Category: CT blog


Care homes discounted in end of life care

Posted on August 14th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I am sure that we all want those who we care for to experience ‘a good death’ when the time comes. At present about one-in-five people spend their last days and hours in a care home and I know of many care homes which deliver excellent standards of end of life care.

Staff in hundreds of care homes have gone through the rigorous assessment procedures of the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) in end of life care, with many homes achieving ‘beacon’ status, the highest level of accreditation awarded by GSF. Indeed, some care homes actively promote best practise, giving other care homes and agencies the benefit of their expertise.

A recent survey of organisations providing specialist palliative care services to care homes gives the briefest of mentions to the good work done by care homes and focuses instead … Read More »


Perhaps I’m ‘app’athetic

Posted on August 7th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I’ve got an app in my toolbox that allows me to bang-in nails – I call it a hammer. I’ve got another app, a drill, that allows me to make perfectly circular holes in wood, but I think the app I like best is the one which enables me to make mortise joints – I call it a chisel.

You can see that I’m no stranger to apps – I’ve been using them since I was a boy – so I find it hard to stifle a yawn when somebody phones me up or sends me a press release telling me all about a new app which will make elderly care so terrific that we’ll all be queuing-up to move into our nearest care home at the first sign of a headache once we’ve turned 65.

Without exception, … Read More »


Fond memories of long distance discomfort

Posted on July 31st, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Fond memories of long distance discomfort

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

The Ford Anglia, the earliest models of which were built in 1939, was a great car for a small family; perfect for trundling down to visit old Uncle Frank in his care home in Margate. With a couple of suitcases fixed to the roof with long leather straps going through the tops of the windows, you could even bump down to Cornwall in it for your annual holiday.

But for all its retro lines and sturdy construction, I don’t think I’d want to drive a Ford Anglia today; not much in the way of suspension, rattled to blazes at anything over 50, the non-powered oversteering raised the hairs on the back of your hands and I’m not sure if you can still get the tyres.

While you still see enthusiasts trundling about in them on sunny weekends, … Read More »


Money Can’t Buy Me Care

Posted on July 24th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Every so often someone writing a speech or press release trots out the tired old trope about “older people receiving the care they deserve”.

As a piece of patronising drivel it’s hard to beat. Nobody “deserves” good care; it’s not something one receives as a reward for meritorious conduct, you don’t get good care in recognition of your past contribution to society. Older people get good care because they need it. End of story.

Well, not quite; even if we accept the word ‘care’ as shorthand for ‘care services’, the situation doesn’t change. The reality of limited resources means that care services are rationed, but on the dual bases of means and need, not ‘deservability’.

Having pots of money might guarantee you good care services but not necessarily good care. Otherwise there’d be no need for CQC to inspect … Read More »


Building true communities

Posted on July 17th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 6 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Nightingale House, a care home in South London, is soon to include a children’s nursery on the same site; the first example in the UK, so far as I am aware, of this kind of co-provision.

While there will always be some who will seek the sense of protection and security afforded by gated communities and the like, I think a true sense of community can only come from a mix of age groups, all of whom see a particular group of buildings and open spaces as being very much a ‘shared turf’ where the generations can engage with each other and all enjoy richer lives as a consequence.

There will always be limitations on how truly a ‘home’ a care home can be but, by integrating a care home with its surrounding social environment, I think that … Read More »


Telling it like it is

Posted on July 10th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

With accustomed dismay I monitored the media’s response to the Care Quality Commission’s recently published ‘State of Social Care’ report.

Unlike the media response, the report itself was neither unreasonable nor alarmist but very few people will take the trouble to read it, misguidedly relying on newspaper, TV and radio reports to render an accurate and unweighted account.

It was ever thus and there is little, it seems, that the sector can do other than grimace and bear it. But what annoys me most is that, in their never-ending pursuit of a bad news story, the national media cause a lot of unwarranted anxiety and distress to older people and their families.

Most of us perceive the news of the day through the filters of our own experience, judgment and prejudices, but the mental frailty which accompanies old … Read More »


The man who cried ‘Fire!’

Posted on July 3rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 4 comments

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

On 27 June, David Behan, the chief executive of the Care Quality Commission wrote to all providers of care homes in England on the issue of fire safety. He was motivated of course by the Grenfell Tower disaster which has occurred a fortnight earlier. Makes sense?

No, actually it doesn’t make sense. It is difficult to believe that anyone who ever looks at television, listens to the radio, reads a newspaper, talks to friends, or relates to any social media is not aware of and has not been deeply moved by the horror of the North Kensington fire. And is it possible that anyone who lives in, has relatives who live in, or has responsibility for a sizeable building has not asked themselves whether those premises might be vulnerable to a fate similar to that which overtook … Read More »


Betrayers of self-funders’ trust?

Posted on June 26th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 4 comments

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

That loud clucking noise you can hear is the sound of chickens coming home to roost. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has turned over a rock and found a mess of repellant practices that should have the care home sector hanging its collective head in shame. But the day of reckoning could be nigh.

Not least for providers that exploit self-funders – robbing Peter to pay for Paul, while keeping Peter in the dark, is just one example. If, like me, you have come across pathetic attempts to justify “cross-subsidies” by citing differential pricing for airline seats and hotel rooms, you too may have wondered how holiday jaunts can be compared with once in a lifetime decisions, typically taken at a time of crisis.

While the sector frets about the detrimental effects of unfavourable quality ratings, it … Read More »


Crisis, what crisis?

Posted on June 19th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

The news that there has been a drop in the numbers of nurses from the European Union registering to work in Britain caused consternation in mid-June when the Health Foundation published comparative figures for July 2016 and April 2017. On reflection though, there are three words in that sentence which need qualification – ‘news’, ‘drop’ and ‘consternation’.

Is this statistic really ‘news’, in the sense of being information which we didn’t have before, which is unexpected, which comes across as new? In reality it hardly fits any of those criteria. The UK has long depended on recruitment from overseas to make up for the shortfall of British candidates for the nursing profession, and since 2008 the majority of international nurses registering in the UK have come from other EU countries. So no-one should really be surprised that … Read More »


No more fudges please

Posted on June 12th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A few blogs ago I opined that social care would not figure as a key issue in the general election. Well, I was wrong, but who could have predicted that the Tories would be so ill-advised as to make it part of their manifesto in such a cack-handed way?

Still, it was right up there alongside Brexit and the NHS, and that’s good news for the sector as social care will not now be easily relegated to its former corner of the ‘issues to dodge’ box. As the sun sets on the current administration, perhaps we should be grateful that, in proposing a £100k asset threshold while at the same time extending the means test to include homecare, and then hurriedly tacking-on an unspecified cap to an individual’s liability, future governments have been given a pretty clear … Read More »



Latest blog posts

Care homes discounted in end of life care

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I am sure that we all want those who we care for to experience ‘a good death’ when the time...

Perhaps I’m ‘app’athetic

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I’ve got an app in my toolbox that allows me to bang-in nails – I call it a hammer. I’ve...

Fond memories of long distance discomfort

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

The Ford Anglia, the earliest models of which were built in 1939, was a great car for a small family;...