24th April 2015 - Easy read party manifestos launched ahead of election

Mencap has produced easy read versions of the election manifestos of the main political parties

Today, the main five national political parties have launched accessible versions of their party manifestos for people with a learning disability. The easy read manifestos use simple language and pictures, which make it easier for people with communication difficulties to understand what each party stands for.

The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP have worked with Mencap to produce the easy read manifestos, with the Greens also producing an accessible version of their manifesto. All five manifestos have gone live on Mencap's website today.

Inaccessible politics discouraged 64% of people with a learning disability from voting in local elections last May. In response, Ismail Kaji, Mencap's Parliamentary Affairs Assistant, who has a learning disability, wrote to all of the Party Leaders to ask them to produce easy read manifestos.

For more information see link



24th April 2015 - Guidance to support residents in care homes to vote

We have just published guidance to help support residents in care homes to participate in the upcoming election on 7 May, if they wish to do so.

Residents in care homes should be supported in exercising their civil rights, including the right to vote in elections. Supporting residents to vote is part of providing a high quality service that empowers individuals to participate in society and exercise choice.

This guidance is available within the professionals area of the website.

For more information see link



24th April 2015 - Poor homecare training putting elderly at risk, according to survey

New survey reveals that staff are receiving inadequate homecare training putting elderly and disabled at risk.

The survey conducted by UNISON included more than 1,000 care workers employed by councils and private firms across the UK.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) said they cared for people with dementia. Despite this, more than a quarter (27 per cent) had received no training in how to work with people with this illness.

Additionally, homecare workers carry out many tasks such as; changing catheter bags, peg feeding, stoma care and administering medication for which they receive little or no training.

For more information see link



19th December 2014 - Carers Rights Guide – looking after someone

If you are looking after someone, find out about your rights as a carer and where you can go for financial or practical help.

Carers Rights Guide 2014-15Carers UK produces the Carers Rights Guide each year to outline carers' essential rights and signpost what financial and practical help is available.

For more information see link



17th December 2014 - Become a Dementia Friend today

Understand a bit more about dementia, and the little ways you can help.

For more information see link



15th December 2014 - Request your free Kit for people with dementia

Dementia can disconnect people, not just from their memories, but from family, friends and the wider community. When dementia affects someone close to you, we understand it can be hard to know what to do. That's why we created our Staying Connected Kit, which you can request for free.

Your free Staying Connected Kit includes:

• Information about dementia

• Tips for supporting someone with dementia

• A guide to the support services available to you

• Some facts about Alzheimer's Society

• Guidance on what it's like to have dementia

• A handy fridge magnet and pen to help plan your week

For more information see link




15th December 2014 - CQC: Information published soon on use of cameras in care settings

Following our Public Board Meeting today (Wednesday 19 November), it has been agreed in principle to publish information for providers, as well as for people who use services and their loved ones, about the use of covert or overt surveillance to monitor care.

Over the last year, we have been seeking views from people who use services, carers, providers, staff and other partners about this important topic.

Our Board members have today approved for the information to be included in the final documents but have asked that the information for the public be written in a more accessible way.

We will now work towards publishing this information in the new year.

For more information see link



12th December 2014 - Defeating loneliness this Christmas

Have you seen the new BBC poll which draws attention once again to the plight of the lonely at Christmas?

2,000 adults were surveyed and the findings revealed 
ƍ percent of all adults and 10 percent of those aged over 65 expect to spend Christmas mostly on their own.'

Of course, loneliness is an issue for many – often older – people throughout the year, not just Christmas. Indeed, the organisers of World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 made it a central theme.

For more information see link.



2nd December 2014 - Burstow Report on the Future of Home Care Workforce

If home care is not in crisis yet, it soon will be. More people need care and there is less money to pay for it and not enough people willing to do the work. It is not organised nearly as well as it could be and it appears designed to keep caring professional relationships from forming between workers and those they care for. We are probably lucky there hasn't been a major home care scandal yet. If things don't change, it may only be a matter of time. This Commission was formed with a sense of that urgency and a need to change.

This report outlines clear recommendations on what needs to change to have a professional, well-paid, well-trained and properly regulated workforce who can provide the quality of care at home that people need. But it also recognises the complex nature of social care and the interrelatedness of problems and solutions. It features the stories of care workers, in their own words, who powerfully speak on both what needs to change and what could be the future of care.

For more information see link



2nd December 2014 - CQC: How safety incidents will be acted upon from next April


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the regulator for work place health and safety, is seeking views with CQC on how various bodies should take action when staff and people who are receiving health and care services experience avoidable harm in these environments.

From next April, CQC will become responsible for deciding whether regulatory action needs to be taken in response to reported health and safety incidents that involve people who use health and adult social care services that are regulated by CQC. These incidents could include patient deaths following healthcare-associated infections on hospital wards and people being severely injured after being physically restrained in a way that is not in line with national guidance.

For more information see link



2nd December 2014 - How the government is supporting carers

Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, writes about the contribution of carers and new funding for projects to support carers.

Carers make a vital contribution, often balancing caring with other aspects of their lives, sometimes caring for more than one person or balancing working and caring.

We've reformed the law so that from April 2015 carers will have clear new rights to be assessed and these assessments will include consideration of the impact of caring on the carer, and the things that they want to achieve in their day-to-day life.

For more information see link




2nd December - 2014 CQC: 'Good' adult social care so far

Our Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, will highlight the first adult social care services to be rated as Good in her speech at today's National Children and Adult Services (NCAS) Conference in Manchester.

Of the 30 reports we've published so far of adult social care services inspected as part of our new, more rigorous and expert-led inspection regime, 21 have been judged as 'Good'

Our 'new approach' was rolled out formally earlier this month and it includes rating care homes and other adult social care services for the first time on a four point scale of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate to help the public make informed choices about their care.

For more information see link


5th December 2014 - NHS needs to be strengthened by investment in social care

Directors of adult social services have welcomed announcements that additional funds will be made available to the NHS in Today's Autumn Statement. But they have also warned that one of the key issues facing health agencies in England is the lack of out-of-hospital care for the many thousands of older people who need and deserve it.

According to ADASS president David Pearson, “putting additional resources into health while simultaneously reducing social care spending is a nonsense.

“Put simply,” he said, “despite local government's commendable resolve to work closely with the NHS to support the increasing numbers of people who leave hospital every week, social care budgets have been neglected and starved of the vital funding they need in order to make sure that unsustainable pressure on accident and emergency and other hospital services is relieved.

For more information see link



5th December 2014 - I'm Still Me - a narrative for coordinated support for older people

I'm Still Me is a co-produced narrative which sets out how older people want health and social care services to work together to help improve the quality of their lives.

For more information see link




5th December 2014 - Living and dying with dementia: barriers to care

Dementia sufferers are not getting the care they need because the condition is not recognised as a terminal illness, two leading charities have claimed.

A report by Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Alzheimer's Society said dementia sufferers faced barriers to receiving the high-quality care they require:

Living and dying with dementia in England: Barriers to care

The report draws on research from across the UK and particularly from University College London (UCL), as well as findings from health and social care services. Following its publication, Marie Curie and Alzheimer's Society is aiming to bring together NHS organisations, social care bodies, royal colleges, charities, researchers, and people with experience of dementia and end of life care, to plot out how to address the barriers and develop an action plan that each organisation can to sign up to.

The three main barriers that prevent many people from accessing appropriate high-quality care at the end of their lives include:

Inadequate Quality of Care
Identification and Planning
Inequality of Access

For more information see link




5th December 2014 - Dementia care past & present

Pauline Shaw, Director of Care & Service Development at The Royal Star & Garter Homes, recalls her experiences of dementia care through her career

There are journeys we make in life which have a profound impact, and this is a sample of an important journey for me.

I sometimes think back through my career in health care and reflect upon different times, working with a variety of people and in a range of care settings. Right at the very beginning I remember working as a health care assistant in what was known as a Geriatric Hospital in a former workhouse in Suffolk. It conjures up a mental image of an imposing and unforgiving brick building with rows of small, unhappy windows where former inmates would have once stood and gazed outside. It was indeed a massive brick building, with long, almost endless, dull corridors which opened up into wards where rows of beds stood in regimental lines.

For more information see link



5th December 2014 - Deprivation of Liberty - new court procedure

Richard Rook (Care Providers Alliance) has produced a briefing for providers on the new court procedures for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

The Court of Protection has recently adopted a new procedure for cases where a deprivation of liberty needs to be authorised in order to provide care for an adult somewhere other than a care home or hospital. The new procedure will mean that uncontentious cases can now be decided by a judge without a court hearing.

Earlier this year, in the Cheshire West case, the Supreme Court ruled that adults who lack capacity to make decisions about their own care would be deprived of their liberty if their care plan meant that they were subject to “continuous supervision and control” and are “not free to leave”.

For more information see link



5th December 2014 - Benefit Rates for April 2015 to 2016

This publication lists the proposed benefit and pension rates for 2015 to 2016 as set out in the statement made by Minister of State for Work and Pensions, Steve Webb, in the House of Commons on Thursday 4 December 2014.

For more information see link



20th November 2014 - CQC: Covert care camera guidance approved

Guidance for people who install hidden cameras to check on standards of their own or a relative's care has been approved by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The information covers the issues of privacy and dignity that should be considered before taking the step of using a covert camera.

The guidance is expected to be published in the new year.

The care regulator says it neither encourages nor discourages camera use.

It added that it does look at footage which is brought to its attention.

Information is also being published for care providers on what they need to take into account if they are thinking of installing hidden or visible cameras in their homes.

For more information see link



21st November 2014 - Financing social care: 'time for society to make its choice'

The prospect of further cuts in social care budgets is very likely to erode further our capacity to provide vital care and support to disabled and older people; to ensure their safety and wellbeing, and to create conditions to underpin resilient, self-determining communities.

This was the message ADASS President David Pearson brings to Parliament today and is due to present to the House of Commons Health Select Committee inquiry into health and care finance.

Only weeks before the Chancellor was due to announce his Autumn Statement, Mr Pearson warned that meeting the £4.3 billion gap opening up between the cost of rising demand and the ability of social care departments to meet them (See LGA press release 28 October 2014) became more challenging month by month.

For more information see link



21st November 2014 - Have you wondered what goes on during a CQC Inspection?

Well here's your opportunity to find out… BBC's Radio 4 were given exclusive access to accompany one of our social care inspection teams, on a recent unannounced inspection of a care home, so the public can find out exactly what happens when our inspectors come to call.

During the 'day-in-the-life-of' style report you will be able to find out about our new style inspections and how members of the public with experience of health and social care – our Experts by Experience play a vital role in our inspections talking to residents, families and friends about their experiences of care, which form a key part of our inspection findings.

David Hastings, a CQC Adult Social Care Inspector who managed the inspection says "The whole day was very intense, but after about an hour I started to relax and actually quite enjoy it! The whole team were brilliant and very supportive and I felt we all did a really thorough and detailed inspection even with Jon following us around all day!"

For more information see link




13th October 2014 - CQC: Making the 'Mum Test' real: New model for inspecting!


Today (Thursday 9 October) marks an important milestone for us at CQC – confirming how we will regulate, inspect and rate care homes and community adult social care in England.

Following extensive joint development, consultation and testing over the past 18 months, we have issued documents called 'handbooks', which will help care providers to understand how they will be assessed and rated from now on.

Specialist teams, including trained members of the public (called Experts by Experience) will inspect services, unannounced, against what matters most to those who use them: are they safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs, and well-led?

We will then rate these services as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate so that people like you can have access to clear information to help you make informed choices about your care.

For more information see link