Black History Month – Mary Seacole’s legacy   

Black History Month is observed every year in October in the UK. The main aims of Black History Month are to celebrate the achievements and contributions of black people throughout the world and to educate all on black history.

Mary Seacole House

City & County is proud to share that one of our Extra Care schemes is named after an inspiring woman from black history. London Care’s 32-flat Extra Care scheme in Hammersmith is named ‘Mary Seacole House’.

Who was Mary Seacole?

Mary Seacole was born in Jamaica in 1805 and trained as a doctress. She first visited the UK in 1821, and later settled in London.

Seacole is probably best known for setting up the ‘British Hotel’ – a care facility located behind the lines during the Crimean War. On the outbreak of the Crimean War, Seacole applied to the War Office to be included among the nursing contingent but was refused. Travelling independently, Seacole set up her own base and tended to the battlefield wounded.

She became popular among service personnel, who raised money for her when she faced financial challenges after the war. In 1857 a four-day fundraising gala took place in London to honour Seacole, attracting 40,000 attendees.

Today, we’re proud to deliver care in one of the many locations which mark Mary Seacole’s legacy. The impact of Seacole’s work lives on, and she was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991. In 2004, Seacole was voted the greatest black Briton in a survey conducted by the black heritage website Every Generation.

Care Heroes spotlight – Specialist Care Worker of the Year 2022 – Ben Kelly

This week, we are shining a spotlight on Ben Kelly – winner of the ‘Specialist Care Worker of the Year Award’ at City & County’s Care Heroes Awards 2022.

Ben has worked in care for 14 years and has been with his current client for the past eight, offering 24-hour support to him three days a week.

Branch manager, Jackie McCormack, at Guardian Homecare Blackpool, nominated Ben for the award due to his commitment, professionalism, and resilience.  Jackie said, “The client can be aggressive and very demanding, we only have a small cohort of staff who will go into this location, but Ben’s commitment and patience has kept his service user in his home and inspired his entire team.”  This client’s aggressiveness goes beyond what is manageable to most. But there is one person the client can always count on to show up day in and day out: Ben.

At one point, the council was pushing to put the client into a secure facility, but Ben pushed back. He has figured out what can keep his client calm, he knows how to manage his personality shifts. Ben deals with his client’s physical and mentally challenging behaviour daily – so we sat down with Ben to uncover the secret to his unflappable dedication. (Ben is pictured below, with HR Director Judith Lyons, at the Care Heroes Awards ceremony).

It sounds like there are some very hard days. How do you stay motivated?

I don’t take anything personally. If he gets aggressive or insulting; I know he doesn’t mean it. He does it with everyone. I see past his actions and focus on the fact that he is struggling and needs my help.

What is the biggest challenge of working with this client?

The unpredictability is definitely the hardest part. I never know who I am going to get. It is a challenge trying the empathise and be patient with all his personalities, which change throughout the day. I must always stay on my toes.

I care about my client, and I couldn’t accept the idea of him being locked up. I know at his home, with my support, he can have a much better quality of life. We go on outings, cook together, chat and have the freedom to explore. He has a car that was fitted for him that he drives us around in and he loves that.

What brought you into care?

My family. My sisters are support workers. They are nurses. My mum is a registered manager in care. My mum used to do respite with clients with Learning Disabilities. They would come to our house, and I would interact with them. It came naturally to me.

What do you like about your job?

It doesn’t feel like a job.  I like helping clients who are unable to help themselves. If my client didn’t have a staff member, his life would be much worse. I like being able to give people better lives.

Do you feel supported by your team?

I have an incredible team. The Blackpool branch manager and team leaders go above and beyond to make sure I am ok and have the support I need. They are always at the end of the phone, and they are happy to step in, roll up their sleeves and help if I need it. I couldn’t have lasted without them. I know that I am never alone.

Branch manager vacancy

We have an exciting opportunity for a Branch Manager role in Exeter.

We would love to hear from you if you are looking to relocate or looking to step up in your career. This is a great opportunity to manage a great branch, currently delivering around 3,000 hours per week in a great office location. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Oz in the operational recruitment team for more information. Email: oz.masood@candchealthcare

Promoting good mental health in the workplace – FREE webinar  

The Health and Safety Executive is running a free webinar on promoting good mental health in the workplace.

The session, at 10.30am on Tuesday 18 October, will raise awareness of the preventative measures that employers can take to identify and manage work-related stress.

Find out more and register here.

 

This week many in the Jewish community are observing Yom Kippur – the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Yom Kippur marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and is a time for reflecting on the past year.

Yom Kippur began on the evening of Tuesday 4 October, 2022 and ends tonight Wednesday 5 October.

It is marked with fasting, prayer, and the breaking of the fast with a family meal.

We wish you all you well at this special time of Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur

Meet the team. The SCP Complex Care team, that is.

Every day, our nurses, branch managers and care coordinators do amazing work in their communities, helping SCP’s clients in delivering much-needed complex care.

Find out more about the team…

 

“I am Carol and have worked for Constance Care (City & County) for one and a half years.

Some of the most rewarding things about being a care worker in the community is the difference we make to people’s lives.  It is difficult to put your finger on the specifics as there are so many different things that make it satisfying.

I enjoy it; it fits in with my life and I gain a wee bit of wisdom every day chatting to the elderly community – their stories are awesome and inspiring.

Being able to give your clients the support they need to live at home day-to-day allows you to see the results of your hard work. We are confronted with the harsh realities of people struggling to overcome illness or disability and to make that little bit of difference makes it all worthwhile.

Many people come to work in care following a personal experience of caring for a loved one at home. It is really heart-warming to be in somebody’s life and be able to help make a positive difference to not only their day, but their overall quality of life.”

Carol Conway

Care worker spotlight: Care Worker of the Year – Leanne Gardiner  

As part of Professional Care Workers’ Week, we want to shout loud and proud about the great work of our City & County frontline care workers. Here, we are shining a spotlight on Leanne Gardiner – winner of the Care Worker of the Year Award at our Care Heroes Awards 2022.

Leanne was nominated by her branch manager, Sam Price, from Abacare, Ebbw Vale branch, Wales. We asked Sam why she had nominated Leanne and she said, “Leanne doesn’t realise what an excellent job she does. She doesn’t see herself as doing anything out of the ordinary. Leanne has been a hardworking and dedicated care worker for 19 years and I can honestly say that she embraces every aspect of the job. She treats all her clients with dignity and respect, and she is always enthusiastic, even during challenging times. Leanne has a positive attitude and demonstrates strong leadership too; she’s got an excellent attitude and is a wonderful role model. She deserves this award and as a branch we are so proud that she won”.

Here Leanne (left) is pictured receiving her award from Jane Townson, CEO, Homecare Association.

When asked about how she felt about winning the award, Leanne said, “I was overwhelmed! It’s nice to be appreciated for what I’ve done. I’ve been a care worker for such a long time – I just never knew that people thought of me this way. It’s great to see care workers getting recognition like this.”

Congratulations to Leanne on winning the award. We will be featuring the full interview with Leanne on the City & County blog page soon.

Max Wurr’s marathon challenge!

Our Director of Policy and Communications, Max Wurr, and his wife Marion, will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 9 October in aid of the Care Workers’ Charity.

The charity is also the official organiser of Professional Care Workers’ Week which was held this week, 12-16 September. If you would like to donate or find out more about the half marathon – please visit Max’s Just Giving page https://bit.ly/3dn0wYH

Good luck Max and Marion!

Coronavirus update – autumn booster vaccine

The NHS is now offering the COVID-19 autumn booster vaccine.

Family carers, pregnant women, those over the age of 65, and all frontline health and care workers are eligible to get their jabs now.

If you are eligible, you can book your COVID-19 booster via the National Booking Service.  In some areas, walk-in centres may be offering the booster vaccines so do look these up and get your booster vaccination as soon as possible.

 

“Hello everybody,

I wanted to take the opportunity this Professional Care Workers’ Week, to reach out to you all. There are well over one million care workers working in the UK. Professional Care Workers’ Week aims to celebrate their work and I wanted to add my thanks and recognition to the 15,000 or so of those of you who work for City & County Healthcare Group.

Professional Care Workers Week is organised by a charity who some of you may have heard of – the Care Workers’ Charity, and they provide financial and professional support to care workers.

We had our own celebration of our amazing teams through our Care Heroes Awards ceremony, which happened in Birmingham just before the summer break. I hope you will have seen some of the publicity on the event and the winners – it was amazing. Such brilliant stories of individual care workers and care teams going above and beyond and working to drive such heart-warming outcomes for those they care for. I felt so inspired, humbled and proud to work in the same company as everyone there – congratulations to all the finalists and winners and please make sure you get your nominations in for next year, we’ve already booked the event…I hope to see you there.

After the event, I also stopped by to visit one of the winners – our help at home service at Waterside Court in Loughborough; they won Service of the Year award. Wherever possible, I go out on calls and this time, I met with one of the care workers – Kevin – and went around with him. I also met residents and a few of the teams from neighbouring schemes in the area; what a wonderful day and what a happy bustling scheme it was!

I also heard from colleagues and staff how they have turned around the scheme’s performance, especially after the challenges coming out of COVID – the result? Well, quite a few times I heard from residents a repetitive phrase: “It’s like a five-star hotel here”. Just another example of the difference our teams and our care workers make.

Please all of you, keep up the amazing work you do. It’s so important and thank you.”

James

“A heart gold” – John Chambers awarded Employee of the Month

Katie Wem, Branch Manager at Comfort Call Middlesbrough, gives a shout out to care worker John Chambers – he was awarded Employee of the Month at the branch for August 2022.

Katie said: “John has continuously supported the branch and his other colleagues. He has gone to all areas and covered calls at short notice and offered up his days off. Service users told me that he is such a lovely lad who is down to earth and nothing is ever a trouble. They say he has a heart of gold, and he always goes above and beyond.”

John was presented with chocolates and his very own Comfort Call trophy.

Well done John – a well deserved recognition! 

World Alzheimer’s Month and dementia awareness

Many care workers work with service users who are living with dementia and will be familiar with the symptoms. However, not everyone is aware.

During World Alzheimer’s month this September, the Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging everyone to know the signs of dementia so they can get the right support quickly.

World Alzheimer’s Month is a global opportunity to raise awareness of dementia. A staggering 50 million people are living with dementia worldwide.

By learning more about dementia you can feel empowered to reach out for the help and support you may need for yourself or your loved ones.

Getting support for dementia
If you are concerned a loved one may be experiencing signs of dementia, here are ways you can get support:

•    Call The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456 or click here for online resources.
•    Contact your GP
•    Visit NHS Online here
•    LifeWorks online resources – Read the articles ‘Caring for a Family Member with Dementia’ and ‘Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease’. You can access Lifeworks here – if you are unsure of your login details or have any questions about LifeWorks please contact the team.

How to get involved with World Alzheimer’s Month?
There are many ways to get involved with World Alzheimer’s Month:
•    Post to social media in September using #WorldAlzheimersMonth
•    Share a social media post on 21 September with #WorldAlzheimersDay
•    Register to volunteer at a local Memory Walk
•    Organise or take part in a fundraising event

World Alzheimer’s Day takes place on 21 September and is part of World Alzheimer’s Month.

Have your say! Medication safety workshop

The Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) is inviting care staff and care and support workers to take part in a research focus group on medication safety. 

The research has been funded by the Department of Health and aims to raise awareness about medication safety and collect lived experiences of medication use. The researchers want to hear from care staff and care and support workers, who visit people in their own homes.

The aim of the research is to discover the social reasons behind unsafe medication practices and avoidable medication-related harm. This will inform the implementation of a medication safety plan in Northern Ireland.

Workshop format
When: Thursday 15th September – 2pm to 3.15pm
Where: Zoom

The workshop which will last 1 hour 15 minutes with 6-10 participants. After a brief introduction there will be focus group discussion on your experiences and views on medication safety.

All participants will receive a £10 eVoucher to thank them for taking part.

If you are interested in participating, email caoimheshields@cdhn.org or visit the CDHN website here.

Professional Care Workers Week – 12-16 September

Next week is Professional Care Workers Week – which brings the sector together to appreciate the outstanding efforts of care and support workers.

 

The Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) will be hosting a series of webinars and panel discussions throughout the week where an array of speakers will be sharing their expertise on a range of topics. Find out more about the events taking place on the CWC website.

 

Care & Share – our newsletter for care workers

Did you know that City & County sends out a weekly newsletter called Care & Share to care workers?

The newsletter is distributed every Thursday to our frontline care workforce and includes a range of good news stories about the fantastic work that care workers are doing out in the field. It aims to recognise care workers and their teams from across the City & County Healthcare Group.

Please be on the lookout for good news stories about the great work that care workers are doing and send these to us so we can feature them in the Care & Share newsletter. Stories can range from testimonials from service users or their families; activities and events held in branch; how care workers have made a difference and helped service users; and tips on sharing best practice.

We want to compliment and celebrate the efforts of our care staff.

Email communications@candchealthcare.co.uk to share your stories today!

Home worker safety

With many of us working partly or entirely from home, it is ever more important to consider our safety in the home environment.

Remember that home-workers should:

  • have completed a workstation risk assessment
  • ensure they take rest breaks just as they would in the office
  • report accidents that occur during their working hours, even if they scold themselves on their own kettle
  • carry out visual checks on any equipment (e.g. laptops) before they use them on each occasion and report any defects
  • notify their line manager of any reasonable adjustments they may need arising from a disability.

You can get advice on safety matters from hse@candchealthcare.co.uk and on general home worker issues from hr@candchealthcare.co.uk.

COVID-19 – autumn booster vaccines  

COVID-19 case rates are now back down to levels last seen in mid-May but we may see a new surge of infections as schools return at the start of September.

The good news for care staff is that they will be near the front of the queue for autumn COVID-19 vaccine boosters, which are likely to be available from the second week of September, along with free seasonal flu jabs. We are expecting more details in the next week of how and where staff can book their appointments.

“Getting my life back on track” – Greg’s story

Charlotte Groves (Care Coordinator, HSG Middlesbrough branch) shares a letter received from service user Greg Tate. He wants to share his mental health journey and show that there is light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who may be struggling.

Greg’s story:

“My name is Greg Tate.

About three years ago, unfortunately, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and over a period of around two years there was no improvement. I was told I must go into Roseberry Park to recover. I was in there for about a year and unfortunately whilst in there I had a suicide attempt. I was released from Roseberry Park about two years ago.

I was still not in a good place but with the help of medication, a change in my daily routine and especially the Human Support Group care workers coming in to see me, I am pleased to say I have almost completed my recovery.

As you can imagine, I am so grateful to everybody who has supported me through what was the worse time of my life, as well as helping and supporting me through my mother’s death.

My family, friends and the carer workers have played a very important role in getting me back to almost my usual self again! I am so happy to say that at least one good thing has come from this horrible experience and that is meeting the care workers. Especially Noel, Neo and Garry. They have become good friends who have supported and aided in my recovery.

Human Support Group

Recently, I hosted an event to get everybody together who is important to me to say thank you as they have all played a big part in my journey to recovery. Everyone had a lovely day; it was a total success! It was something I knew I wanted and needed to do as I appreciated everyone who was invited and wanted to show them that. I am now pleased to say I am focused on getting my life back on track.”

(Many thanks to Greg for sharing his inspirational story.)

Praise for staff at Broad Meadow for person-centred approach

City & County HR Advisor – Kyle Rowley-Williams recently visited Broad Meadow branch (Advance Healthcare) and was impressed by the person-centred approach of staff. 

Kyle said: “Joanne Preece, Branch Manager for Advance Healthcare Broad Meadow, and her team have recently had a CQC audit and together achieved a good rating. It is no secret this branch has been through the mill due to staff shortages, but they have been brilliant together to achieve this rating.

“Whilst on site I witnessed person-centred care myself. I was in the office and there was a knock on the door from a service user who was extremely confused. The team dropped everything they were doing and took the service user back to his apartment and contacted his family. This was lovely to see, they didn’t hesitate to go and support. They didn’t talk over or down to the service user and did everything with a smile and kept calm.

“When they got back to the office, they discussed going back to check on the service user later.

“It makes me proud to witness this in person. Well done team!”

Welcome to staff and clients from Guinness Care

We are incredibly pleased to welcome around 170 staff from Guinness Care into the City & County family this week.

These new colleagues from across the south and west of England have, in all but one location, joined our local teams in a transfer of services into existing branch locations and all have transferred into the City & County operating company portfolio.

Part of The Guinness Partnership, Guinness Care formerly delivered homecare to clients in Plymouth, Hampshire, Bristol, Cheshire, Cornwall, Devon, and Gloucester. These clients – along with those in three Gloucester Extra Care schemes – will continue to be supported by the care staff they know as part of our Sage Care, Comfort Call and Homelife Carers teams.

We will be working with local authorities, integrated care boards and privately funded clients in these areas to make sure the transfer is as smooth as possible for everyone affected without any disruption to the services these clients receive.

‘Good’ CQC inspection for Homelife Carers 

Homelife Carers in Weston-Super-Mare has received a ‘Good’ rating in all areas of the latest CQC inspection.

This was an unannounced inspection which took place on the 16th and 21st June 2022. It was also the first inspection since the service re-registered with CQC under City & County on 8th April 2021.

The last rating for this service (under the previous provider – Notaro) was ‘requires improvement’ (published 22nd May 2019). Christina Kettle took over as branch manager in October 2021 and thanks to her team and their dedication and hard work, the branch has welcomed a new rating of ‘good’ in all five areas.

Comfort Call carers win Cavell Star Award

Mandy Hall – Branch manager at Comfort Call, (Ashton Under Lyme)  wanted to share the fantastic news about carers Jordan Carden and Debra Dodd who recently won the Cavell Star Award.

District Nurse Farrer Ahmed nominated them for being the first carers in the country to administer insulin to their service users. Farrer trained the two carers up to this level – which is an important achievement for them both.

The Cavell Star Awards is a national awards programme that celebrates the dedication of nurses, midwives, nursing associates and healthcare assistants, and recognises the care they provide to patients, families and colleagues.

Mandy said, “Jordan and Debra have achieved so much and have been recognised through this award. The branch is very happy for them and this award is well deserved.”

 

Extra Care manager wanted for Health and Safety Committee

We are still looking for a manager of an Extra Care scheme to join the committee.

This is a very important position because of the safety risks we face in our Extra Care services, so we are extremely keen to get someone into the vacancy as soon as possible.

There’s not a huge commitment in terms of your time, so if you would like to express an interest, please email hse@candchealthcare.co.uk

 

Impressing the inspectors at Jackson Gardens

Richard Wheatley, Regional Manager – North West, has asked us to share a special ‘well done’ to Michele Johnson and her team at Jackson Gardens for their amazing achievement on receiving their overall good rating with their first CQC Inspection.


Richard told us, “It was a pleasure to read such amazing comments about the care that is delivered by the onsite team and how the scheme is managed. Michele is newly in post at Jackson Garden and has made such a difference is a short space of time”.

Some comments from the report included “Kind and Caring”, “Marvellous” and “Out of this World”.

Richard added that “it has been a pleasure to get this feedback from service users and care staff. And it is amazing to see such a warm culture at Jackson Gardens. Well done Michele and team, your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.”

Becci’s going the extra length for breast cancer

Hazel Richardson, one of our Complex Community Nurses has shared a story highlighting her colleague Becci’s charity swim to raise money following her sister’s cancer diagnosis in December 2021.

Becci’s sister, Toni a young Mum with two children, was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer late last year. TNBC is a type of Breast cancer whose cells don’t have hormone or Her2 receptors, and accounts for 15-20% of Breast Cancer diagnoses, and is more common in women under 40. Toni is part way through her treatment plan, including 11 chemo cycles and an operation. She has rung the bell on Chemo and is awaiting Radiotherapy next month. Becci told us “She has fought it like champ and as a family we are so very proud of her for not only fighting this disease but for also doing it as a single mother and not letting her treatments affect the children”.

Toni’s determination and strength has inspired Becci to take on her own challenge to complete a 10 mile swim to raise money to support all other warriors, but mainly for her sister. To complete this challenge Becci needs to swim 895 lengths of her local 18 metre pool, and has under 200 lengths to go with three swims planned for the remainder of this week and is on target to complete it! Becci said “I’ve swam at every opportunity I can, around shifts and my children”.

Hazel commented “Becci works full time on one of my ICCM packages in Cheshire and is a great asset to her team – to see her completing this outside of work and with her own family to care for is amazing and warrants sharing. Hopefully our colleagues will donate to this worthy cause and congratulate one of our hard-working team members for completing such challenge.”

You can find out more about Becci’s challenge and make a donation on her Facebook Fundraisers page.

The Advantage Healthcare team excels in Cardiff

Congratulations to Theresa Giles, our Advantage Healthcare Branch Manager in Cardiff on her successful CIW Registration! Theresa joined Advantage Healthcare in August 2020 as a Client Manager, and progressed to Branch Manager in September 2021 when Leanne Henderson, the previous Branch Manager, took a new role in the Governance Team for the Complex Care division.

Rachel Davy, Head of Operations who shared the news, said “Congratulations Theresa, this wasn’t an easy journey but your passion, commitment and hard work paid off. Well done and keep believing in your ability to be the best!”

This comes on the back of another significant achievement for the branch regarding a young man with a family who had suffered a spinal stroke in 2020. The Cardiff team were first approached in November 2020 to support this client and after a very challenging and carefully phased discharge he was finally fully discharged last week! This package required a very large team of 10+ staff presenting several recruitment challenges in an already tough market and was significantly disrupted by the ongoing and changing COVID 19 restrictions and continuing lockdowns.

The team worked closely with the multi-disciplinary team meeting – a regular meeting that takes place between health care professionals to discuss the client’s case – including consultants and ward staff. Theresa, Nurse Andrew Pettey and Care Service Manger Vera recommended trialling a phased discharge strategy, enabling us to build the right team around the package and prioritising safety. It worked! That strategy has exceeded all expectations and is a model which has impressed the lead consultants who are considering rolling it out on a large scale for their future complex care patients.

Today Theresa’s client is home with his three children and partner Sam, after three long years in hospital.

Vera Robinson the lead Care Service Manager leading on the mobilisation wrote “This couldn’t have been achieved without the hard work of the previous manager Leanne Henderson and Theresa, who transitioned into her new role as Branch Manager whilst maintaining the ever changing rota and the challenges this care package brought. Thank you Theresa and Andrew for those long hours spent on recruiting and keeping engaged the current staff who are all now part of a large and successful team that have brought this client home to his family. The challenges have been from every side, and you have done a fantastic job!”