Category: Caring Times


Postponing the inevitable

Posted on April 9th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

In expressing their pleasure at being allocated an extra £40m in funding, Dementia Research UK makes the startling claim that dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK.

Well it startled me. On about two-thirds of the death certificates issued for people with dementia who have died, the cause of death is ascribed as pneumonia so what we have here is the conundrum of causality and co-morbidity that commonly confronts doctors. I think that the most that can be said is that dementia is an increasingly common condition contributing to mortality.

But hey, massaged facts and grant funding are the best of bedfellows. The extra £40m is certainly good news for Dementia Research UK, and for all of us; I think everyone is personally disturbed by the thought of developing dementia. Dementia Research UK chief … Read More »


Sector must improve care workers’ status, says healthcare insurer

Posted on April 6th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Sector must improve care workers’ status, says healthcare insurer

Private healthcare insurer Simplyhealth says improving the status of care work and providing greater support to informal or unpaid carers could help fund a sustainable health and social care system.

Statistics quoted by the company suggest that almost half (45%) of UK adults believe improving working conditions for the nation’s care workers would help reform the sector, while 43% of people would like to see more support given to informal or unpaid carers, such as simplifying the Carer’s Allowance process, to help fund a sustainable system.

The latest figures follow a report from the National Audit Office published February, criticising the Department of Health & Social Care for not doing enough to support a sustainable social care workforce, adding that care providers struggle to recruit and retain workers.

The Government has said it will launch a Green Paper consultation later this year on … Read More »


Target funds two new builds

Posted on April 5th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Target funds two new builds

UK-based Target Healthcare REIT has agreed contracts to buy and fund two new care homes.

At the end of last year Target had 49 care homes, having made five acquisitions during the year, with a further property under development, giving a total market value of £334.9m (June 2017: £282m).

Target has agreed a £15.6m deal to buy and fund a 68-bed care home in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, to be operated by Rotherwood Healthcare, and a 74-bed facility in Preston, Lancashire, to be let to L&M Healthcare.

The Shropshire home will replace an existing 45-bed home, being one of six care homes operated by Rotherwood Healthcare. The Preston care home will become the fifth site operated by L&M Healthcare across the North West of England. Both operators will be new tenants to Target Healthcare.

Both homes are scheduled to open during 2019.


Vive la différence!

Posted on April 3rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I confess that for much of the two decades of my involvement in the sector I have accepted the received wisdom that health care and social care integration is a goal worthy of pursuit, but I’m beginning to wonder if, rather than being a panacea of holy grail qualities, it may instead be a chimera which would turn and bite us.

The ever-burgeoning fiscal demands of healthcare are likely to perpetuate the relegation of social care to the role of poor relation, despite strong arguments that well-resourced social care could substantially reduce the burden on acute healthcare. I fear the reality is that healthcare demand will always grow to fill and exceed capacity.

And the two are chalk and cheese, with very different skills sets involved. Certainly there are common elements and interdependencies, just as there are with … Read More »


Integration is a ‘smokescreen’, says report

Posted on March 29th, by geoff in Caring Times. No Comments

A report by the Centre for Welfare Reform challenges the concept of health and social care integration and calls for a new, independent inspection body for social care.

Published in late March, ‘Reforming Social Care – time for radical change’ expresses doubt that any of the main political parties understand the seriousness of the situation facing social care or have the strategies to respond effectively to any of the challenges it presents.

The report’s author, Dr Robin Jackson, visiting research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire, debunks the idea of health and social care integration, citing Dame Denise Platt, the outgoing chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) who, 10 years ago , said the values of social care might be similar to health but the underpinning policy assumptions were different.

“The argument that a merger of health and social care … Read More »


Council should not have charged top-up fee while family sold home

Posted on March 28th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Council should not have charged top-up fee while family sold home

Norfolk County Council has agreed to investigate whether more care home residents have been incorrectly charged a top-up fee, after one family’s complaint was upheld by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

When the family placed their mother in a care home and needed to sell her house to pay for her care, the council should have offered the woman a so-called ‘affordable’ care home. This would not require the family to pay a top-up fee above what the council would contribute, for 12 weeks while the home was being sold.

Instead, the Ombudsman’s investigation found the council charged the family for those 12 weeks, wrongly arguing that because the woman’s capital, including her property, was above the £23,250 threshold, it did not have to offer her an affordable placement.

The council has waived the fee, and has agreed to check if … Read More »


Call for Parliamentary Commission alongside Green Paper on social care

Posted on March 27th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Call for Parliamentary Commission alongside Green Paper on social care

Ninety-eight Westminster politicians have written to Prime Minister Theresa May, calling for a ‘Parliamentary Commission’ to look at a long-term funding solution for health & social care.

Among the signatories to the letter are 21 select committee chairs who say the proposed commission could examine witnesses and make recommendations by Easter next year.

The Government is already preparing a Green Paper on social care funding, expected to be published in the summer but the signatories say a broader approach is needed. Totnes MP and chair of the health and social care select committee Sarah Wollaston said the Government needed to act with urgency and take a whole system approach to the funding of the NHS, social care and public health.

“We need to break down the political barriers and to agree a way forward,” said Ms Wollaston.

“We believe this is the best way … Read More »


Hope and goodwill can only hold for so long

Posted on March 26th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger ALAN LONG, Mears Group executive director

I welcomed the news last week that more than one million NHS workers will be receiving pay rises over the next three years. Less welcome, however, is the warning issued by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that the UK government’s plans for local authority funding could leave adult social care inadequately and inconsistently funded.

I have long campaigned for better pay and conditions for people working in the care sector. I want to see greater parity between NHS staff and care workers who are increasingly providing specialist services as more and more elderly and vulnerable people are being cared for in their own homes rather than in nursing homes or hospitals. My fear is that giving the deserving people in the NHS more money, will lead to more people simply leaving care roles, unless they are … Read More »


New guidelines for recognising and assessing pain in older adults

Posted on March 23rd, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on New guidelines for recognising and assessing pain in older adults

New recommendations to help healthcare professionals recognise and assess levels of pain in older people have been published in the scientific journal Age and Ageing.

The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) says there is growing evidence to demonstrate that chronic pain is more prevalent among the older population and pain that interferes with everyday activities increases with age. Alleviating pain in the older population is therefore a priority.

The guidelines seek to address specific areas in which improvements can be made. Specific areas that were identified as presenting a particular challenge when managing older people’s pain included ‘stoicism’ which can result in the underreporting of pain, the perception that increasing pain is a natural part of ageing and 10 minute consultations in the UK general practice which often limits older adults from engaging in meaningful conversation about their pain. It was also noted … Read More »


Survey shows improving quality of life for residents

Posted on March 22nd, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Survey shows improving quality of life for residents

Now in its sixth year, the 2017/18 Your Care Rating survey achieved its highest ever response rate of 40.5% for its Residents’ Survey, up from 35% in its first year of publication in 2013. The Family and Friends’ Survey also achieved a high response rate, of 48%. The Residents’ Survey received more than 16,500 responses from 820 care homes while over 12,000 questionnaires from 686 homes were completed for the Family and Friends’ Survey.

Conducted by independent market research organisation Ipsos MORI, the Your Care Rating surveys produce an Overall Performance Rating (OPR) out of 1000, and across all participating homes. For 2017/18, the overall result was an average score of 878 for the Residents’ Survey and 836 for the Family and Friends’ Survey. Your Care Rating founding director Mel Knight said the care home sector was all too often perceived … Read More »



Latest blog posts

Vive la différence!

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I confess that for much of the two decades of my involvement in the sector I have accepted the received...

Hope and goodwill can only hold for so long

By guest blogger ALAN LONG, Mears Group executive director

I welcomed the news last week that more than one million NHS workers will be receiving pay rises over...

New liberty rules – a breath of fresh air?

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Good news that the Government intends to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with a system to be called...