Category: CT blog


Self-funding: the gift that keeps on giving

Posted on April 24th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. No Comments

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

Last month MPs lambasted providers for “mercilessly” ripping off customers “when they are not looking”. Okay, they weren’t talking about care homes. But they could have been. These providers exploit self-funders by way of what a relative called “hidden and dishonest” subsidies – the neglected story behind the underfunding headlines.

LaingBuisson is convinced the sector is being kept afloat by cross-subsidies from unsuspecting self-funders. The industry’s injured innocents, meanwhile, prefer an alternative reality: self-funders pay the “real costs” of care and providers absorb the shortfall in council prices. Unfortunately for the deniers, there’s ample evidence that the pollutant of underhand cross-subsidy is “endemic”, with private fees not only considerably higher than authority rates, but often soaring above even LaingBuisson’s benchmarks.

Without a breakdown of costs – advertised fees are all tip and no iceberg – self-funders can never … Read More »


Time to start planning for Care Home Open Day

Posted on April 18th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

While it’s only mid-April, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about Care Home Open Day. This year it’s on Friday, June 19th and will be the fifth time the event has been held.

Now is the time to send out your first press release to the local media so that they can diarise it and perhaps run a story in the lead-up to the event.

Now is also a good time to get signs organised – signs which can be placed at the front of care homes, promoting the event and encouraging the community to use the opportunity to come and have a look around. This is really cheap marketing and shows a willingness to be a part of the local community.

Some sort of special event can be planned for the day. As this year’s theme is … Read More »


Allotments have a lot to offer

Posted on April 10th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Allotments have a lot to offer

 

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

We have recently acquired an allotment, complete with inherited rhubarb patch and compost bins, so I have a bit of a bee in the bonnet about allotments.

I know that some care homes with extensive grounds have created their own allotments, making plots available to individuals from around the neighbourhood, which is a great way to engage with the local community.

Not all care homes have this option of course, but I think allotments should be included on the list of stimulating destinations to be offered as ‘trips out’, along with public gardens and the like.

Allotments are a riot of visual texture and, for me anyway, evoke those arcane times when humankind ceased being hunter-gatherers and began the epic task of cultivating the land and so laying the foundations for modern civilisation. I think allotments have the … Read More »


Nothing should replace the human touch

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

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Something I like about electric screwdrivers is that when the battery suddenly gives out, or they otherwise fail, one can always put it back in its case and finish whatever it was you were doing the old way – with a manual screwdriver and muscle power.

Something I dislike about computers and information technology in general is that when they fail, you’re buggered. Take publishing, which has depended on technology ever since William Caxton put town criers out of business. These days, when your Macintosh crashes, there is no option to go back to the older methods of hot metal typesetting and linotype machines; the hardware doesn’t exist outside museums and the skills have been lost.

It is the loss of skills that worries me most when I think about technology and care (both kinds; health and … Read More »


Oh death tax, where is thy sting?

Posted on March 27th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

Reactions to the latest proposed review of social care funding have ranged from cautious welcome to resigned cynicism. What, several commentators have tiredly enquired, can this new look at a difficult but already thoroughly rehearsed issue actually achieve? The answer surely lies in how the central question is posed.

If we ask simply how can social care be funded, all the old objections resurface, notably the big bill. Eventually a report will be produced and in all probability after a brief debate timid politicians will again banish the issue to the back burner or the long grass, depending on your cliché preference. If on the other hand, the facts that something has to be done and that whatever happens will cost a lot are stated as givens, the question then to be put to the public is … Read More »


Delayed discharge oversight holds promise

Posted on March 20th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

Although post-Budget celebrations have been understandably muted, social care providers might derive some consolation from the Chancellor’s sub-text. The improvement measures planned for councils that struggle to reduce delayed transfers of care (DTOC) could offer wider-ranging potential.

Given the impracticability of isolating issues around DTOC from general commissioning practice, the likely ripple effects of external intervention could constitute the thick end of a regulatory wedge – especially if implemented by CQC. Providers have long been frustrated by local authorities’ in-house replacement for independent oversight of commissioning: LGA’s buddy scheme in which performance is assessed at mates’ rates. Now Whitehall also seems to have become exasperated.

At the request of the Department of Health, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has directed councils towards the straight and narrow with an idiot’s guide to providers’ costs*. This, remember, … Read More »


Not wishing to seem ungrateful, but . . .

Posted on March 13th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

The great and the good have comprehensively welcomed the extra £2bn over three years of our money which the Government has committed to fund the social care needs of those who lack the means to pay for it themselves.

It would have been churlish and mean-spirited to dismiss the Chancellor’s announcement as nothing more than the bare minimum the Government can do in order to avoid significant long term damage, if not the general collapse of the publicly-funded social care system, and the equally significant knock-on effects on the beleaguered NHS.

But I do wonder at the absence of any howls of protest at the insult implicit in the promise of yet another ‘green paper’ on a long term solution to social care funding. I see no evidence that this one will have any more legs … Read More »


Mixed provision in a mixed retirement market

Posted on March 6th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A man recently wrote to my local paper objecting to retirement units being built near to the centre of the town where I live.

“There is already more than enough retirement housing in the town,” he wrote. “Do we want to become a community of geriatrics?”

He has a point, particularly as younger people are being priced out of the town’s housing market. The writer mentioned that he himself was a pensioner in his 70s so we may assume that he enjoys living in a multigenerational community.

But around the country the township demographic is getting older and yet the supply of ‘age qualified’ housing in the UK is only about 0.05%, compared to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where it ranges between 5 and 7%.

‘Retirement villages’ and the like are enjoying a period of growth … Read More »


Health and social care: poles part in the public perception

Posted on February 27th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Health and social care: poles part in the public perception

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Despite increased media attention, social care remains a low priority issue in the mind of the general public.

Last week, in the latest ‘Issues Index’ published by IpsosMori and the Economist, British people ranked social care and an ageing population ninth in their list of concerns, overshadowed by Brexit, immigration, the economy, housing, unemployment, education, poverty and inequality.

Concern about the NHS came top of the poll, so are we to conclude that wider society is content for the needs of the relatively few elderly people who cannot pay their own way to be ignored, provided that we have a sufficiency of A&Es and maternity units?

I think that’s how government sees it; that spernding more public money on social care to reduce ‘bed blocking’ may not be a panacea for the NHS and that asset-poor elderly people … Read More »


Not the retiring sort

Posted on February 20th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

 

In the unlikely event of the queen’s ever asking me, “And what do you do?”, I will have a problem; I can’t bring myself to use the word “retired”.

Retirement reeks of the now largely discredited disengagement theory, which argued that ageing was an inevitable, mutual withdrawal leading to decreasing interaction with others. That’s not at all how I feel. I used to make a joke of it by saying I was ‘re-tyred’, my engine refurbished, ready to fire on all cylinders, but it came to sound a bit forced. These days I tend to fall back on, “I’ve stopped full time work”, but that defines me by what I used to do, not what I am. “Pensioner” is of course even worse; surely I’m more than simply a recipient of unearned income. But what are … Read More »



Latest blog posts

Self-funding: the gift that keeps on giving

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

Last month MPs lambasted providers for “mercilessly” ripping off customers “when they are not looking”. Okay, they weren’t talking about...

Time to start planning for Care Home Open Day

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

While it’s only mid-April, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about Care Home Open Day. This year it’s on...

Allotments have a lot to offer

 

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

We have recently acquired an allotment, complete with inherited rhubarb patch and compost bins, so I have a bit...