Social Care News

20th March 2018 -  Listen to the dementia experts - It’s a welcome return to Social Care News for Yvette Wetton as she explains the work she and the Healthwatch Essex Engagement Team have been doing to make sure people living with dementia are fully involved in projects to make their county a friendly and supportive place to live.

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People with deafness and hearing loss don't have full access to healthcare - A new report by charity Action on Hearing Loss entitled Good Practice? has found that people with deafness and hearing loss still don’t enjoy equality of access to healthcare.

Despite the Accessible Information Standard having come into effect in August 2016, which legally requires all providers of NHS care and publicly funded adult social care to record and meet the communication needs of people with disabilities and sensory loss, the report has found that many GP surgeries are still falling short. The report found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of people who are deaf or have hearing loss still feel unclear about their health advice after their GP appointment, at least some of the time.

A key area of concern for patients with deafness and hearing loss was booking urgent same-day appointments, with more than one-third of survey respondents having experienced difficulties. Of these, one in five (19%) survey respondents said they had experienced difficulties because they were offered a same-day phone appointment by their GP surgery, even though they cannot use the phone.

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Hearing loss and end of life care - Difficult Conversations National Clinical Lead, Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders and the Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss, Paul Breckell discuss why identifying and managing hearing loss at the end of life is so important:

Being able to communicate effectively, not only with doctors and carers but also with friends and family is arguably never more important than when nearing the end of life. Effective communication is, of course, essential to creating positive last years, months, weeks and days for individuals and meaningful, lasting memories for loved ones.

71% of people over 70 and 75% of people in care homes have hearing loss. We know that hearing loss can make it difficult to communicate about the vital things that need to be discussed at the end of life, such as medication and choice of treatments. When you are able to hear well it can be difficult enough to discuss decisions such as resuscitation for example, but hearing loss, if not identified by a professional, provides another hurdle. Action on Hearing Loss found that nearly two-thirds of those with hearing loss who responded to a recent survey were unclear about the information they had been given by their GP, at least some of the time. This is despite recent legal duties placed on health and social care professionals to comply with the Accessible Information Standard.

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Pulling together: enabling conversations to help people thrive in later life - The Mental Health Foundation have release Pulling Together to be a 'simple and practical' guide to dealing with mental health in older people and changing the way people talk about mental health in the sector.
The Standing Together project the book concludes findings from, facilitated 19 peer-support groups in extra-care housing and retirement centres across Greater London, in partnership with two housing providers, Housing & Care 21 and Notting Hill Housing Trust.

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Relocating power to citizens for an asset-based area  - What does it take to turn ‘customers’ into ‘co-producers’? We know that for the power dynamic to shift, something’s got to give. This time Alex Fox and Clive Miller offer some advice for people with lived experience and commissioners to help them in their journey toward healthy partnership working.

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Future of social care - Think Local Act Personal’s partnership meeting saw 55 people coming together to talk to the Department of Health and Social Care about the Green Paper due this summer.

There was a wealth of experience and expertise in the room with so many TLAP partners present. We heard from colleagues in the DHSC about their ambition to deliver better outcomes, the grand challenges in the Industrial Strategy and the additional issues facing adults of working age with care and support needs. Some TLAP partners then presented their own hopes for the green paper from the floor. Speakers included Sue Bott, Disability Rights UK and Martin Routledge, Community Circles. The rich table discussions were captured and a summary with information of TLAP's next steps are soon to follow.

"Well done to you, Caroline and team on a great event - worthwhile use of time"

"I have a greater understanding of the issues round the scope of the green paper exercise and the opportunity it presents"

"We had an engaging discussion, it was good to meet other passionate people".

Watch the short film clips - starting with Clenton Farquharson MBE, chair of TLAP

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NHS ENGLAND: Improving self-care at local level  - Health Partnerships is a programme looking at how developing relationships between local people, the VCSE sector and statutory services can help to improve selfcare. Eight areas are taking part in the programme, and interim findings have just been published. For more information about the programme, including information from each STP footprint, visit:

For more information see link


Which? care homes investigation - Investigation by Which? has found that care homes are failing to provide contracts and may be breaking the law by neglecting to tell residents and their families about important terms and conditions.

Consumer watchdog Which? is calling on the Government to act now on the competition authority's recommendations to strengthen consumer protections for care home residents and relatives including on contracts, unfair fees and evictions.

Andrew Boaden, Senior Policy Officer at Alzheimer's Society, says:
'The findings from this investigation are deeply saddening and shameful, but unfortunately unsurprising.

For more information see link


8th February 2018


Eat plenty of veggies and berries to stay mentally sharp in later life - Experts from around the world have examined the evidence to date on the impact of diet on brain health in adults aged 50 and over. They found that foods which are good for our heart are also good for the health of our brains.

The report from the Global Council of Brain Health (GCBH) also concluded that it's never too late to improve your diet and see positive results.
Through eating a combination of different types of food such as leafy greens, berries and good fats in the form of extra virgin olive oil and omega-3 rich fish, people can expect long-term health benefits.

Among the advice given on what to include in your diet, the report also warns people of all ages to go easy on the amount of salt, wine, caffeine and chocolate they consume, if they want to maintain their brain health as they grow older.

For more information see link


Tackling Inequalities Through Health and Social Care Design - The University of Dundee is running a free online course for staff, students, service users and volunteers, starting on 19th February 2018!

The Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre is delighted to announce that as part of their Knowledge into Action at Scale project, the Tackling Inequalities through Health and Social Care Design course will run again on the 19th of February 2018.

This is a free online course that’s available to staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, carers, volunteers and service users. The trailer provides an overview of the course, which features a number of local and national Scottish initiatives. By gaining a better understanding of the causes and impact of health inequalities, it’s hoped that staff will change their practice and consider inequality issues such as access when delivering care and designing services.

For more information see link


Inquiry into long term funding of adult social care - The Communities and Local Government and Health Committees have launched an inquiry into the long-term funding and provision of adult social care, following widespread concerns over sustainability. The results will feed into a forthcoming green paper on adult social care.
The scope of the inquiry is twofold:
How to fund social care sustainably in the longer-term (beyond 2020), bearing in mind the interdependence of the health and social care systems; and
The mechanism for reaching political and public consensus on a solution.

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Two national projects are helping celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS.
NHS at 70 are gathering stories from people who worked or were cared for by the NHS. These will form a digital archive, while films and exhibitions will present the social story of the NHS.

The People's History of the NHS looks at how the NHS has developed and affected our cultural identity. You can submit personal stories or add items to a virtual museum online.

For more information see link


Isolation: small may be beautiful when it comes to solutions 30th January 2018

“With one million people aged 64 and over in the UK reporting that they are often or always lonely, the newly appointed Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch, has a big task on her hands,” says our returning blogger, Social Care Institute for Excellence Director of Business Development and Delivery, Ewan King.

Indeed, her job could be one of the most challenging facing any minister right now. She will expect local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to do their best to work together to tackle this problem - with limited resources.

She will want to see imaginative solutions for reducing social isolation and loneliness in adults that go beyond simply providing better services.

These solutions could include traditional services such as better information and advice and home visits, but also new approaches which harness the potential of families and communities. How can the field best respond to this challenge?

For more information see link