What should we think about ‘the Four Seasons story’?

Like lots of people with an interest in social care I have been following the travails of Four Seasons over the last few days. For anyone not up to speed, Four Seasons is a major care home provider in this country, with some 17,000 predominantly older residents and 25,000 staff. Four Seasons is now reportedly in financial difficulty and the regulator of the social care sector, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has called for its biggest creditor to confirm that it will stand behind the company and not allow it to collapse. [Although it has since won a reprieve  until April 2018, the uncertainty over its longer-term future continues]. 

Continue reading “What should we think about ‘the Four Seasons story’?”

Guest blog: It’s in the bag

Older woman with carer

This guest blog was contributed by the New Care Homes Programme at NHS England.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – and one that’s spreading fast is the hospital red bag.

First conceived by the Sutton Homes of Care vanguard, the red bag – more formally known as the hospital transfer pathway – is having a definite impact.

Care home residents are more than three times as likely to be admitted to hospital as other over 65-year-olds. Visits can be confusing, particularly as eight out of 10 residents live with dementia.

The red bag makes transfers in and out of hospital more streamlined for hospital staff, care homes staff, first responders – and the patient. Continue reading “Guest blog: It’s in the bag”

Guest blog: Volunteers improving the quality of life of older residents in care homes

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This guest post was contributed by Kristen Stephenson, Volunteering Development Manager, at NCVO

The Volunteering in Care Homes’ Project was a three year pilot project funded by the Department of Health to evaluate the impact of volunteers on the quality of life of older residents in care homes. The evaluation showed a profound impact on the social and emotional wellbeing aspects of quality of life and quality of care for older residents.

  • 96% of staff and volunteers reported a positive impact on the social contact that residents had
  • 90% of staff and volunteers recorded that they thought volunteers had a positive impact on residents’ feeling of safety
  • for relatives, additional eyes and ears contributed to their peace of mind

Continue reading “Guest blog: Volunteers improving the quality of life of older residents in care homes”

‘Stuck in the middle’ – Self funders in care homes

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If you’ve ever made a massive purchase like buying a home or taken out a large loan or mortgage, as you picked up the pen to sign on the dotted line, you might well have had your doubts about whether you’d really read and understood all the small print. Moving into a care home is another one of those huge decisions, with major consequences if you get it wrong. So it’s just as vital to understand what you’re signing.

Yet moving into a care home is frequently a hurried and pressurised decision, which for many comes after a spell in hospital. People are often ill, facing the stress of living with new levels of disability and confronting the reality of losing their home, community and identity. Some will also have reduced mental capacity. At times like these reading the small print is often not a priority and, in any case, many people are faced with limited options so can feel they have no choice but to agree to the home’s terms and conditions. Continue reading “‘Stuck in the middle’ – Self funders in care homes”

Depression: Asking the right questions

An older couple talking

This guest blog from Alison Cranage of the charity MQ: Transforming Mental Health describes a project that aims to uncover the most important issues for depression research. If you, or someone you know, have been affected by depression at any point in your life, MQ would like to hear from you. What issues do you think depression research should address? Your views will help shape future research into the condition.

Continue reading “Depression: Asking the right questions”

Who cares about Jenny and James?

Jenny is 64 and her husband James is 74. James has dementia and is cared for by Jenny, who has put a lot of effort into getting an appropriate care package put in place.

In this short video, Jenny explains the challenges she’s experienced in trying to arrange care for James.

Find out more about Age UK’s campaign for better care at www.ageuk.org.uk/careincrisis

Government responds to the Francis Inquiry

The first inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust  catalogued extensive examples of neglectful care and appalling patient experiences. Stories of people being ignored, dehydrated, abused were visible signs of an organisation that had forgotten basic principles of care and at worst, wilfully put organisational considerations ahead of patients. Many, if not most, of the patients involved were older people.

The second inquiry reported in February and included 290 recommendations
that could help to avoid the same situation arising again, not just in Staffordshire, but throughout the NHS. You can see what we said about it in our blog. 440x210_care_home

The government yesterday gave its response to the report in a paper titled Patients first and foremost, and there’s much to be positive about in what it says.

The paper outlines changes to how services are regulated, reflecting an on-going review by the health and care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It describes much wider use of expert inspectors in hospitals including members of the public that bring expertise derived from their experience of care. Continue reading “Government responds to the Francis Inquiry”