Social Care News

28th November 2018 - How can we help people who are lonely?

Loneliness can have a substantial effect on a person’s health and wellbeing. In this episode we chat to Katie Terroni, Oxfordshire Council’s Adult Social Care Director, Neil McCarthy from Octavia and Gill Roberts. Listen to podcast...

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28th November 2018 – An exploration of mealtimes in 20 care homes for older people.

In Surrey, admissions to care homes for frailty in old age are predicted to increase by 60% by 2030, with the number of people living with dementia in Surrey also growing (JSNA1,2). Healthwatch Surrey hears less from older people living in care homes than we do from other groups in the county and the feedback that is received is often from a friend or relative. 

As the number of older people living in care homes is set to rise, Healthwatch Surrey has made it a priority to amplify the voice of older people in care homes and ensure that their experiences, and the associated learning, are shared with homes across the county.

In an effort to hear more from residents themselves a programme of 20 Enter and View visits were conducted with the aim of hearing from care home residents, their friends and relatives, and care home staff. Visits were conducted by a team of Authorised Representatives made up of Healthwatch Surrey staff and volunteers.
The information gathered through this programme of visits highlights a number of themes, explored in this full report, which will be shared with care providers, commissioners and other organisations across Surrey.

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3rd December 2018 - Prevention is better than cure: our vision to help you live well for longer  

The document sets out the government’s vision for:

stopping health problems from arising in the first place
supporting people to manage their health problems when they do arise


The goal is to improve healthy life expectancy by at least 5 extra years, by 2035, and to close the gap between the richest and poorest.
A collection of case studies has been published, showing examples of good practice in preventing health problems from happening.

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26th November 2018 - Changes to Carer's Allowance Earnings Rule

Department for Work and Pensions minister Justin Tomlinson has today laid a Written Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons on changes to social security benefit and pension up-ratings in April 2019. As part of the Statement the Government also announced it is making a change to the Carer’s Allowance Earnings Rule.

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26th November 2018 - Charging for Social Care

The Independent Living Strategy Group recently carried out a study of local authority charges for social care, exploring in particular whether and to what extent the practice of charging is undermining people's wellbeing, the primary purpose of social care services as set out in the Care Act 2014. We examined some key features of the way local authorities implement charges and gathered evidence on the impact of charges on disabled people. Our study comprised of two parts: an online survey of more than 600 people who had received a community care assessment; and a Freedom of Information request to 152 English local authorities.

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21st November 2018 - Crackdown on unfair care home practices

Which? welcomes new guidance that tackles the lack of transparency from care homes in the UK

New guidance on what care home providers should and should not be doing has been published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The aim of this government-backed guidance is to help older residents and their families make more informed care decisions. 

This follows a year-long study by the CMA, which identified a risk of residents being treated unfairly. We played a part in supporting the new measures, gathering evidence of people’s experiences of care homes for the CMA and formally responding to the consultation on the draft guidance in the summer.

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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.

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