lockdown party once we are in the clear from COVID. So far we have raised over £500.”

Great work everyone, those hampers look fantastic.

Homecare Day 2020 – Wednesday 9th December

The UKHCA has announced that it will be working together with Scottish Care again this year to extend Homecare Day to every corner of the UK. The theme this year will be Care Community and it will provide a fantastic chance to share good news stories and innovations that homecare services are making in the lives of people and their communities, every day – particularly in this most challenging of years.

If you have any stories you would like to share with your colleagues across the Group, please send them to communications@candchealthcare.co.uk.

UKHCA and Scottish Care are also inviting members to share and follow stories on social media using the hashtag #homecareday throughout the event. There will also be a Twitter discussion between 12:00–13:00 on the day, led by Scottish Care and UKHCA with questions centred around Care Community.

On 30th November, City & County Healthcare completed the purchase of Interserve Healthcare from Interserve Group Limited, including their service delivery brands, Advantage Healthcare and Strand Nursing. Interserve Healthcare is a complex care business, providing specialist care for adults and children living with a wide range of conditions in their own home. It also provides a small amount of elderly homecare and agency services.

Based in Telford, Interserve Healthcare manages care packages for customers across England, Scotland and Wales. As well as their CCG-commissioned work, they also deliver a combination of self-funded, insurance-funded and case-managed care services. Interserve Healthcare is well-respected in the market for the quality of its care, with the majority of their services holding a ‘Good’ CQC inspection rating.

Interserve Healthcare fits our strategy to acquire community care businesses to which we can add our financial and technical resources to help their growth. Running alongside our existing complex care brands, ICCM, SCP Complex and Total Community Care, Interserve Healthcare’s services will help build City & County’s position as one of the UK’s leading complex care providers.