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Found 54 results
  1. News Article
    Many unpaid carers looking after vulnerable friends or relatives during the coronavirus crisis say they are worried about how they will cope this winter. Almost 6,000 unpaid carers completed a Carers UK online questionnaire. Eight in 10 said they had been doing more, with fewer breaks, since the pandemic began - and three-quarters said they were exhausted. The government said it recognised the "vital role" of unpaid carers. In the Carers UK survey, 58% of carers said they had seen their physical health affected by caring through the pandemic, while 64% said their mental health had worsened. People also said day centres and reductions in other services meant the help they once got had reduced or disappeared, leaving many feeling worn out and isolated. Carers UK wants such services up and running again as a matter of urgency. Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: "The majority of carers have only known worry and exhaustion throughout this pandemic. "They continue to provide extraordinary hours of care, without the usual help from family and friends, and with limited or no support from local services." "It's no surprise that carers' physical and mental health is suffering, badly. I am deeply concerned that so many carers are on the brink and desperately worried about how they will manage during the next wave of the pandemic." Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 October 2020
  2. News Article
    A group of experts in nursing and infection prevention and control (IPC) is today warning against the use of IPC measures as a “rationale” for stopping safe and compassionate visits in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a new open letter published in Nursing Times, the specialists say that preventing people from visiting loved ones in social care settings in the name of IPC is a “misinterpretation and at times even abuse” of IPC principles. The letter is the brainchild of independent global health consultant and former Infection Prevention Society (IPS) president, Jules Storr. Among the signatories are five former IPC presidents, current president Pat Cattini as well as incoming president Jennie Wilson. Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, is also on the list, Helen Hughes, chief executive of Patient Safety Learning, as well as leading IPC nurse specialists, nurse academics, a GP and carers. Ms Storr, a nurse by background, and the hub topic lead, said she was motivated to take action after hearing “the most heart-breaking” stories from health professionals and relatives of residents about restricted visits in the UK in the wake of COVID-19. Some had not seen relatives for weeks or months, whilst others were only allowed to see their loved one once a week for 20 minutes at a distance, she said. One individual had told her how when their father had died only one family member was permitted in the home and they were not allowed to sit close enough to hold his hand. Ms Storr said these practices were “absolutely outrageous and wrong from an infection prevention point of view”. Read full story Source: Nursing Times, 16 October 2020
  3. Content Article
    The taskforce carefully considered an extensive range of issues in relation to the social care sector as a whole, brought together as key themes. These included the provision of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing arrangements, the winter flu vaccination programme, infection prevention and control, and issues of funding. The taskforce examined a number of issues relating to the workforce and family carers (unpaid), including how best to restrict the movement of people between care and health settings. Among other themes, the taskforce reviewed the role of clinical support within the sector, the availability and application of insights from data, and implications of inspection and regulation. This report sets out the action that will need be taken to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the sector, both for those who rely on care and support, and the social care workforce. This report sets out how we can enable people to live as safely as possible while maintaining contacts and activity that enhance the health and wellbeing of service users and family carers. Throughout this report, a number of recommendations are made based on learning from the first phase of the pandemic. They range from 'quick wins' to consideration of topics that will require a degree of more substantial change and/or additional resource. In addition, there are a number of supporting recommendations in the annexed reports of the subject-specific advisory groups, which should be considered in tandem with the main report recommendations.
  4. Event
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    Our ICUsteps trustees and invited guests answer questions about recovery from critical illness and what patients and relatives can do to help support their recovery. Book here
  5. Content Article
    This was an explorative study, with qualitative in-depth interviews of 23 family carers of older people with suspected or diagnosed dementia. Family carers participated after receiving information primarily through health professionals working in dementia care. A semi-structured topic guide was used in a flexible way to capture participants’ experiences. A four-step inductive analysis of the transcripts was informed by hermeneutic-phenomenological analysis.
  6. Content Article
    The outpatient appointment Attending an outpatient appointment, in my experience, is daunting at the best of times. First, there is the appointment date. Often you have had to wait an exceptionally long time for this appointment (providing the referral letter hasn’t been lost). The date and time are chosen by the Trust. There are some Trusts and specialities that will allow you to choose a time and place, but more often than not you are not able to choose and changing the date and time can prove tricky. There are many reasons for a patient not to turn up for an appointment. These reasons and how to mitigate them are looked at by Trusts. The 'Did not attend' (DNA) rate is looked at by Trusts. DNAs have an enormous impact on the healthcare system in terms of increasing both costs and waiting times. Trusts often want to reduce these to: reduce costs improve clinic or service efficiency enable more effective booking of slots reduce mismatch between demand and capacity increase productivity. Then there is getting there. Getting time off work or college, making childcare arrangements, getting transport… finding parking! Before patients even get to the appointment, they have often been up a while planning this trip. Imagine what this must be like for a patient with learning disabilities. This poses even more planning. What medication might we meed to take with us? Are there changing facilities for adults? Can we get access? Is there space to wait? Will anyone understand me? How long will we be there for? Do they have all my information? Services need to be designed with patients' needs at the forefront: the ability to change appointment dates, the location in where the appointment is held, parking facilities, length of appointment, type of appointment, is a virtual appointment or telephone appointment more appropriate? If you have a learning disability, you may have a family member or carer with you. If you have transitioned out of children’s services you will be seeing someone new, in a new environment. You may not have had the time to discuss the fine nuances to your care that is really important to you. You have now left the comfort bubble of paediatrics where you and your family had built up trust with the previous consultant and care team, and you are now having to build up new relationships. What is in place for you to feel comfortable? Has anyone asked what would help? The consultation Reasonable adjustments such as a double-length consultation is a great way of ensuring people with learning disabilities have enough time to process information and are given time to answer questions. Extra time is only one of many reasonable adjustments that can be made. An example... I would like to reflect on a recent time when I cared for a patient with autism and I didn’t have all the information to enable me to plan care for them at this particular time. This patient had spinal surgery and spent a very brief period on the intensive care unit. As part of my role as a critical care outreach nurse, I see patients who have been in the intensive care unit to check that they are doing well, that ongoing plans of care are in place and that they understand what has happened to them. I read that this patient had autism, but I had no other information. I was unaware of how the autism affected her, if she needed a carer, what she likes, dislikes, how to approach conversations or anything that was important to her. There is a health passport that can be used to aid exactly this information, this is filled out by the patient with their family or carer. Unfortunately, I could not locate the passport. I read the medical notes and went in armed with my usual questions and proforma that we use for all patients. Usual visits like this last from around 10 minutes (for a quick check) to an hour if they are a complex long stay. With the operation that this patient had, I was expecting to be with the patient for around 20 minutes. After introducing myself to the patient, it was clear that the proforma I was going to use wasn’t going to work. Tick boxes and quick fire questions were not the right way of going about this consultation. This patient was scared. More scared than a patient without autism. Their usual routine was gone, they were unable to ask as many questions as they normally would as the nurses and doctors were busy, their surroundings were different, the food was different, new medications, new faces everyday – there was no consistency. The ward round had just happened, the patient had a good plan in place and was due to go home the following day. Normally, this would mean that my visit would be a quick one as the clinical needs of the patient are less complex. This visit took me 90 minutes. Not only did I not have the care passport to hand, due to the coronavirus pandemic I had a face mask on. I felt completely ill-equipped for this consultation. I knew I was missing vital pieces of information which would help me communicate with this patent more effectively. So much of our communication is from facial expressions. A smile for reassurance makes a huge difference. I now have yet another barrier to overcome to communicate with my patient in a way that they can understand and feel comfortable. This particular patient asked many questions. This I had not factored into my day. I have a list of 12 patients to see, in between answering calls from staff on wards who have unwell patients for me to review. It’s too late to abandon the consultation or leave it for a less busy time. I’m at the patient’s bedside and I’m already committed to giving this patient my full attention. After we spent around 20 minutes discussing why I had to wear a mask, what the mask was made of, how many I had to wear in a day, why patients were not wearing masks, we then got onto the subject of food. Where the food is made, how does it get here, who heats it up? Then it came to the other patients in the bay. She knew all of them by name and proceeded to tell me the goings on that happened during the night. I’m clearly not going to get my proforma completed here. This is because my proforma is not important to my patient. "What matters to you?" During my Darzi Fellowship I had the opportunity to visit the Royal Free. Here I met an amazing physiotherapist called Karen Turner. She introduced me to asking the question ‘What matters to you?’ Simple – but so very effective and empowering for your patient to be asked this. The food, my mask and the people around her were of greatest importance to my patient at this time – not what she thought of her stay or if she wanted me to go through the intensive care unit steps booklet; these were important for me to know, these were questions that gave the Trust insight of what is important to them. It dawned on me that we had designed our follow-up service to suit us and not involved families or the patient. I feel a quality improvement project coming on! Reasonable adjustments take planning, as clinicians we need to know about them. We need to factor them into our work. The NHS has just enough capacity to run if all patients followed the NHS pathways, if all patients grasped everything and followed all instructions, took their medications on time, turned up for their appointments – there wouldn’t be a problem. It takes me back to the clip from the BBC programme ‘Yes Minister’ of the fully functioning hospital with no patients and that services run very well without patients! Currently systems within the NHS are designed around the building, the staff within it and the targets that are set out by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. If we started designing care and access around patient need and ask them what would make it easier – what helps? what matters to you? – what would healthcare look like? During this time of uncertainty and change, I see exciting opportunities to take stock and see what’s working and what isn’t – and lets start involving patients at every stage. Call to action What are you doing to ensure reasonable adjustments are made for people with learning disabilities where you work? What more needs to be done to ensure that people with learning disabilities feel part of the conversation and play an active role in their care? Are you a patient, carer or relative? What has your experience been like? Have you any experiences in designing services with patients? Perhaps you are a patient and have been a part of the process. Add your comments below, start a conversation in the Community area or contact us. We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
  7. Content Article
    This first insight document focuses on adult social care: reviewing data on outbreaks, deaths and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and in particular highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on staff wellbeing and the financial viability of adult social care services. It describes the need – now more acute than ever – for whole system working across different sectors to ensure safer care. It also outlines future areas of focus, including infection control both within and between services, how local systems are engaging social care organisations in the management of COVID-19, and how care for people from vulnerable groups is being managed through the crisis.
  8. News Article
    More than 170 carers have called a whistleblowing helpline since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report that highlights the voices of frontline workers and lays bare a catalogue of safety concerns. Compassion in Care, which operates the helpline for care workers, says it is seeing the whistleblowing process move at “unprecedented speed” as the coronavirus crisis unfolds, with many concerns being ignored. With the coronavirus death toll mounting in care homes, the charity’s report flags the “horrendous” unsafe conditions workers are facing amid concerns over lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as the impact on carers’ mental health. One whistleblower likens the situation to a “war zone” with people struggling to breathe, while another describes the pain of not having the time, because of the overwhelming workload, to even hold distressed residents’ hands. In a new report, titled When the Silence Wins, Compassion in Care’s founder, Eileen Chubb, who is herself a former care whistleblower, writes: “During this crisis I have experienced the whistleblowing process moving at unprecedented speed, at such a high-volume and involving whistleblowing issues that are without exception extremely serious." “What is emerging from these cases is a lack of action by employers in response to genuine concerns." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 May 2020
  9. News Article
    Hundreds of people are dying in care homes from confirmed or suspected coronavirus without yet being officially counted, the Guardian has learned. More than 120 residents of the UK’s largest charitable provider of care homes are thought to have died from the virus in the last three weeks, while another network of care homes is reported to have recorded 88 deaths. Care England, the industry body, estimated that the death toll is likely to be close to 1,000, despite the only available official figure for care home fatalities being dramatically lower. The gulf in the figures has prompted warnings that ministers are underestimating the impact of Covid-19 on society’s most frail, and are failing to sufficiently help besieged care homes and workers. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 April 2020
  10. Content Article
    My dad is 60 years old. He was diagnosed with young-onset dementia 3.5 years ago. For the past 2.5 of those, he has been relatively stable – a slow, but steady decline. In the past year, he’s changed dramatically. Problem 1 – why were they left with no ongoing support? As Dad is young, he slipped through the net of adult social care. Apart from a home visit 3.5 years ago, my parents have been left to deal with the dementia by themselves. No one knew who should pick his care up. Just before Christmas, we hit crisis point – Dad’s behaviour was becoming far too difficult and unpredictable for one person to handle. In February, we’d had another home visit and a checklist assessment was carried out. This was the first step towards help through an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment. Problem 2 – No protocol in place for adults with young-onset dementia Fast forward a month, and adult social care has washed their hands of Dad. Even though he’s an adult, he doesn’t fall under their team. He falls under the mental health team – and even though they work in the same building, his case hasn’t been transferred internally. The request for help has to be resubmitted. So, we start again. Problem 3 – COVID-19 hits The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for all of us. But for carers, there’s an extra layer of uncertainty – how long will any respite or day care continue, before they’re left out in the cold? More pressingly for our family, Dad’s care home went into lockdown while he was there for respite. It meant we faced the agonising choice – leave him there for the foreseeable, or know that we would have no help, support or relief from his 24-hour care needs. We opted to leave him there. A few weeks later, the fever started. The next day, his persistent cough developed. The care home wanted him out and asked my mother to collect him – against all Government and NHS advice. They risked him passing it onto her. My initial concern was if he did, who would call for help if she needed it? The situation calmed and he has been allowed to stay for at least the remainder of his period of self-isolation. But, while he’s there he’s just sitting alone in his room. No one to talk to, no comprehension of what’s going on outside. Nothing. What will he be like after self-isolation? Will his dementia deteriorate rapidly? Will he recognise anything afterwards? Only time will tell. Problem 4 – the financial assessment As part of NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, the adult social care element requires a financial assessment. (Yes, you’ll note adult social care is apparently taking an interest now money is involved.) They ask that you try to fill in the mammoth form within 7 days. It’s overwhelming, especially in the middle of a stressful situation. You’re given no information as to what support package you might be offered – but expected to give out some of the most personal details about yourself. The pandemic has exacerbated an already overburdened sector. There’s no face-to-face support for those overwhelmed with documentation. There’s no time to explain what it all means. There’s no time for help for those who need it. How can the Government help? Government has stepped in to provide much needed help and support to many people – but their job is essentially fighting fires. Adult social care is a ticking time bomb, and it’s putting people’s lives at risk. I’ve three asks of them: Care assessments must continue. Care homes must treat those with COVID-19 in line with NHS and Government guidance. Adult social care services must be adequately funded to allow them to fulfil their duties and provide support during this nightmare time.
  11. News Article
    The first two coronavirus deaths among care workers in England were announced, as industry leaders hit out at chronic shortages of protective equipment and urged the government to start treating social care as “a second front line”. Carol Jamabo, 56, a community carer for Cherish Elderly Care in Bury in Greater Manchester, died last Wednesday. Another carer died in a home run by MHA, the UK’s largest charitable social care provider, which said it was unclear where she contracted the virus. The death of a West Dumbartonshire care worker that emerged on Sunday was also confirmed by the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The fatalities came amid rising concern that those working in social care still do not have the protection they need amid the Covid-19 pandemic and that, without testing for the virus, staff risk contaminating care homes where elderly people are supposed to be “shielded”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 April 2020
  12. News Article
    A father has described the "huge impact" of losing respite care for his young daughter who has complex special needs. Tim Clarke and his wife Ana look after their six-year-old daughter Molly at home in Worcester. The family normally receives a few hours of outside care and educational help a week, but that ended with the coronavirus pandemic. Molly has been diagnosed with autism and also has medical issues including a cyst on her brain. One charity worker from the Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) Society, a condition which is on the autism spectrum, described parents of children with special needs as being in "survival mode". Watch video Source: BBC News, 1 April 2020
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